Updates on the fatal collision on SE Powell Blvd

View looking north onto Powell from 26th.

Before heading over to the scene for a closer look, I wanted to share a few updates on the tragic death that happened on SE 26th and Powell yesterday.

First, the victim was 50-year-old Sarah Pliner, a well-known local chef and former restaurant owner. Pliner was behind Aviary, a French-inspired spot on Northeast Alberta. Before closing in 2020, Aviary was named Restaurant of the Year by Willamette Week in 2012. In a review from Conde Nast Traveler, the food was referred to as “inventive… that’ll quietly knock your socks off.”

I’m in touch with a close friend of Pliner’s who’s traveling today with her family in California. I hope to share more about her and share remembrances from those who knew her in a separate post. If you knew her, please reach out and share if you are able to.

Advocates have raised red flags about the intersection where Pliner was killed several times. Local nonprofit group Bike Loud PDX held an emergency meeting yesterday to talk about how best to respond this time. Much of the energy thus far is focused on the Oregon Department of Transportation, given that Powell Blvd is a state highway that has years of death and destruction in its past (stay tuned for a post about recent traffic deaths nearby). Many volunteers said they plan to attend upcoming meetings of state and city freight advisory committees.

The Bike Loud board released a letter this morning calling on local policymakers to act to make Powell safer. Board members outline their vision for the corridor:

“We want all people along the Powell corridor to enjoy full lives, free of worry that they will be maimed or killed while crossing the street whether on bike, foot or in a car.  We want Powell Boulevard to have slower speeds, bike boxes, safe crossings, mode separation, and daylighting for vulnerable users. Finally, we want Powell Boulevard adjacent to Cleveland High School to be designated a school zone. We need all this now, before another person dies.”

Bike Loud’s letter also said the group will be working with Pliner’s family and surrounding community on a memorial. We’re not aware of any protest actions or mass bike rides, but we’ll share details about the memorial and other actions as soon as more information is available.

Transportation advocacy non-profit The Street Trust also released a statement about the crash this morning.

“The Street Trust is tired of issuing statements and offering condolences for the loss of life and limb due to government inaction on SE Powell Blvd. in Portland and are demanding immediate action – today – from local and state government to prevent future injuries and deaths,” the statement reads. “The Street Trust is demanding that the City of Portland and State of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) cooperate to immediately physically separate from motor vehicle traffic all vulnerable street users including people on bicycles, pedestrians, and transit riders until a full investigation of yesterday’s killing is completed.” (Emphasis theirs.)

Employees of a nearby Burgerville walked out in protest after seeing the crash Tuesday. In a tweet they wrote, “Workers have walked off on strike at 25th & Powell over safety concerns. After witnessing a child [sic] be killed immediately outside the shop, body in full view of crew, workers demanded the shop be closed for the day. Corporate/HR denied this plea for compassion.”

State Rep. Rob Nosse represents the district where the crash occurred. BikePortland received this statement from Nosse this morning:

“That intersection has been a traffic and pedestrian challenge for far too long especially given that Cleveland High School is right there along with Powell Park. The city and the state have got to figure out a way to make Powell Blvd safer. I have been working with a group of neighborhood activists and leaders trying to figure out how to make a jurisdictional transfer of Powell Blvd from ODOT control to PBOT control or more simply stated from state to city. This tragedy is a call to redouble those efforts to find a way to make a jurisdictional transfer both politically and financially viable. Making Powell a city road rather than a state road gives our community a much better chance of preventing some like this from happening again.”

State Rep. Khanh Pham, who represents the district directly adjacent to where this happened, has made a statement about Pliner’s death. “My heart goes out to Sarah’s family and community. This is the 3rd death on this stretch of inner Powell in the past year. We as a state and city must fund safety improvements and jurisdictional transfer so no one else has to die or be injured,” she wrote on Twitter.

That transfer Rep. Pham refers to is likely going to be the focus of much attention in the coming weeks and months. As I reported yesterday, Powell ranked highest by Metro in a listing of state highway that all parties agree should be transferred to City of Portland ownership. I’ll go further into this topic in a separate post, but suffice it to say there is a ton of political inertia around this idea — especially given the recent precedent of the 82nd Avenue transfer. One little tidbit I’ll share now is that in January 2020, PBOT Director Chris Warner sent a memo to ODOT Director Kris Strickler. Warner seemed a bit frustrated and claimed that ODOT had lowballed an estimate included in a report about what it would cost to bring the road up to a “state of good repair” (a requisite step before it can be transferred). “Portland has hundreds of millions of unfunded safety needs,” Warner wrote, “We cannot accept additional liabilities without weakening our ability to meet the needs on the streets we own.”

Stay tuned.

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SD
SD
1 month ago

When Strickler’s ODOT sets its priorities and balances its books, it assigns tragedies like this to the acceptable collateral damage column. A few lives are equivalent to a consultant’s fee on a mega project that never happens.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago

I ride 26th regularly. I initially wondered about the cyclist running the light which would be insane due to traffic and the width of Powell.
Now the identity of a 40 something women as the victim is known, I am really convinced it was the truck running the light.
Stayed at the scene which is all it takes to never be charged.

K
K
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

I drive Powell often and the number of drivers who blow through red lights is unbelievable

squareman
squareman
1 month ago
Reply to  K

I wouldn’t say unbelievable. I’d say vulgar, obscene, shocking, immoral, but not unbelievable. It is typically normal for too many drivers.

Sequoia
Sequoia
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

True. Not only did that happen when I was hit while in the x-walk and the motorist was driving in a parking lane but the non-traffic division cop apparently wasn’t smart enough or didn’t care enough to get the very obvious information about where the collision occurred and the traffic violations of the motorist correctly documented in the crash report.

soren
soren
1 month ago
Reply to  Sequoia

Using parking lanes, bike lanes, or sidewalks to pass traffic is an example of an illegal and dangerous driving behavior that has become socially normalized.

Sequoia
Sequoia
1 month ago
Reply to  soren

For a small majority of people in Portland like the person who told me to “F! Off!” and wanted to fight me when they asked me why I was taking photos of the 3 cars parked in the bike lane across from the food cart pod on SE Madison & 10th.

axoplasm
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

Red light running is RAMPANT on Powell. We cross it 2x/day for a decade now, I can tell stories. Drivers on Powell treat the signals on minor cross streets & crosswalks as yield signs at best.

My son on his way home from school YESTERDAY saw a driver run clean through the red light at 28th, not four hours after Pliner was killed two blocks away, less than an hour after the cops reopened the intersection

feel compelled to add: I also drive on Powell pretty regularly, I can see why people drive on it the way they do, esp if they’re coming in from Damascus or Happy Valley. It sucks as a highway as much as a it sucks as a street. But when I’m in a car I’m not going to suffer the same consequences.

soren
soren
1 month ago
Reply to  axoplasm

Red light running is RAMPANT everywhere in Portland. I routinely wait for 5 seconds before crossing a stroad because cages blow through interesections many seconds after the red.

axoplasm
1 month ago
Reply to  soren

Oh yeah people jump red lights all over town. I wasn’t clear though, that I see particular kind of behavior only on Powell where drivers approach a mature red light at a minor cross street like 33rd, 28th, or 65th, calculate there isnt any cross traffic, and just roll through as if the light were green.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  axoplasm

I have been seeing that in Interstate, too! I never saw that prior to 2020.

Eli
Eli
1 month ago
Reply to  axoplasm

Unfortunately, this behavior has extended also to the rest of the city. I have seen it at NKillingsworth & Mississippi, my closest major intersection regularly. I often see people even come to full stops and then decide waiting for the rest of the light isn’t worth their time.

FDUP
FDUP
1 month ago
Reply to  Eli

It’s pretty much pointless to wait at a long traffic signal when there is no cross traffic. I won’t do it on my bike which makes me sort of understand why motorists won’t do it either. But proceeding when there is no cross traffic is a lot different than running the light when there actually is cross traffic.

Dave
Dave
1 month ago
Reply to  soren

Cities have to make speeding and red light running such expensive tickets that they’re a financial hardship for almost anyone. Untill we re-create Amsterdam in the US, motorists have to me made to fear police at all times. As of now they are apex predators with no natural enemies and thus no fear.

one
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave

So a hardship for folks who aren’t rich? Let’s instead tie the penalty to income like they do in some other countries.

steve scarich
steve scarich
1 month ago
Reply to  soren

It’s not just Portland. Over here in Bend, I routinely see people ‘floor it’ when the light turns RED as they approach an intersection. Bend is like Portland in that there is near-zero risk of getting a ticket. I have talked to officers on focused enforcement in my neighborhood, and they tell me that they can just set up on an intersection, and literally cannot write them fast enough to keep up with the violations. He told me that he had been on duty for 2 hours and already had eleven tickets.

ROH
ROH
1 month ago
Reply to  soren

an impetus for Portland to embrace the roundabout and eliminate traffic signals

steve scarich
steve scarich
1 month ago
Reply to  ROH

Roundabouts are not practical in tight urban environments. They consume a lot of real estate, so if there are buildings and other infrastructure within, say 50′ of the current road edge, not possible. Also, they are very expensive to build.

city-lover
city-lover
1 month ago
Reply to  steve scarich

Even in Europe modern roundabouts are mostly a suburban or edge design treatment.

Frank Perillo
Frank Perillo
1 month ago
Reply to  soren

While Hardesty dances and pats herself on the back, people are continuing to die in this city. We can’t have enforcement of any kind because it’s all racist. Vote her out.

Chris Shaffer
Chris Shaffer
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Perillo

What a ridiculous take.

Mary
Mary
1 month ago

lol, dude you need to chill with the racist cop narrative. It helps exactly nobody especially those you are the most wound up about

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 month ago

I’m just curious, since you read the news from other places far more than the rest of us (given your profession), whether you’ve come across any major cities in the US or even Canada where the police are not blatantly racist? Even in my community our local police statistics have proven that our black police officers (20% of officers where 43% of the population is black) are disproportionately more likely to unfairly pull over other black motorists, at a rate similar to their white colleagues. In Canada, the RCMP have been proven to disproportionately arrest Metis (people of mixed indigenous and white ancestry, about 10% of Canadians).

Mary
Mary
1 month ago

You do recognize the reality that different groups commit crimes at different rates, yes? Asians, for example, commit crimes at a lower rate than whites. Do you think ShotSpotter is racist too?

Watts
Watts
1 month ago

Regardless of what the underlying causes are, if you want to judge whether the police are biased, you have to look at who is committing crimes. Why they do it is an important societal issue, but doesn’t have much bearing on whether the police behaving in a biased manner.

Mary
Mary
1 month ago

Got it. So the secret reason that whites are committing crimes at a higher rate than Asians is because of systemic problems. Do I have that about right? You’re out here calling Portland cops racist and are going to be like shocked pikachu.gif when Drazan gets elected next month. Oregon is tired of the ACAB narrative.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago

I do believe that white people face fewer systemic problems in general than other races.

I am curious how you measure this. If it’s based on metrics like income, educational attainment, and incarceration rates, and if you are measuring using gross population statistics, then you would have to conclude that people with European ancestry face more systemic problems than those with Asian ancestry. I don’t make that claim, but that’s what the data says, and if you use the an outcomes based approach, it’s hard to avoid that conclusion.

I actually don’t see much evidence of current widespread systemic racism (though there was plenty in the past which accounts for much of today’s inequality). I’m interested in what data you use to draw your conclusions and what I am missing.

If your claims of systemic problems are based on your gut, or anecdotal evidence like “what I see”, then your claim isn’t very strong.

Paul Cone
Paul Cone
1 month ago
Reply to  Mary

Yes ShotSpotter is racist because just like focusing on stopping drivers in a Black neighborhood, if you put such a system there then of course you are going to disproportionately catch more Black people. Also ShotSpotter has so many false positives it’s pathetic.

(Also, Drazan is going to lose because most of the Betsy voters are actually going to vote for Tina.)

Watts
Watts
1 month ago

 it’s a statement that is easily backed up with evidence.

The data show that the Portland Police specifically charged with enforcing traffic law were not doing so in a biased manner.

The data also show that since we disbanded the Traffic Division, deaths from crashes in Portland have risen dramatically.

Kent
Kent
1 month ago

She is a leader. She shouldn’t be “pushing” for those things. She should be making them happen. We don’t elect people to “push” for things. We elect them to do things.

JTP
JTP
1 month ago
Reply to  soren

I see this happen daily on Cesar Chavez at Clinton. It’s gotten to the point where I wait even longer. I become apoplectic whoever I hear entitled drivers airing their petty grievances.

dwk
dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

Also since it looks like she was heading North across Powell, the truck must have blatantly run the light as it was heading East so hit her on the far side of the intersection he ran through as she barely entered the roadway.

ROH
ROH
1 month ago

another tragedy. Will we ever prioritize people and places over cars? The blame game over who did what and who was at fault will start but at-grade highways don’t belong in a dense urban environment. As long as we keep tolerating “stroads”. (Credit to Chuck Marohn) in the middle of Portland, and by a school no less, this will keep happening. Powell should be one lane in each direction from the Ross Island bridge to Gresham, and would benefit from serious traffic calming at 26th and 33rd, by the Cleveland field. At the very lowest bar of function, governments, whether city, county or state should be able to minimize risk of traumatic death by vehicles. It’s not a hard design problem to solve, it’s a political will problem. And we seem to have some seriously weak will in the region at this time.

Sequoia
Sequoia
1 month ago

Jonathon – Do you know if and/or when an investigation report will be released to the public?

Betsy Reese
Betsy Reese
1 month ago

Among the negative things ODOT has brought us recently on Powell Blvd are:

1. Routing human-powered vehicles up and down hills on 28th, while gasoline-powered vehicles get exclusive use of the flat route on 26th.

2. Creating a bigger space on the SE corner of 26th and Powell for the scores of students who stand there together to wait to cross the street, but then reducing its size by deeply shaving-off that corner so that cars and trucks have a broader turning radius to whip around it.  This is two problems: 1. Less space for students to stand waiting to cross, and 2. Encouraging faster, more dangerous turns.

3. Cutting down many established street trees along Powell because no one (City or State) wanted to take responsibility for keeping them properly limbed up and suckers cut back, so they did not interfere with visibility.  

4. Failing to establish our bus rapid transit on Powell Blvd where it belongs.

All Photos - 1 of 1.jpeg
city-lover
city-lover
1 month ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

Wow! That corner radius is crazy dangerous and invites higher speeds. How can they justify that? Where was PPS when this design was implemented? Maybe Bike Loud can coordinate with CHS students on a pressure campaign to ODOT (to improve what we have) and PBOT (to take over the road already even before their standards are met).

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  city-lover

It’s for trucks heading to the Brooklyn Union Pacific yard. That yard is the root of many safety issues in this area.

rachel b
rachel b
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris I

My deepest condolences to the family & friends of Sarah Pliner. What a sad loss.

Chris I is right, as I seem to recall he is about many issues. Everything became about the movement of freight once the City gave UPRR carte blanche–no neighborhood input–to move their main operations from Albina Yard (right next to freeway access but developable) to Brooklyn Yard (in the middle of several neighborhoods & nowhere near freeway access). I lived on SE Tibbetts off 26th & then on 26th itself during that sneaky transition & lived to see SE Powell become a nightmare & SE 26th also become a thruway for bumper-to-bumper semis that didn’t even fit on the road. But hey–ODOT finally got their extra inches, eh? By having the gall to call the road they colluded to make dangerous ‘not safe enough for cyclists’ & ripping out a bike lane.

I wrote this (below in quotes) about the deadly morphing of SE 26th in BikePortland comments back in 2016 & I hate how evergreen the discussion is. Did you remember SE 26th went through a significant City-led years-long process to become a designated green street complete w/ traffic-calming & bike/ped-friendly features? Hahaha. Joke was on us once UPRR got the green light. That changed everything. But UPRR now makes more than Google so we can all take comfort in our neighborhoods being sold for that.

(2016)
“….All this, in combination with the City of Portland’s fateful and covert decision a few years ago to approve UPRR’s overnight movement of major operations to Brooklyn Yard in SE, thereby bringing unwanted and unwarranted big freight traffic to SE 26th [and SE Powell] and all surrounding neighborhoods, has led to a little neighborhood avenue becoming a major thoroughfare. Something it was never built to be... 

Now I hear ODOT wants to remove our bike lanes! The only way I would go for that is if major–and i mean major–traffic calming measures were brought to bear. Curb extensions, cross walks, planters, roundabouts. My fear is that this little road is going to be thrown to the big metal dogs. I repeat: this is a neighborhood street. Lined with homes. Filled with pedestrians, with cyclists, with old people and kids. This is not a freeway, though that’s what it looks like now.

I’d like to do whatever I can to encourage the City to return to their original plan of calming traffic on SE 26th, and making it more of a green street. Please don’t sacrifice us to commuters, freight carriers, nightlife-seekers and the dismal prospect of a freeway outside our front doors.” (2016)

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

OMG that radius is atrocious! Thanks for highlighting that malicious design decision. And I second all 4 of your points, great summary.

Nick
Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

Powell deserves it’s own elevated max line IMO

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

As much as I agree, moving the FX to Powell with dedicated bus lanes as often as possible would probably be like 10% the cost and 75% as effective. I do dream about a Chicago-style elevated rail system in Portland at least once a week though.

Nick
Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

Saw this recently about the pros and cons of BRT: The Promise & Danger of BRTs

(wow the video title is much more alarmist sounding than the video is in reality, it’s actually from a pretty good youtube channel about transit and stuff)

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

Adding a MAX line on Powell would have many other benefits that you cannot achieve with BRT. You could route the green line from Clackamas to downtown via Powell, freeing up capacity on the Steel Bridge, and speeding up service for the green line (eliminates all of the slow crawling from Lloyd to downtown).

The bigger issue, however, is that ODOT won’t give up lanes on Powell for busses. Your FX on Powell will be just as slow as the 9. Maybe it will get a few queue jumps at lights, but that isn’t going to add up to much.

BRT makes sense in some places, and we should definitely consider an FX line on Powell as an upgrade to the 9, but it would be no substitute for a fully grade-separated MAX line on the corridor.

PTB
PTB
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

I’ve taken it exactly once (huge sample size for sure), but for me, it was way faster. 112th to downtown on the 17 took an hour. Downtown to 112th on the FX took half that time. I’m not counting the walking time, but I am counting the time we waited for each bus.

I took the 9 to work this morning and I think we stopped at every stop there is. I wanted to scream.

Ben
Ben
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

If I could pick any one transit project to prioritize in Portland, this would be it. There’s a big gap with little rail access in SE between the orange and green lines, and this would fix that for the most part.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

The fact that Trimet hasn’t even broached the subject of LRT on Powell (or inner-east side) shows that they aren’t actually serious about running a functional, reliable railroad. They are focused on extending their reach into more suburbs, even when it is forced and suboptimal (SW Corridor). As rail networks grow, operational flexibility is really important. This is a major weak point in our MAX network. Operations lives and dies by the reliability of the Steel Bridge and Gateway hubs.

Betsy Reese
Betsy Reese
1 month ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

Here’s street-level view of that turning radius.

All Photos - 1 of 1 (1).jpeg
dwk
dwk
1 month ago

What exactly? There is a photo of the truck with the bike behind the rear wheels just past the intersection in the middle of the lane heading east.
What else beside the driver running the light and killing her is there to dispute?
The only way this happens is if the cyclist ran the light or the the truck driver did.
They will spin that is was an “accident”.
Stop helping them.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  dwk

They will spin that is was an “accident”.

If it wasn’t intentional (or perhaps grossly negligent), then it was an accident. That does not mean no one was at fault.

dwk
dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Running red lights is a conscious decision… It’s not an “accident”.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  dwk

Running red lights is a conscious decision

Agreed. But the resulting crash is probably not intentional. Accidental does not mean without cause or blame. Insurance companies and the police assess and assign blame for accidents all the time.

dwk
dwk
1 month ago

Or the truck did a right hook driving north on 26th and ran over her.

Betsy Reese
Betsy Reese
1 month ago

Jonathan, did you mean this to post as a reply to me? I did not suggest or speculate that any of these four things may have caused this crash.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 month ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

On the plus side, ODOT is making outer Powell much more walkable and bikeable, so it doesn’t suck as much as it used to, all for $132 million over 4 miles. It’s not perfect of course, but what street in Portland is?

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

comment of the week!

Ernest Fitzgerald
Ernest Fitzgerald
1 month ago

Any cyclist’s death saddens me. This one especially so, because her motivation for cycling was very likely to do good for the environment.

EXBZ
EXBZ
1 month ago

I would like to know about the actual nature of the accident. Powell is totally unsafe for bikes and is designed as a highway more than a city street. That intersection has had a bunch of pedestrian collisions over the years. I witnessed one myself back in 03 that haunts me to this day.

rider
rider
1 month ago
Reply to  EXBZ

my kids go to CHS, and they have lots of classmates that were present, as the fatality was at lunch time, and students are over in the park at lunch. Many kids were very sickened and traumatized by this horrendous event.

I have been trying to find out from my kids if there are any more details coming from those eyewitness accounts, whether first, second, or third hand accounts. Heard today maybe a speeding pickup truck was also involved, forcing her into the path of the truck. I’ve biked through that intersection thousands of times, I want to know what happened, also.

I am so sorry for Sarah and her family and friends.

Granpa
Granpa
1 month ago

A recent thread discussed Freight. Can the tragedy of this fatality be just another cost-of-doing-business line item in ODOT’s acquiesce to the freight lobby?

Watts
Watts
1 month ago

some types of enforcement ARE racist. 

This is undoubtedly true, and I fully support ending racist practices. Fortunately, Portland’s Traffic Division statistics did not show racial bias, so some types are not. It’s too bad that the division was disbanded, because a lot of people are dying unnecessarily.

Whether Hardesty supports enforcement or not, she did vote for the cuts that resulted in elimination of the Traffic Division. That makes it hard for me to accept your characterization that she is “very pro-enforcement”.

FDUP
FDUP
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

I would agree with you except that the traffic division did spend an inordinate amount of time and money on things like bicycle ‘stings’ in Ladd’s circle, harassing and ticketing Critical Mass participants and ‘policing’ relatively harmless activities like ZooBomb.

Brian
Brian
1 month ago

What are people’s thoughts regarding automated traffic cams that send out tickets for red light running/speeding?
I’m not a fan, but it seems like it might be a way to control people running red lights on Powell

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

Every signal should include a red light camera.

PTB
PTB
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

I am absolutely a fan. Don’t speed, don’t blow red lights, no ticket. I don’t know why this isn’t the norm.

Sequoia
Sequoia
1 month ago
Reply to  PTB

I’d rather the norm be “care about other people’s lives” when you’re sharing the roadways with them.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

As long as government workers do the evaluation and not an outsourced company.
As long as the time between a yellow and a red aren’t shortened.
As long as the DA and police make it a priority to get cars that don’t have up-to-date tags and license plates off the road.

Patrick Beeson
Patrick Beeson
1 month ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

I don’t think we need people doing this work. This can be accomplished with AI software. Let’s get people doing work that robots cannot.

Jim Calhoon
Jim Calhoon
1 month ago
Reply to  Patrick Beeson

This is what is spelled out in Oregon law about who can issue any citation.

153.005 Definitions. As used in this chapter:
     (1) “Enforcement officer” means:
     (a) A member of the Oregon State Police.
     (b) A sheriff or deputy sheriff.
     (c) A city marshal or a member of the police of a city, municipal or quasi-municipal corporation.
     (d) A police officer commissioned by a university under ORS 352.121 or 353.125.
     (e) An investigator of a district attorney’s office if the investigator is or has been certified as a peace officer in this or any other state.
     (f) An investigator of the Criminal Justice Division of the Department of Justice of the State of Oregon.
     (g) A Port of Portland peace officer.
     (h) A humane special agent as defined in ORS 181A.345.
     (i) A regulatory specialist exercising authority described in ORS 471.775 (2).
     (j) Authorized tribal police officer as defined in ORS 181A.940.
     (k) Any other person specifically authorized by law to issue citations for the commission of violations.
     (2) “Traffic offense” has the meaning given that term in ORS 801.555.
     (3) “Violation” means an offense described in ORS 153.008.

Running red lights is a huge pet peeve of mine. I have no issues using automated red-light cameras, but it needs to be done in accordance with Oregon Law. Besides the more red-light cameras the more people we can employ. I think providing jobs for people is better than replacing them with computers.

fishyfishy123
fishyfishy123
1 month ago
Reply to  Patrick Beeson

Seriously – who cares about police enforcement for speeding and red/lights? Just put a ton of radars up all over. The one on Beaverton-Hillsdale near Dosche road seems pretty darn effective. Those could easily be all over.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

I would support automated cameras if accompanied by a legal framework to ensure data not needed to prosecute specific violations is destroyed. I do not want more police monitoring of society.

It’s worth noting that cameras would not address most of the crazy stuff I see on the roads, though they might help with specific violations in specific locations.

Sequoia
Sequoia
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

I’m sure the data will say that they’re effective in the intersections they’ve been implemented in.

But bad drivers will quickly figure out what other red lights, stop signs, other infrastructure they can violate without any consequences.

And a stop light camera at SE Powell & 26th doesn’t address all the safety issues at that intersection.

As I’ve mentioned many times now, in 2018, I was hit in the x-walk at SE Powell & 24th in 2018 by a motorist driving in the parking lane alongside Powell Park on SE Powell.

Almost 4 years later, nothing has been done to that parking lane to prevent another driver from doing the same. No signage. No plastic wands. No diagonal striping.

The drive violated 3 laws, not tickets were issued, Sure, his insurance will go up due to a successful lawsuit, but w/o those violations on his record they were able to almost kill a person in a x-walk by illegally driving in a parking lane and then go get a job driving a motor vehicle.

Will Vanlue
Will Vanlue
1 month ago

ODOT already has a designated school zone on Highway 58 in Pleasant Hill, and a few other highways around the state. Why the hell is there not one on Powell Blvd?

Robert Saiget
Robert Saiget
1 month ago

I drove west on Powell Tuesday and saw a guy in a hurry run two red lights around 50th street. I caught up to him both times due to all the traffic. I returned east bound later to be blocked off due to this fatal crash.

A lot of civilized cities around the world ban trucks from entering the center of the city during the day. All truck deliveries to the inner city must be made at night. We need this rule in Portland.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago

Make sure you don’t forget to pack your white robe when you move.

Gui
Gui
1 month ago

Peace be upon Sarah. Re: Powell, we need a protected bike lane now! Many students who attend Cleveland bike to school (as I did back in high school days).

Bryan Morris
Bryan Morris
1 month ago

First off, I’m really sad about the unnecessary tragedy. My condolences to the loved ones and friends of the victim.

My personal opinion is that traffic problems in Portland, for all users of our streets, stem mainly from the fact that most of the city was haphazardly laid out in the 19th and early 20th century and no one anticipated the population growth the city would have in the 1990s to today. Fundamentally, our streets can’t handle it and everything that has been implemented or proposed is a band-aid on a gaping wound. When I first moved here in 1994, I used to tell my friends back in the much larger metropolitan area I came from, Atlanta, that Portland was a great small city and you could get just about anyplace from anyplace else in Portland in about 20 minutes. A bit of an exaggeration, but not that much. There are so many more people and vehicles here now and, in the last few years, a breakdown in law and order that has fostered a disregard for laws of all types including traffic laws. I don’t have a solution for all this, and I kind of doubt there ultimately is one.

As a side note, I’m spending the week around the Beaumont, TX area visiting my mom and brother. Bicycles essentially don’t exist here and racism is endemic. Aggressively driven large pickups are the default mode of transportation here. Recycling doesn’t exist and fast food drinks are served in disposable Styrofoam cups. The air stinks in many places thanks to all the oil refineries. On the plus side, there are no visible drug camps anywhere. But even as bad as Portland has gotten, it’s still heaven compared to this hell. I can’t wait to get home.

Patrick
Patrick
1 month ago

Everyone seems to be blaming the various DOTs. How would a bike lane, bike boxes, lower speeds, or red light cameras have prevented this? Trucks are not usually the ones speeding recklessly or intentionally running red lights so I can only assume he ran the red unintentionally. The very definition of an accident. I’m pretty sure getting mowed down by 80,000lbs is lethal regardless of speed.

It’s too bad he wasn’t on the freeway away from vulnerable road users.

Yes to more freeways.

Edit: it deeply saddens me to hear about this regardless of how it happened.

Patrick Beeson
Patrick Beeson
1 month ago

Why doesn’t Portland just put red-light cameras at EVERY damn intersection in town? Or at least those in high-traffic corridors like Powell? I reckon they’d pay for themselves quickly, and reduce the need to have police officers doing work that can and should be automated.

 
 
1 month ago
Reply to  Patrick Beeson

I don’t want to see cameras at every intersection because I do worry about generating data that could be used in the future for nefarious purposes if some uncouth character like Drumpf is again elected to office. But strategically placing cameras at high-crash locations (like 26th and Powell) or outside school zones is something I would absolutely support.

Patrick Beeson
Patrick Beeson
1 month ago
Reply to   

I’m not one for increased authority either, but I’d welcome it given the current state of anarchy in Portland. It doesn’t feel like a safe place to live these days, let alone bike.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to   

I share this concern, but, unlike most things, the problem is actually both technically and legally easy to resolve. Just put into the law authorizing speed cameras a requirement that all public camera data not needed to support prosecuting a ticket be deleted or completely anonymized.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago

I would love to see ODOT try an experiment: for the rest of the school year, make Powell Blvd from 21st-33rd 1 lane/direction with on-street parking. Add concrete Jersey Barriers at the start of each block to prevent people from driving in the parking lane if it us not heavily used. Measure the traffic changes, the diversion AND any safety changes. Consult with school leadership and parks to see how that constituency experienced the change. Next summer, summarize the cost/benefits and decide next steps with a stakeholder committee that includes PBOT, PPS, PP&R, neighborhood representatives, local business representatives and a freight rep.

FDUP
FDUP
1 month ago
Reply to  maxD

Where is the traffic going to go? I don’t want it in my neighborhood on my street, which has already been the result of a variety of traffic calming projects on adjacent streets. But I know for sure it’s not simply going to evaporate now that all the eco-drivers are going electric. Traffic removed from Powell is simply more traffic on every other E-W arterial street – Division, Holgate, Hawthorne, etc. And if you completely push it off the arterials it will end up in the neighborhoods.

It is a whole social construct that seriously needs to be reengineered, and the DOTs really don’t grok that; the MAGA crowd isn’t easily convinced to change their minds about giant pickup trucks, etc., and the libs aren’t about to give up their Subarus either.

Sequoia
Sequoia
1 month ago
Reply to  FDUP

True. We’ve seen that happen in other places. SE Clinton is a good example.

But what we don’t see, to the best of my knowledge, on Division, Holgate and Hawthorne is such a high rate of motor vehicle pedestrian/bicycle crashes.

Those streets aren’t high volume commuter / freight routes though either.

FDUP
FDUP
1 month ago
Reply to  Sequoia

I prefer to cross at the non-signalized intersections, b/c I can’t rely on motorists stopping at the signals and I don’t like waiting if it’s clear just b/c the light is red.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  FDUP

Ideally the traffic would stay on Powell. It would be more congested and a lot slower. And Safer. It also might not work. Or measures to prevent diversions could be added. There have been a number of busy streets that converted 5-lane cross sectons to 3-lane cross sections and it is surprising how well it works. Removing the 2nd lane/direction remoes a lot of uncertainity in traffic movements and traffic is forced to behave a lot more predictably, which makes it a lot more efficient.

Sequoia
Sequoia
1 month ago
Reply to  maxD

The problem is that only deals with that one intersection of SE Powell and doesn’t address other the other high crash intersections on SE Powell out to at least 122nd.

What I haven’t seen done in a long time is the putting up of digital road signs that inform motorists of a death on the road w. a reduced speed limit. I’d love to see that implemented ASAP after a motor vehicle involved death or serious injury.

I would also deploy speed trap cameras as well.

FDUP
FDUP
1 month ago
Reply to  Sequoia

IMO, this is not an issue that we can engineer and build our way out of, it requires some serious motorist reeducation, and that’s probably been true for as long as motor vehicles have been around, but that’s not a task the DOTs are willing to undertake; in fact, before the advent of cars everyone was upset about ‘scorchers’ on bicycles. If only that was the case today!

Sequoia
Sequoia
1 month ago
Reply to  FDUP

I’m not a urban planner / transportation engineer so I can’t say either way.

What I do know, is that like all other animals, we’re predisposed towards comfort & convenience.

If I were the transportation czar, I’d build transportation infrastructure that was less convenient & more restrictive for automobiles and invest more in public transit, biking, walking, scooters, etc.

No one enjoys sitting in traffic and most car drivers don’t want to zig-zag their way through neighborhood streets either.

FDUP
FDUP
1 month ago
Reply to  Sequoia

I spent about a dozen years on the city’s BAC from ’91 to ’03 and all I can say is that a few things like the wider sidewalks on the Hawthorne Bridge got accomplished but overall it was a very frustrating experience. The old-school engineers just wanted their projects rubber-stamped and many of the bicycle-oriented staff were pushing totally unrealistic overengineered projects rather than taking care of the basics. 20 years later not much has changed.

Sequoia
Sequoia
1 month ago
Reply to  FDUP

That jibes pretty well with what I’ve heard from others who are transportation wonks.

I don’t believe in vision zero, I know we can’t NERF the world but I also don’t want to just give up either.

I go by the moniker Sequoia b’cuz I often think about packing up a backpack and just start walking away from the city.

I think cities become too big, too complex and too complicated. The city serves commercial interests first, people’s interests second and the earth last.

FDUP
FDUP
1 month ago

There is now a memorial on the NE corner and a ghost bike on the SW corner of this intersection.

MAG
MAG
1 month ago

I am hoping someone can explain why transferring Powell from ODOT to PBOT will make things safer for us? The city is having such a hard time solving problems that I cannot believe that this is the solution for that intersection.

Delhens
Delhens
1 month ago

I’m curious… What if there were a longer delay between the time where the east/ west traffic goes red and the north/ south traffic turns green? It would seem to me that giving a few seconds pause for everyone might help – especially with big trucks that take time to stop.