It’s official: No booze on Sauvie Island beaches this summer

The commissioners at today’s meeting.

A very popular riding area north of Portland will be a bit safer this summer.

Today at their meeting in Salem, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Commission voted unanimously to ban alcohol use in the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area from May 1st to September 30th.

The ban comes after a recommendation by ODFW to stem the increase in drunk driving and other alcohol-related arrests and disturbances on Sauvie Island beaches within the boundaries of the wildlife area.

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30-day jail sentence handed down for drunken hit-and-run in SW Portland

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Lisa Vesely after her arrest back in July.

A woman who drove her car recklessly while drunk, then rear-ended two other road users, only to drive away and leave them lying in the street with serious injuries was sentenced to just 30 days in jail on Tuesday.

The incident happened back in July when 32-year old Lisa Vesely was arrested for Assault, DUII, and Reckless Endangerment. Vesely was driving her car east on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway when she swerved into Cameron Duff and Jasmine Zamora. The pair were headed home from training at the Alpenrose Velodrome. Zamora, 30, sustained serious back and neck injuries while Duff, 25, escaped with only cuts and bruises.

Vesely claimed she didn’t even know she hit anyone, yet a police statement at the time said she drove back to the scene of the crime, only to drive away again before being arrested at her home. It’s worth noting that Vesely had a blood alcohol level of .17, which is twice the legal limit.

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Vision 0.08: Why any major safe-streets effort must tackle alcohol

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Scene of fatal crash on SW Barbur Blvd-6

SW Barbur Boulevard: a bad street to
be drunk on by any mode.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

This is a guest opinion piece by A.J. Zelada, a longtime biking and walking advocate who chaired the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee from 2011 to 2013.

Intoxicating amounts of alcohol are at the death scene of 36 percent of walking fatalities and 32 percent of biking deaths.

So why does today’s street safety movement seem to trivialize it?

Last year, I listened to Oregon’s Safe Routes to School manager proclaim new safety issues to protect pedestrians. The ideas were great, but one was missing: She did not mention alcohol at death scenes. Vision Zero is being considered by many cities, including Portland and New York City, as a backbone policy for reducing road deaths. New York City’s new Vision Zero policy has one paragraph about alcohol.

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Beaverton bars top OLCC list of establishments linked to DUII arrests

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DUII arrest notification letters sent from the
OLCC to a Beaverton bar over a two-year span.

According to Metro’s 2012 State of Safety report, driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) is the single largest contributing factor to fatal traffic collisions in the region. People who have too much to drink (or get impaired by drugs) and try to operate a car are responsible for 57% of all road fatalities region-wide.

While the drunk driving problem is relatively well-known among safety advocates and even the general public, what’s not often talked about are the restaurants and bars that serve the alcohol in the first place. Oregon law (ORS 471.412) states that a liquor license holder, “may not allow a person to consume or to continue to consume alcoholic beverages on the licensed premises after observing that the person is visibly intoxicated.”

Despite that law, police officers in the Portland region arrest hundreds of people each year who name the specific bar they came from prior to being pulled over. The names of those bars are then sent to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), which keeps a running tally of the totals and ranks the worst offenders.

Now a local lawyer, Scott Kocher of Forum Law Group, is bringing attention to the establishments in the OLCC database. Kocher provided us with several years of the OLCC’s “Top Ten” lists that ranks each establishment in their license database (over 5,300 bars and restaurants in the Portland metro region) by how many DUI arrests they are linked to each year.

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