Portland Police responded to two fatal collisions Saturday night within about three hours of each other. The deaths push Portland’s yearly total to 10, that’s twice as many as we had last year at this time.
The first one happened around 6:30 pm at SE Powell Blvd and 34th. This section of Powell is
State U.S. Highway 26. It has a five-lane cross section with the standard ODOT orphan highway feel: there’s no shoulder or bike lane and the speed limit is 35 mph. All police have revealed so far is that the collision involved a motorcycle operator and an SUV driver. The motorcycle rider was dead when police arrived. The driver remained on the scene and was not arrested.
The second fatality happened just after 9:30 pm right outside the Hollywood Transit Center on NE Halsey at 42nd. This section of Halsey has a four-lane cross-section with no shoulder or bike lane. The speed limit is 30 mph. The driver in this collision left the scene after their car hit someone who was walking. Police are still looking for the driver.
This location is adjacent to a major TriMet transit center (bus and light rail). Asked about possible video footage of the collision, TriMet said their legal department is processing the request and it could take up to five days. If they have footage, the District Attorney and/or police will decide if it will be released.
TriMet is currently working on their Pedestrian Plan which focuses on “equity, safety, and demand”. “Safety refers to reducing risks of traffic injury or death for people walking to transit,” the agency states in their online open house (which is open until March 6th). TriMet says the plan will prioritize dangerous areas around transit stops such as “barrier streets”. Halsey creates an unnecessarily dangerous barrier to the transit center and the 42nd Avenue overpass of I-84, which is a key connection in the cycling network.
According to the BikePortland Fatality Tracker (below), Saturday’s crashes bring our annual death toll up to 10. 8 of the people killed so far have been vulnerable road users.
UPDATE, 1:45 pm: Police have released more information on the NE Halsey fatality:
The deceased person is identified as Chantel Downs, 36, of Portland. Her family has been notified of her death.
Preliminary investigation suggests Downs was south bound 42nd Avenue in the east crosswalk. The pedestrian control device displayed a red hold signal. The unidentified suspect vehicle was traveling west bound on Northeast Halsey Street on a green light. The vehicle struck Downs and kept driving west bound.
The suspect and the vehicle have not been located. If you have any knowledge of the driver or the vehicle please contact the primary investigator, Officer David Enz at David.Enz@portlandoregon.gov.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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