With frustration building following the deadliest traffic month we’ve experienced in over 30 years, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and City Commissioner Mingus Mapps have announced a press conference to talk about it.
The event (intended for news media, but open to the public) will happen Monday morning (8/7), 11:00 am at City Hall. Here’s the announcement just put out by PBOT:
Transportation Commissioner Mingus Mapps and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) invite the news media to attend at press conference on the disturbing recent rise in traffic deaths that have taken 43 lives so far this year in Portland, including 13 in the month of July. Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson will join Commissioner Mapps at the event, at City Hall, for the release of a new report on traffic deaths as a public health issue. The Portland Police Traffic Division, Multnomah County Public Health and The Street Trust will also be represented at the press conference at the Fourth Avenue Plaza, Portland City Hall.
As I shared earlier today, this isn’t the first time we’ve gathered at City Hall for a press conference in the wake of a spate of traffic deaths. Former mayors and PBOT commissioners made similar announcements in 2007 and again in 2015.
Pressure on Commissioner Mapps has grown in recent weeks after highprofile traffic fatalities piled up. At a meeting of the PBOT Budget Advisory Committee last month, frustration boiled over as one of Mapps top policy advisors and PBOT staff were repeatedly harangued by committee members.
16 of the last 20 traffic deaths in Portland can be directly attributed to people speeding and/or driving under the influence of intoxicants. And the majority of serious crashes and fatalities happen in parts of Portland with a disproportionate number of residents who earn below average incomes and/or are Black, Indigenous or people of color. Because of those factors, the Multnomah County Health Department has become a larger player in local traffic safety conversations in recent years. Their Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program published its first Transportation Crash and Safety Report in 2021.
PBOT said the press conference will focus on the County’s latest report. No other tangible actions were mentioned in the statement.
Stay tuned for a recap of Monday’s event.