City of Portland will pay $395,000 settlement in case of teen killed crossing Hawthorne

Memorial for Fallon Smart in August 2016.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The family of a 15-year-old Cleveland High School student who was killed while crossing Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard in 2016 will be paid $395,000 by the City of Portland. The settlement comes from a lawsuit filed by the Estate of Fallon Smart. The suit alleged wrongful death and negligence from the Portland Bureau of Transportation based on conditions at the intersection of Hawthorne and SE 43rd.

The tragic death of this young Portlander and the maddening circumstances surrounding the man who killed her are blights our city will never fully recover from; but this relatively rare and large payment by PBOT could be a positive sign that road agencies will take more responsibility to keep our streets safe.

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The Oregonian: Saudi government helped Fallon Smart’s killer flee the US

The Oregonian reported on Monday that the Saudi Arabian government was actively involved in helping Abdulrahman Noorah flee the United States and circumvent justice for his role in the death of 15-year old Fallon Smart.

Noorah is the man who drove recklessly down Southeast Hawthorne Blvd in August 2016 and struck Smart as she tried to cross at 43rd Avenue.

Almost immediately after we first reported on this horrific tragedy, many in the community predicted Noorah would evade authorities. He was in Portland on a student visa living off a monthly stipend paid for by the Saudi government. On June 12th, 2017 just before his scheduled trial, Noorah removed his GPS monitoring device and went missing. That wasn’t surprising to prosecutors or Smart’s family — both of whom considered Noorah a major flight risk. He would likely have still been in custody if the Saudi government hadn’t paid off $100,000 of his $1 million bail.

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Man who killed Fallon Smart with his car is on the run from authorities

Abdulrahman Noorah is wanted by authorities. Please be on the lookout.

Abdulrahman Noorah, the 21 year-old man who hit Fallon Smart with his car by speeding recklessly down Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard in August 2016, is wanted by the authorities this morning after removing his GPS monitoring device.

Noorah was on house arrest awaiting trial on several felony warrants. He is charged with Reckless Driving, Failure to perform duties of a driver (hit-and-run), Manslaughter in the First Degree and three counts of Reckless Endangerment. Noorah posted $100,000 bail (10 percent of the full amount) after his arrest last August and had been enlisted in the Multnomah County Sheriff Department’s Pretrial Services Program.

Crimestoppers Oregon announced yesterday that Noorah had removed his electronic monitoring device over the weekend. Here’s more from the official notice:

Investigators are concerned that Noorah may be experiencing a mental health crisis as a result of the arrest and pending trial.

Noorah is described as a Saudi Arabian male, 6’0″ tall, and 150 pounds. His last known location was in the area of Southeast 106th Avenue and Division Street.

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First look at PBOT’s new crossing of Hawthorne at 43rd – UPDATED

What if this was in place on August 19th 2016 when Fallon Smart tried to cross here?
(Photos: Paul Jeffery)

As promised last fall, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has updated Southeast Hawthorne Blvd with a new painted crosswalk and median island at the intsersection of 43rd Avenue. In addition to the new crossing, PBOT has received permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on Hawthorne between 29th and 50th to 20 miles per hour (down from 25).

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PBOT will install permanent crosswalk and median island at site of Fallon Smart’s death

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Coming soon: A permanent refuge island and crosswalk installed by the City of Portland.(Photo: Paul Jeffery)
Coming soon: A permanent refuge island and crosswalk installed by the City of Portland.
(Photo: Paul Jeffery)

Ending weeks of emotional back-and-forth between transportation reform activists, neighbors and the City of Portland; the Bureau of Transportation confirmed with us this morning they plan to install a permanent crosswalk and a median island on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard at 43rd.

This is the intersection 15-year-old Fallon Smart was walking across on August 19th when a man recklessly and illegally drove his car into her and killed her. It’s also a stretch of Hawthorne that local residents and business owners have complained about for many years; because despite being a bustling main street filled with popular destinations there are no marked crosswalks for eight full blocks (between 41st and 48th).

Just days after Smart was hit the community made a presence at this intersection with their own bodies and a variety of objects. They had one goal: Slow people down so that a tragedy like this never happens again. The intersection became filled with a mix of memorial items like flowers, signs and photos; and guerrilla traffic-calming devices like a orange traffic cones and an unsanctioned crosswalk. The center turn lane used by Abdulrahman Noorah to speed passed someone who had stopped to let Smart cross was effectively closed.

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PBOT removes Hawthorne memorial, responds to Clinton crosswalk controversy

The center turn lane on Hawthorne at 43rd is now available for driving on after PBOT removed a makeshift memorial last night.(Photo: PDX Transformation/Twitter)
The center turn lane on Hawthorne at 43rd is now available for driving on after PBOT removed a makeshift memorial last night.
(Photo: Paul Jeffery)

Last night under the cover of darkness City of Portland transportation bureau crews cleared out the cones, signs, candles, photos and flowers that had created a traffic calming memorial to Fallon Smart on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard.

The makeshift memorial in the center turn lane at the intersection of 43rd Avenue had grown from a few flowers on August 19th to a memorial so large that it closed Hawthorne’s center turn lane. In fact, closing the lane was a secondary and symbolic goal of the memorial — since it was that center lane that allowed Abdulrahman Noorah* to speed recklessly past another driver (who had stopped) just before he hit and killed the 15-year-old Smart.

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Letter to the Editor: Why won’t the City work with us on Hawthorne memorial?

Fallon Smart Memorial Ride-23.jpg

A man swerved around a stopped car and was speeding in this center turn lane on Hawthorne Boulevard prior to hitting Fallon Smart. The City of Portland plans to clear out the makeshift memorial that has prohibited people from driving in the lane for the past month.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This post was written by Katherine White as a letter to the community in response to news that the City of Portland plans to clear out the memorial where Fallon Smart died sometime this week. White is the program coordinator at One With Heart, a martial arts studio located adjacent to the 43rd and Hawthorne intersection.


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Memorial, guerrilla traffic calming on Hawthorne has unknown future

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
The intersection of SE Hawthorne at 43rd. PBOT intends to clear this out next week.(Photos: Paul Jeffery)
The intersection of SE Hawthorne at 43rd where Fallon Smart was killed one month ago. PBOT intends to clear this out next week.
(Photos: Paul Jeffery)

Much of the impact Fallon Smart’s death has had on our community has been emotional. It has bonded citizens and activists together. Combined with other recent tragedies, it has created a deeper sense of urgency to improve street safety — and a growing frustration at the slow pace of change — among many of us.

But Smart’s death has also left something physical and tangible. Hours after the tragedy, someone painted an unsanctioned crosswalk across Hawthorne at 43rd. Along with the crosswalk, signs and traffic cones sprouted up in the center turn lane that was used recklessly by Smart’s speeding killer.

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A life lost too soon: Photos and thoughts from the Fallon Smart memorial ride

Fallon Smart Memorial Ride-42.jpg

Hawthorne Boulevard was open only to mourners of Fallon Smart during tonight’s memorial.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland failed Fallon Smart.

The bright and beautiful girl of just 15 years died on August 19th while walking across Hawthorne Boulevard. The person who killed her was driving 55-60 mph — more than twice the posted speed limit — and swerved around a stopped car just before impact.

This tragic event has shaken a large part of our community to the core. After a week of protests and visits to the scene of this tragic crime, a memorial ride returned to the site tonight.

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Fallon Smart’s death, a heart-wrenching reality check, has sparked protests and support

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Hawthorne and 43rd-2.jpg

Fallon Smart’s family and friends, concerned members of our community and transportation reform activists have left their mark on the intersection at SE Hawthorne and 43rd.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The death of Fallon Smart has torn our community apart. A potent mixture of how she was killed (run over by a dangerous man who used his car as a deadly weapon while she legally walked across a street), where she was killed (a stretch of Hawthorne you might see in a tourism brochure), and who she was (by all accounts a bright, giving and creative 15-year-old who attended a nearby high school), has led to multiple protests, heated online debates, an outpouring of support for her grieving family, and a much-needed dose of reality on Portland’s back-patting path to “Vision Zero.”

Whenever someone dies in a traffc collision, it has an impact on the community; but every once in a while a fatality will spark something larger. Smart’s death appears to have done that. But strangely, while citizens and grassroots activists have mobilized, there’s a deafening silence from City Hall.

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