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.
[Read more…]

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.”
[Read more…]

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)

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…]

Police write 31 tickets, 34 warnings and make two arrests in enforcement mission

Posted on September 6th, 2016 at 2:21 pm.

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-4

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Our roads are so full of dangerous and irresponsible vehicle operators that finding them is usually as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

Case in point: In response to a spate of collisions caused by reckless and illegal driving, the Portland Police Bureau decided to conduct a traffic safety mission on Friday night. For two hours between 7:00 and 9:00 pm they patrolled the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Grand Avenue couplet between the Ross Island Bridge and Broadway.

In those two hours they wrote 31 traffic citations and 34 warnings. They also arrested two people — one for driving under the influence and another person for outstanding warrants.[Read more…]

Portland Police announce extra patrols after rise in fatal crashes

Posted on April 1st, 2016 at 8:49 am.

Chief O'Dea

Chief O’Dea is not messing around.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is not an April Fools post.

The Portland Police Bureau has seen enough. After a troubling spate of fatal crashes on Portland roads, the bureau announced this morning they’ll be doing additional traffic enforcement citywide.

Yesterday’s morning fatal collision on SE Powell Boulevard was the 12th so far this year. That’s up from seven last year at this time. The PPB sends out their Major Crash Team — a special unit that includes experts in crash reconstruction and analysis — each time there’s a fatal or serious injury collision. A statement released by the PPB this morning says that the unit averages about 14 cases in the first three months of the year. However in 2016, they’ve already responded to 23 fatal or serious injury crashes.

PPB Chief Larry O’Dea, a former commander of the Traffic Division, said he’s making the announcement “in response to this devasting series of events.”
[Read more…]

Police write 15 citations for illegal driving during Clinton enforcement action

Posted on February 11th, 2016 at 3:38 pm.

SE Clinton 2.10.16 1

Two users of Clinton Street during yesterday’s enforcement action.
(Photo: Felicity J. Mackay, Portland Bureau of Transportation)

All 15 of the citations written by the Portland Police Bureau during Wednesday’s traffic enforcement action on Southeast Clinton Street were given to people who failed to obey traffic laws while driving their cars.
[Read more…]

Police and transportation bureaus team up for enforcement on SE Clinton tomorrow (2/10)

Posted on February 9th, 2016 at 5:44 pm.

SE Clinton traffic diversion project-6

Last month an officer jumped into harm’s way to
stop someone from driving the wrong way through
a recently installed semi-diverter on SE Clinton.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland will return to Southeast Clinton street for more traffic law enforcement tomorrow morning — one month after installing diverters aimed in calming down traffic. The last time they sent police officers to this area it was to deal with complaints about unsafe driving on what is supposed to be a neighborhood street that prioritizes cycling and walking.

They ended up pulling over 60 people and writing 35 citations for a variety of offenses. We heard several complaints from the community that the police officers assigned to the mission weren’t positioned in a way that allowed them to see the unsafe passing many people are concerned about. Now a lot has changed on Clinton since the Bureau of Transportation installed two new traffic diverters last month: one at SE 32nd and the other at 17th. While we’ve heard reports that biking conditions have improved on the street since the diverters went in, we have also heard that some people still drive dangerously through the diverter at 32nd, which is only a semi-diverter and leaves open the possibility of driving in a zig-zag through it.
[Read more…]