Joshua Stanley. Karen McClure. Douglas Rosling II.
All three died using Portland roads over the weekend.
Since Jean Gerich was hit and killed in an intentional act of car violence on January 25th, four people have died in what has already been a terrible year for road safety. So far in 2021 our Fatality Tracker shows 11 deaths, that’s nearly twice as many as this time last year and three times the amount in 2019.
Just after midnight on Saturday, Portland Police say 34-year-old Joshua Stanley attempted to cross SE McLoughlin Blvd (Hwy 99E) from west to east near Franklin St just south of the Ross Island Bridge. A person driving a car on McLoughlin hit and killed Stanley. PPB says, “The location was not a crosswalk and not well lit. The pedestrian was wearing dark clothing.”
Later Saturday evening, 60-year-old Karen McClure was walking near SE Stark and 136th when she was hit and killed by someone driving a car. The driver didn’t stop and is still on the loose. (If you have details get in touch with Officer Garrett Dow at email@example.com or 503-823-5070.) Outer Stark is a failed street. It kills, injures and scares so many people that in 2018 activists demanded immediate action and called on PBOT to declare an emergency.
Then Sunday morning around 7:00 am 40-year-old Douglas Rosling II was unable to control his SUV while driving on NW Yeon and died after crashing into a building just north of Nicolai. It’s unclear what caused the crash and it doesn’t appear anyone else was involved.
On January 24th, one day before Jean Gerich was killed in the Buckman neighborhood, 48-year-old Eddie Larson was driving on NE Marine Drive when he lost control of his car and died when after it crashed into the Columbia River. Larson is just the latest in a long list of people who’ve suffered a similar fate on Marine Drive – one of Portland’s deadliest roads.
On January 28th, the PPB arrested a drunk driver who caused a crash on I-5 at Broadway. It was the same man they arrested two days earlier for driving drunk and causing a separate crash in north Portland.
Also on January 28th there was a hit-and-run near North Columbia and Vancouver that left 43-year-old Charles Patton with serious injuries. The person who caused the wreck fled, but not before shooting his gun at a bystander. Patton died from his injuries two days later.
These are just a sampling of the violence and destruction caused by car users in Portland. There are many other crashes, collisions and injuries that don’t get announced by the PPB.
The victims are new, but the circumstances are achingly familiar. Unfortunately it feels like Portland continues to lack the urgency and leadership to transform our approach to traffic safety and street management in a way that rises to the crisis in front of us.
The victims are new, but the circumstances are achingly familiar. Unfortunately it feels like Portland continues to lack the urgency and leadership to transform our approach to traffic safety and street management in a way that rises to the crisis in front of us.
I just feel so deflated and frustrated. I’ve written so many op-eds and have heard so many promises about safe streets for so many years. Yet here we are.
To all my friends at City Hall and the Portland Bureau of Transportation who are annoyed with my “bias and negativity” (the exact words used by former PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly who revealed her opinion of my work at the end of her tenure back in December): Where is the positive news here?
You can dismiss me and continue to act like everything you read here are just rantings from a biased blogger. But you cannot ignore the tragic truths our streets continue to tell day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
UPDATE, 1:45pm: PPB has just reported another fatal crash. Appears to be only one driver involved and it took place on N Columbia Blvd between Fiske and Portsmouth.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.
“These are just a sampling of the violence and destruction caused by car users in Portland. ”
This is clearly not a description of what happened on SE McLaughlin – that was caused by someone crossing a highway on foot, at night. No need to sensationalize things to fit a narrative. We’ve all seen campers that frequent that area try and cross the highway there instead of walking down to Holgate or the overpass.
No, that was caused a by a motorist failing to see a pedestrian and stop their vehicle before hitting them with their car.
Motorist need to be prepared to come to a stop at all times. It doesn’t matter what is in the road. It could be a person, it could be an animal, or it could be debris that fell out of someone else’s vehicle.
Additionally, this section of road is a crossing-desert which is another factor in why the pedestrian was crossing outside of a crosswalk.
That’s an insane standard – similar to arguing that if when you are riding downhill at speed, and someone jumps out in front of you and you hit them, you’re at fault because you weren’t able to stop immediately. Some common sense is needed here.
That section of road is a road crossing desert BECAUSE THERE IS NO NEED TO ACCESS THE AREA! They are illegally camping there (and anyone who has seen the hillside from the springwater trail below can see how they’ve left that off limits area.
You must have read something I didn’t. I didn’t see any mention of Mr. Stanley jumping out of any where. Could you tell me where you got that information? I read that he was crossing the road. That stretch has long, clear sightlines. The motorist should have seen him in front of him.
Huh? You have SE Portland neighborhoods on one side and a hugely trafficked MUP on the other. I can see a lot of reasons to want to cross there.
AFAIK Mr. Stanley’s housing situation has zero to do with the situation outside of it being the most likely driver behind how you feel about his death. Is Mr. Stanley even homeless?
No, you cannot – there is no legal crossing at that point and no access to the MUP on the other side (railroad tracks, fencing, and a literal cliff are on the other side) – clearly you’re not from around here. Any crossing attempted at this change in grade, where traffic is legally moving at 45MPH, at night, while wearing black is insane and completely the fault of the person attempting it.
I’m not even getting into what is legal or not legal. We know that motorist can kill pretty much at will without repercussion because the car lobby has taken all the right of way from anyone not in car.
I get it, you think Mr. Stanley deserved to die. My point is that there are a lot of scenarios where something a motorist doesn’t want to hit could be in their path. It could be an animal, it could be a stalled car with no working electronics, it could be a person who has uncontrolled diabetes who is confused and doesn’t understand they are standing in a highway, because you obviously don’t mind that Mr. Stanley died partly because you believe that he is homeless and you don’t believe they have the right to live. Does the fact that someone from a group that you don’t hate could have easily been the victim here sway your opinion at all?
You are just proving Jonathans point. You and everyone else who support car culture believe that motorist is entitled to go top speed at (and realistically more) at all times and whatever they destroy is not their fault. You believe a motorist has no moral duty to avoid the destruction of human life as long as they have ROW.
Jeff is likely right though. If you think people are trying cross 99 in this area to get to the Springwater path, you don’t know the area well at all.
I agree that motorists need to be more aware than many of them are and ready to stop. But there is also some onus on pedestrians to be EXTREMELY cautious when crossing a 45mph essentially divided highway with minimal pedestrian facilities and absolutely no crosswalks or signals. The fact that there is a 3 foot barrier in the middle of the road here is a pretty strong suggestion that pedestrian crossing is not allowed.
So you don’t think he was coming from the Springwater corridor? Where did he come from? The Willamette?
Cool! Hopefully a person who is confused is able to tell where they are at all times because our car subservient culture obviously doesn’t care if they live or die.
There have been homeless camps on the top of that cliff next to the road before. Having to cross 99 is one of many reasons not to allow them there.
You should at least see what it is like on Google Maps. That strike was comparable to car driving in front of a train at a crossing where pedestrian have absolutely no business crossing. You’d have to cross west across north bound lanes, hop over a jersey barrier, then cross across south bound to get hit by southbound traffic.
Clearly unreasonable conduct by the deceased. The only reason one might jaywalk across that area is to access illegal TRANSIENT ENCAMPMENT in that area and maybe incidents of these nature would happen less if code enforcement, city, county and state worked more aggressively to enforce unlawful transient camps from forming where the access requires jaywalking.
Just a reminder, straight from the 2020-2021 Oregon Driver Manual,
“The Basic Rule Law.
The basic rule states you must drive at a speed that is reasonable and
cautious for existing conditions. The basic rule applies on all roads at
To obey the basic rule, think about your speed in relation to other
traffic, pedestrians, bicycles, the surface and width of the road, hazards
at intersections, weather, visibility, and any other conditions that affect safety. The basic rule does not allow you to drive over the speed limit.
If you drive at a speed that is unsafe for existing conditions in any area, at any time, even if it is slower than the speed limit, you are violating the basic rule.” https://www.oregon.gov/odot/forms/dmv/37.pdf
The basic rule applies to unusual circumstances, such as fog, weather, lanes narrowed for construction, etc.
Here’s a reference to the actual law:
Any law that depends solely on the differing subjective judgements of different parties in a unique and difficult-to-measure set of circumstances is going to be challenging to enforce, especially after the fact when no officer witnessed some particularly egregious behavior.
Meanwhile, there is little to assist us in knowing whether or not someone was in a mental health crisis-
Whether it was the person behind the wheel, like last weeks melee or the one standing in the middle of the highway. Why this concept hasn’t been brought up
In our underfunded mental health situation is beyond me.
Sure, but why does Bike Portland contribute to increasing the level of us vs them by sensationalizing it “Car Violence!” It seems that the pedestrian was at fault here.
“existing conditions” on 99 in this section are to have no pedestrians crossing the road though.
dachines- not sure i get your point…are u implying that the occurrence of an accident in any situation is proof that the motor operator was NOT driving in a manner that was reasonable and prudent?
Yup, that is exactly what he is saying – basically the idea that all liberals are evil to trump people or vice versa. If you are a car driver, your very existance is offensive to radicals.
The person was drivign accordingly to the conditions. Someone crossing at a very dangerous place where there are no cross walks is not reasonable.
This isn’t just any jaywalking. You normally have to stop for emergency vehicles coming the opposite direction, but not here, because this is an ABSOLUTELY NO CROSSING zone, with a three foot high concrete barrier wall separating north and south bounds.
Although southbound that corresponds to Franklin St is a steep hill side, go slightly south right around where you’re facing Charter Construction building and there is a patch of grassy area (Portland Parks & Rec owned, I believe) that is severely vagrancy contaminated. There’s literally no reason to cross over three lanes of traffic, hop over a jersey barrier, then cross over three more lanes of traffic unless you’re accessing transient encampments in that area to engage in illicit commerce with them, or you’re one of those transients themselves.
If you swerve around to avoid a deer strike and you cause an accident, you’ll be found at fault. If you slam on your brakes out of nowhere at 45-55mph, a heavy truck behind you probably couldn’t stop in time. If you swerve to avoid a vagrant strike, you risk yourself, or other vehicle drivers lives and endangering others who are not doing anything wrong in order to avoid a vagrant strike that put itself in the harm’s way is not acceptable.
Imagine being a passenger in an Uber and getting hurt, because the car you’re in got thrown off the cliff by a semi that jackknifed in order to avoid a vagrant strike.
The main reason people are dying in POrtland in traffic is because people who hate cars (like you) forced PBOT etc to make driving a miserable experience with taking lanes from all the busy roads, building bicycle lanes everywhere that nobody uses and also creating more and more multimodal streets that cause more confusion.
The main reason traffic is so bad is because of the car hating groups not allowing any sensible improvements. When ones whole goal is to make the other side’s life miserable, it is hard to come up with solutions. Just like trump people boast they owned the libs, the bicyclists are doing the same to car drivers.
The end result is horrible traffic, more conservative city council members and mayor getting elected, and more deaths while decreasing bicycle ridership.
By the wya, you admit this person was crossing outside of a crosswalk, so they were breaking the law and the motorists might not be able to see someone randomly crossing.
But hey, blame drivers. They are evil, right? If you want to know why we have more deaths, maybe look at the mirror – seeing people who drive as the enemy and acting accordingly is the main reason we have a mess right now.
The person who hit that man on McLoughlin made a choice. They chose to operate a vehicle capable of killing another person at any speed.
The road it happened on was built as a highway for the expressed purpose of facilitating dangerous, high-speed use of this inherently dangerous type of personal vehicle.
If the transportation agency did not make that choice and if that person in the car did not make theirs, the man would still be alive.
I believe the use of cars and the system that enables them is inherently violent and destructive.
But you own a motor vehicle right?
Yes. I sure do. My family owns three cars actually. My 18 year old daughter just got one and we have a mini-van and a tiny econo car.
I drive with the clear understanding and expectation that I could kill someone at any time. It’s a messed up system! Like many things we take part in in our modern lives, we don’t have a lot of choice and we all must do as much as possible to mitigate risks for ourselves and others.
Well if someone jumps out on a highway at night in front of your daughter who is driving at legal speeds, I hope you make sure to tell her that she caused that violence and destruction.
Still trying to find evidence of this person jumping out in front of the car. I am sure OP will deliver.
Here’s a quote I found earlier in the thread that might be useful: “No need to sensationalize things to fit a narrative.”
Thanks so much for the parenting advice!
You’ll be happy to know that I’ve already made that clear to everyone in my family and I’m very unpopular for it.
But you’re talking about “someone jump(ing) out on a highway at night”–a sudden, unpredictable action–whereas earlier you were describing the location the person was run over as being somewhere where “we’ve all seen” people trying to cross. Totally different situations.
when i was learning to drive, my dad gave me the best advice (this was early 70s): expect that every driver out there is a homicidal maniac trying to kill you. i have always driven with an eye for the unexpected, and it’s saved my ass more times than i can count – both as a driver and a bicyclist. i just do not trust anyone behind the wheel, myself included.
So what if he does? That doesn’t invalidate what he’s saying.
Because on one hand motor vehicles are the tool of the devil. Yet he admits there are three of them in his household. If cars are so bad, then go car free like I’m sure a few people on this forum do. Otherwise it’s just more “do as I say, not as I do”.
The rigid adherence to doctrine that you are demanding of Jonathan is absurd. He certainly can criticize dangerous driving behavior and yet still be a driver himself. Cars are not inherently bad, but a system that makes individuals reliant on cars with few reasonable alternatives and which fails to punish or discourage dangerous behavior is most certainly bad.
If Jonathan had a history of driving recklessly or of causing vehicular violence, your comment would make sense. But what he is doing is pointing out bad behavior, not saying that all cars are bad in all situations.
Appreciate your zeal for roadway safety, I share it, but you cannot put all the blame for deaths from crashes on roadway design and truck and automobile operators. All road users pedestrians, and vehicle operators (bikes, scooters, etc. are in this category) share a responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others. This responsibility includes being seen and being aware of other road users.
According to the article the driver was cooperative and there was no mention that they were impaired, distracted or driving recklessly. The pedestrian in this case has at least some responsibility for this crash. They were apparently difficult to see and they were in the roadway. Did the pedestrian not see the car when crossing? were they impaired? Based on the facts as presented it is wrong to place the blame for this death on the driver for simply driving on a public street built and maintained by the city/state. Would this be less tragic if the driver swerved to avoid the pedestrian and crashed and died of their injuries?
Hi Matt B,
I have not put “all the blame” on anyone. Please be careful about making speculations on my beliefs. I have merely pointed out that driving a car is very dangerous and comes with associated risks and consequences that we should never overlook.
Yes I agree all road users have responsibilities. We don’t know what exactly happened in this case.
And no, of course this would not be less tragic if the driver died. That’s a terrible thing to even suggest. And that’s absolutely not what I’m about.
Jonathan I suspect that we would agree on much, in regards to traffic safety and I appreciate your voice in advocating for road safety. I read your post to be putting the blame for crash deaths on motor vehicle operators and highway design. Would agree they often are, but not always. My apologizes if you took my hypothetical “driver dying” question to be representative of your beliefs. My view is that you are clearly a advocate for highway safety.
The pedestrian also made a choice and has a responsibility to act appropriately. They shouldn’t have been crossing in the dark, unsafely and put themselves in the position they put themselves in and honestly put the driver of the car in.
You are wrong. Poor choices were not made by this driver. When do you start encouraging “people” to cross I-5, 217, I-84, I-205… IN THE DARK WITH NO ILLUMINATION WHATSOEVER.
The choice of getting in a car and driving down a highway at high speeds that can cause the death of other people is a choice. I think it’s a poor choice… even if it’s one many of us make all the time. I do it too. I wish I never had to make that choice but I’m not going ignore how poor it is.
And I don’t even understand the second part of your comment. I’m afraid it makes no sense to me.
MAX tend to go slow at crossings and near station platforms. So would you encourage MAX to be operated at a walking pace so track trespassers like graffiti vandals in sections would not get hit?
That section of McLoughlin is roughly comparable to the stretch of MAX track that runs along I-84 not near platforms. Vagrants manage to get run over by freight trains too from time to time.
“The road it happened on was built as a highway for the expressed purpose of facilitating dangerous, high-speed use of this inherently dangerous type of personal vehicle.”
the stretch of road is inherently dangerous..its no secret…as you said it was “built for the expressed purpose” of cars going at speed. Just like i believe you aren’t convicting the driver of manslaughter, u have to have some faith that i’m not belittling the loss of life in this particular case. I just think i’d argue for more separated roadway designed specifically to isolate cars from pedestrians/bikes/neighborhoods…not less.
This sounds like you’re arguing that separated highways/freeways should not exist.
I strongly disagree with you here and I think you risk pushing away potential allies with your absolute views.
You need to encourage personal responsibility of all users.
Say someone gets hit by a max train in the tunnels. Your same logic would say without Trimet putting tracks in and without the max driver operating at a potential lethal speed the person who walked in front of the max train at the last minute would still be alive. How about not walking in front of trains?
Or how about blaming the airport for existing when I get ran over by a plane after trespassing on the runway. Same deal. Some parts of our transportation infrastructure are dangerous and not pedestrian friendly by design.
If I decided to cross over a freeway in the middle of the night of course it is my fault if I get hit.
Separation of high speed traffic from pedestrian seems like a win win.
These situations are entirely different than surface streets that should be mixed use and safe for all users.
Obviously the roadway safety problem is bad and getting worse and needs a lot of attention. But by not acknowledging that small percentage of deaths might be due bad choices on the part of the pedestrian you are asking for people to write you off.
Sorry if my wording feels harsh. It feels right to me however, given the context we are in. I have done nothing to discourage personal responsibility. I’m just stating these issues in new ways and I think there is some misunderstanding because of that.
Your hypothetical about MAX trains and airports are not good comparisons because we do not have a severe problem in this city/country of light rail operators or airplane pilots being involved in deadly and destructive crashes. And when they are, they actually receive the level of investigation and analysis I’d love to see when people die on freeways. Perhaps that would end our normalization and desensitization of traffic deaths?
Again. You and others do not understand my argument. Please stay open to what I’m trying to convey. I’m looking at this as a systemic problem. I’d respond to your question by saying, “Why is someone crossing a freeway on foot in the middle of the night?”
And I hope you can see this is about much more than who is at fault. I’m trying to change the discourse and to do so I think we must stop being so focused on fault and blame. We are all at fault because we allow these systems to happen. Did that guy make a bad choice crossing a freeway at night? I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what happened, but in general if you do something like that you will likely die from it.
I have never done this. You and others continue to project your own assumptions about what you think my beliefs are in order to satisfy your own narratives. Obviously people make bad choices all the time and it leads to their deaths. OK, what next?
You want me to say people are at fault for stepping in front of a fast driver on a freeway so we can write off these deaths as just collateral damage of living in this broken system? I’m not going to do that. Because when does that end? What is the line for collateral damage where we start caring about people who die? Is it people who walk on freeways? Is it people who get run over while sleeping in a tent on the sidewalk? Is it people who get killed crossing the street because they are blind, disabled, hard of hearing, and aren’t able to make it across without going against the light?
I’ll stop here for now. Thanks for your input.
If so many are failing to understand your argument maybe you’re failing to make it compelling or to make it understable for most?
Yep. Could be! Always listening and adjusting. Thank you.
Long, long time reader and first time commenter.
I think your work is very high quality, and I appreciate how serious and straightforward you are. You speak my language!
But I do think it can be a detriment here. You are presenting facts, however the words you choose in the context of journalism will lead many readers to make assumptions on your stance which I think are unhelpful. Your notions of “enough with the blame” and “systemic problem” might serve better more front and center.
Because, even to serious weirdo me, it’s happened a few times when I read an article and I’m like “wtf Jonathan you’re making us look bad” and then I read comments and then I’m like “oooohhhh, I was reading into it”.
Following for 10+ years btw, thx doing this 🙂
I am simply saying that if you push someone like me away with your absolutism you are not helping your cause. I care enough about transportation and cycling to regularly read your site, which puts me in some tiny minority of the population.
Our infrastructure is roughly the same or perhaps slightly safer than in the recent past correct? So does that not point to human behavior as the problem in the rise of traffic fatalities? That is some combination of the behaviors of everyone. Police, drivers, cyclist, pedestrians, people living in areas not designed in any way for safety.
What can we do to influence behaviors? I think that is the question. Road design certainly plays a part but does not explain rising fatalities on the same roads.
To me it seems like a huge increase in enforcement of laws would make the largest difference the fastest.
“Our infrastructure is roughly the same or perhaps slightly safer than in the recent past correct?“
In last 50yrs traffic fatalities in US (measured against vehicle miles travelled) is off 75%
we have a culture that is so enraptured with the personal automobile (the planet is heating like a kettle, and Springsteen is selling jeeps) that we bend over backwards to blame anyone but the driver – unless drunk. (then we sue the bar.)
blame is the first problem. it’s a waste of time. settle that in court. we need to decide how we want to live as a community (a collection of communities). if we want it to be a version of Mad Max, then open up the roads, shunt the non-drivers into sidestreets, and have at it. if we want something else, we have to intentionally create that something else. not everyone is going to be happy, but at some point, if quality of life involves something more than driving driving driving, we need to make some serious changes to how we do things.
That has to be the most pathetic argument I’ve seen on the internet. You make it sound as though this person who was hit, wasnt doing something dangerous. Such as crossing a dark highway at night in dark clothing. It has nothing to do with your soft manhood. I really think you should either sell those evil cars of yours or have your balls reattached, maybe both.
Until then, learn how to drive better, you sound like one of those people thats afraid of driving. You know, the ones that make timid lane changes and go under the speed limit because they think theyre being safe? But in reality, are making the whole situation more dangerous.
When I drive, it’s often on this stretch of State Highway. I drive the speed limit (45 mph). I am consistently passed by people going 50-60 mph. Its faster in the early mornings with fewer cars on the road. And people do cross the road there somewhat regularly because THEY HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE. All of of these factors combined to kill this person, several of which are preventable through community and individual action.
It is a shame that your entire post is about how someone who is driving a car is a horrible person. Thus your horrible headline.
Do you not realize that you are contributing to the traffic issues by making it a partisan issue instead of finding solutions.
You have a responsibility here, and you are being inrresponsible.
“We’ve all seen campers that frequent that area try and cross the highway there instead of walking down to Holgate or the overpass.”
So what you’re saying (apparently without realizing it) is that it’s so common that people driving through there shouldn’t be surprised when someone tries to cross, and shouldn’t be going so fast they can’t avoid running over people who are trying to cross.
Haha, no. Because we’ve seen other people make the insane decision does not mean we should be expecting it. I saw a man walking down the center of the Sunset last Thursday morning. That doesn’t mean traffic on the Sunset should be limited to 10MPH. Personal responsibility is still a thing.
Nice try substituting a new and extremely different example (a one-time occurrence of someone walking down the middle of the Sunset) for your earlier one that I commented on (a specific group of people crossing at a specific location so often that “we’ve all seen (it)”).
And nice try substituting my reasonable comment (drivers “shouldn’t be going so fast they can’t avoid running over people who are trying to cross”) with your extreme substitution (highway traffic “should be limited to 10 MPH”).
The one thing you got right? “Personal responsibility is still a thing”. But it applies to people driving as well as people crossing.
Jeff, if you’ve almost hit a deer travelled at 60 mph, you’d know that it’s possible to avoid death. I should mention the deer was wearing a dark coat.
When someone gets shot, do you blame the victim? The guy who made the bullet? Or do you blame the person with the smoking gun in hand? Think hard, and show your work.
Sometimes we blame the shooting victim, and sometimes we blame the driver for causing the crash. Sometimes we judge a shooting accidental and blame no one. It depends on the circumstances.
Most shootings are intentional, whereas most car crashes are unintentional, and society has long held people less culpable for accidental acts than for deliberate ones. Of course, sometimes we judge a person’s conduct so egregious that they are responsible for unintended outcomes. Drunk driving rises to that level; driving on McLoughlin, even a bit above the speed limit, does not.
I grow tired of the “car = gun” analogy. One’s specifically designed purpose is to injure/hurt/kill, the other is a form of transportation.
When a person dies of a gunshot it’s not a surprise that such a machine has that outcome. When mundane transportation keeps killing people, people will keep saying things like ‘Wow, cars are deadly as guns, which is odd because guns are MEANT to kill’.
Again, we’re doing it wrong
We are clearly no where close to achieving zero traffic deaths any time soon, let alone by 2025. More people have died last year and this one from motor vehicle-related/traffic deaths than from any of the protests combined. If Wheeler can declare a state of emergency and implement curfews after the protests started back in May, surely city leadership can take stronger measures to help rise to the urgency of this ongoing crisis that has claimed far more lives.
I’ve never seen those comments from Chloe. Hilarious. JM actually carries a lot of water for PBOT, especially under Chloe where something like 43 miles of bad bike infrastructure is considered “kicking ass”
I’m not the biggest fan of Hardesty, but she’s certainly better than Eudaly (then again, my cat would have done a better job at responding to and listening to the community than Eudaly did). Hopefully Hardesty proves to be amenable to the constructive criticism that Jonathan and others provide, and based on her statements so far I’m at least somewhat encouraged. While I don’t agree with everything Jonathan has to say, I certainly think he and BikePortland does a valuable service to the community and PBOT would be wise to think carefully about his opinions.
And as this year so far demonstrates, roads like Stark, Division, and Yeon should be the #1 priority to address. Bring them to adequate conditions ASAP and use all possible funding to transform them; everything else can wait.
To add to the road violence, PPB also rammed a car that they mistook as someone involved in a hit and run. This thankfully didn’t lead to injuries, but it certainly shook the driver and their family, who were also in the car. This all happened, by the way, after this driver had stopped to give aid to the victim of the hit and run.
Just crazy and sad times all the way around. You would think that with less overall driving that you would see a reduction in crashes and fatalities. But that doesn’t account for the reality that less traffic leads to higher speeds. Roadway design has always been a factor but seems to be exacerbated by more opportunities to speed these days. There is also probably a pandemic factor where people are exhausted and don’t make good decisions.
Time to update your post JM, someone died on N Columbia this afternoon.
I think we are approaching the end of the American Empire. But instead of collapsing due to the corruption and infighting of elites allowing barbarian armies to overrun Rome. We appear to be collapsing due to the corruption and infighting of elites allowing barbarians in automobiles to hollow out society with growing, depressing amounts of vehicular violence. The trends highlighted here are a reflection of more than just bad transportation choices. Something else is really going wrong.
Except pre-COVID, US traffic deaths were on the decline. There certainly need to be questions about what has happened during pandemic times when there have been more crashes/deaths, but less overall miles driven.
Amen, keep fighting the good fight. All those roads mentioned are failed roads, there shouldn’t be people driving 55 in this city anywhere off of a freeway, for starters. Also they always say “the person didn’t cross at a crosswalk”. How many times was there not a crosswalk anywhere nearby, in a dense city it’s not acceptable to have to walk 1/4 mile to a crosswalk as happened in a case of mine. That whole area of McLoughlin/Powell or Marine Drive—it’s so hard to navigate as a pedestrian—there’s nowhere to cross! Busy roads block big river fronts, natural attractions for pedestrians—they’re death traps! And only people on this blog see that! It’s disheartening.
In the section of 99 being discussed there is NOTHING to cross to. It’s a steep cliff above the Springwater (with no access to the Springwater) and the river.
I agree that there are many areas of Portland with very unsafe and difficult crossings as a pedestrian, but I don’t think this specific area falls into that category.
I have previously predicted 70 traffic deaths in Portland for 2021. Looks like that may be too low.
It would nice to have some traffic enforcement… there is none. Many reasons, but this blog has made clear it does not trust the cops to do traffic enforcement and maybe with good reason, but how many deaths are worth this risk? I would like to see a cop every now and then on busy streets in my neighborhood,, there are none.
I hear your point. But just to be clear for the record… Portland currently does have traffic enforcement. We have 8 automated traffic cameras. And we have many PPB officers patrolling the streets who have every right and opportunity to pull people over for a variety of traffic-related reasons.
I live close to NE Broadway, Weidler, Sandy..
You could literally drive 100mph, run every light, the odds that a police car would be in the area are slim and none.
That is a total bummer. We should have automatic cameras that cite people for going those speeds and we should have traffic calming in place that causes someone to crash their car if their try to go that fast.
It is amazing how peaceful Portland is with no police and no acting government…
If someone has no license plate in front (as many states allow) or is driving a stolen car, how do you identify them with a camera?
You tell the computer to “Enhance Image”, wait for the little computing beepy noise, then read the VIN.
I thought everyone knew this.
…you forgot to add the computer flashing random plates that are NOT the suspect!
The speed cameras in use take a picture of the front and rear of the vehicle. If it didn’t Motorcycles and cars from other states would not face a citation. Interesting fact Sweden uses a lot of speed cameras but they only take a picture from the front. This was pointed out by motorcycle riders who rejoiced at the prospect of not getting a speeding ticket.
How about another camera to capture the rear license plate?
And it’s been like that (rarely seeing a police officer) for a long time. One of the things out of town guests would often comment on after we moved to Portland over a decade ago was how infrequent it was to see a police car.
I wonder, are Portland’s roads of a worse design than other parts of the country? Or is Portland now just a much more violent community than in times past?
When the cops are away, the drivers will play.
Frankly, I’ve essentially given up on this issue. It sucks that people are dying, but this is the situation we created for ourselves. There’s really nothing I can do about it except wait for new leaders who will make safety a priority, or for technology to rescue us.
Please stay safe.
I moved here 8 years ago. I can confirm that design here is terrible. Too many people saying too many things. Like WTF does 84 not have an exit from 182nd to 205 then to Hollywood? How about trying to go NB 205 from the eastbound lane on Division? Lack of accessibility to roads only creates craziness for people who are in the death machines.
Amen, Doug. “Keep Portland [street design] weird” was obviously the design mantra. If you’ve ever tried teaching a teenager how to drive on Portland’s streets, you are aware how non-standard they are.
Example: My teenager with her learner permit once took me on a drive south on SW Terwilliger to LO and turned right, using the slip lane onto Macadam. She immediately moved left, into the left-hand travel lane on Macadam, and thank goodness no one was already in the lane, or entering the lane. Once I had regained normal respiration and we were waiting at a light, I asked her what she was thinking and she replied, “I couldn’t tell whether the right-hand lane was a travel lane or a bike lane, so I guessed bike lane and moved into what I thought was the correct lane.”
This kind of decision is actually quite logical when you consider the haphazard design of Portland-area intersections and streets, with lanes starting and ending suddenly, etc. I have taken ODOT to task for NEVER dropping a car-lane from their four-lane highways (like Barbur or 99W), but maybe they are just trying to be consistent, which is not a bad thing. We experienced drivers may not appreciate how much driving experience it takes to decipher Portland-area road design and use it correctly.
I would maybe say yes? Narrow streets and narrow sidewalks (compared to many other similar sized cities). A fairly incomplete grid in much of the city.
Honestly I think a lot of the “vision zero” road design has made the roads more dangerous. So many of the intersections are more confusing for the average person that drivers guess when they go through them. I know some of it is intentional but it doesn’t deter driving it just confuses drivers and frustrate people making many roads and intersections even more dangerous.
Ah yes, I enjoy the way the travel lanes narrow at pedestrian intersections, forcing me to take the lane, or stop my bike entirely to wait for traffic gap to continue. The intersection at Stark and SE 53rd is a fine example of this horror. I appreciate the efforts, but I think many of the new school thoughts on street design could use another iteration.
Excuse me, but has anyone addressed what appears to be a blood stain on the roof of the white SUV that appears to have been T-Boned on the passenger side? How does one get blood on the roof of a vehicle?
These instances of vehicular violence are absolutely tragic. Each one is shocking and awful. But the coup de grace has to be that driver that was cited for causing a crash while driving under the influence of intoxicants and operating a motor vehicle was then released from police custody within a day. Not only was he released, but
the police did not confiscate and impound the vehicle!!!
And then he predictably and tragically almost killed another person with that same vehicle within 48 hours of the first incident. He should not have been released while he was awaiting trial and he definitely should not have been able to leave with the vehicle that he had just allegedly used to commit an crime. What whacko universe do we live in where that is standard operating procedure?
To all those who say the (presumably) homeless person that was killed on McLaughlin was at fault, I sort of see where you are coming from. But I think Jonathan is correct. The driver was definitely at least partially at fault. You don’t have to creep along on a road to operate a vehicle safely, even when you have people crossing the road randomly and unexpectedly. Deer are not a big issue in the Portland metro region, but vast swathes of the country are heavily overpopulated with deer, which are often not very visible, and which run out into the road unexpectedly all the time. Drivers are taught to be aware of and to expect animal crossings. That doesn’t mean that you have to drive slowly all the time. It means that you have to be cautious and observant in your approach to driving. If you hit a deer with your car, it is at least partially your fault.
Appreciate your coverage of the traffic mayhem. I’ll reserve judgement on the 99E incident. The driver may well have been placed in an impossible situation.
There seems to be a general deterioration of sanity associated with the accelerating societal disintegration being imposed by our Owners. This contributes to nihlistic and reckless driver behavior.
Most folks are being slowly and inexorably crushed under the boot of the oligarchic kleptocracy humorously referred to as “Our Democracy”. To quote the sage, Gerald Celente, “People who have nothing left to lose, lose it!”
Per road.cc website, seems the situation might be worse in the UK, where Orwellianization is more advanced. A pilot project for what’s in store here.
Have seen the aftermath of several Marine Drive lane departures first hand. Unfortunately, can’t ride at sustained high speeds anywhere else around here, not outdoors anyway.
I don’t care to argue about comparable levels of Orwellianization, but if traffic-related fatalities are the metric of comparison that you are choosing, the United States is clearly and demonstrably in much worse shape than the UK. Wikipedia has a page that compares traffic fatalities across countries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate Whether you slice the data on per capita traffic deaths or deaths per vehicle mile traveled, the US is at least twice as bad as the UK.
In regard to the McLoughlin/99E death, I was curious what route the victim would have had to take to get from west to east of 99E at Franklin. The google route shows a 25 minute, 1.2 mile route that wouldn’t be obvious to anyone:
Going south instead of north would be significantly worse–more than 3 miles from what I could tell.
The Springwater there is a beautiful, riverfront spot with a wide lawn and great views. It’s a few yards from a large residential neighborhood not well served by parks, but totally cut off from it by 99E.
There’d be huge benefits to improving access to the river from that neighborhood, not only for the neighborhood but for people using the trail, which can feel unsafe due to its isolation.
McGoughlin/99E acts as a wall several miles long cutting off everything east of it from everything west, with very few safe crossings. There’ve been other deaths recently involving people crossing other highways in areas where there were no nearby safe crossings. I’m not saying adding specific crossings here or there would be a greater priority than some other transportation system improvements, but these miles-long barrier highways are increasingly detrimental to safety and livability in the city.
It’s important to look at these barriers beyond asking the simplistic, “Was it legal or illegal to cross there?”.
I agree a connection to the river for Brooklyn residents would be great, but that would be a major undertaking.
In the meantime, ODOT has no moral, legal, or ethical obligation to provide safe crossings for people trespassing on their land.
Yes, both of those statements are true. And making the several highways in Portland less barrier-like would be a huge undertaking. And ODOT may never have any interest in improving connections across ODOT highways, so it would be a City-driven effort. But it will make increasing sense over time.
Jonathon: you are absolutely right to use the word violence. It’s very much in line with what gun safety advocates have been demanding: to stop referring to accidents, as if “Oopsie, my toddler shot her brother”. Anyone who has had their body busted up by a car, as I have (broken ribs & a punctured lung) knows how violent even a small “accident” is. And it’s time for it to end, both the thoughtless use of the wrong word and the blithe acceptance that violence is just something we have to live with for the sake of convenience and our freaking so-called rights.
Isn’t it amazing that since Eudaly took office and decided to install more (unused) bicycle lanes with PBOT’s help, and made driving horrible by taking lanes away, and ridicilous PR campaign of 20 is Plenty,. more people are dying? So maybe making people’s life miserable with a road diet, taking lanes away from busiest places, eliminating traffic police (thanks Hardesty!), and catering to bicyclists that make up a declining 5.2%, deaths are increasing?
So maybe it is time to not be partisan and be a car hater and come together to create a plan where a) unused bicycle lanes are removed and traffic to flow more freely b) how to get more public transportation and connection points.
I love bicycling, but frankly the bicylist advocates/lobby really need to focus less on how they can hurt drivers and more on how to make traffic better for everyone.
To that end, maybe do not come up with sensationalist headliines like car violence.
The deaths in POrtland are increasing, bicycle ridership is going down, traffic is terrible due to the “make life miserable for drivers” mentality of PBOT.
So why keep going down the same “make people’s lives miserable without giving them alternatives’ path?