Fatal pedestrian collision with Orange Line MAX train thought to be suicide

Reader Betsy Reese rode by the scene after it happened Wednesday evening.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department says there was a fatal collision between a TriMet MAX train operator and a person on foot Wednesday around 7:00 pm.

According to Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Communications Director Chris Liedle, the case is being treated as a suicide. “The adult male stepped in front of the train. The man did not survive. The individual’s name is being withheld until next of kin is notified. He was in his 60s,” Liedle shared with BikePortland today.

The specific location of the collision was the southernmost tracks adjacent to the pedestrian crossing west of the SE Milwaukie Ave/SE Clinton intersection (see map at right). Liedle says the man approached the swing gates next to the bike path and sidewalk off SE Tilikum Way. This is a well-known location for many bike riders since this is a popular bikeway between the Eastbank Esplanade and the Hosford Abernethy neighborhood.


Liedle says all railroad warning systems were functioning correctly. He said the person opened the gates, walked onto the tracks and turned into the direction of an eastbound MAX trail which was traveling east toward the Clinton St/SE 12th Ave MAX station.

These gates were the focus of intense scrutiny when they were installed in 2015. Advocates — including the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee — opposed them because of concerns with accessibility. The gates are difficult to use for people on cargo bikes, pulling trailers, and people using personal mobility devices.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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