City says developer must build wider sidewalk at site of Jeanie Diaz death

43-year-old Portlander Jeanie Diaz was killed while waiting at a bus stop 17 days ago. Her horrific death sent shockwaves through our community.

Diaz, like many of us, was a vulnerable road user who was forced to use infrastructure that put her just a few feet from harm. She was also just trying to get around without using a car. And the location where she was killed — Southeast Cesar E Chavez Boulevard and Taylor — is an intersection many of us know well because it’s on a popular bike route and it’s the location of the Belmont Library.

Below are a few updates I’ve been tracking over the past two weeks…

Community response

Like I’ve already mentioned, I’m a bit surprised by the lack of action and outrage by elected officials and advocacy groups (not only by Diaz’s death, but the fact that she was one of 13 fatalities in July). PBOT Commissioner Mingus Mapps’ office shared a statement that mostly pointed fingers and made promises.

Into that vacuum of action, individual Portlanders are wondering what to do with their anger, grief, and frustration about the state of our streets. 

Lois L. shared on a local bike email list today that just yesterday she watched a driver run a red signal at the same intersection and nearly hit a bike rider. “I screamed,” Lois wrote, “If either of us had proceeded into the intersection when we had the right-of-way without pausing to anticipate the illegal actions of the driver, the time and date on this subject line would be remembered very differently.”

Lois called for groups of bicycle riders to circle-up and block every intersection where a person has been killed by a driver. “I will come to an intersection occupation in the spirit of claiming space for safe streets,” wrote someone in response.

“Is there any planning of actions at this intersection?,” wrote someone else.

So far I’m not aware of any protests or other substantive actions by local advocacy groups. I have, however, heard from people who live in the adjacent Sunnyside neighborhood. They say they’re working on some short-term fixes.

Wider sidewalk in the works

Local independent advocate Betsy Reese has included BikePortland on a series of emails with Portland Bureau of Transportation staff, Commissioner Mapps’ office, and other advocates.

Reese, like many others, is concerned about the extremely narrow sidewalk next to traffic lanes on SE Cesar Chavez. She was able to find out that all three properties along the blockface of Chavez north of Taylor had been cited with nuisance complaints multiple times for overgrown vegetation. There’s also a pending development on the corner property directly adjacent to where Diaz was struck.

According to PBOT Vision Zero Coordinator Clay Veka, PBOT Development Review has determined that the project meets the legal triggers to require sidewalk widening. “In this case we have required the developer to provide the necessary 7-foot ROW [right-of-way] dedication as well as the public works permit requirement to reconstruct the street frontage to provide a 12-foot sidewalk corridor.”

In addition to that one property, there might also be furthering widening to the north thanks to what appear to be existing retaining walls that are encroaching too far into the sidewalk.

As for PBOT making some type of infrastructure intervention (beyond the “$50 million” corridor project Mapps office mentioned in their statement to BikePortland), Veka said a city traffic engineer has done a site visit and is still collecting traffic data, “in order to develop a near-term safety recommendation at this location.”

It could take 2-4 weeks for the City of Portland to make a determination on the overgrown vegetation complaint.

The Jeanie Diaz Library Branch?

A BikePortland reader reached out to say she thinks the library should be renamed to honor Diaz. Multnomah County is currently doing public outreach for a major renovation to the building and the reader says now would be a great time to share this idea with project staff. There’s an open house at the library tomorrow night (8/3) from 5 to 8:00 pm. There’s also an online survey.

A community celebration of her life

On the GoFundMe page for Diaz, her husband Arturo Diaz announced last week that they will host an event August 12th. “A Celebration of Life for Jeanie Diaz” will happen at The Redd (SE 8th and Salmon) from 4-6:00 pm. “Thank you again, from our family to yours,” Arturo wrote. “The overwhelming support and words of love have truly touched us. Now, let us celebrate Jeanie together!”

Stay tuned for more updates.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Betsy Reese
Betsy Reese
11 months ago

Thanks, Jonathan.

Where César Chávez Blvd. was widened to four lanes in the 1950s, a dangerously narrow sidewalk with no shoulder/park strip is what was left for pedestrians.

The opportunity is available now to widen the sidewalk at the bus stop where Jeanie Diaz was killed.

The owner of the south 50′ was issued on May 17, 2023 a notice that Title 17 requiring a dedication of 7′ to widen the sidewalk to 12′ has been triggered as a condition of their redevelopment permit.

The same was required of the owner of the next property to the north when it was redeveloped in 2008. That extra 7′ for public ROW has belonged to the city for 15 years, but the 12-foot wide sidewalk was never constructed. The bus stop could have been moved north 50 feet in 2008, making the bus stop much safer.

While widening the sidewalk from 5 to 12 feet on this one block will not fix all of Chávez, it will make this one bus stop safer. Lucky for PBOT, Trimet, and Commissioner Mapps, the dedications from two of the three adjacent properties are already in the works.

PBOT and Trimet should do this work immediately, in memory of Jeanie Diaz, and to help prevent another tragedy at this location.

0EA7F202-6ABF-412A-A012-8BC955E9AC3B.jpeg
taisau
taisau
11 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

It would be better to place the sidewalks back to where they were when people could walk safely and remove two lanes. Why ask the adjacent property owners for right-of-way when the City already has the space it needs?

Betsy Reese
Betsy Reese
11 months ago

SE 39th (now Chávez) N. of Belmont St. before widening 4-14-49

E3DD21BD-8554-4B9F-9497-C67B03B25C04.jpeg
Nick
Nick
11 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

hard to tell but it looks like that’s the same building, just with more chunks taken out of the sidewalk, for cars
https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5164081,-122.6230306,3a,75y,358.16h,84.82t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sPJ3O9hFqNDXZw1mGagRSNg!2e0!5s20110901T000000!7i13312!8i6656?entry=ttu

Screenshot 2023-08-02 at 3.24.18 PM.png
qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

That’s great you found that.

There are similar photos of streets all over the city of sidewalks that used to be wide and pleasant to walk on, that are now narrow and horrible. .

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Uh… look again. Does that 1949 sidewalk really look “wide and pleasant”?

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The one on the right looks pretty good, especially in comparison to today. The one on the left looks compromised by poles, etc. but also still much better than today.

But like I said, there are similar photos–what I had in mind was similar historical streetscape photos of Portland streets–where the sidewalks were wider and more pleasant, and more so than this example.

Also, part of the “pleasant” part is what’s happening in the street. In the photo above, there’s just one lane each way, so car volume was probably much lower, and there wasn’t a narrow outside lane with cars having to drive just a foot or two from the curb to stay in their lane, as they do now.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  qqq

If we are talking “pleasant”, consider also that traffic was fueled by leaded gas and the vehicles had no catalytic converters. Given that, I might choose today’s narrower sidewalks and higher volumes of traffic despite the obvious drawbacks.

Chris I
Chris I
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

This is a silly comment and you know it.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago

It’s a start, I suppose… we’ll get one wide section of sidewalk amidst a sea of substandard ones, and just a couple of short blocks from my favorite pinch point. The whole corridor needs treatment, and doing it one development at a time is simply inadequate.

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5128049,-122.6229377,3a,75y,236.53h,61.74t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1syZb7dEf6EK33AaGl-Zc0XQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

dw
dw
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Yeah, I walk through that section when I take the bus to/from Fred Meyer. It’s always really sketchy.

PacificSource
PacificSource
11 months ago

my first thought was to rename the library after her. <3

Paul Jefferies
Paul Jefferies
11 months ago

Certainly a sad event, and there is definitely an argument to be made for widening of sidewalks or addition of sidewalks throughout this city.

However, this accident was not the result of infrastructure or planning, but rather of drunk/intoxicated driving. The driver responsible flipped their car, which is almost impossible to imagine given the lack of curves and speed limits at this intersection. Given the fact that bus stops are traditionally fairly close to the street regardless of sidewalk width, it likely would have happened on a wider sidewalk. No amount of infrastructure changes will change the fact that this city is swarming with drivers, under the influence of intoxicants, travelling in large, heavy hunks of metal.

Many keep thinking we can change things by adding new rules, when we are unable or unwilling to enforce the rules we already have.

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Jefferies

Paul: No.

No amount of infrastructure changes will change the fact that this city is swarming with drivers, under the influence of intoxicants, travelling in large, heavy hunks of metal.

Yes, it will. Better infrastructure can save lives and does save lives, everywhere it is built.

Yes, we need more enforcement, but infrastructure is a key component of any safety system.

This is not an either/or situation. It’s nuanced.

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred

A dedicated fool will outsmart the sharpest planner.

9watts
9watts
11 months ago

This is a perfect example of your reliable, smart alec, gotcha type of post here going back to the very beginning. Sure, as far as that sentence goes, but what is the point of lobbing these molotov cocktails into what are often otherwise thoughtful conversations? How is such a statement useful or productive or helpful? Contributing one-liners such as you do here can easily distract from and discourage people from pursuing meaningful change. Just imagine if we all conducted ourselves as you do here: lobbing one-liners at each other.
You might not agree, but these stories highlight concrete challenges that, together, we just might be able to tackle, solve; and some of us through our comments here give the impression of being interested in that, committed even.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  9watts

He probably meant “A drunk fool…”. Which, while smart alec and gotcha, is also topical and largely correct.

The larger point being that even good infrastructure is rarely a match for a drunk driver, a point others have made as well.

Which leads us directly to a practical, productive, helpful solution: increase enforcement against drunk drivers.

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred

If you drive on 39th where this happened, it is a squeeze zone and could be made better but it is unimaginable what this person did on that STRAIGHT stretch of road.
It’s surprising he was able to start his car with how drunk he had to have been.
Why he is out on bail and free to drive given the circumstance is a problem.

socially engineered
socially engineered
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

It’s uncomfortable to imagine because pedestrians are supposed to feel safe on the sidewalk, where a lifetime of expectations tell us cars aren’t supposed to go. But the size and power of modern vehicles actually make it trivially easy. There’s also an earthen embankment next to that bus stop bench perfectly made to flip any car that hits it.

Screenshot 2023-08-03 at 9.22.10 AM.png
9watts
9watts
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

unimaginable what this person did on that STRAIGHT stretch of road.”

oh it is imaginable all right.
That is what cars (when piloted without full concentration/mental faculties/etc) are capable of precipitating. Which is why we should much more tightly regulate the privilege of using them.

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Yes we should. This guy was so reckless and so drunk and yet he is out and probably driving around drunk right now.
Bail is there to let people who MAY be innocent have their freedom until their day in court.
It should never be used to let Guilty people out and in a case like this one, he is guilty, there is NO question.
He should be in jail until sentencing.

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

In what country do you think you live? He’s now guilty before his day in court? He’s still going to court, what could that possibly be for if not to determine his guilt?

Bail simply shouldn’t be a thing and needs to be removed. If someone is an immediate danger and shouldn’t be out (lets say this is one of those cases), there should be no bail. There should be no amount of money that will let them get out. If someone is NOT a clear immediate danger or flight risk, there should be no monetary barrier to your freedom while you await trial. There’s just no moral or practical justification for bail. It’s just a way to let people with more money get off the hook temporarily. Or really, to arbitrarily hold probably-not-guilty-but-undesirable people in jail.

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  John

He drove off the road and murdered a women. There are witness’s and he was drunk as can be.
This is not a case of “did he do it or not’?
Why should he get BaiI ? I agree there should not be bail but we have it so why do you think he would be out?
What exactly are you arguing about?
Are you saying He should be out and driving around?
Go on, love to hear it.
Give me your PRO drunk driving take. Tell us why you think he should get a presumption of innocence?

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

I don’t know the specific criteria a judge uses to decide if bail is set or not. Usually the bar is pretty high I think for holding someone without bail, since it is absolutely a constitutional right we all have to a trial.. Not only would he have to be obviously guilty, but also there would have to be actually good reason to think he will continue to be a danger. Like really good reason. The bar is high.

If he tries to fight the accusation, he might (lie and) claim he was not drunk, that it was something else, or something. I don’t know, who knows? The point of a trial is just that that is the system we have to decide if someone is actually guilty.

Maybe this is a case where they should be held without bail. I don’t know. I don’t know what the standards are (probably the whims of a judge because that part of our government is dysfunctional). What I do know is that the certainty or not of your guilt isn’t actually one of the standards for holding someone without bail. It’s more about if there is a near certainty that they’re going to go straight out and do it again. And I guess the judge doesn’t think so. Or they had no room in the jail.

To answer your question about why he should get a presumption of innocence? Because he is, by law, presumed innocent. That’s just the way it is for all of us.

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  John

No.There is no presumption of innocence in every case.
There are cut and dried remedies to put people who endanger the public in jail with no bail.
He should never have been let out.

*** Moderator: deleted last few sentences. Personalizing the discussion ***

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

Yes you don’t want to personalize people who think that killing this women was just a traffic incident with no remedy.
You support drunk driving as being like politically correct or something. Not one statement from you condemning this ruling to let this guy out.
You are nothing but defenders of this behavior since you do zero to condemn it.
Poor mister misunderstood drunk drivers need all you and Johns support don’t they?

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

I invite you to take a deep breath and read what people are saying instead of simply taking out your frustration randomly.

Nowhere have I in any way sympathized with drunk drivers here, nor am I defending them. But whether you like it or not, and apparently you don’t, people have to have a trial before they are sent to prison. When he goes to trial and is found guilty, he’ll probably go to prison. Jail is not for holding people “you just know” are guilty. If we don’t follow that principle, that is just further eroding the already pathetic justice system we have.

People are held without bail not because “you’re really mad about what they did”. They’re held without bail if there is a strong belief they will immediately re-offend (and other reasons). I don’t know this case that closely, or what standard procedure is, but on the face of it, it doesn’t seem like something a normal drunk driver (and yeah, there are a lot of them) would just go right back out and do again after killing someone with their car. He doesn’t pose an imminent threat, at least apparently according to a judge and most likely precedent. Are drunk drivers who kill someone normally held without bail? If so, then this does seem wrong. If not, it would be weird to make an exception here.

He’s not poor and misunderstood, he’s an idiot who did something reckless and stupid, killed someone, and is going to pay for it. After he goes to court, just like everyone else is supposed to expect.

Dwk
Dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  John

You are hilarious or just ignorant.
Drunk drivers are repeat offenders.
The bail of $10,000 for killing someone this recklessly was low.
Keep defending this,…..I Can only conclude you know this person, he recklessly murdered a mother of 2, there is no excuse and he has no presumption of innocence since he was drunk at the scene and drove the car.
It’s embarrassing any advocate of cycling or walking would give him the benefit of the doubt.

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  Dwk

he has no presumption of innocence since he was drunk at the scene

You keep saying that, but you are wrong, plain and simple. There aren’t exceptions for cases where you read something that made you really mad. This isn’t a matter of opinion that reasonable people can disagree on. The law is you are always presumed innocent. I don’t know how something so basic can be misunderstood. I’m not defending anything except this very basic piece of law in our otherwise fairly useless constitution. I’m not giving him the benefit of the doubt, I assume he is guilty. But that’s my opinion, I’m not the damned law and neither are you. And that’s a good thing.

I’ll leave it at that.

Dwk
Dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  John

Do mass murderers get bail?
Do school shooters?
People are held without bail all the time.
You are simply wrong and argue just to argue.
The person just arrested on suspicion of killing 4 women in the area is being held Without bail.

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

Here, I’m off work so I can think a little more.

From what I’ve read, usually bail is denied in cases where the crime brings a life sentence. According to this (sorry for the source but I have no reason to doubt it), the maximum penalty is probably 10 years in Oregon: https://madd.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Vehicular-Homicide.pdf

According to this random lawyer website, bail is usually set in cases like this, so it is not at all unusual: https://www.oregoncrimes.com/oregon_manslaughter_guide.html
The bail is pretty damned high, so on that front I am surprised this guy had the money to pay it. I guess that could point to him not being someone who “has nothing to lose”.

And if it makes you feel any better, it looks like a repeat offense is a really big deal, adding at least 10 more years. So there is even more reason to expect this guy will go to court and not violate his bail terms.

There are always going to be people out for vengeance who think any sort of bail is too low and any sentence is too lenient, but people like you luckily don’t have an opinion worth more than anyone else’s, so that’s not the system we live with.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  John

“There’s just no moral or practical justification for bail.”

What if somebody is potentially a flight risk, but having them post some form of bond will make it more likely that they will return for their trial? That strikes me as both a moral and a practical justification for bail.

By the way, I apologize for inadvertently agreeing with you about the need for a trial to ascertain guilt.

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Yeah, that’s a good reason but it’s a technical reason that made sense in the 1800s because someone could just walk off into the woods and never be seen again. Now there is really nowhere for people to just disappear to most of the time (and why the concept of flight risk exists), and if there is, we have technology and just generally other ways to monitor people that could be used instead. That is all, of course, in cases where today some bail would be set. Whatever criteria they use to deny bail today, would still apply to people if there was no concept of bail (i.e., it’s the system we have today but the maximum bail is always $0).

Whatever the mechanism, bail makes no sense as a concept if you care at all about due process and general justice, which I think you do.

By the way, I apologize for inadvertently agreeing with you about the need for a trial to ascertain guilt.

Hey, no worries. Water under the bridge.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  John

Take one prominent recent example: Sam Bankman-Fried. His bail was set high enough that if he flees his parents lose their house. That is a powerful incentive not to run (and makes it very likely his parents will discourage him from thinking about it). But without that surety, there is no way a judge would have let him out.

So that is a specific concrete example of where having bond allowed someone to await trial out of jail rather than in it, an outcome we both (generally) feel is most just.

I agree with you that where it is very likely a defendant will show up for trial on their own, there is no need for bail. I don’t think the “we’ll catch them eventually” argument is persuasive (either to me or to a judge), so I think in many cases it comes down to a choice between bail and staying in jail. Maybe you don’t believe these cases exist, but if they did, you’d probably agree that it’s better to let as many of those folks out of pre-trial detention as possible.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

Therein lies the problem. Legally speaking, no one is guilty until after a trial.

If there is no question of a person’s guilt, why bother with a trial at all? It would save a lot of trouble and expense if we could just lock up the obviously guilty people without mucking around with a trial and due process and all that other civil rights garbage.

Right?

Dwk
Dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Not everyone gets bail. I have no idea how people can be so wrong about this.
People are held WITHOUT bail all the time.
It is not a constitutional right.
Many people who commit murder are held without bail because they are a flight risk or a risk to the public.
This person is a RISK to the public.

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

“The eighth amendment in the American Bill of Rights was adopted from the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and provides that excessive bail or fines shall not be imposed. Interpretations of the U.S. Constitution and State constitutions have consistently upheld the right to deny bail in capital cases.”

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  dwk

Hello dwk,

I’m here to remind you of some characteristics of good comment posting:

1) Say what you want to say, and then get out.
2) Stay respectful.
3) Discuss ideas, don’t get personal.
4) Don’t call people names.
5) It’s a really bad idea to send insulting comments to the moderator.

Over and over again, you have trouble with that list, and you require too much of my time. So here’s the deal, you are a hair’s breadth away from being put on our list of blocked commenters. I suggest you take a week or so off, limit how much you post, and step away from the keyboard when you get hot. Good luck!

Thank you,
Lisa

Marika Start
Marika Start
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred

LOL. Why is the word “nuanced” frequently used in Portland to try to say we can’t enforce our laws. I see it repeatedly in the tents blocking sidewalk issue. “We can’t keep our sidewalks clear because homelessness response is a “nuanced” issue. Glad Fred agrees more traffic enforcement is needed but often if I see the word “nuanced” I just disregard the rest of the comment.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  Marika Start

Hard to believe in this black and white, us vs. them world, but some things actually are complicated and, saving this word for last so you’ll read to the end of this sentence, nuanced.

(And, too bad you won’t be reading this, but I agree that the particular situation you were responding to isn’t actually all that nuanced… we definitely need to enforce laws against drunks driving.)

Paul Jefferies
Paul Jefferies
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Bizarre response, but you might just enjoy arguing. I did not ever say that infrastructure did not save lives, just merely stated the obvious: this accident was caused by someone that was very intoxicated. Intoxicated ppl will create accidents regardless of safety systems. We have a lot of intoxicated ppl driving cars on our streets. We enforce DUII laws a lot less than most other places, including European cities. Enforcement of them is an easy opportunity to reduce deaths. Infrastructure changes are not a substitute for enforcement of DUII laws.
As I mentioned: there is an opportunity to improve sidewalks. As you mentioned: it’s not an either/or situation.

SD
SD
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Jefferies

Well, it was/ is both. We have the know-how and thousands of examples on how to protect people walking and on bikes from drivers that lose control of their vehicles. Jersey barriers, bollards, planters and limiting lane numbers for starters. Even if people are drunk or lose consciousness, physical barriers will stop or limit drivers from injuring people.

It is ridiculous that bus stops, outdoor dining structures and other places where people are one step away from a bad driver are not protected by bollards.

PBOT needs to find the bollards to protect people!

Marika Start
Marika Start
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Jefferies

Comment of the week!

socially engineered
socially engineered
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Jefferies

A quick search reveals two additional rollover crashes in Portland – on wide, straight streets – in just the last month:

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=492976

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=492980

Meanwhile, traffic deaths have been declining in virtually all rich nations, except for the US, where they have actually gone up. Welp, I guess there’s nothing else we can do; apparently we’re the only country where people drive drunk and break the posted speed limit.

Paul Jefferies
Paul Jefferies
11 months ago

The obvious place to start with reduction of traffic fatalities is with the enforcement of existing motor vehicle/traffic laws—cheaper, easier, and quicker (and possibly more effective) than redoing all problematic sidewalks across Portland. Most, if not all, places (incl European cities) that have reduced deaths have an enforcement arm specifically designed for exactly that. Until very recently, our city did not have a traffic enforcement division, and the trends indicate that.

socially engineered
socially engineered
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Jefferies

The 10 deadliest states for pedestrians are New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Georgia, and California, in that order. Did the entire Sun Belt stop enforcing its traffic laws? Or could there be something about the car-centric planning common in these areas that is inherently dangerous for people outside
of a car?

https://thehill.com/homenews/nexstar_media_wire/3560232-these-are-the-deadliest-u-s-metros-for-pedestrians-study-finds/

Paul Jefferies
Paul Jefferies
11 months ago

We are not in those states, and if we were I’d probably sing the tune that they should work on infrastructure (many places in the states mentioned barely have sidewalks at all, much less bicycle lanes or marked crosswalks) since they already have law enforcement. We have comparatively strong (by albeit low American standards) pedestrian/cyclist friendly infrastructure, but are experiencing a rash of motor vehicle related accidents. For Portland, which has had zero and now has next to no law enforcement for motor vehicles, maybe we should start there. It’s not either/or!!!

socially engineered
socially engineered
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Jefferies

Portland does have *some* decent pedestrian and bike infrastructure, but it also has many wide, straight streets with few places for pedestrians or bicyclists to cross safely. It’s precisely where safe infrastructure is lacking that people are dying.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago

Welp, I guess there’s nothing else we can do

Nothing we can do? What are you talking about? There’s about 20 comments here saying we should return to enforcing drunk driving laws. That’s something specific, concrete, actionable, and non-controversial that we could do.

socially engineered
socially engineered
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Police already have the ability to enforce drunk driving laws. Instead they seem to prefer using city resources to harass cyclists:

https://bikeportland.org/2023/08/03/family-biking-a-cop-admonished-me-for-taking-the-lane-377754

Watts
Watts
11 months ago

Do you conclude from that anecdote that the police are enforcing bike laws to the exclusion of enforcing drunk driving laws?

Police do have the ability to enforce drunk driving laws, and probably need to be told by political leaders (i.e. Wheeler) it should be a higher priority. You can contact him today to demand he do that.

So that’s what we can do. How many folks here wringing their hands will actually do that? If 5 other people chime in here to say they’ve done it, I’ll do it too.

Fred
Fred
11 months ago

Speaking of “nuisance vegetation,” there is a ton of it encroaching on streets and bike lanes and sidewalks right now. As usual, the city is out to lunch on enforcement.

Anyone know whom to complain to? PDX Reporter? (I have a new motto for PDX Reporter: “Where your hopes go to die.”)

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred

The nuisance vegetation is so frustrating. I know it’s all well and good to expect every single individual property owner to take care of it themselves, but I just don’t see that working. There either needs to be harsh fines for it or the city should just clean it up themselves at whatever expense and send property owners a bill.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  John

the city should just clean it up themselves at whatever expense and send property owners a bill.

That’s exactly what happens if the property owner doesn’t do it themselves.

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Apparently not, since it’s everywhere. But if they have the policy of doing it, then I guess what’s needed is somehow just get them to do the things they’re supposed to be doing.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  John

I guess what’s needed is somehow just get them to do the things they’re supposed to be doing.

The way you do that is report a violation on PDX Reporter. They’ll do the rest.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Watts

I’ve got a hedge I’d like to introduce you to on Broadway Drive.

Nelson
Nelson
11 months ago

The city should take the lot and create some open space, and maybe a turn in for the bus to make things safer. Especially if they’re planning to do some redevelopment.

socially engineered
socially engineered
11 months ago

Wider sidewalks are good. But incidents like this will keep happening as long as most new housing development is restricted to car sewers like Chávez Blvd., which are euphemistically termed “civic and neighborhood corridors”.

The entire stretch of Chávez between Laurelhurst Park and SE Division is flanked by properties zoned for either multi-dwelling or commercial mixed use to protect the low-density “character” of the adjacent residential neighborhoods (the bus stop where Diaz was killed happens to be in front of one of the few low-density lots on Chávez itself).

Virtually all new “affordable” housing units are located directly on these corridors, which puts lower income people and those navigating the city without a car in close proximity to the heaviest car traffic, noise, and pollution. The city’s map of these “corridors” looks a lot like the map of the streets where most pedestrian fatalities happen.

Screenshot 2023-08-02 at 8.43.10 PM.png
dw
dw
11 months ago

Taking away a lane in each direction, widening sidewalks, and adding some traffic calming to Chavez could help mitigate – though not entirely eliminate – some of those problems. NIMBYs can keep their “neighborhood character” but they need to give up lanes in return.

Marika Start
Marika Start
11 months ago

The ideologues we have elected (Eudaly, Hardesty) and the people they have hired at PBOT have caused PBOT to only to respond to tragedies. The remainder of the time this bureau seems to mostly focus on virtue signaling instead of a well thought out pragmatic approach (including police enforcement of our traffic laws) to the record setting traffic violence we are now seeing as a result of their actions.

John
John
11 months ago
Reply to  Marika Start

Ahh yes, PBOT, the bureau best known for being responsible for law enforcement.

Like, sure, it would be ideal if they did do traffic enforcement, but that’s not what they do now.

And I have no idea how you managed to twist this into something about Eudaly and Hardesty, that’s wild. They’re not only not here anymore (for quite some time) but they also were never in charge of the PPB as far as I recall. I admit, I might have missed when they were mayors.

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  Marika Start

I understand there’s a movement to rename the San Andreas Fault to Hardesty’s Fault.

SD
SD
11 months ago
Reply to  Marika Start

Weird that you don’t mention Police Chief Chuck Lovell, who actually has had more than two years to increase police enforcement of traffic laws.

9watts
9watts
11 months ago

If I am understanding this correctly, the sidewalk widening will encroach on the properties, not the street. In other words, the four lanes won’t be impacted but the adjacent properties will be. That doesn’t seem like Vision Zero to me.

dw
dw
11 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Vision Zero (pedestrians)

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
11 months ago
Reply to  dw

If you really want to protect pedestrians from being indiscriminately slaughtered by (intoxicated) drivers, then a primary goal should be to slow down motorvehicles (and one of the best ways to do this is lane re-allocation).

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Yes, I get the feeling PBOT may have felt a sense of relief when they realized this was at a site slated for redevelopment, where the City can place a sidewalk-widening easement on the property as a development condition–“Whew! We can say we’ve addressed the situation without having to change the street!”

Like Adam said below, this approach progresses 50′ at a time. It could take 100 years before that results in a continuous wide sidewalk. And that still doesn’t slow down traffic, meaning the street remains unsafe, and developers don’t gain the benefit of added pedestrian traffic from their providing widened sidewalks. Plus, it shouldn’t be the property owners’ responsibility to fix the situation. It should be PBOT’s–by changing the street (per Pierre’s comment).

Adam
Adam
11 months ago

This whole episode underscores the fallacy of treating sidewalks as a property owner’s (or developer’s) responsibility. We don’t build roadways for cars one 50 foot frontage at a time because we recognize this would lead to wildly inconsistent and inadequate roadway. The City should take responsibility for building a complete transportation network (using eminent domain where necessary) and should tax property owners at large to fund it. This is how we as a society build infrastructure when we think it needs to actually work.

SteveBinEugene
SteveBinEugene
11 months ago
Reply to  Adam

Comment of the friction’ week. “We don’t build roadways for cars one 50 foot frontage at a time. . . .”

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  SteveBinEugene

Comment of the week (the search function is not sophisticated enough to splice out “friction”)

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
11 months ago

So far I’m not aware of any protests or other substantive actions …

When local “advocacy” groups are, for the most part, comprised of economically-comfortable people, a lack of interest in rocking the boat (or potentially getting arrested) is understandable.

Arturo P
Arturo P
11 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

It seems to me local advocates (street trust, Oregon walks, bike loud, etc) are mostly interested in virtue signaling on racial and social justice rather than pragmatic actions (including police traffic enforcement) to end the carnage we are currently seeing on the streets, bus stops and sidewalks of Portland. They seem to have lost their focus.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
11 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

I’m not interested in pragmatic solutions either. I would like to see the current transportation system burned to the ground.

Carrie
Carrie
11 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Some (many) of us are just overwhelmed by the scale and with years of fatigue.

socially engineered
socially engineered
11 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Protip: the best way to influence local advocacy groups is to join one. I’m sure they could really use the contributions of someone with as much passion (not to mention free time) as you seem to have.

rick
rick
11 months ago

I’m angered and saddened that a person killed Jeanie. Why does this sidewalk need widening so quickly in light of the lack of sidewalks in East Portland or the busy roads of southwest Portland?

cct
cct
11 months ago
Reply to  rick

PBOT responds to deaths and crashes; if you ask for say, a 4-way stop sign at a busy intersection, they will tell you there have been no fatal crashes, 2 w/ minor injuries and 4 with just vehicle damage in the last 5 years and say “NO; it’s working fine.” The entire city is governed as a reactive entity, not a preemptive one. Apparently, lives are only meaningful after they are lost.

John L
John L
11 months ago

While they are widening the sidewalk, the city should also plant trees which will not only reduce heat but grow to be effective and sightly barriers to cars on the sidewalk.

Doug Klotz
Doug Klotz
11 months ago
Reply to  John L

And the some traffic engineers will say “you can’t plant trees next to a busy street, a driver might be injured if they drive their car into a tree!” At least it’s not an ODOT facility, so there’s hope.

Zack
Zack
11 months ago

What an efficient way for the city to wash its hands of responsibility and place it in the lap of developers – another historically responsible and accountable group of folks (sarcasm). City of Portland, Traffic Enforcement, PBOT, and Ted Wheeler all in unison saying “Not my problem! You fix it!”