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Four people dead in 3 days as Portland car violence continues

Posted by on February 8th, 2021 at 1:19 pm

New victims, old causes.
(Photos: PPB, Google Maps)

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 garrett.dow@portlandoregon.gov 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.

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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 jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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Jeff
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Jeff

“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.

Ricky
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Ricky

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.

cmh89
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cmh89

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”

 
Guest
 

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.

John D.
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John D.

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.

https://www.koin.com/local/multnomah-county/doordash-driver-mistaken-for-portland-hit-run-suspect/

Ed
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Ed

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.

cmh89
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cmh89

Time to update your post JM, someone died on N Columbia this afternoon.
https://www.koin.com/news/ppb-at-least-one-injured-in-crash-near-north-portland/

Bikeninja
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Bikeninja

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.

Don Courtney
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Don Courtney

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.

J_R
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J_R

I have previously predicted 70 traffic deaths in Portland for 2021. Looks like that may be too low.

dwk
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dwk

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.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

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?

Matt P
Guest
Matt P

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.

Opus the Poet
Guest

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?

drs
Guest
drs

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.

Richard Herbin
Guest
Richard Herbin

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.

qqq
Guest
qqq

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:
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/45.4995838,-122.6606956/45.4998535,-122.6595318/@45.4980884,-122.6681319,2398m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!4m1!3e2

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?”.

T.A. Barnhart
Guest
T.A. Barnhart

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.

Jamie Myers
Guest
Jamie Myers

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?