PPB: Driver kills person with their car at NE Couch and 9th

Looking west on NE Couch toward 9th.

Police say a person was killed while using a street in Portland early this morning.

According to a Portland Police Bureau statement the collision happened at about 2:30 am this morning (Friday) at the intersection of NE Couch and 9th.

Here’s the PPB version of events:

“The pedestrian appears to have been walking a bicycle in the roadway when a vehicle travelling westbound on Northeast Couch struck the pedestrian. The driver of the vehicle and witnesses remained at the scene. There were no citations or arrests.”

The name of the person who died has not been released. I’ll update this post when I have more information.

This is the 31st person that has suffered fatal injuries while using Portland streets so far this year.

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On Wednesday the Willamette Week reported that reduced driving due to the pandemic was “good for traffic safety” because there were 27 fatalities through August 28th compared to 36 people dead by the same date in 2019.

But four more people have died since that story was published we are now just six deaths below our number from last year at this same date — despite a significant drop in vehicle miles traveled. In the month following initial Covid-19 shutdowns, ODOT data showed a 40% reduction in freeway traffic in Region 1 (Portland metro). Given the drop in VMT our traffic fatality rate is likely higher than last year.

In related news, PPB says two small children were hit on N Fessenden near McCoy Park. “The children were playing nearby when they ran in between two parked vehicles on North Fessenden Street and into traffic,” the police statement reads. One of the children, a 3-year-old is hospitalized with “life threatening” injuries.

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

Anecdotally, drivers are driving MUCH faster now than they were pre-pandemic. Despite lower volumes, I do not feel safer while I’m riding.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

I saw at a recent meeting with NCDOT officials that through their infrared speed readers they have statewide, even as traffic has returned to pre-covid levels, speed has definitely increased overall. They are now experimenting with point-to-point speed ticketing – if you pass a reader at mile post 15 and later at mile post 90 (both with readers that scan a chip in your license plate tags), and it’s been much less than one hour, they send you a ticket for speeding.

PNWPhotoWalks
1 year ago

I’m sad to learn about this. Thank you for your continued reporting on these tragic collisions, Jonathan.

Coincidentally, I’m about to walk through this intersection on my way to/from downtown to pick up my new TriMet Honored (Senior) Citizen ID Card.

Joseph E
1 year ago

The kids who were hit in N Portland were only 1 block from a park, and 3 short blocks from the end of N Fessenden street – it stops at a T intersection just 2 blocks east of the park.

Gary B
Gary B
1 year ago

That’s a 20mph speed limit. Even if I were to assume the pedestrian was clothed fully in black with no reflector on their bike, I don’t fathom how one can’t see and drives their car into that person if only going 20mph, let alone kills them.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary B

What if it were a small child who ran into the street from between two parked cars? (Which is pretty much exactly what happened).

https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2020/09/3-year-old-hit-by-car-while-playing-in-north-portland-has-life-threatening-injuries.html

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
1 year ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

These are driving safety class ABCs and yet people seem to forget all these important safety tips about slowing down and paying attention within a year of getting their license. They shift to self-preservation from fear and learn to only look out for things that will hurt them (e.g. cars).

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary B

I’m guessing it was a large vehicle (truck or SUV) going between 25mph and 30mph. This is the future America wants…

J_Wink
J_Wink
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

It’s anecdotal, but I take the lane on Couch in the mornings getting to the Burnside Bridge, and the way the lights are timed between 12th and MLK it is difficult to exceed 20. Still no excuse, but speed alone shouldn’t have been a factor.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

Given that it was 2:30 in the morning, the driver was likely impaired and going well over the speed limit, IMO over 30 mph. I saw it often enough when I lived in downtown Portland during late night walks (late 90s).

Toby Keith
Toby Keith
1 year ago

You can’t have enforcement or cameras because somehow it’s all racist. We’ve just got to keep taking our chances out there I guess.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  Toby Keith

Security cameras require people, human beings, to monitor them. Back in the 90s many British municipalities and train stations put in CCTV cameras to track violence there and deter crime. At first would-be criminals were deterred, but they quickly realized that most of the cameras were false or not hooked up, and those actually operating were not being monitored. So inevitably criminals preferred to do their crimes wherever cameras were located, since those were pre-identified by local officials as being the worst patrolled areas, and victims avoided such areas like the plague.

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
1 year ago

Future research will likely report: There are two divergent trends here…less VMT for regional trips (commute etc) while local VMT (outside of old commute periods) has returned to prepandemic periods.

In ‘old’ Vancouver (WA) on the arterials the speeds are likely 5+ mph higher than the old 85th (so >15 posted) … and those driving very aggressively are more in number AND a higher proportion of total traffic. I have not seen a similar frequency of repeated illegal high speed racing, overt engine revving and multi block long peel outs here in the 20 years of my local experience. (In additional to our local problem drivers, our police report a lot of Oregon plated vehicles coming over to race on our old SR501 / Lower River Road due to stronger enforcement on the Oregon side of the river.)

It is as if there is an even deeper mental disease of roadway aggression* than ‘normal’…a behavioural output of displaced anger and high life stress as too many people have been cooped up in packed homes for too many hours in a day (with less to do)…the roadways are all they have now to show their false sense of self importance / independence. [*Intermittent Explosive Disorder / IED(?)]
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/intermittent-explosive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373921
https://www.yourhealthmagazine.net/article/category/anger-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-3-lessons-learned-from-road-rage/
https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/neurosciences-articles/individuals-with-rage-disorder-have-smaller-volumes-in-brain-areas-linked-to-emotion

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

Yeah, we’re getting the same thing out here in North Carolina, higher speeds, more road rage, the squealing, pop-pop-pop all night long. The cheap gas, the fear of getting sick, the mandatory house arrests, and everyone being armed to the teeth doesn’t help either. A potent lack of government transparency on just about everything and distrust of the of the police and media makes pretty much tops it off. People are going crazy.

Dagny Taggart
Dagny Taggart
1 year ago

Although there are fewer cars on the road with the flu bug, many people are walking IN the road to stay away from open windows in homes and away from other pedestrians on the sidewalk. There are pros and cons to everything in life.

Hello Kitty is correct about higher speeds – particularly a couple of months back when traffic volumes were very low.

mark smith
mark smith
1 year ago

Someday Portland will get rid of their racetracks (ahem, one way streets). Until then, people will keep dying and be maimed.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  mark smith

Back in 2002-2006 when I served on the Sullivan’s Gulch NA, we tried to get PBOT to de-couple (make two-way) NE Broadway & Weidler, to get traffic to slow down and make it safer to cross those and adjacent streets. We had lots of studies to back us up. No go, of course. PBOT wants cars to flow as fast as possible; the staff informing us were very embarrassed about it, they agreed de-coupling would save lives, but their bosses refused to consider anything that slowed traffic. That was back in the dark ages 15 years ago – presumably these are more enlightened times?

Eawriste
Eawriste
1 year ago

How about PBOT try out its new bus islands and add dedicated space for people on bikes on Couch?

Fred
Fred
1 year ago

Maybe y’all have discussed this elsewhere, but can anyone explain the strange “walking in the street” behavior that is endemic during this pandemic? It looks like this:

I’m riding my bike along any street and I approach a person walking in the middle of the so-called travel lane in my direction. There’s a perfectly good sidewalk to my right (the walker’s left) and there’s NO ONE on the sidewalk, yet the walker continues walking toward me in the travel lane. The walker pauses and we do an odd dance, where I veer left toward the center line and then right again, depending on what the walker is doing. Often the walker gives me the stink-eye, as though I’m somehow impinging on her (sometimes his but usually her) right to walk in the middle of the travel lane.

What is going on here? Why do so many walkers insist on avoiding the sidewalk and occupying the travel lane? I understand social distancing, but can’t people walk on the sidewalk *until* someone approaches on the sidewalk and then weave onto the side of the road (not the travel lane) as needed? I’ll bet these same walkers aren’t giving drivers the stink-eye, yet we cyclists with our cyclist germs pose a threat.

pruss2ny
pruss2ny
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

i’d hazard the guess that its one of 2 issues:
– agitated state of irrational fear that covid is a monster spreader outdoors
– heightened desire to performatively demonstrate new expected social norms -> “i wear a mask for YOU, not me” sort of thing…i walk in the street SO U don’t have to….

think either is silly.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago

BTW, well done, JM, with your headline:

The person driving killed a person with the driver’s car. Perfect!

JF
JF
1 year ago

That is a jacked-up headline. It makes the reader think the driver went up on the curb intentionally and took out a poor pedestrian. It looks from the story that the pedestrian was walking in the road in the middle of the night and was hit by a car. You don’t help your cause when you write misleading and loaded headlines like that.

Ryan
Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  JF

It only seems like that because we’re used to similar story headlines written with a car-culture bias that dehumanizes the party that did the killing. It’s quite strange, because even though we’re quite the gun-loving society relative to the world, you still wouldn’t expect to see a headline of “man shot by gun” or “child dies after colliding with bullet.” They may generalize by just saying a shooting took place, but typically there’s a reference to a person operating the gun. This story’s headline is being specific that the car wasn’t acting under its own will.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
1 year ago
Reply to  Ryan

I was looking for a good example to illustrate that this “dehumanization” precedes the automobile (and hence “car culture bias”). But I got waylaid by this story, which I’ll post here, apropos of nothing. It’s just an awesome story, and I have no idea what it’s about. Enjoy.

https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1899/07/25/102082926.html?pageNumber=1

astral
astral
1 year ago

Love that you can literally run someone over and not get arrested in this dumbass country. But then I guess if cops actually did anything to promote public safety they wouldn’t be cops.