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An auto user killed a man walking in Cully neighborhood

Posted by on September 16th, 2019 at 1:40 pm

NE 45th and Lombard/Portland Hwy.

Sunday night around 8:00 pm someone who was walking in the Cully neighborhood near the intersection of Northeast 45th and Lombard died in a collision with someone driving a car. This is the third fatality in the Columbia/Lombard corridor in 2019 and it comes as the Portland Bureau of Transportation is working on a plan to improve conditions in the area.

PBOT graphic with 2019 numbers filled in by BikePortland.

According to our Fatality Tracker this is the 39th fatality on Portland roads this year. Of the 39 deaths, 22 have been vulnerable road users (people walking, bicycling or using a moped/motorcycle). Since 2011, four people have died in the direct vicinity of last night’s collision.

This section of Portland Boulevard (a.k.a. Lombard and US Highway 30 Bypass) is a very high-speed arterial, owned and maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation, and listed on PBOT’s high crash network for it’s above-average crash rate. On KOIN-TV last night a man told news crews that, “You can go fast, you can go slow, you can do whatever you really want because there’s not really any police out here…” That comment comes just days after PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly told the Willamette Week, “People are dying, and drivers are seeing people breaking the law, so why shouldn’t they? There’s no consequences.”

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(Graphic: PBOT Columbia Lombard Mobility Corridor Plan)

According to PBOT’s just-released Columbia Lombard Mobility Plan existing conditions report, 10 people died using this corridor between 2012 and 2016. Among the known issues outlined in the report are, “A lack of separation between modes, outdated roadway designs, and sub-standard infrastructure; the pedestrian, bicycle, and transit networks have major gaps and deficiencies; widely spaced and difficult connections across the corridor; and the street lacks adequate pedestrian facilities, crossings, and connections.”

Verde, a Cully-based nonprofit group that builds community through environmental initiatives, issued a statement about the crash:

We are saddened to learn about another pedestrian death in the Cully neighborhood last night, along NE Portland Hwy and 45th. We know Cully lacks safe pedestrian infrastructure: sidewalks, street lights, reduced speeds on high traffic corridors, etc. We will continue coming together as a community to advocate for transportation infrastructure that improves the safety of those who walk, bike and roll in our neighborhood.

We’ll update this post when we hear more from the PPB. If you have any information please call the non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.

UPDATE, 1:45 pm: The PPB have updated their initial statement

The Major Crash Team (MCT) has determined that the driver of the suspect vehicle left the scene of the crash, failing to perform the duties of a driver (hit and run). Police are still looking for the suspect and suspect vehicle.

Investigators are following up on leads and no description of the suspect vehicle is being released at this time. However, investigators are hoping to hear from anyone who has information about this crash and has not yet been contacted by police. Please contact the lead investigator Officer David Enz at 503-823-2208 or David.Enz@portlandoregon.gov and reference case number 19-319949.

UPDATE, 9/18 at 7:30 am:

The victim has been identified as 27-year-old Cristian Drae Lennon of Portland.

Officers are looking for a 1996-1998 red or maroon Chevy Blazer. This suspect vehicle should have front end damage.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

28 Comments
  • Avatar
    Bjorn September 16, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    While this is the 3rd fatality of the year on the corridor, I think that even underestimates the actual danger here, because so many people like me have come to recognize how dangerous this area is and therefore no longer consider biking or walking along it. In my opinion the only folks who are biking or walking here are people who feel like they don’t have any other option, yet still we have seen 3 deaths this year. A massive change is needed to this infrastructure.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 16, 2019 at 2:31 pm

      absolutely agree Bjorn. Lombard is such a huge opportunity to create a intra-neighborhood connected bike/walkway system. There’s so much extra space. We should narrow it, install physical protection with concrete barriers, reduce the space for driving, and watch how the area blossoms. Imagine being able to connect safely from Woodlawn to Cully on a simple and direct route. Add a few safe crossings of Lombard and you open up Columbia industrial area (ever tried to access Oregon Humane Society? Holy crap it sucks).

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        Alex September 16, 2019 at 3:08 pm

        Or just a bus lane that runs from St. Johns to near cascade station/airport and take the rest of it down to 1 lane.

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        Hazel September 16, 2019 at 3:40 pm

        I live in Cully and Lombard would absolutely be the fastest way for me to get to North Portland/St Johns if it was a safe option. I used it to get home from working/racing at PIR until I got too spooked by the lack of safety infrastructure. Also, pretty much every night/weekend there are cars parked in the bike lane on both sides of the street.

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      Meghan September 17, 2019 at 4:11 pm

      I am with you Bjorn and find it fascinating that you also live on the other WORST Street for infrastructure in Cully… you know, the one we all use so frequently to get to the multi-million dollar park the city built but forgot to put ANY sidewalks to.

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        Bjorn September 17, 2019 at 8:49 pm

        Supposedly only 2 more years before there will be a sidewalk to the park but yes I am still completely blown away that the city’s plan has been to make kids walk down a busy street with no sidewalks to get to a new park for years rather than building them at the same time.

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    bikeninja September 16, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    “On KOIN-TV last night a man told news crews that, “You can go fast, you can go slow, you can do whatever you really want because there’s not really any police out here…””

    In fact that now describes the entire city of Portland.

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      Middle of the Road Guy September 16, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Why aren’t there any cops?

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        mh September 16, 2019 at 3:27 pm

        Because police enforcement strongly suggests racism, and because that is a delicate subject, PPB takes the opportunity to direct their funds elsewhere.

        Recommended Thumb up 6

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          Granpa September 16, 2019 at 5:25 pm

          Speed triggered cameras don’t see race. they do see racing

          Recommended Thumb up 12

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            Andrew September 16, 2019 at 6:47 pm

            The officer writing the citation while reviewing the picture does. But I agree, there does need to be enforcement, lawlessness clearly isnt working too well.

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          Fred September 17, 2019 at 6:37 am

          @mh, that could be part of the answer, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the whole answer. Part of the answer, I am convinced, is that Portland used to be a sleepy backwater, but now it’s mobbed by drivers with their cars. City services simply haven’t kept up, and one big reason for that is our commission style of gov’t. It’s not too going too far to say that Portland’s commission-style gov’t is killing us.

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        Toby Keith September 16, 2019 at 10:25 pm

        You know why.

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    Joe Fortino September 16, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    🙁 just like to also point out NE 42 near alberta along with 47NE is becoming rather harsh riding a bike.. RIP

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Avatar
    q September 16, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    It would be nice to have a map like the one in the article for the entire city, and make sure it gets seen. Seeing the graphic symbols is less abstract than ones I’ve seen with little circles or numbers.

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    pdx2wheeler September 16, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Interestingly transit is zero. How is that possible? A quick search pulled up an article of a Tri-met train colliding and killing a pedestrian in 2017. That doesn’t count I guess. How convenient.

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      Matt September 16, 2019 at 8:22 pm

      I’m pretty sure that counts under “Pedestrian”. They are counting the number of people who died using each mode of transportation, not the number of people killed by each mode. A “Transit” death would be somebody killed in a collision while they were riding a bus or train.

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        pdx2wheeler September 17, 2019 at 11:09 am

        So when you’re walking to get on the train, but that train ends up killing you it doesn’t count. Oh, okay! Thanks!

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          q September 17, 2019 at 11:35 am

          It counts as a death to a pedestrian, not as a death to a train rider. It makes sense.

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            pdx2wheeler September 17, 2019 at 5:35 pm

            So being killed while trying to board a train has nothing to do with the train. Wow, Trimet must love this rule!

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              q September 17, 2019 at 9:18 pm

              If they were killed while actually boarding the train, then I agree, it should count as a transit death.

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    faceoff September 16, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    I choose lombard east to work and west home daily. Exciting for sure but Colubia is where its at if ya wanna really feel a rush!

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      Hippie Joe September 17, 2019 at 7:59 am

      Have you tried N Greeley? You get to cross an I-5 on ramp! It’s stupid!

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    maxD September 17, 2019 at 9:42 am

    As I rode by a ghost bike the other day, it struck me how quiet and sad it is. That is appropriate in many ways, but it does not draw attention to traffic fatalities. I would rather see a 10-foot by 10-foot skull painted in white retro-reflective road paint on the lane of each traffic death location regardless of mode.

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    q September 17, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    The “Map of Crashes” states “crash involving” and has a symbol of a cyclist, pedestrian or car. The reality is that every–or virtually every–crash also involves a car or truck. I know that’s obvious, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the map legend to state that, to reinforce that fact.

    People walking or biking don’t typically crash themselves, or even crash into each other. Motor vehicles are the only transportation mode that typically crashes into each other, or into inanimate objects. I’d like the map legend to add something like, “99% (or whatever) of crashes involving a cyclist or pedestrian involved a motor vehicle” as a reminder of that.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT September 17, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    I just drove this today for the first time in a long time and it is terrifying. First, it’s a road in a city with a 45mph speed limit which is irresponsible. It also has “Slower traffic keep right” signs which have no business being within a city. These signs serve as a government statement declaring that speed is the priority and mandates that law-abiding drivers accommodate speeding drivers on a road with vulnerable users.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 18, 2019 at 7:58 am

    UPDATE, 9/18 at 7:30 am:

    The victim has been identified as 27-year-old Cristian Drae Lennon of Portland.

    Officers are looking for a 1996-1998 red or maroon Chevy Blazer. This suspect vehicle should have front end damage.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

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    X September 18, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Cristian I am sorry your life ended that way.

    The map is important because it shows that this piece of road is dangerous and we ALL knew it before this person died. Brave hardy people stay away…the map has a problem though in that it looks like bikes are crashing, crashing. Yes I read the tiny-type disclaimer. It should say in bigger type ‘we couldn’t put all the car crashes on here because there were so dang many’.

    The map does show that this road is even more deadly, in raw numbers, for people in cars than for others. ODOCars is letting their constituency down.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

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