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

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

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?







And imagine if we designed our roads in such a way that we needed less enforcement. Despite the fact that nearly everyone drives over the speed limit on the St. Johns Bridge, so far the Oregon Department of Transportation has done nothing to address it. This past week I’ve been researching the fateful decisions they made in 2002 to maintain the four, 10-foot standard vehicle lane configuration we have today. As early as 2001 local planners and engineers were pointing out that the bridge was a dangerous thoroughfare where illegal speeding was rampant.

Chart from 2002 PBOT document showing 85th percentile speeds over St. Johns Bridge.

Chart from 2002 PBOT document showing 85th percentile speeds over St. Johns Bridge.

One document that presented several different lane configuration options included a chart of the 85th percentile speeds in 2002. The 85th percentile speed is what engineers use to set speed limits (an absurd practice that should be abolished, but that’s a different conversation). It means that 85 percent of people drive at or below the speed and 15 percent go faster.

As you can see in the chart, in 2002 all most of the traffic was going above the posted speed limit — with people in cars choosing to drive 9-12 miles above the limit.

Perhaps it’s time for ODOT to consider taking measures to reduce speeds on the bridge? Photo radar cameras would help, as would reconfiguring the lanes or perhaps adding rumble strips on the span.

Expecting the police to enforce speeding 24/7 is ridiculous. We must begin to change driving behaviors and more humane road design is a great place to start.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Sheriff’s office blames deceased victim in early morning collision near Stayton

Sheriff’s office blames deceased victim in early morning collision near Stayton

The scene on Shaff Road SE near Stayton this morning.(Photo: Marion County Sheriff's Office)

The scene on Shaff Road SE near Stayton this morning.
(Photo: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

A person was killed this morning while bicycling on a rural road just east of Stayton, a small town about sixty miles south of Portland.

We don’t always cover fatal bicycle collisions so far away from the Portland metro area; but the statement about this one just released by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office deserves a closer look. The language used in the statement shows how far Oregon law enforcement agencies have to go to create a culture around traffic deaths that is in line with Vision Zero principles.

According to the Marion County Sheriff’s office, the collision occurred when someone driving a motor vehicle hit a bicycle rider from behind. Read their official statement (released just two and-a-half hours after the collision) and think about how the language paints the relative culpability of each party:

Around 6:30 a.m., this morning, deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office were called to a vehicle versus bicyclist crash on Shaff Road SE near Rainwater Road SE near Stayton. When deputies arrived they found a single vehicle had struck a bicyclist killing the cyclist instantly.

Early indications show that the cyclist was traveling east on Shaff Road when an eastbound minivan struck the bicycle. The area the crash took place has very little shoulder and no lighting. At the time of the crash it was dark, rainy and the cyclist was wearing dark clothing and no light on the bicycle.

The driver of the vehicle remained on the scene and is cooperating with investigators. Identities of the involved will be released once the appropriate notifications have been made. Shaff Road was closed for 2 hours while investigators processed the scene, Shaff Road has now reopened for regular traffic.

When this information is absorbed by the public via the local media — most of whom simply reprint these statements verbatim without telling the audience they’re doing so — what do you think the takeaways are?

The Sheriff’s Office statement goes out of its way to make excuses for the auto user and creates the perception that the bicycle user was acting irresponsibly. A culture where driving is the dominant paradigm interprets a statement like this as something like, “Well, that bicyclist had it coming. They really ought to stay off those dangerous roads.”







Let’s be clear: There is no Oregon law against riding in the dark, riding in the rain, riding to the left of the fog line (especially when there’s no shoulder to ride in), or wearing dark clothing. Oregon law also says you don’t need a rear light (only a rear reflector). Despite the fact that the bicycle rider appears to have been operating legally on the roadway, this statement unfairly creates an aura of guilt around one party while creating sympathy for the other.

This orientation of supportive language around the person operating the motor vehicle, combined with the tone of blame used to describe the actions of a potentially innocent bicycle user who can no longer speak for themselves, is all too common.

Meanwhile, the person who was operating their vehicle in such a way that it collided with another road user and caused their death, is portrayed as being a good citizen who, “remained at on the scene and is cooperating” — actions that are not only required by Oregon law but are potentially felony criminal offenses if not obeyed. Furthermore, in this case the person driving the car had much more legal responsibility to begin with because they decided to overtake a vulnerable road user, not to mention the greater moral responsibility that comes with operating a vehicle that’s so easily capable of killing another person.

Given all that, why does the Sheriff’s statement not mention whether or not the auto user was distracted? Or whether or not their windshield wipers were turned on and working effectively? And why no mention of Oregon’s safe passing law that requires people to give bicycle riders plenty of space when overtaking them? Why no language about whether or not the auto user was going a safe speed given that it was dark, rainy, and there was no shoulder for a bicycle rider to use? Was the driver using the car’s headlights?

If Oregon is serious about vision zero, law enforcement agencies need to get a lot more perspective and sensitivity around these issues. Language is powerful and it shapes our culture — the same culture that informs the behaviors of road users and the people who design and patrol them. Police agencies must stop assigning blame in media statements. Stick to the facts known and leave other speculative assumptions out of it — especially when those assumptions are the result of inherent bias in favor of one type of road user and against another.

This is the 379th person to die while using Oregon roads so far this year, a total that’s nearly nine percent higher than the 348 people who had died by this date in 2015.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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

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

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.

This enforcement action is part of the PPB’s ongoing efforts to support the city’s commitment to Vision Zero — a long-range plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our streets. According to the police they’ll continue these enforcement missions “as staffing allows.”







The City of Portland also partners with the PPB on crosswalk enforcement actions about once per month. That program has resulted in thousands of traffic stops, citations, and warnings since it began in 2005.

Demands for more enforcement are common among many who feel it will lead to safer streets. But experts and advocates who work in Vision Zero and related fields warn that it’s not that simple — especially in light of a system that discriminates against black people and other people of color. This issue was the subject of a recent episode of the Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About This podcast where guests discussed how some communities don’t equate more police with more safety, and in fact often feel like the threat of being killed by a police officer outweighs the threat of unsafe streets.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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Northeast community embraces bike safety fiesta hosted by Portland Police

Northeast community embraces bike safety fiesta hosted by Portland Police

Assistant Chief Chris Uehara was one of several officers who attended the annual bike safety fiesta.(Photos: Portland Police Bureau)

Assistant Chief Chris Uehara was one of several officers who attended the annual bike safety fiesta.
(Photos: Portland Police Bureau)

The power of bicycles to bring people together and break down barriers is truly awe-inspiring. We’ve seen this take many forms over the years and now we can add a recent event hosted by the Portland Police Bureau to the list.

Earlier this month at North Precinct (449 NE Emerson Street) the PPB’s Youth Services Division teamed up with the Fire Bureau, and the Blazer’s Boys and Girls Club to host a bike safety fiesta in northeast Portland. Despite sweltering temperatures that reached nearly 100 degrees, an estimated 350 people showed up and the event was a smashing success.

A statement from the PPB says that the crowd included everything from infants to grandparents and great-grandparents — and a true cross-section of the neighborhood.







At the event people were given free school supplies, backpacks, lunch, and free bike helmets (all thanks to donations from community partners). Beyond the lessons learned about biking, Sergeant Tim Sessions of the Youth Services Division pointed out that, “Friends were made with lasting impressions.”

Here are a few photos from the event (provided by the PPB):

police-Mrs._Chen_from_Taiwan_with_Sgt._Sessions

police-Ofc_Green_signing_participation_card_girl.msg

police-Ofc_Romero_Bike_Rodeo_young_girl

police-Officer_Brainard_helping_children_at_bike_rodeo

police-Officer_Morinville_encourages_young_boy_bike_rodeo

police-Officer_Jackson_with_a_girl_on_a_bike

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

The post Northeast community embraces bike safety fiesta hosted by Portland Police appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bike Theft Task Force officers host ride-along on the Springwater Corridor

Bike Theft Task Force officers host ride-along on the Springwater Corridor

Officers Dave Sanders (right) and Ben Labasan on the Springwater Path Saturday.(Photos: Portland Police Bureau)

PPB Officers Dave Sanders (right) and Ben Labasan on the Springwater Path Saturday.
(Photos: Portland Police Bureau)

Leaders of the Portland Police Bureau’s Bike Theft Task Force did a ride-along on the Springwater Corridor path on Saturday.

The ride was a spontaneous event that founder of the Task Force, PPB Officer Dave Sanders, posted to Twitter just a few hours before he set out. He was joined by fellow Officer Ben Labasan and the two of them were joined by a handful of citizens who showed up to ride with them. It was all part of the Bike Theft Task Force’s ongoing effort to involve the community in the work they are doing to prevent bike theft and recover stolen bikes.

Why the Springwater? “I’ve been wanting to see the issues along the Springwater firsthand and have been wanting to address some of the ongoing tips and complaints that we have received regarding bike theft in this area,” Ofcr Sanders said via email this morning.

Here’s more from Sanders:

My hope was to allow the community to be involved in navigating some of their concerns/problems that present themselves along the corridor. I wanted to be able to listen to these concerns on a deeper level and to allow the community see first-hand how we follow up on these bike-theft related complaints and the challenges that we are sometimes faced with. Some folks who offer up these bike theft tips/complaints sometimes feel that these go into a black hole and are not addressed, so I wanted to encourage the public that we do take these seriously and address them as we are able. I believe that the community’s involvement in stopping bike theft is crucial and we are never going to get a handle on it if we can’t come together on this as a larger community.







Recovered bike found along the Springwater path.

Recovered bike found along the Springwater path.

bttf-bikeframepile

The officers found lots of parts, but didn't see any high-end or complete bikes.

The officers found lots of parts, but didn’t see any high-end, complete bikes.

Beyond the community-building, the ride led to results. Within a few hours the officers recovered a nice new Public road bike. Sanders and Labasan were excited to recover that bike, but wish they could have run serial numbers on the “hundreds” of other bikes that looked suspicious. “We weren’t able to address many of the bikes we saw,” he wrote, “but tried to follow up on the ones that we thought may be reported/registered and were in decent condition.” Sanders said there was one trove of bikes in particular that he wanted to check out but was unable to due to a “very aggressive dog” that was guarding the area.

While he was dismayed at the conditions he saw along the path, Sanders was encouraged to see so many people out riding. “We received dozens of positive comments on Saturday and many expressed appreciation for being out on the trail,” he wrote. “I wish we could be out there riding every day. I can say, after riding the trail, I understand more deeply the legitimate concerns that are presented by the community around the corridor, and hope that we can continue to address those better.”

Stay tuned for future opportunities to join Sanders and other Portland Police officers on a bike ride. Learn more about the Bike Theft Task Force by following them on Twitter @PPBBikeTheft and on the web at PortlandOregon.gov.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Bike Theft Task Force spreads awareness at Sunday Parkways

Bike Theft Task Force spreads awareness at Sunday Parkways

PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-8.jpg

The booth at the entrance to Woodlawn Park was buzzing with activity all day.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

If we’re going to take a bite out of bike theft in Portland we need the whole community to step up: Police, bike shops, city bureaus, and citizens like you and me.

It’s all about education and collaboration — two things that were on display this past Sunday as the Portland Police Bureau’s Bike Theft Task Force made their presence felt at Sunday Parkways. Four uniformed officers joined with staff from the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement and citizen volunteers to register bikes and educate people about secure locking techniques.

It was the second go-round of the Task Force’s hugely popular U-lock? U-rock! program. Thanks to a collaboration with Project 529 (a Task Force member) and lock-maker ABUS, the Task Force was able to give away another 50 u-locks.

Sunday Parkways started at 11:00 am and the line for the locks started forming at around 10:00. To get one, people had to show up with a bike, get it registered on Project 529, demonstrate proper u-locking technique, and give us a cable lock as part of the exchange. We had three teams registering bikes and PPB officers on hand to answer questions, hand out information, and interact with the community.

PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-4.jpg

Officer Dave Bryant spreading knowledge to our youth.
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Love our new shirts.







PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-3.jpg

ONI Crime Prevention Coordinator Stefanie Kouremetis was a registration machine.
PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-6.jpg

Gotta’ find that serial number.
PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-7.jpg

Officer Oliphant spent the day talking to the throngs of riders that came past the booth.
PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-10.jpg

Officer Oliphant and one of Portland’s newest riders.
PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-12.jpg

Volunteer Pete Frey and his snazzy new BTTF t-shirt!
PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-13.jpg

Officer Benjamin Labasan helping out.
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Officer Dave Sanders demonstrating how to use a u-lock.
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Registration teams in action!
PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-9.jpg

Another happy customer.
PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-17.jpg

This woman just got a new bike and wanted to make sure she locked it up correctly.
PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-19.jpg

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Preventing bike theft, one u-lock at a time.
PPB Bike Theft Task Force at Sunday Parkways-18.jpg

Just part of our team: (L to R) Stefanie Kouremetis, crime prevention coordinator, Office of Neighborhood Involvement; PPB Officer Benjamin Labasan; Me (Jonathan Maus); Peter Frey, citizen volunteer; and Sydney Wilson, ONI Crime Prevention program intern.
(Photo: PPB Officer Dave Sanders)

After handing in their old cable locks, many people got to grab a pair of bolt-cutters and slice through them.

We registered well over 100 bikes and gave away all the u-locks we brought in less than an hour. We also handed out lots of our new Bike Theft Task Force swag and told people about the important work we’re doing.

If you missed out on a u-lock this time, come find us at the Southeast Sunday Parkways on August 21st. If you’d like to be a Bike Theft Task Force volunteer, please get in touch.

I’m so grateful to be able to work with our Portland Police and this great team we’ve put together! We plan to continue to build the Task Force so we can have an even greater impact on preventing bike theft. For more info, see the official website.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Bike Theft Task Force returns with popular u-lock exchange program

Bike Theft Task Force returns with popular u-lock exchange program

After receiving a new u-lock, this woman learned how easy it is to cut her old one.(Photos: Portland Police Bureau)

After receiving a new u-lock, this woman learned how easy it is to cut her old one.
(Photos: Portland Police Bureau)

Last month’s inaugural U-lock? U-Rock! exchange was so popular that the Portland Police Bureau’s Bike Theft Task Force (BTTF) ran out of locks within the first hour.

“Before we even got set up, there was a line. We could not keep up with the demand,” Portland Police Bureau Officer Dave Sanders wrote in a debrief. “At one point, there was a line of cyclists a block long and so many people congregating around our tents, that it was interfering with other organizations.”

Officer Sanders and a crew of volunteers (more are needed!) and city partners will be prepared for the onslaught this Sunday when the program returns for Sunday Parkways Northeast.

The idea behind the exchange program is simple: Sanders and his partner on the bike theft beat, Officer Dave Bryant, have seen way too many bikes stolen due to the use of cable locks because they’re easily snipped by thieves. Using a good quality u-lock is one of the best things riders can do to prevent bike theft.

To receive a free u-lock, participants must bring in a used cable lock and their bicycle. Registration with Project 529 (free) can be done at the event and is also required to get a lock. As a bonus, anyone who exchanges an old cable lock will get the chance to cut it with a pair of bolt cutters.







Officers Sanders and Bryant said about 600 people came by their booth and they’ve received national interest for the program with several other cities wanting to implement something similar.

U-lock recipients also learn proper locking technique.

U-lock recipients also learn proper locking technique.

The Task Force gave away 50 u-locks and registered 350 bikes at June’s Sunday Parkways event — all of which was made possible thanks to a partnership with Project 529 (whose CEO, J Allard, is a founding member of the task force) and ABUS, the lock maker. They plan to continue the program until they run out of locks (they were only able to afford 300 of them, purchased at a reduced price).

If you missed out they’ll have another batch of locks to give away at Sunday Parkways Northeast that opens this Sunday at 11:00 am. The Bike Theft Task Force booth will be at the southwestern tip of NE Oneonta Street adjacent to Woodlawn Park.

Due to the popularity of this program, the BTTF needs some help! Please consider giving us a hand on Sunday. If you can volunteer just drop us a line and we’ll get you set up. Or, you can just show up at the booth at 10:00 am on Sunday morning.

Learn more about the U-lock? U-Rock! program on the Bike Theft Task Force website.

Disclaimer: BikePortland is a (proud) member of the task force.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Crash victims in limbo as police records backlog swells to six months

Crash victims in limbo as police records backlog swells to six months

rowan

Small business owner Rowan Kimsey was seriously injured in a traffic crash over five months ago. She still doesn’t have a copy of the police report.
(Photo: M. Andersen/BikePortland)

For many traffic crash victims the difference between getting a check from the insurance company and getting nothing comes down to one document: a police report. And for an increasing number of Portlanders the time it takes to receive a copy of that report has ballooned from two weeks to up to six months.

These victims are in limbo. Without a police report they can’t get paid what they’re owed and they can’t fully heal emotionally because they often aren’t even able to find out basic information — like the first and last name — of the person who hit them.

“It’s clear her case is valid but we don’t have the report, and that’s the sole reason she won’t be given what she’s entitled to.”
— Mark Ginsberg, lawyer

50-year-old Rowan Kimsey, an artist who just opened up The Lucky Mermaid tattoo studio in the Montavilla neighborhood, is living this nightmare. She was hit in 2015 and still doesn’t have a copy of her police report.

On November 3rd of last year Kimsey was biking home from work on SE Division Street (just two days after closing the sale on her new studio) when a woman driving a truck passed her so closely that the side-view mirror slammed into Kimsey’s back. The impact broke three of her ribs, collapsed and punctured one of her lungs, ruptured her spleen and damaged her diaphragm. She spent four days in the hospital and it took over two months to fully recover.

Kimsey was innocent and she has insurance; but her insurance company won’t pay out the claim because they’re waiting to see the police report. (Kimsey filed the claim on her own auto insurance policy because the driver of the truck still hasn’t been found.)

Kimsey’s attorney, Mark Ginsberg of Berkshire Ginsberg LLC, requested the police report on February 5th. It’s been 76 days and the Records Division still hasn’t filled the request.

“Her insurance company has taken position that they need the police report before they can move forward with the case,” Ginsberg told me in an interview this week. “It’s clear her case is valid but we don’t have the report, and that’s the sole reason she won’t be given what she’s entitled to.”

Most insurers require a police report to act as the “proof of loss” document needed to process a claim.

Ginsberg currently has four clients like Kimsey who are waiting for police reports. “It used to be you’d just mail in your 10 bucks and the city would turn around the request in 10 days, maybe two weeks,” he said. “It’s never been this bad in the 21 years I’ve been in practice.”







And it’s not just about the money. Ginsberg said the delay hurts his clients in others ways. “By delaying these cases, my clients are not getting treatment if they are planning on using that money to pay for medical services,” he said. “And over time cases get harder to prove because witnesses die, leave town, remember less, and so on. So any delay is always a detriment to the injured person and a benefit to the insurance company of the person who has caused the harms and damages.”

“I’m borrowing money from friends to keep it going. I’m very frustrated that it takes six months to get a single piece of paper.”
— Rowan Kimsey, crash victim

For Rowan Kimsey, the delay adds insult to her injuries. “I was trying to open up a new business and I could really use that insurance claim,” she said. “I’m borrowing money from friends to keep it going. I’m very frustrated that it takes six months to get a single piece of paper.”

Ginsberg, a former Chair of the City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, has been trying to bring this issue to the attention of the police bureau and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick’s office for two months but says he’s been ignored. Ginsberg finally got a reply to his emails on Tuesday — the same day he said he was taking his story to the media.

Now he’s in touch with the captain of the PPB Traffic Division and staff from City Hall and the records division.

Meetings are planned and possible solutions are finally being discussed; but according to PPB Records Division Supervisor Tammi Weiss the fix won’t be easy. And it won’t happen overnight.

Weiss says she too is frustrated by the backlog, which is the largest it’s been in the 26 years she’s worked in the division.

Weiss has put up a statement on the city’s website that blames the delay on, “an understaffed division, increased workload, financial restrictions, and the new Records Management System.”

“It will be a long time down the road when it will be fixed. We’re so far back now, it’ll take a while for us to get caught back up.”
— Tammi Weiss, PPB Records Division supervisor

In an interview Wednesday, Weiss told us they’ve requested more staff but the positions won’t be approved until next year’s budget which goes into effect in July. For most of last year, Weiss said, they had only two staffers working through 1,500 public records requests a month. “Requests have been increasing around 10 percent a year and we don’t have the personnel to keep up with that.”

Weiss said up until 2014 the average time to fulfill a request was about 21 days.

Along with the lack of staff (a problem exacerbated by obligations the division has to U.S. Department of Justice requests), a new records software program just went live at the end of last year and all existing staff had to be trained to use the system.

Is there a way to pull out more urgent requests and do them first? Weiss said they prioritize records that have been subpoenaed by a court, but other than that it’s “tricky” because they work on a first-come, first-served bases and it becomes a “balancing act” to make sure no one has an unfair advantage.

Weiss said she’s been aware of Ginsberg’s concerns and is working on a solution to the problem, like trying to find shortcuts to process requests faster without disclosing sensitive information. Another interim fix is getting more police officers to issue information exchange forms at the scene of a crash. Those non-legal forms are very common in fender-benders when an officer decides a full report isn’t necessary.

Unfortunately, Ginsberg says these information exchange forms are often not made available when one of the parties of the collision is a bike rider or walker — because they are often incapacitated due to injuries or in an ambulance and not able to advocate for themselves at the scene.

Whatever’s done to address this problem is likely going to take time. Officer behaviors at crash scenes is a fix that will have to come through training and culture change at the PPB. And Weiss at the Records Division doesn’t expect the backlog in her office to subside any time soon. “It will be a long time down the road when it will be fixed. We’re so far back now, it’ll take a while for us to get caught back up.”

In one of the stacks on Weiss’s desk is the request from Rowan Kimsey.

When I told Kimsey that her lawyer had finally received emails from city staffers on Tuesday she said, “In the time it took them to respond to Mark [Ginsberg] they could have gotten the damn piece of paper and put it in an envelope and mailed it.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Portland Police announce extra patrols after rise in fatal crashes

Portland Police announce extra patrols after rise in fatal crashes

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.”

In the past few weeks, the Portland Police Bureau has responded to and investigated several fatal traffic crashes in the City of Portland. So far in 2016, the Traffic Division has investigated 12 fatal crashes, compared to 7 last year at the same time. “Of particular concern,” said the statement, “is that many of these crashes have involved vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcycle riders.”





Here’s more from the statement:

Beginning today, March 31, 2016, directed traffic patrols at each precinct, in addition to the Traffic Division, will be conducting extra patrols specifically focused on traffic safety. Additionally, Chief O’Dea is encouraging all officers to conduct more stops of road users for traffic violations and to have a conversation about traffic safety. As always, officers have the discretion of when or when not to issue a citation.

The goal of the extra patrols is to “increase community safety” and “change behavior.” Chief O’Dea says measures like this are necessary “To truly reach the goals outlined in Vision Zero.” “The Portland Police Bureau is committed to working with our partners in government and the community to create safer streets and work toward reducing, and eventually eliminating, traffic fatalities as part of Vision Zero.

According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, of the 12 fatal crashes so far this year four of the people were driving, two were riding a motorcycle, five were walking (including two people who died walking in lanes of Interstate 5), and one was riding a bike. Six of the fatalities happened in the month March and eight of them occurred east of 104th Avenue.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Police write 15 citations for illegal driving during Clinton enforcement action

Police write 15 citations for illegal driving during Clinton enforcement action

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.

The police were out in force to help Portlanders understand that Clinton is an important bikeway; a place where cycling should be able to happen in a low-stress environment. The bureau of transportation recently underscored this fact by installing diverters at 32nd and 17th in order to prevent people from driving on Clinton. In addition to writing tickets, the police gave out eight warnings to road users (two of them to people riding bikes without lights) and passed out pamphlets with safety information.





Here’s more from the City about what police saw:

“The stops were primarily for Failing to Obey a Traffic Control Device. Three charges were for Illegal U-Turn. All three of those were for people in vehicles who turned right at the SE 17th Street diverter, made a U-Turn and then retuned to make another right to continue along SE Clinton. The last contact of the day was at the SE Clinton and SE 17th diverter at approximately 11:00 p.m. when a person driving was arrested for DUII (.14 BAC).

These actions are a key part of the city’s approach to Vision Zero and they plan to keep it up next week. The police and PBOT will team up again on Wednesday (2/17) for a crosswalk-focused mission on Southeast 82nd. They’ll focus their efforts on two notoriously dangerous crossings at Division and Harrison. Both 82nd and Division are designated as High Crash Corridors. PBOT data shows there were 24 crashes involving people trying to walk across the street on or near 82nd and Division, two of them resulting in a fatality.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The post Police write 15 citations for illegal driving during Clinton enforcement action appeared first on BikePortland.org.