PPB Traffic Division Sgt. on Ladd Circle: ‘We don’t want to do more enforcement’

Posted on January 31st, 2019 at 1:28 pm.

GIF made from Sgt. Engstrom’s video.

I want to clear a few things up about the recent kerfluffle around Ladd Circle.

Turns out the Portland Police Bureau is anything but eager to do more enforcement. That’s what Traffic Division Sgt. Ty Engstrom shared with me in a phone conversation today.

First, let’s recap: On Tuesday, the PPB issued a statement and shared a video about the lack of stop sign compliance by people who ride and drive through Ladd Circle. The statement included a video of people blowing dangerously through the stop signs (as you can see above, one person rides through just as another person steps into the crosswalk). The behaviors were taking place at intersections where we’ve covered the exact same problem several times since 2007. The statement also said, in response to multiple complaints from nearby residents, that the PPB plans to do enforcement missions. A mention of last year’s fatality statistics and the city’s Vision Zero efforts further tied Ladd Circle to the PPB’s ongoing safety concerns.

Unfortunately, the statement didn’t fully capture the agency’s thoughts and intentions on this sensitive issue.
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With video of lawbreakers, PPB will increase focus on infamous Ladd Circle stop sign

Posted on January 29th, 2019 at 3:42 pm.

Stop sign entering Ladd Circle.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

UPDATE, 1/31: Please read this update where I give Traffic Division Sgt. Ty Engstrom the opportunity to clarify and expand on his concerns about this issue.

Here we go again.

The Portland Police Bureau just released a statement saying they’ll step up education and enforcement efforts around Ladd Circle because road users are not coming to a stop and watching for others before rolling through.

Here’s the statement:

After receiving multiple community complaints about motorists and cyclists failing to heed stop signs and endangering pedestrians in the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood, the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division responded to assess the situation. Sergeant Ty Engstrom of the Traffic Division observed the area and also the practice of most motorists and cyclists failing to come to a complete stop as required by law at the intersections.

The Ladd’s Addition intersections are roundabouts with one-way traffic and many of the motorists and cyclists, in addition to failing to stop, are also not looking to their right to check for pedestrians who have the right of way. This puts vulnerable pedestrians at risk. This residential neighborhood has a high amount of pedestrian traffic as adults, children, and pets travel on foot.
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Police stopped 34 people during a ‘crosswalk enforcement mission’: Here’s what they got cited for

Posted on January 25th, 2019 at 1:29 pm.

East Glisan at 134th Place.

The City of Portland recently conducted one of their regularly scheduled “crosswalk enforcement missions” (a.k.a. traffic stings) on Northeast Glisan at 134th Place. Portland Police Bureau officers made about one stop every three minutes during the 90-minute mission and handed out a mix of citations and warnings for everything from careless driving to failure to wear a seatbelt.
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Collision on SE Ankeny at 24th sends bike rider to the hospital

Posted on April 13th, 2018 at 1:57 pm.

View westbound on Ankeny right before 24th.

At around 8:30 am this morning a man was biking westbound on Ankeny when he was involved in a collision with someone driving an SUV.

The report first came from Facebook from someone who says they saw it happen. Here’s the account I was flagged on:

“Just saw someone in SUV Traveling at around 30 mph roll the stop sign on SE 24th Street and Ankeny (which is a designated bikeway) and hit a guy on a bike. The guy on his bike was headed west on Ankeny and had the right of way ( no stop sign). He was thrown about 15 feet. I called 911 and the ambulance and cops arrived within 5 minutes. The young man on the bike looks like he has a broken leg and wrist. The woman who hit him was sobbing hard as the cop interviewed her. Hitting someone on a bike with your car will mess them up. Please slow down and pay attention in town.”

[Read more…]

Undercover distracted driving sting leads to 107 stops in just 5 hours

Posted on October 13th, 2017 at 2:01 pm.

Like shooting fish in a barrel.
(Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

Just how rampant is dangerous driving and law-breaking among drivers? Our latest example comes from Washington County where sheriff deputies in Aloha went undercover to help educate the public about Oregon’s new hands-free driving law.

In five hours of work they stopped 73 people for violating the new law, passing out 11 citations and 62 warnings.

The Sheriff’s office called it a “non-traditional enforcement mission” (they prefer “mission” instead of sting) because they used undercover deputies. The plainclothes deputies stood on the sidewalk at intersections as “spotters” and would then tip-off other deputies when they saw violations.

Oregon’s new distracted driving law (HB 2597) went into effect October 1st (we have an in-depth post about it from our legal expert Ray Thomas coming Monday). It covers many more behaviors than the old law (which only focused on cell phones) and also applies when you are stopped in traffic.
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Oregon Governor signs anti-profiling bill aimed at racially motivated traffic stops

Posted on August 18th, 2017 at 1:28 pm.

Crosswalk enforcement action NE Killingsworth-6

Starting next year, the Portland Police Bureau will be required to report traffic stop data to the State.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of the many ways race intersects with transportation is with enforcement of traffic laws. National and local statistics show that black people are stopped and cited for road-use related violations at a higher rate than whites.

In their Unequal Justice series, Investigate West reported, “For everything from jaywalking to driving without a license, it pays to be white in Oregon if you run afoul of the law. What you really don’t want to be is black.”

Now there’s an Oregon law on the books that will give advocates and law enforcement officials new tools to analyze traffic stops and ultimately tackle racial profiling — or as Oregon law enforcement officials refer to it, “bias policing.”
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While Rep. Reardon defends victim-blaming PSA, police in his district focus on larger threats

Posted on August 10th, 2017 at 1:25 pm.

SE 136th Press Conference-6

Rep. Jeff Reardon.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon House Representative Jeff Reardon thinks the public service ad campaign he created is just a humorous way to deal with a serious problem.

In a statement to BikePortland that he also posted to his Facebook page, Reardon said, “I am pleased that this public service ad has captured people’s attention. It is a tongue-in-cheek approach to the tragic reality of pedestrian injuries and fatalities.”

But as victims of traffic crashes, advocates for vulnerable road users, and experts in the communications and safety fields from all over the country and the world have pointed out to him in the past two days, the much more serious problem is that our roads are dominated by people in large motor vehicles who have no regard for the safety of others.

On Tuesday, the same day Rep. Reardon launched his campaign, police officers in his district actually did something about the problem.

The Happy Valley Police Department just released a statement about a crosswalk enforcement action they completed on August 8th. The mission specifically targeted automobile users at two high-risk intersections. Police say they were spurred into action by citizen complaints that people’s high-speed driving was putting walkers at risk.[Read more…]

Black man who was thrown off bike and arrested without cause sues City of Portland for $475,000

Posted on May 19th, 2017 at 1:31 pm.

Screenshot of story in The Oregonian.

The Oregonian reports that a northeast Portland man who was tackled off his bike, roughed-up and arrested in 2015 has filed a $475,000 lawsuit against the City of Portland.

An attorney for 23-year-old Anthony James Allen Jr. told The Oregonian her client was arrested without cause simply because he was black. Allen was cycling home from work when the police first made contact with him and began questioning him about an unrelated incident. Here’s more from Allen’s attorney as reported in The Oregonian:

“You need reasonable suspicion,” Albies said. “It can’t just be because ‘I feel like it.’ It can’t just be because ‘You’re black and I want you to do what I want you to do.’ … If that was me on my bike … there’s no way they would have done that. I’m a white woman.”

The lawsuit filed Wednesday (PDF) says that Allen was profiled due to his race. Police were in Allen’s neighborhood because of a shooting that had occurred. Here’s what happened when Allen rolled up on his bike (from the lawsuit):[Read more…]

Police stop 66 people in two hours during inner SE Hawthorne enforcement mission

Posted on January 27th, 2017 at 9:45 am.

Of course people drive dangerously here. The road design encourages it.

How rampant is illegal and dangerous driving in Portland?

In just two hours last night the Portland Police Bureau wrote 43 citations (for 61 separate violations) and handed out 23 written warnings*. The ‘Vision Zero traffic safety mission’ was carried out between 6:00 and 8:00 pm on Southeast Hawthorne Blvd between 12th and Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

In a press statement, the police said, “This area was selected due to numerous community complaints and it is a high traffic area for all road users.”

This section of Hawthorne area is also full of shops, eateries and popular destinations. Despite a motor-vehicle oriented road design that hasn’t changed in decades, inner Hawthorne is one of the most iconic commercial districts in Portland. Just a few blocks east of where this enforcement action took place is the location where 15-year-old Fallon Smart was hit and killed last August while trying to cross at SE 43rd. [Read more…]

On night of protest, police stop 43 people for driving violations on St. Johns Bridge

Posted on November 4th, 2016 at 9:57 am.

Portland Police Sgt. Ty Engstrom on the St. Johns Bridge last night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

On the same night hundreds of community members took over the lanes on the St. Johns Bridge for a solemn memorial and protest event, the Portland Police Bureau was doing their part to raise awareness of safety issues.

The Traffic Division is stationed right at the eastern end of the bridge and they took advantage of their presence on last night’s ride to conduct an enforcement action — a.k.a. “traffic safety mission”. The bureau also said the recent death of Mitch York was a key motivator of this action.

The result: According to a police bureau statement they made 43 stops in just two hours. 30 citations were written and they made 13 warnings. The violations were “numerous” but predominantly for speeding. One person was arrested for driving on a suspended license.

Imagine if we did more enforcement like this and Joel Schrantz — the man driving with a suspended license who lost control of his vehicle and killed Mitch York on Saturday — was arrested before he had a chance to commit that tragic act of violence?
[Read more…]