Driver slams into bike parking on SE Stark, flattens rack and bicycle

Mangled bike racks and bike didn’t stand a chance against an SUV driver. (Photos sent in by a reader)

The driver of an SUV slammed into an on-street bike parking corral on SE Stark this morning. The collision flattened and/or uprooted six City of Portland-issued staple racks and a bicycle that was locked to one of them.

A reader sent us photos of the aftermath and I just had a quick call with a person named Cole, who happens to be the bike’s owner. She was across the street around 8:00 am this morning and witnessed the driver turn onto Stark from Sandy. “They drove straight into it and took all of the racks out. And my bike is totaled,” Cole said.

Cole said the driver was headed north on Sandy and turned right on Stark. The bike corral is on the southeast corner of the Sandy/Stark intersection right in front of The Slammer Tavern. The location is just two blocks east of the crossing I wrote about yesterday — the one where many drivers are ignoring the law and driving through a gap in a median that’s supposed to be bike-only.

“[The driver] says he didn’t see it,” Cole added, recalling a conversation with the driver, whose vehicle is still parked on Sandy with its bumper on the ground and a very bent wheel. “The whole thing is kinda’ sketchy. I don’t know how you couldn’t see it!” she said.

According to Cole, the SUV didn’t have any license plates. And a call to the police wasn’t fruitful, as she got the impression they didn’t really care about the incident after the officer didn’t even ask for the driver’s name. Cole has the driver’s name and information but isn’t sure what will happen next. “I feel terrible about it,” she said. “There’s really nothing I can do though.”

Drivers hitting on-street bike corrals is unfortunately very common in Portland. There’s one in front of a Mexican food place near my house on North Rosa Parks Way that has been hit and damaged so many times, it was recently removed.

The totaled bike was Cole’s sole form of transportation and she used it to commute from the Alberta area to a job at Ota Tofu (just behind the tavern).

Cole would appreciate help buying a new bike. You can send her money using CashApp to the account $colesodcash. If you don’t have CashApp and would rather Venmo, you can send funds to @bikeportland and I’ll make sure they get to Cole (just include a note to let me know).

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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John A
John A
2 months ago

Sad, but not surprised at the police response. I have grown to expect that I’ll likely be on my own in sorting out a bad situation in this city.

I stop by Ota for my weekly supply of tofu, best there is. Friendliest little business around. I guess I’m lucky that when I stop by, I’ve got my commuting Brompton and never did use that rack. Hope our community is able to help him out, community is all we have going for us in Portland it seems.

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
2 months ago

I have a bike I can lend (maybe permanently?) to Cole. As someone who frequently bikes to Ota to buy fresh tofu, it’s the least I can do. Jonathan, feel free to share my email with Cole.

PTB
PTB
2 months ago

The problem here is that there are no plastic wands on either side of the bike corral.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 months ago
Reply to  PTB

The street needs some sharrows, to slow down drivers.

PTB
PTB
2 months ago

“[The driver] says he didn’t see it,” Cole added, recalling a conversation with the driver, whose vehicle is still parked on Sandy with its bumper on the ground and a very bent wheel. “The whole thing is kinda’ sketchy. I don’t know how you couldn’t see it!”

Cole, buddy, you musta just moved here. Nothin’ sketchy about this! Normal Portland shit goin’ on!

dw
dw
2 months ago
Reply to  PTB

I get the vibe that the vehicle in question probably doesn’t belong to the driver

PTB
PTB
2 months ago
Reply to  dw

That’s weird because I do too

PTB
PTB
2 months ago

“Cole said the SUV didn’t have any license plates.”

No license plate?! How is this person driving around with no LICENSE PLATE?? Lol.

“And a call to the police wasn’t fruitful, as Cole got the impression they didn’t really care about the incident after the officer didn’t even ask for the driver’s name.”

Lol, again.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 months ago
Reply to  PTB

Why would this even be part of the Portland Police’s job anyway? It seems to me that this is a job for the PBOT Nonconfrontational Street Traffic Accident Response Team (NonSTART). I’m sure that even as we discuss this, PBOT has issued a work order to send in a team to interview the driver, the bicycle owner, and any witnesses, which will be taken care of just as soon as the program gets funded, staff hired, a community stakeholder advisory committee is formed, a few fact-finding trips to Amsterdam are made, the budget gets slashed, employees leave, and right after the bollards on Naito are fixed – say in 10 years or so, in no time at all.

Chopwatch
Chopwatch
2 months ago
Reply to  PTB

I am betting it was a vagrancy vehicle. The area shown is Central Eastside are for the most part APPP Zone N and G program and pay to park. I know from direct observation that many vagrancy vehicles are ILLEGALLY parking, and I know from my direct experience that vagrancy vehicles reported to PDX PBOT Parking Enforcement are selectively non-enforced.

I am confident that many of these incidents can be prevented if PBOT Parking Enforcement Dvision just cited them to get the vehicles up to “tow warrant” status, and towed it off before they can crash. Not only do they pretend to not see it, they regularly refuse to abate REPORTED vagrancy vehicles for violations such as parking for weeks at a meter without payment. According to the way tow warrant works, I believe citing it every 4 hours (successive violation), it should be able to accumulate tow worthy level of tickets within a few days and have it towed on the seventh unpaid ticket.

Andrew N
Andrew N
2 months ago
Reply to  Chopwatch

Vagrancy vehicle is exactly what I think every time I see privately-owned automobiles stored “for free” in the public ROW.

maxD
maxD
2 months ago

unlicensed, unregistered and uninsured vehicles need to taken off the street.
I hope Cole gets enough $$ to replace their bike.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 months ago
Reply to  maxD

Careful, we might not like the inequities that arise from that action.

Aaron K
Aaron K
2 months ago

Maybe cars just don’t belong on the street?

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Aaron K

That’s why I often drive on the sidewalk.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
2 months ago

An out of control SUV without plates tearing out bike infrastructure and a police department that doesn’t respond when you need them is so on brand for our town right now. Damn.

stephan
stephan
2 months ago

Do I miss something here, or should the police not prosecute the person for a class D traffic violation? https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_803.540

Also the fines for such violations are way too low: https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_153.019

mc
mc
2 months ago

I believe the car driver didn’t see it. How could they with their head completely up their @$$?!?!?

I walk with my dog through my neighborhood in SE and I’d say almost every day, I encounter drivers casually speeding, racing around, blowing through stop signs and generally just not paying attention to people in crosswalks or on the sidewalk crossing a driveway or what have you.

Just a few days ago, I was in the middle of a x-walk going into a park in the evening and even after shining a 1000 lumen bike light at the driver, they didn’t even see me and just drove right through the x-walk within a a couple of feet of my dog & I.

FU Portland! You’re a hell hole. I hate it here. It’s way past time to move.

qqq
qqq
2 months ago

You’d think the police could at least have shown up long enough to report that the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police, that the rack was painted dark and had no lights, and that the driver told investigators the rack came out of nowhere and gave them no time to react.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Comment of the week! (though it’ll never be picked – too funny).

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Fred

Stop trying to dare me into picking the comment you want!:(

Allan Rudwick
Allan
2 months ago

One problem that doesn’t get talked about enough from these kind of incidents is that the city is not going to get paid by this driver or their insurance. Basically the city is going to go out and rebuild the bike parking on their own dime. Just one more cost of cars ruling the world. I would love to know how much money the city spends repairing things that drivers destroy any given year

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
2 months ago
Reply to  Allan

Under Mili they will save a ton of money – they probably will just not replace it.

Jeff
Jeff
2 months ago
Reply to  Allan

There’s an article on BP from 2020 that discusses a PBOT press release announcing the cost in probably 2019 of that kind of damage. The figure was in the range of 800K if I remember correctly.

Travel Guy PDX
Travel Guy PDX
2 months ago
Reply to  Allan

On “their” dime? You mean the taxpayer’s dime right?

A Grant
A Grant
2 months ago

Clearly Portland’s move to defund the police has led to a lack of enforcement and the subsequent rise in traffic violence.

Wait? What’s that? City Council approved a record PPB budget in 2022 and yet when asked to enforce traffic laws, the police won’t?

Chris I
Chris I
2 months ago
Reply to  A Grant

The budget is irrelevant if you can’t hire new officers fast enough to keep up with the ones who are leaving. Portland has the lowest per-capita police staffing in the US.

https://manhattan.institute/article/portlands-police-staffing-crisis

They are chronically understaffed, so this kind of response is not surprising. Hopefully the recent increase in new hires will improve conditions, once the trainees become active.

Travel Guy PDX
Travel Guy PDX
2 months ago
Reply to  A Grant

Not about the budget. It’s about staffing. Of course the budget will need to go up just to stay even with expenses. You’re aware of inflation right? Does a latte cost more or less than 10, 5 or 3 years ago?

Cory P
Cory P
2 months ago

When there aren’t any plates you can try to get the VIN. I’m sure many cars driving around without plates are sill owned by the driver. I hope Cole finds a new bike.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago
Reply to  Cory P

I’ve tried photographing the VIN thru the windshield and it’s really difficult b/c of the glare on the windshield. Wish the VIN were more prominent on the car somewhere.

Pkjb
Pkjb
2 months ago

I wonder if Jonathan has reached out to the police for comment on this incident and if they have a response… I find it interesting that when pbot gets exposed for nefarious actions, such as removing bike lanes without warning or public process, they find it necessary to release statements that explain their actions. Even if their responses strain credulity, at least they’re signaling that they are at least responsive to public sentiment and theoretically, trying to do the right thing. Seems like the police think they can get away with unabashedly not investigating crimes and that they will face no consequences from the public or their commissioner in charge of they simply sit on their hands after a significant crash is reported that results in property damage, and which could have easily resulted in injury or loss of life if the circumstances had been different.

HJ
HJ
2 months ago

I understand and sympathize with the staffing issues that PPB is dealing with, but flat out refusing to even take the driver info is a blatant refusal to do their job. It’s no different than if say a warehouse worker just sat around in a chair watching tv all day while on the clock instead of schlepping boxes. Inexcusable.
When this reckless driver inevitably hits a person instead of an inanimate object and kills or maims the victim I’m sure PPB will offer their thoughts and prayers and bemoan the terrible, and to their eyes unpreventable, tragedy. That they have the full power to prevent RIGHT NOW by simply spending a few minutes to do some paperwork.
Seriously PPB, I pay a bloody fortune in taxes, at least pretend to give me my moneys worth by doing the bare minimum.
Nobody, and I do mean nobody, should have to endure losing a family member to traffic violence.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago
Reply to  HJ

When this reckless driver inevitably hits a person instead of an inanimate object and kills or maims the victim I’m sure PPB will offer their thoughts and prayers and bemoan the terrible, and to their eyes unpreventable, tragedy.

As long as the driver remains on scene and cooperates with the investigation, and isn’t drunk, nothing bad will happen to the driver.

Travel Guy PDX
Travel Guy PDX
2 months ago
Reply to  HJ

For all the “police are on strike” commenters here’s a few links to some good work they are doing. They’re actually not on strike, rather severely understaffed.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cpn6jwCP9xv/?igshid=NzBmMjdhZWRiYQ==

https://www.facebook.com/groups/pdxstolencars/permalink/881187350325545/?mibextid=W9rl1R

bjorn
bjorn
2 months ago
Reply to  Travel Guy PDX

If you think the cops are doing anything related to stolen cars you clearly haven’t had a car stolen in the portland area in the last few years. My truck was stolen, some folks who lived next to a known spot for handing off vehicles saw my truck show up a half hour after it was taken, I didn’t even know it was gone from my driveway yet but they called the police. Thieves had gotten it stuck in a field in the mud, the cop came and ran the plate but I hadn’t reported it yet. They told him this was a spot where stolen cars and trucks were consistently being handed off (thieves were on site trying to get it out of the field and the ignition was punched it was obviously stolen and stuck on property not owned by the thieves). They begged him to contact the owner which is a relatively easy thing for a cop to do. He promised he would then just left without making any attempt to contact me or identify the thieves who were actively damaging my vehicle and eventually abandoned it in the field. I found it 5 hours later and had to pay a bunch of money to get it towed out of the field. I also got to pay my deductible, no chance of recourse against the thieves because the cop was just too lazy. That is the actual experience of having your car stolen and trying to get help from PPB.

Bjorn
Bjorn
2 months ago

I don’t understand how folks can see the behavior of the cops over and over and still not recognize that this is an organized strike. We need to stop wasting money on police officers that have no interest in doing the job. This case would be better handled for far less money by an unarmed administrative assistant who was willing to take the report.

Pkjb
Pkjb
2 months ago
Reply to  Bjorn

I agree that the cops appear to be engaged in a de facto, undeclared strike, and that they are selectively enforcing laws and abdicating some of their responsibilities. But I think the remedy is stronger oversight and disciplinary action against cops that don’t do their job, and perhaps, more resources to support their work.

bjorn
bjorn
2 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

The union is so opposed to oversight that it is a pipe dream. We have to look to alternatives, we are just setting fire to our tax dollars under the current system.

BB
BB
2 months ago

Most of the time when I read responses here about Police action it is argued by many that Police should NOT be involved in these incidents.
I thought that cameras and such is all we need for traffic enforcement?
‘Why is this one different?
I thought cops just made things worse?

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
2 months ago
Reply to  BB

I mean we have been begging the cops to just do their jobs for the past 3 years.

bjorn
bjorn
2 months ago
Reply to  BB

There is a big difference between saying that you think that biased traffic stops are a bad thing and saying that when a driver is involved in a major collision resulting in serious property damage that the police should be willing to identify the driver and take a report so that the victim can have some chance at recovering damages. Your position seems to be that if someone opposes stop and frisk that you can’t understand why they might think that cops shouldn’t be too busy to investigate a murder. The problem we have though is that we are paying a ton of money to a group of people who don’t seem interested in doing any part of the job. take a look at your property tax bill and see what we are paying in pensions to these folks, it’s ridiculous.

Lucas P
Lucas P
2 months ago

I used to park in that exact spot every morning for two years. But both of my bikes have been stolen since then.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Lucas P

Sounds like you lucked out!

Lucas P
Lucas P
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

It was always pretty terrifying when cars turned off Sandy onto Stark and I was trying to lock up or get my gear situated. I’m just glad it was only the bike that got smashed!

Fred
Fred
2 months ago

Haven’t read any comments yet, but how broken is our city when the police can’t be bothered to respond to a motor-vehicle collision and the rest of us are asked to pick up the pieces and buy the person a new bike?

That driver should be paying for the bike, the rack, everything! That’s what you sign up for when you take on the privilege of driving a motor vehicle!

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Fred

That driver should be paying for the bike, the rack, everything!

I agree.

So how does that happen? The city would make a claim with the driver’s insurance company; if the driver has no insurance, the city can sue the driver, if they have enough assets to make it worthwhile.

Who would go out and collect the driver’s insurance details, interface with the insurance company and figure out how to proceed, and how much would it cost the city to do all this?

Travel Guy PDX
Travel Guy PDX
2 months ago

That’s the problem with Portland. It’s a “no consequences” city. We have ONE property crime detective for the ENTIRE city.

Chopwatch
Chopwatch
2 months ago

Now that I’ve read the whole thing, it looks like uninsured, unregistered vagrancy vehicle.

I blame the City of Portland PBOT, because I know they often fail to tow and impound to the fullest extent allowed by law which would help get rid of such vehicles off the street and prevent the owner from getting them back without presenting proof of insurance.