Friends are remembering a dedicated group ride leader and Portland Velo Cycling Club member who was killed in a collision while cycling in Washington County in November.
According to a statement released today by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, 78-year-old Dana Deardorff was riding northbound on SW Roy Rogers Road just south of Al’s Garden Center between SW Beef Bend Rd and SW Elsner (about 10 miles southwest of downtown Portland) at around 11:38 am on Monday, November 20th. Police say Deardorff “veered across lanes of travel” and collided with a driver who was going southbound. “[The driver] was unable to stop before they impacted,” the Sheriff’s office wrote.
The driver called 911 and stayed at the scene to perform lifesaving duties. Police say impairment is not considered a factor and an investigation is ongoing.
SW Roy Rogers is a very busy road with a speed limit of 55 mph. It sits directly on the border of the Urban Growth Boundary and sections of it north and south of where this collision occurred have been widened and updated with bicycle facilities recently or are planned for changes soon. The section where I suspect this happened is rural with one lane of travel in each direction. The most recent images on Google show that due to a construction project, the lane configuration is more narrow than usual (can anyone confirm if the image below from this summer is still accurate?).
Deardorff lived in Tigard and rode frequently in the area near where he last pedaled. According to his Ride With GPS account, he’s biked over 2,100 miles so far this year and did a 32-mile, nearly three-hour ride around Sherwood just three days before the fatal collision.
Friends remember Deardorff as a supportive ride leader and active member of Portland Velo. He also led a group ride from Lake Oswego for more than 15 years.
Here are just a few of the comments PV members have shared about him on Facebook:
“Like so many of us, Dana taught me how to group ride. He was always patient, kind and encouraging to newbies and enjoyed watching us develop into active Velo members. He took on the 14-16 ride group when we so desperately needed a reliable, consistent leader. He will be missed.”
“My son used to come out and ride with me on Saturday rides. There was one morning when we were just getting back and waiting to turn right onto Evergreen, and I heard Dana whisper to my son, ‘Hey Andrew, want to drop your old man?’ Andrew and I are so sorry to lose Dana.”
“A true friend and cycling buddy. So many rides with him. He was great to ride with in a group or just the two of us. Amazing man and friend. Coincidently, Wednesday is the day in Tucson that the Oregonians do a group ride so we paid tribute to him, wearing PV kits, and did a slow and silent rollout in his honor. Dana, you will be missed.”
Police say anyone who has information or who might have witnessed the crash should contact them at 503-629-0111 and reference case number 50-23-17393.