Legal Section Archives

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Portland lawyer releases ‘Oregon Pedestrian Law Guide’

Posted on April 1st, 2021 at 2:51 pm.

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Walking in the street to maintain a safe distance? It could be against the law

Posted on April 23rd, 2020 at 2:26 pm.

This has become a common site in some Portland neighborhoods as people seek space beyond sidewalks.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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I was sued for defamation: Here’s what happened next

Posted on March 2nd, 2020 at 3:46 pm.

The only photo I took in the courtoom because I was worried about drawing attention to myself.

When I first heard I was being sued by the subject of one of my stories, I didn’t think it would amount to much. I certainly didn’t think I’d ever find myself squirming in a courtroom bench as my accuser and a judge read through one of my stories word-for-word.

But that’s exactly where I found myself on Friday afternoon as Multnomah County Judge Melvin Oden-Orr considered the merits of case number 19CV47330. A team of four lawyers representing media companies that own The Oregonian, Willamette Week, KATU and others sat on one side of the room and Mark Dickerson — who chose to represent himself — sat on the other.

It all started December 13th when a man knocked on my door and pushed a stack of papers into my wife’s hands. I had been served papers in a lawsuit brought by Dickerson against myself and seven media companies. Dickerson sought $750,000 against each of us for Defamation and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.[Read more…]

$5.9 million lawsuit says City of Portland is negligent for allowing parking at intersections

Posted on February 20th, 2020 at 10:10 am.

Graphic from lawsuit filed by Scott Kocher/Forum Law Group.

The idea of no-parking zones at intersections started with a state law. Then it became a point of contention for transportation activists, then a City of Portland policy, then a campaign from a walking advocacy group.

Now it has become the basis of a lawsuit.

Yesterday, Portland attorney Scott Kocher of Forum Law Group filed a $5.9 million lawsuit (PDF) against the City of Portland for negligence in the death of Elijah Coe, who was hit by a driver while riding his motorcycle on East Burnside in May 2019. [Read more…]

Guest Post: How Oregon got Idaho Stop

Posted on December 26th, 2019 at 1:14 pm.

… Or just yield. Whatever is safest.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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When electric scooter and bicycle users collide

Posted on August 28th, 2019 at 3:40 pm.

A collision in July left a woman with serious injuries.
(Photo: Mark Senf)

There are now 587 more electric scooters on Portland streets than this time last year. In the first 10 weeks of the current pilot program, the City of Portland says 16 of those scooters were involved in a collision.

We can confirm that at least two of those collisions involved a bicycle rider. There was the infamous collision during the recent protests downtown that was caught on tape by KGW News (watch it below).

And back in July, reader Mark Senf sent us the image at right. He witnessed two young men on one scooter (technically illegal) collide with a bicycle rider at the intersection of Naito Parkway and SW Harvey Milk. Senf said the woman who was riding the bike suffered cuts and bruises along with a fractured shoulder. She was carted away via ambulance and her husband stayed behind to handle the details.
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Oregon Court of Appeals upholds bicycle riders’ right to pass on the right

Posted on August 9th, 2019 at 8:11 am.

The law allows you to pass another vehicle on the right, even if you’re on a bike.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court decision that found a bicycle rider guilty of passing on the right. The case is a rare interpretation of a bicycle-related statute from this upper court and it strengthens the rights of bicycle riders statewide.
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Use e-scooters in Oregon? You should read this legal guide

Posted on July 8th, 2019 at 12:20 pm.

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re a low-car Portlander, you understand that driving around the city is often more trouble than it’s worth. You probably also find shared electric scooters to be a useful addition to the mobility mix. But where do these vehicles fit into the rules of the road?

Now there’s a handy new guide from a local law firm that lays it all out.

Our friends at Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost have released, Oregon E-Scooter Rights: A Legal Guide for Electric Scooter Users (PDF). This is the fifth booklet from TCN&F since their popular Pedal Power cycling guide was published in 2000.
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Proposed bill would clarify definition of bike lanes in Oregon

Posted on December 19th, 2018 at 10:19 am.

The legal protection doesn’t end where the striping does.

A local lawyer wants to amend an existing state law so that Oregon judges can no longer decide that a bicycle rider’s legal right-of-way disappears in an intersection.
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Bend judge rules bike lane does not continue through intersection

Posted on October 17th, 2018 at 11:15 am.

Bend Bulletin story published yesterday.

A bicycle rider was killed last year in the central Oregon city of Bend when he was involved in a collision with a FedEx truck operator. The collision was a right-hook that took place in an intersection.

The reason I’m sharing this story here and now is because of a Deschutes County Circuit Court ruling that was made in the case yesterday. Here’s the story from the Bend Bulletin (emphasis mine):

A Deschutes County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday ruled a cyclist hit and killed in an intersection by a FedEx truck did not have the protection of a bike lane.

FedEx driver Trenton Derek Sage was found not guilty of the violation of failing to yield to a rider in a bicycle lane. Last November, Sage hit and killed Bend man Jonathan Chase Adams, 31… The case had implications beyond the lives of Sage and Adams. Prosecutor Andrew Steiner said many people today do not treat bike lanes like vehicle lanes, though they are.

“This is cultural,” he said. “Many people just don’t think of them as lanes.”

Steiner attempted to make the case that bike lanes continue through intersections, citing Oregon Department of Transportation guidelines for road construction and recent court cases and legislation in Oregon.

But Tuesday afternoon, Adler announced he did not agree. He said he saw “no authority” to support the contention that bike lanes continue through intersections in Oregon.

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