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Portland’s traffic death toll climbs to 51 after two more people died this morning


NE 122nd and Halsey — where someone was killed while walking this morning — is dominated by dangerous vehicle users. Can you spot the man in the crosswalk?

Two people died within one hour of each other on Portland streets Friday morning. The two fatal collisions bring our annual death toll to 51 — the highest number since 1996 and nearly twice the amount we had at the outset of the decade in 2010.

This pole is in front of a school on N Interstate Ave.

At 2:45 am this morning police responded to someone who slammed their SUV into a power pole on N Interstate Avenue right in front of The Ivy School. The driver was cited for Reckless Driving and DUI. A few hours later around 6:30 am, someone died after being hit by a car driver while trying to walk across NE Halsey and 122nd. Then less than an hour later another person died in a head-on crash between two car drivers on North Lombard just west of Vancouver Avenue.

That brings the total number of people who died while walking on Portland streets this year to 17. Combined with the two bicycling deaths and nine motorcycling deaths, 28 of the 51 victims so far this year were vulnerable road users.

According to Portland Police Bureau data obtained by BikePortland through a public records request, a majority of this year’s fatal crashes are still under investigation.

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Something major must change to get to zero in 10 years. (Source: PBOT and PPB data)

Six of the cases were labeled hit-and-run and there have been eight felony arrests so far. There are currently 27 fatal traffic incidents that are currently either under investigation (21) or have been referred to the District Attorney or City Attorney. Just 12 of the fatal crashes (so far) have been determined to have no criminal activity associated with them.

By my tally, 26 of the deaths so far this year have occurred on the City of Portland’s High Crash Network, which are defined as the 30 most dangerous streets in the city. Despite being just 8% of Portland streets, this High Crash Network consistently represents over half of all deadly crashes.

A story in The Oregonian earlier this month pointed to several factors that deserve blame for this year’s high death toll, including a lack of enforcement and a dangerous driving culture that favors speed and larger vehicles like SUVs. PBOT Director Chris Warner told The Oregonian that when it comes to preventing fatal crashes, “A lot of it is out of our control.”

Portland has adopted a “Vision Zero” goal to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2030.

For an updated tally of every fatality so far this year, see our tracker.

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