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15-year-old clings to life after being hit by a driver near north Portland school – UPDATED

15-year-old clings to life after being hit by a driver near north Portland school – UPDATED

The intersection of Columbia and Midway. George Middle School is on the left in the background.

The intersection of Columbia and Midway. George Middle School is on the left in the background.

Despite pleas from the police to slow down due to the start of the school year, there has already been a major collision and a 15-year-old boy is clinging to life.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, the crash happened at around 7:45 am this morning at North Columbia Boulevard and Midway — right across the street from George Middle School. The Oregonian has confirmed that the boy is an incoming freshman at nearby Roosevelt High School and was headed to his first day of classes.

As you can see in the photos below, Columbia Blvd is a major industrial freight route with a wide, five-lane cross-section. And Midway is at an angled intersection. The street is so dangerous to cross and so close to a school that it has one of those walking bridges that goes up and over it (bridges that planners and engineers often see as symbolic of a failed street). The speed limit is 40 mph at this location. There’s a speed reader board a few tenths of a mile from the collision site which means that PBOT has been trying to slow speeds down in this area.


Here’s more from the PPB about the collision:

Officers and medical personnel arrived and located a 15-year-old male suffering from traumatic injuries. He has been transported to a Portland hospital for treatment to potentially life-threatening injuries.

The driver stopped approximately one block away from the scene then walked back to talk with police.

Due to the severity of the teen’s injuries, the Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team is responding to conduct an investigation.

All traffic on North Columbia Boulevard is closed between North Midway and Burr Avenues.

In the last few days the police have tried to warn the public to be extra careful while driving:

This crash comes just 11 days after 15-year-old Fallon Smart was hit and killed while trying to cross Hawthorne Boulevard. And on August 10th a Gresham man used his car as a weapon to kill a 19-year-old.

UPDATE, 3:46 pm: Police have just released names and more details:

The 15-year-old male injured in this morning’s crash has been identified as Bradley Fortner of North Portland.

Traffic officers learned that the driver, 28-year-old Natanael Lopez-Castillo of North Portland, was driving a gray 1993 Nissan pickup eastbound on North Columbia Boulevard when he struck Fortner in the roadway. Fortner was crossing from the southside of the street to the northside at the time of the crash. Lopez-Castillo did not exhibit any signs of impairment.

No citations have been issued and Lopez-Castillo was not arrested.

The investigation is continuing and once complete it will be given to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Bicycle rider ticketed for running red light and ‘careless driving’ after injury crash in Lloyd District

Bicycle rider ticketed for running red light and ‘careless driving’ after injury crash in Lloyd District

View southbound on 15th with eastbound Weidler traffic on the right.

View southbound on 15th with eastbound Weidler traffic on the right.

Here’s something you don’t hear about very often. In fact, I don’t recall this ever happening…

According to the Portland Police Bureau 50-year-old Donna Leslie was biking south on NE 15th this morning at about 7:15 am and was involved in a collision when she attempted to cross NE Weidler (map). 49-year-old David Kennedy was driving his car eastbound and police say he had the green light prior to the crash.

Leslie, a City of Portland employee who works in the Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau, was transported to the hospital via ambulance. The extent of her injuries are unknown at this time but police say they’re not expected to be life-threatening.

After hearing about this crash on Twitter, we followed up with PPB Spokesman Peter Simpson. Simpson said responding officers interviewed witnesses and conducted an investigation. “Multiple witnesses told police that Leslie was riding her bicycle southbound on 15th Avenue and failed to stop at the red light at Weidler,” Simpson shared with us via email. Based on this, officers issued two citations to Leslie: one for Careless Driving (with a crash, ORS 811.135) and one for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device.

The citation come with presumptive fines of $435 and $110 respectively. If you’re curious how someone could get a “careless driving” citation while biking, check the language of the statute (emphasis mine): “A person commits the offense of careless driving if the person drives any vehicle upon a highway or other premises described in this section in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.” Police cited Leslie at the scene because they don’t suspect any possible criminal charges and the case is not being forwarded to the District Attorney.

NE 15th is a key bike route through the Lloyd District that connects the Broadway corridor and northeast neighborhoods to the Lloyd District and destinations south of I-84. Just one block south of where this collision happened is where PBOT is slated to make has made major biking and walking upgrades to improve access to NE Multnomah.

It’s extremely rare for an injury collision involving a bike and auto user to result in citations for the bike rider — especially when the offending road user is also the only one that was seriously injured.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Left-hook collision on Williams Avenue sends woman to the hospital

Left-hook collision on Williams Avenue sends woman to the hospital


The scene of the crash. George was taken to hospital with what police describe as “non-life-threatening” injuries.
(Photos: Josh Berezin)

Sorry to be the bearer of more bad news, but there’s been another traffic collision that sent a person to the hospital.


It happened at 4:45 pm on Thursday at the intersection of North Williams and Emerson, just one block south of Killingsworth (map). This incident has not been reported by the Portland Police Bureau but after receiving several tips from people who saw the aftermath we confirmed it with police this morning.

According to the police, 52-year-old Lisa George was riding northbound on Williams Avenue. As she approached Emerson (one block south of Killingsworth) 50-year-old Hassan Somow made a sudden left-turn into the bike lane. Somow was driving a Mazda mini-van.

First responders and police arrived on scene and tended to George’s injuries at the northwest corner of the intersection. As you can see from the photos taken at the scene by BikePortland subscriber Josh Berezin, George’s body and bike hit the front left quarter-panel of the mini-van. The impact dented the car and broke out the headlight. Somow was given a citation for Careless driving (ORS 811.135) and Failure to yield to rider on bicycle lane (ORS 811.050).

Because this crash involves a legally defined “vulnerable user of a public way” Somow will be ordered to appear in court, do 100-200 hours of community service or pay a fine of $12,500.


Somow is in green on the left. George is on the ground.

George was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital with what police say were “non-life-threatening” injuries. We’ve heard from a source that she was taken to the Intensive Care Unit and we’re waiting for a call-back from hospital staff about her current condition. George is well-known in the community through her participation in Oregon Bicycle Racing Association events and membership on the Sweetpea Ladies Auxiliary cycling team.


Northbound on Williams just before Emerson. The bike lane is on the left.

Williams in this location is one-way and has four lanes: two auto-parking lanes, one standard lane, and one bike-only lane.

Given the time of the collision and based on what witnesses have told us, the standard lane was backed-up with bumper-to-bumper traffic. It’s unknown why Somow made a careless left-turn; but as someone who rides this road weekly I often see people abruptly turn left to get out of traffic and find a quicker way to their destination by using sidestreets.

This warm and dry weather seems to have made the roads much more crowded and there are many more people riding bikes than just a few weeks ago. Please be extra careful out there.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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The latest on two separate injury bicycle crashes in North Portland

The latest on two separate injury bicycle crashes in North Portland


Brian Duncan was seriously injured while trying to cross Rosa Parks at Delaware last night. This is the view looking westbound just before the intersection.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Since Sunday night we’ve been following two crashes that involve people who were riding bicycles in north Portland. The first happened late Sunday night (3/27) at North Lombard and Jordan Avenue. The most recent one happened just last night on North Rosa Parks Way at Delaware. Here’s the latest information we have on both of them…

Several readers contacted us Sunday night after seeing a posting on Nextdoor about a hit-and-run just after 10:00 pm near Darcy’s Cafe on Lombard (map). People were posting about a man that was hit and seriously injured by someone driving a blue Honda who then “backed up and sped away from the scene.” However, according to Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson, that might not be what happened.

Simpson confirmed with us today that there was indeed a man who was biking and had been injured when officers arrived. He was ultimately transported to the hospital with “non-life-threatening injuries to his hands and a cheek.” How he got that way is unknown at this time. Simpson says officers who talked to people in the area could not confirm he was hit by anyone and that he appeared to have fallen on his own. “Officers noted that the bicycle rider smelled strongly of alcoholic beverage and had slurred speech,” Simpson wrote in an email to BikePortland. “Several people in the area said that they did not see him hit by anyone, only that he was down on the ground. His bicycle did not have any damage consistent with being hit by a driver. The bicycle rider, 48-year-old Timothy Malone, said he’d been drinking at a bar and didn’t remember anything else.”

“Based on the investigation,” Simpson wrote, “officers do not believe he was hit by a driver and that he likely crashed due to his intoxication.”

Lombard in this section is a state highway (30) that has five lanes: two auto parking lanes, two standard lanes and a center turn lane. Here’s the streetview looking toward Jordan:


View eastbound on Lombard at Jordan.

The other crash happened last night at around 7:20 pm in the intersection of Rosa Parks and Delaware (map). Police say 36-year-old Brian Duncan of North Portland was crossing N Delaware in the crosswalk and with a green light when he was struck. The person who drove their car into him is 84-year-old Louis Hellbusch, also of North Portland. Here’s the official statement from police:

“Officers learned that Hellbusch was driving a white 2005 Mercury Marquis westbound on North Rosa Parks Way approaching Delaware Avenue and a red light. Hellbusch continued driving and failed to stop for the red light, striking Duncan in the crosswalk.”

As is standard practice, the police did not issue any citations or make an arrest at the scene because the investigation is ongoing and the case is in the hands of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. Once the DA has determined whether or not there is any criminal wrongdoing on the part of Hellbusch, they will return the case to the police so they can decide whether or not to cite. We are also in touch with Duncan’s brother-in-law who says he’s in stable condition “but his injuries are severe.”

Rosa Parks in this location has seven lanes: two parking lanes, two bike lanes, two standard lanes and a center turn lane. It’s a major east-west thoroughfare in the area for both cycling and driving. The intersection with Delaware is very well-marked because it’s in a school zone. There are signals, zebra-striped crosswalks, and caution signage prior to the intersection. I visited the site this morning to take a closer look. Below is the view Duncan would have had, looking southbound on Delaware at Rosa Parks:


Southbound on Delaware at Rosa Parks, the direction Duncan was traveling prior to the collision.

Pieces of Mr. Hellbusch’s grill are still littering the roadway in the northwest corner of the intersection:


Stay tuned for any further updates.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Portland’s “pedestrian problem” is not going away

Portland’s “pedestrian problem” is not going away


Crosswalk on Division between 142nd and 143rd.

There’s been yet another crash in Portland involving a vulnerable road user. It marks a very troubling start to 2016 that should force the city to do a gut-check about its commitment to Vision Zero.

Back in 2014 they did one of their crosswalk enforcement actions at this crosswalk. In just 1.5 hours, the PPB issued 20 citations — six of them for “failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian” and three for “passing stopped vehicle at a crosswalk.”

The latest tragedy on our streets happened yesterday at around 6:40 pm. According to the Portland Police Bureau, 36-year-old Evan Agrella was walking southbound when he entered the marked, mid-block crosswalk on SE Division between 142nd and 143rd. There are two standard vehicle lanes in this location. Argrella stepped into the first lane after drivers slowed and stopped for him. Unfortunately someone in the next lane failed to stop their car in time and struck him. As a result of this illegal and unsafe driving behavior, Argrella remains in the hospital with “traumatic, life-threatening injuries.”

Police say officers who responded to the crash believe one of the contributing factors was, “the bright, setting sun that was directly in front of Lovric [the driver] as she drove westbound on Division Street.” Unfortunately, in their official media statement about the crash, the PPB didn’t mention that failure to stop for someone in a crosswalk is a clear violation of Oregon law. Sun glare is a serious safety issue, but it should never be referred to in the context of absolving a person from the responsibility to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. There were many factors present that should have resulted in this driver either stopping or slowing to a crawl: the sun glare; the presence of a crosswalk, median island and caution signage; and the fact that vehicles in the adjacent lane had stopped and their brake lights would have been on.

This stretch of Division is well-known to the City of Portland. Back in 2014 they did one of their crosswalk enforcement actions at this crosswalk. In just 1.5 hours, the PPB issued 20 citations — six of them for “failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian” and three for “passing stopped vehicle at a crosswalk.”


A recent screenshot of my inbox shows a troubling frequency of injury and death.

This latest crash should bring even more urgency to PBOT and City Hall to redouble their safety efforts. Despite City Council’s adoption of Vision Zero last summer and considerable institutional focus on achieving it since then, Portland has had nearly double the fatal crashes compared to this time last year. So far five people have been killed while walking compared to 10 for all of 2015.

Activists are using this unfortunate spike to call attention to the need to pass a local gas tax to help pay for more infrastructure. In the Portland Tribune today, Kristi Finney Dunn of Families for Safe Streets said, “We’re supporting the measure because we believe these safety improvements need to be made. A lot of people don’t realize how much we need them until it is too late.” Finney Dunn’s son Dustin was killed by a drunk driver on Division in 2011 just up the road from where yesterday’s collision happened.

At the Oregon Active Transportation Summit earlier this month the head of PBOT’s Active Transportation Division Margi Bradway acknowledged that the city is struggling to improve safety for people on foot — despite continued investments in things like crosswalks, flashing beacons, and caution signs. Speaking on a panel about Vision Zero, Bradway said, “We have a pedestrian problem in Portland… They make up 9 percent of road users but are 31 percent of deaths. We are a leader of a lot of things; but we are not a leader on traffic safety.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Dear fellow journalists: This is why you should use #CrashNotAccident

Dear fellow journalists: This is why you should use #CrashNotAccident

fatal accident angle coverage of Saturday’s fatal encounter.

I spent five years in daily newspapers. I get it. Everyone has an axe to grind; it is not your job to grind their axes for them.

When you use the word “accident” in a story about a man who allegedly decided to get drunk and zoom down an East Portland side street in a pickup truck, presumably getting a nice bounce over the speed bumps right before he killed a 17-year old on a bicycle, some people get upset.

Use “crash” or “collision,” they plead. Not “accident.”

I got these comments myself sometimes after I’d worked weekend shifts at my last newspaper, The Columbian, and for years I ignored them.

A weekend evening on most of the nation’s daily newspapers is a bloody routine. More Saturday nights than not, you will end up reporting (remotely, without ever visiting the scenes) brief items about one or more of the approximately 577 people who die every week in traffic collisions across the country.

Sometimes you type “collision.” Sometimes you type “accident.” I never had an editor that cared. No wonder; the AP Stylebook implies they’re equivalent.

Of course nobody gets behind a wheel intending to die or kill, I reasoned. Of course these are accidents. By using language acknowledging the plain fact that the deaths were not deliberate, I am avoiding a jump to conclusions. I am being the grownup here.

Then, finally, I landed on an Active Right of Way email thread with a bunch of people who later became my friends. We were discussing a collision in which a man named Antonio Cellestine had been texting while driving and killed a high school teacher.

One person in the conversation, a safety advocate and professional linguist named Alexis Grant, wrote the explanation that set me straight.

The definition of “accident” is “occurs unintentionally”. The final act may be unintentional, but it can still be a serious crime (manslaughter in this case), and one whose genesis was definitely in choices made by the perpetrator. Cellestine was driving on a suspended license and was texting while driving. Intentionally. Those were his choices, even knowing that he was legally forbidden from driving and that texting while driving is not permitted. He decided to break two laws intended to keep the roads safer. He created circumstances in which his likelihood of hurting or killing others or himself was heightened, circumstances he could have chosen not to create. Calling the result an accident minimizes the agency he had in creating it.

Some traffic collisions are actually accidents. Once in a while, someone dies without anyone having made any decision that significantly contributed to the death.

But here’s the thing: A reporter working on a breaking news story about a traffic fatality has no way of knowing whether a particular crash is an accident or not. It’s the same as using “homicide” instead of “murder” or “fight” instead of “attack.” You weren’t there. You just don’t know.

For journalists, the point of avoiding “accident” is not to advance social justice on the streets. The point is to avoid making an inaccurate assumption.

For journalists, the point of avoiding “accident” is not to advance social justice on the streets. That’s an axe for other people to grind.

The point of avoiding “accident” is to do one’s job: to avoid making an inaccurate assumption.

When you are listening to a police scanner in a cubicle late at night, or standing in the rain beside a yellow police ribbon, or interviewing a police sergeant the next day, you simply do not have enough facts to know what choices might have contributed to the collision. You do not know if the collision was purely an accident, and you should not presume that it was.

“Crash” is more accurate. It’s shorter, too. Just write “crash.”

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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Hit by Uber driver? Portlander watches as car that hit him drives off

Hit by Uber driver? Portlander watches as car that hit him drives off

Park Blocks 5

SW Park Street, a bit south of the incident described.
(Photo: Marilyn M)

Here’s a troubling incident that doesn’t directly involve a bike, but certainly could have.

Less than a month after Portland became one of the first cities to legalize Internet-based ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, it calls into question the street culture that such services could be creating.

According to a local lawyer, it seems to qualify as a hit-and-run. Police are declining to investigate.

Here’s the account from reader John E. (emphases mine):

Walking to work going East on Alder St, I came to the intersection of Park and Alder about 8:00 AM. Park is a single lane street with parking on both sides. As I get close Car 1 pulls up to the stop sign and is going to turn right and stops. Car 2 (Uber) pulls up next to it as if it is going straight and stops to the side of Car 1 but slightly further back. The two cars are side by side stopped where the red truck in the attached picture is. Both are stopped and traffic is coming from the same direction as me so I start to cross the crosswalk and then Car 2 makes a move as if to attempt to block the view of Car 1. The driver of Car 2 was staring down the driver of Car 1 and seemed irritated with him. In doing so he was looking the wrong direction and moved about a 2 feet forward and struck my right knee hard enough he knew he hit something as he looked panicked but again, I’m okay.

Right after being hit I was a little panicked and my first reaction (later regretted due to a sore hand) was I smacked the hood. I quickly passed through the intersection to get to a safe spot. The driver rolled down his window apologizing but I was angry, scared, panicked, disturbed and really just not sure what to do. I knew I wasn’t hurt so I thought about starting to walk the next 2 blocks to work and then saw that the car was driving past me and never looked over at me so I just kept walking towards work. The driver was a white male about 30 years old (give or take 5 years). I know it was an Uber due to the U sticker in the front windshield. I wished I would have gotten the license plates but it all happened so fast. I went back to the spot and the hotel at that intersection said they had cameras that might have caught it but their facilities person was on medical leave and no one else could help. Macy’s down the street had a camera facing the street but they refused to help unless the police requested it. So I went to the police station and they laughed me off since I wasn’t hurt and told me “good luck.” I didn’t notice if anyone was in the backseat and am not sure if a pickup or dropoff just happened.

Uber sent me an credited me $25 which I wasn’t seeking or had asked for. It was kind but would have been insulting had I actually been hurt. The reason I reached out in the first place was only to try to report the driver so they could hopefully remove bad drivers like that from the road (or at least their employment). I honestly didn’t even expect any response from Uber but was glad they at least responded to say they would investigate it. At this point I’m more upset with the response from the Portland Police but from your website and some others I’ve read it sounds like that is the norm.

John is definitely right about that last bit, at least. In most circumstances, Portland police won’t consider issuing a citation, let alone an investigation, unless an ambulance ride is involved.

But there’s also supposed to be an exception for hit-and-run cases.

Note that despite John’s hunch, it’s not certain that this person was on the job driving for Uber, or even if this is the same person who sometimes uses that car to drive for Uber; all we know is that there was an Uber sticker in the window.

Also, this was admittedly a slightly ambiguous situation: even John describes himself as not “hurt.” But according to lawyer Charley Gee of the local firm Swanson, Thomas, Coon and Newton, this probably qualifies as a hit and run under Oregon law.

Since violation of ORS 811.705 Failure to perform duties of driver to injured persons is a felony the appellate courts have interpreted the statute to have a knowingly mens rea (criminal mental state) which is the highest intent to prove. The main case on hit and run is State v. Corpuz 49 Or App 811 (1980), which found that the state must prove the driver knowingly committed hit and run (as in they knew they hit someone and left) but also includes the following:

“The burden is on the driver involved in an accident to stay at the scene and verify that no one was hurt or in need of assistance or to risk severe penalty. We decline to put the burden on the state to prove that a driver knew another person was injured. The state need only prove that defendant knew, or prove circumstances from which it can be inferred that he knew, he was involved in an accident which was likely to have resulted in injury or death to another person.”

State v. Corpuz, 49 Or. App. 811, 820, 621 P.2d 604, 609 (1980).

So in this matter, if the collision was one where a reasonable person would consider likely to have resulted in an injury, then the driver needed to stay at the scene and affirmatively verify that the victim was not hurt. Just looking out your car window and seeing the fact that the person walking is not immobile after the collision is not sufficient.

So if John’s description is accurate, this seems to have been a felony that no one is willing to do anything about.

Uber hasn’t responded to an emailed request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

The real question in this incident isn’t about liability or even criminal activity per se. It’s about whether it’s socially acceptable to cruise away after causing an incident like that. And though it’s unquestionably true that this sort of thing happens regularly in Portland, it may make sense for someone — the police, Uber, someone — to hold commercial drivers to a higher standard.

For the moment, we’re glad John is OK, and we’re not looking forward to the next version of this story that we might hear.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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Three secrets hidden in Metro’s great new map of every local traffic collision

Three secrets hidden in Metro’s great new map of every local traffic collision

metro area collisions

Every reported traffic collision in the Metro area, 2007-2013.
(Source: Metro Crash Map)

Last spring, the City of Portland created a fantastic new map of every fatality and major injury on its records for a decade. Now, regional government Metro has followed suit with a similar map that includes many other cities and unincorporated areas, too.

It’s not just an essential tool for understanding the context of future traffic collisions. (Should we be arguing about the specific circumstances of collision X, or does something seem to be inherently wrong with the street it happened on?) It’s also a source of some useful insights about road safety in Portland.

Half of reported collisions damage only property, not people’s bodies
property damage only

Reported collisions involving any mode that damaged property but didn’t cause injury.

The sheer amount of damage we do to physical objects by banging into them while going about our business is often forgotten.

When we talk about the cost of our road system, we don’t measure this. When AAA estimates the annual costs of car ownership, this isn’t included. (In AAA’s imaginary world, every new-car dealership would be thriving and every mechanic would be broke.) But when a car hits something, you can bet that someone is going to end up paying for it, no matter how rich or poor they are and what other more useful things they’d rather do with that money.

According to Metro’s statistics (visible in the upper left of their map if you check the various boxes), 53 percent of reported traffic collisions cause only property damage, and cars were the only vehicles involved in 99.77 percent of them.

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There are lots of crashes downtown, but very few fatalities

Traffic fatalities involving any mode, 2007-2013.

If you look only at fatalities in Metro’s map, the big downtown Portland blob disappears. Why?

The blob is there on the other maps not because downtown is dangerous, but because downtown gets lots of traffic. But if the blob vanishes for fatalities, that means that downtown is an extremely nonlethal area despite so many people coming and going.

What’s going on?

One of the less appreciated principles of Vision Zero as it was developed in Sweden is that in order to decrease fatalities and life-changing injuries, you sometimes need to increase the risk of non-fatal crashes.

That’s why things like narrowing traffic lanes, putting objects in the street and planting trees along curbs, which might have struck a 20th century traffic engineer as “dangerous,” can actually be good from a Vision Zero perspective. All of those measures make people more nervous about driving fast … so they don’t drive fast. Which is the single most important way to reduce fatalities and life-changing injuries.

Sometimes someone screws up, and sometimes they cause a collision. But if traffic is generally slower-moving, then the increased risk of a low-speed collision is a good price to pay for decreased risk of a high-speed one. At least, that’s the argument.

This map implies that if streets throughout the metro area looked more like streets in downtown Portland — short blocks, narrow lanes, ubiquitous jaywalking — we’d all be much, much safer.

Alcohol is involved in twice as many major car-car collisions as major bike-car collisions
alcohol-related fatalities and visible injuries

Alcohol-related collisions that resulted in fatalities or visible injuries, 2007-2013.

Drunkenness (by either party or by both) is a much bigger factor in car-on-car collisions that caused death or serious injury (15 percent of such collisions) than in car-bike collisions that caused death or serious injury (6.4 percent of such collisions).

This is where the phrase “vulnerable road user” comes from. Impaired judgment and reflexes are often needed to seriously injure someone inside a collapsible steel box. Not so with someone on a bike.

People are vulnerable road users while walking, too, and Metro’s stats show that alcohol is involved with fully 28 percent of major car-on-pedestrian collisions. Presumably that’s because drunk walking is so common — much more common than drunk driving or biking. And though all such fatalities are horrible and drunk walking is often a bad idea, it’s actually a great thing that drunk walking is so much more common than drunk vehicle use.

There are lots of other insights, many of them locally specific, to be gained from a project like this. Feel free to share others below.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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Community rallies after hit-and-run leaves man with severe facial injuries

Community rallies after hit-and-run leaves man with severe facial injuries


Fundraising has begun for Erik Craven.

It happened at SE 59th and Powell this past Sunday night at around 11:30 pm. 45-year-old southeast Portland resident Erik Craven was biking home from work when he was hit by a car. The person driving did not stop and has still not been found.

The driver left Erik lying on the street with severe injuries. With no one around to help and with critical injuries to his face, he dialed 911 himself. “He couldn’t even see his phone through the blood,” his friend Tanyastar Kim shared with us via email today.


59th and Powell (aka State Hwy 26).

The force of the collision, says Tanyastar, “basically broke his face.” Erik has a broken nose, broken upper and lower jaws, mulitple facial fractures (including his eye sockets and forehead) and “lots of stitches.” “He is stable,” she continued via email a few minutes ago, “but it’s not looking good.” Fortunately Erik’s parents are by his side. Unfortunately, Erik does not have health insurance.

Erik is currently at OHSU where he’s scheduled to have lengthy reconstructive surgery on his face at 3:00 pm.

Today Erik’s friends and family are rallying by his side. They are trying to support him as he recovers, raise money for what will be astronomical hospital bills, and find the person who was driving the car.

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While Erik heals, his friends are hanging flyers in the immediate neighborhood in hopes that someone witnessed the collision and can help them figure out what happened. Since no one called the police at the time of the collision (EMTs didn’t call police because they assumed he fell on his own), a report wasn’t made until today. This means the trail on the suspect is likely very cold by this point. We’ve contacted the police and will update this story when we hear any new information. Friends also say they’re in touch with nearby businesses in hopes a security camera has useful footage.

A Gofundme campaign has been started and has raised just over $2,000 toward a $50,000 funding goal.

This is a horribly sad scenario that we’re sorry to have had to cover way too many times over the years.

“Erik is a dear friend,” Tanyastar shared with us today, “whose humor and mischief has brightened many lives and contributed to sore belly laugh muscles on many occasions.”

There are already talks of a benefit event. Stay tuned as we’ll update this post with more information.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Man flees the scene after hitting a woman riding in northeast Portland – UPDATED

Man flees the scene after hitting a woman riding in northeast Portland – UPDATED


Aleah Greene receiving treatment at the scene last night.
(Photo: Brad Biddle)

Portlander Aleah Greene is recovering from her injuries after she was involved in a collision yesterday evening.

At around 6:00 last night Greene was riding her bike at Northeast 13th and Wygant whe she was struck by a man driving a Dodge Caravan. Here’s how Greene remembers it:

“It all happened pretty quick. I was riding down 13th (helmet and lights on), when I got to the intersection of Wygant and started passing through I noticed the white van heading towards me was not stopping and was turning left into/in front of me. I don’t remember seeing a signal. We both had the right of way, no stop signs were run. He just didn’t see me is what he said.

I had split seconds to react so luckily I turned my shoulder into the car when I hit instead of my face/head. I wasn’t thrown thank god, I hit and rolled off and fell to the ground. Most of the impact was to my left outer shin/calf and right inner/top ankle, I have a slight bump on my nose. But it could’ve been much worse so I’m fortunate.”

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Brad Biddle and his wife heard the collision and arrived on the scene right after it happened. Biddle snapped a photo of the man who hit Aleah. Then, as Biddle called 911 he says, “the driver jumped in his car and raced away.”

According to Greene, the man is still on the loose. He’s driving a late 1990s white Dodge caravan with temporary Delaware plates.

Thankfully, Biddle snapped a good photo of the suspect and the police are using it in their investigation. (I’ve decided to not post the photo because the man has not been proven guilty of any crimes.)

We heard from Greene via email just a few minutes ago. She’s feeling pretty sore and has, “gnarly bumps and bruises, and some lightheadedness.” Her bike is totaled and will require $350 to get back on the road. “At that price I’m just going to buy a new bike,” she said. “It was an oldy I bought off craigslist years ago, but I put so much into it over the past 6 years it’s said to see her broken.”

If you have any information about this collision or this vehicle, please call the Portland Police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333 or contact Officer Patrick Johnson via email at

UPDATE, 6:42pm: The suspect has been caught! Here’s what I just read from Ms. Greene:

“I have such good news! We found the guy thanks to the posts you all posted. Turns out the guy lives next door to me, very very strange…. I can’t say again how much I appreciate all that you have done.

Also, I just realized this all came about because one of our readers took action after reading this post. Here’s the comment Rob posted below:

Oddest series of events I’ve ever been in. I saw the Delaware tags, so stopped to take a picture. Then I crossed the next intersection to stop and call the police non-emergency number.

While I was on hold, the Fox-12 News van pulled up. I assumed someone else had called it in, but no it turns out I was in front of the victim’s home and they were there for an interview.

Aleah (the victim) comes out and I give her the phone to talk to the police. In the mean time the drive comes out and the Fox-12 people go and confront him – not surprisingly he runs off.

Anyhow, last I saw the cops were on the their way and the driver was positively identified.

UPDATE: Fox-12 TV was on the scene when it all went down and they talked to Rob. Read their story here

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

The post Man flees the scene after hitting a woman riding in northeast Portland – UPDATED appeared first on