BikePortland.org

Four people dead in 3 days as Portland car violence continues


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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