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A suspected drunk driver has hit and killed a man who was walking across Division Street

A suspected drunk driver has hit and killed a man who was walking across Division Street

The intersection of Division at SE 124th near where Damon Burton was killed.

The intersection of Division at SE 124th near where Damon Burton was killed.

A man was arrested yesterday morning for recklessly driving his car into a person who was trying to cross the street in southeast Portland.

40-year-old Clifford Eugene Perry faces charges of Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) and Reckless Driving. Perry will be arraigned in Multnomah County Court today.

On Sunday evening Perry was driving westbound on Division near 124th (map) “at a high rate of speed” (according to Portland Police investigators) prior to coming into contact with 61-year-old Damon Patrick Burton. Perry, who the police suspect was drunk, then continued driving on Division until crashing into a gas station at 122nd. Burton lived in the neighborhood and was trying to cross Division from south to north prior to being hit.

(The police have not said where exactly Burton was crossing from, but it appears from photos taken by other news outlets that Burton was likely crossing at 124th.)







Division is one of the deadliest streets in Portland and has been a part of the bureau of transportation’s High Crash Corridor program for years. According to PBOT data Division has 50 percent more walking-related collisions than average.

The cross-section of Division where Burton was killed is daunting. He was trying to cross over nine lanes — two auto parking lanes, two bike lanes, four standard vehicle lanes, and a center turn lane.

According to the city of Portland’s Vision Zero Crash Map, this same section of Division has been the scene of two fatal and three serious injury collisions since 2005.

Mr. Burton is the 31st 32nd person to die on Portland streets so far this year and the ninth person to be struck and killed while walking. 37 people died on Portland’s streets in all of 2015 and there were 10 fatalities that involved someone walking. If this pace continues we would have 47 deaths this year which would be the most since 1998. This is also the second fatal collision involving a walker on Division this year. A person was killed while crossing Division at 156th on January 12th, which spurred PBOT to install a rapid flash beacon at that location shortly thereafter.

This latest fatality comes two days after advocates joined with City Commissioner Steve Novick and other agency leaders at a “Rally to end unsafe streets.” Burton’s death also comes as many in the community are reeling following a spate of preventable roadway tragedies that have taken the lives of vulnerable users.

19-year-old Larnell Bruce was intentionally struck and killed with a car by a man with ties to white supremacist groups on August 10th in Gresham; 15-year-old Fallon Smart was hit and killed by a reckless driver on Hawthorne Blvd on August 19th; and 15-year-old Bradley Fortner is still in the Intensive Care Unit with a brain injury suffered after being hit by someone driving on Columbia Blvd while walking to school in north Portland on August 30th.

On Saturday in Beaverton a 61-year-old woman was hit and killed by a motor vehicle operator while jogging. She was trying to cross NW Baseline at 166th.

UPDATE, 9/6 at 9:00 pm: Another person has been hit on Division near this same intersection. It happened Tuesday night. Here is the police statement:

On Tuesday September 6, 2016, at 8:44 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to the report that a pedestrian was struck by a driver at Southeast 148th Avenue and Division Street and that the driver fled the area.

Officers and medical personnel arrived and located the male pedestrian suffering from traumatic injuries. He was transported by ambulance to a Portland hospital for treatment and his current condition is not known.

Preliminary information indicates that after striking the pedestrian, the driver fled the area but then returned and was providing aid to the pedestrian. Prior to police arrival, the driver left again and a female came to the scene and drove away in the suspect vehicle.

Officers engaged the female driver in a short pursuit before she crashed at Southeast 150th Avenue and Main Street, where she was taken into custody.

Officers are searching the area for the driver, described as a Hispanic male in his early-40s.

Traffic Division officers are at the scene conducting an investigation.

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

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The post A suspected drunk driver has hit and killed a man who was walking across Division Street appeared first on BikePortland.org.

As low-car lifestyle spreads, residents praise new bike lanes on SE Division

As low-car lifestyle spreads, residents praise new bike lanes on SE Division

Angel Villavir, left, said traffic seemed heavier but the street was easier to cross.
(Photos © M.Andersen/BikePortland)

As inner Southeast Division Street grows up — literally, thanks to its new hedge of multi-story apartment buildings — Portland’s transportation bureau decided in April to redesign a section of the thoroughfare a bit further out to feel more like the city street it now is: with better walking and biking plus a regular flow of slower-moving traffic.

Instead of four narrow travel lanes, Division between 60th and 82nd now have one bike lane and one auto lane in each direction, plus a shared center turn lane.

We wanted to know what local folks thought about the restriped street. So I pedaled down during the Monday evening rush hour, stashed my bike around a corner, and walked around introducing myself as “a reporter” and asking what people thought.

I learned two things: That everyone I met more or less likes it, and that low-car life is now very common in mid-Southeast Portland.

Adrienne Ellis said the changes were “great” but not enough
to make her want to raise children in the area.

“I think it’s great,” said Adrienne Ellis, who lives in an apartment building at SE 76th and Division. “They needed to do it a long time ago.”

Ellis, who said she doesn’t own a car, moved to South Tabor a year and a half ago because inner Northeast’s Boise neighborhood had become “douchebag central.”

“Driving traffic is a little worse, but I prefer it because of the bicycle lanes,” said Ellis of the road changes. She said she usually rides the bus because her bike is currently in “disrepair.” “People in Portland refuse to get around without a car.”

As she spoke, she gestured to the line of cars on Division, slowing down for a stoplight a block away but still rolling. “This is as bad as it gets.”

Angel Villalvir, who said he lives in another nearby apartment building, said traffic was “a little crazier” since an auto lane was removed, and cars sometimes back up. But he didn’t mind.

“It’s good for the bike lane,” Villalvir, who was waiting for a #4 bus, said in his thick Spanish-language accent. He shrugged and smiled. “I don’t have a car right now, so it works for me.”

A weathered blond man pedaling westward in the bike lane was proud to endorse the changes. “”It’s the best idea they ever had,” he said. “They did that to another street here, too — Holgate. They say Portland’s the most bike friendly city there is.” Asked if he could pause for a photo, the man said no and quickly pedaled away.

Emily Burke said traffic flow seemed about the same.

Emily Burke, hoisting her young son out of their car at a house just north of Division, called the changes “a good thing,” making turns easier and reducing obstructions from buses or left-turning cars.

“It’s nice to see bikes on it,” she said. “Even though I’m not a big biker. … I don’t think it’s changed the traffic flow much. It was always essentially a one-lane street.”

Ron Lowery, smoking a cigarette with friends while they looked out on the street, said the traffic seemed to back up more but that “the bike lanes are nice.” He said he, too, got around mostly by bus.

“There’s a lot of foot traffic,” Lowery said. “Not having to back off the curb is nice.”

Though Division is definitely not crowded with bikes this far east, I saw 15 to 20 bikers — various ages, mostly but not entirely male, plus one father and two kids — in the half-hour I spent on Division at 76th. One man was riding in the sidewalk, as many did before the redesign.

In an interview with the Portland Tribune last week, city spokesman Dylan Rivera said the changes will actually reduce average auto travel times, thanks to the new turn lane. What’s definitely different about the new street is that more cars are moving at or below the 35 mph speed limit, something only 44 percent did before. The city also has yet to install traffic detectors at stoplights, something likely to reduce backups.

The Division restriping is one of several the city is pursuing on major streets in the mid-east side. NE Glisan got a similar redesign this summer between 67th and 80th, but with parked cars rather than bike lanes on each side. Foster Road is in the midst of a similar process.

For me, the only slightly uncomfortable part of the road to ride came at NE 60th, where the new design uses green stripes and sharrows to indicate that bikes should proceed straight ahead while cars (which are still moving at fairly high speeds) cross into a right turn lane. This rider, who was preparing for a right turn himself, hugged the curb even though it probably would have been safer to claim the full turn lane:

Then there’s the other side of 60th, the start of Division’s fast-growing commercial and residential district. Here, real estate becomes more expensive, foot traffic more economically important and biking more common … and, ironically, it’s also where the city begins to devote 40 percent of the street to unlimited free storage of private vehicles. Southeast Division still has a lot of city-building left to do.

Photos of ODOT’s new Division Street undercrossing on I-205 path

Photos of ODOT’s new Division Street undercrossing on I-205 path

New and smooth.
(Photos: Joe Hamilton)

Thanks to a newly built undercrossing of SE Division, people on bikes have one less stop to make while riding on the I-205 path. ODOT put the finishing touches on their $750,000 I-205 Shared-Use Path Division Undercrossing Project earlier this month and they’re hosting a “celebratory gathering” this morning to show it off.

As we shared back in October 2012, the new path takes riders and walkers down near the MAX light rail tracks under Division Street. South of division, the path begins at the MAX station and it re-joins the I-205 path at the intersection of SE Caruthers and 93rd. The project was originally planned for 2009 to coincide with the construction of TriMet’s Green Line MAX project. ODOT received a federal stimulus grant for path improvements but the funding ran out before the undercrossing was completed.

Reader Joe Hamilton sent us some photos of the new path…

View looking south at the start of the new path segment.

Looking south where it goes under Division.

Looking south as you emerge from under Division.

Looking north at the underpass.

Looking north for the MAX station. The at-grade Division crossing is on the left.

This is a great improvement over the existing crossing of Division which required path users to push a button to activate a “rapid flash beacon” and then wait for people in cars to stop.

Have you ridden this yet? What do you think?

City will begin adding new bike lanes to SE Division this Monday

City will begin adding new bike lanes to SE Division this Monday

PBOT graphic

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is set to begin work on a significant project that will add more vehicle access and capacity on SE Division. The project will re-configure the existing four-lane stretch of road between SE 60th and 80th into a five-lane cross section.

Instead of four standard vehicle lanes, the updated design of Division will include three standard vehicle lanes (one for each direction and a center turn lane) and two bicycle-only lanes. The changes came after PBOT identified Division as one of their “High Crash Corridors” and neighborhood residents said addressing bicycle safety concerns was one of their top priorities. In addition to the new, six-foot wide bike lanes, PBOT will also install a crossing improvement at SE 68th Ave.

Kyle Gunsul, who lives just off Division at 69th in the South Tabor neighborhood, is thrilled with the street’s new design. He says it will make Division much easier to cross and give him and other residents a safer way to access Mt. Tabor Park. “People fly down this stretch of the road,” he shared with us via email, “So trying to find a simultaneous opening across four lanes of road where cars are often truckin’ in the 40’s sucks… this created a Frogger [reference to a popular 1980s video game] situation in trying to get to the park or just attempting to head north.”

Gunsul sketched out the map below and described some of the bike access problems he faces and how the new bike lanes will help solve them.

The two red circles, Gunsul says, are areas he most often tries to access. “South of Division the I-205 path is pretty much cut off from South Tabor,” he notes, in reference to the circle on the right. The circle on the left is Lincoln, Gunsul’s “favorite bike boulevard” and the way he gets downtown.

“So, slapping down a bike lane solves many of these issues, but moreso, greatly reduces the barrier between South and Mt. Tabor. I’ve been very impressed with how PBOT rolled this out. Gotta dig Portland.”

We’re really looking forward to seeing these changes on Division. Expect a full report once the new lane striping is complete.

City will begin adding new bike lanes to SE Division this Monday

City will begin adding new bike lanes to SE Division this Monday

PBOT graphic

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is set to begin work on a significant project that will add more vehicle access and capacity on SE Division. The project will re-configure the existing four-lane stretch of road between SE 60th and 80th into a five-lane cross section.

Instead of four standard vehicle lanes, the updated design of Division will include three standard vehicle lanes (one for each direction and a center turn lane) and two bicycle-only lanes. The changes came after PBOT identified Division as one of their “High Crash Corridors” and neighborhood residents said addressing bicycle safety concerns was one of their top priorities. In addition to the new, six-foot wide bike lanes, PBOT will also install a crossing improvement at SE 68th Ave.

Kyle Gunsul, who lives just off Division at 69th in the South Tabor neighborhood, is thrilled with the street’s new design. He says it will make Division much easier to cross and give him and other residents a safer way to access Mt. Tabor Park. “People fly down this stretch of the road,” he shared with us via email, “So trying to find a simultaneous opening across four lanes of road where cars are often truckin’ in the 40’s sucks… this created a Frogger [reference to a popular 1980s video game] situation in trying to get to the park or just attempting to head north.”

Gunsul sketched out the map below and described some of the bike access problems he faces and how the new bike lanes will help solve them.

The two red circles, Gunsul says, are areas he most often tries to access. “South of Division the I-205 path is pretty much cut off from South Tabor,” he notes, in reference to the circle on the right. The circle on the left is Lincoln, Gunsul’s “favorite bike boulevard” and the way he gets downtown.

“So, slapping down a bike lane solves many of these issues, but moreso, greatly reduces the barrier between South and Mt. Tabor. I’ve been very impressed with how PBOT rolled this out. Gotta dig Portland.”

We’re really looking forward to seeing these changes on Division. Expect a full report once the new lane striping is complete.

Police offer update on serious injury collision on SE Division/122nd

Police offer update on serious injury collision on SE Division/122nd

Police say Hector Perez rode his bike out of the Shell gas station (on the right), across a few lanes of traffic and then rode “right in front of the van” that hit him. (View is looking west on Division, east of 122nd)


We realize that with all the collision lately it’s hard keeping track, but there has been a major update to the collision that happened yesterday on SE Division at 122nd.

Here’s the latest from the Portland Police Bureau:

The bicycle rider involved in yesterday’s crash has been identified as 34-year-old Hector Vizzuett Perez of Southeast Portland. He remains in a Portland hospital recovering from non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the van that struck Perez has been identified as 64-year-old Jose Catungal of Southeast Portland.

The preliminary investigation indicates that Catungal was driving westbound in the left turn lane on Division to turn left (southbound) onto 122nd Avenue. It appears that Perez rode his bicycle out of the gas station lot on the northeast corner of the intersection, through stopped traffic in the westbound lanes of Division, and right in front of the van which was moving in the specified left turn lane.

No citations have been issued and Catungal was not under the influence of intoxicants.

The case remains under investigation.

It’s important to note that Perez was initially reported to have “potential life-threatening injuries” and then PPB stated in a subsequent release that he was “expected to survive.”

The location of this collision (map) is just over a mile west of where a woman was killed yesterday by the dangerous actions of a school bus operator at the intersection of SE 148th and Division.

Careless driving to blame for death of woman in SE Division crosswalk

Careless driving to blame for death of woman in SE Division crosswalk

The bus operator was in this lane prior to collision.

The Portland Police Bureau have given the driver of a school bus two citations for her role in a collision that killed a 43-year-old woman who was walking across a southeast Portland street.

Renee Bates was walking on SE Division with her husband Shawn Bates on Tuesday afternoon when they attempted to walk eastbound across SE 148th (from the northwest corner). At the same time, 55-year-old Billie Jean Neel was attempting to make a right turn onto Division from 148th. Neel failed to operate her bus safely and ran over the Bates couple. Shawn was not seriously hurt but Renee died from her injuries later that day in the hospital.

While the investigation into the collision is still ongoing, the PPB just announced that Neel has been issued citations for Careless Driving Causing Death to a Vulnerable Road User and two counts of Failure to Yield to Pedestrians in a Crosswalk.

This is one of the very few cases we’re aware of that has triggered the Vulnerable Road User law. That provision was attached to the Careless Driving infraction thanks to citizen activists and advocates at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance back in 2007. Prior to its existence, Neel would have been able to mail in a small fine and would never have to appear in court for her actions. However, since the VRU statute has been used, Neel will now have to complete a traffic safety course, perform 100-200 hours of community service, have her license suspended, and pay a fine of up to $12,500.

The intersection where this occurred is wide, fast and completely dominated by auto, bus and truck traffic. The right turn lane Neel was using is separated with its own median and the corner is curved to make it even easier for someone driving a car to turn unsafely without stopping.

SE Division is one of (if not the) most dangerous and notorious street in Portland with at least one fatal collision occurring every year for the past few years. It has been identified as one of 10 “High Crash Corridors” by the City of Portland. According to official collision data, the percentage of crashes involving people walking on Division is about 50% higher than the Citywide average. The City has also determined that about 40% of everyone who drives on Division is going faster than the speed limit (which is 40 mph east of 122nd). In an official High Crash Corridor report on Division, the City stated that, “Reckless driving is overrepresented as a crash factor,” on Division.

In their coverage of this incident, KATU reported that, “This is the second almost-identical crash at this crosswalk in just a few years. Because of that, Portland Bureau of Transportation engineers said they will see if they can take any measures to make the intersection safer.”

And yesterday, about 1.3 miles west of this tragedy, a man who was bicycling near the intersection of Division and 122nd sustained life-threatening injuries after being involved in a collision with someone who was driving a van. The PPB has yet to release many details on that incident, except to say that the victim remains in the hospital and is “expected to survive.”

Isn’t it time we said enough is enough? When will the city and their state partners stop hanging banners and working around the edges and start making real changes to Division. Reckless and dangerous driving is clearly the problem here. Until we stop being afraid to address that fact head on — and make engineering and policy changes that have significant impacts on people’s driving habits — nothing will change.

If you’re O.K. with this carnage than just keep doing the same thing. Business as usual.

— Read more coverage of the Renee Bates tragedy at KATU.com.

Careless driving to blame for death of woman in SE Division crosswalk

Careless driving to blame for death of woman in SE Division crosswalk

The bus operator was in this lane prior to collision.

The Portland Police Bureau have given the driver of a school bus two citations for her role in a collision that killed a 43-year-old woman who was walking across a southeast Portland street.

Renee Bates was walking on SE Division with her husband Shawn Bates on Tuesday afternoon when they attempted to walk eastbound across SE 148th (from the northwest corner). At the same time, 55-year-old Billie Jean Neel was attempting to make a right turn onto Division from 148th. Neel failed to operate her bus safely and ran over the Bates couple. Shawn was not seriously hurt but Renee died from her injuries later that day in the hospital.

While the investigation into the collision is still ongoing, the PPB just announced that Neel has been issued citations for Careless Driving Causing Death to a Vulnerable Road User and two counts of Failure to Yield to Pedestrians in a Crosswalk.

This is one of the very few cases we’re aware of that has triggered the Vulnerable Road User law. That provision was attached to the Careless Driving infraction thanks to citizen activists and advocates at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance back in 2007. Prior to its existence, Neel would have been able to mail in a small fine and would never have to appear in court for her actions. However, since the VRU statute has been used, Neel will now have to complete a traffic safety course, perform 100-200 hours of community service, have her license suspended, and pay a fine of up to $12,500.

The intersection where this occurred is wide, fast and completely dominated by auto, bus and truck traffic. The right turn lane Neel was using is separated with its own median and the corner is curved to make it even easier for someone driving a car to turn unsafely without stopping.

SE Division is one of (if not the) most dangerous and notorious street in Portland with at least one fatal collision occurring every year for the past few years. It has been identified as one of 10 “High Crash Corridors” by the City of Portland. According to official collision data, the percentage of crashes involving people walking on Division is about 50% higher than the Citywide average. The City has also determined that about 40% of everyone who drives on Division is going faster than the speed limit (which is 40 mph east of 122nd). In an official High Crash Corridor report on Division, the City stated that, “Reckless driving is overrepresented as a crash factor,” on Division.

In their coverage of this incident, KATU reported that, “This is the second almost-identical crash at this crosswalk in just a few years. Because of that, Portland Bureau of Transportation engineers said they will see if they can take any measures to make the intersection safer.”

And yesterday, about 1.3 miles west of this tragedy, a man who was bicycling near the intersection of Division and 122nd sustained life-threatening injuries after being involved in a collision with someone who was driving a van. The PPB has yet to release many details on that incident, except to say that the victim remains in the hospital and is “expected to survive.”

Isn’t it time we said enough is enough? When will the city and their state partners stop hanging banners and working around the edges and start making real changes to the outer portions of Division? Reckless and dangerous driving is clearly the problem here. Until we stop being afraid to address that fact head on — and make engineering and policy changes that have significant impacts on people’s driving habits — nothing will change.

If you’re O.K. with this carnage than just keep doing the same thing. Business as usual.

— Read more coverage of the Renee Bates tragedy at KATU.com.

City will move forward with road diet, bike lanes on SE Division

City will move forward with road diet, bike lanes on SE Division

Bike lanes coming soon.

The Bureau of Transportation has announced their intention to move forward on the re-striping of SE Division between SE 60th and 80th. The decision comes after a public meeting held Tuesday where neighborhood residents and other stakeholders expressed strong support for the “road diet” and addition of bike lanes as a way to improve safety on the street.

PBOT reports that 50 people came to the meeting and a “large majority” supported the Phase 1 improvements which include:

  • Removing paint and restriping the new three-lane configuration, including one travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane, bike lanes east- and westbound, plus a bicycle lane on SE 60th Avenue northbound to connect to the SE Lincoln Neighborhood Greenway;
  • Installation of a marked crosswalk with a pedestrian island between SE 67th and SE 68th Avenues; and
  • Signal improvements at SE 60th, 71st, and 76th Avenues, including pedestrian push buttons and loop detectors at 71st and 76th Avenues.

Graphic created by the BTA showing before and after lane configurations.

Those loop detectors will be key to maintaining traffic flow, even with one less standard vehicle lane. The signals at 71st and 76th, PBOT says, are currently timed and they changed regardless of whether cross-traffic is present. “The pedestrian push buttons and loop detectors are designed to keep traffic flowing on Division,” PBOT says, “Even with the removal of one travel lane, PBOT’s traffic model shows these signal improvements will provide a reduction of travel times for vehicles moving through the project area.”

This project came out of PBOT’s High Crash Corridor program which aims to tame major arterials that have a higher than average concentration of serious injury and fatal collisions. The re-configuration of lanes on Division is expected to improve safety for all road users, not just people who ride bikes.

PBOT has set aside $100,000 in the current budget for the project and it’s expected to begin this summer. Learn more at the project website.

City will move forward with road diet, bike lanes on SE Division

City will move forward with road diet, bike lanes on SE Division

Bike lanes coming soon.

The Bureau of Transportation has announced their intention to move forward on the re-striping of SE Division between SE 60th and 80th. The decision comes after a public meeting held Tuesday where neighborhood residents and other stakeholders expressed strong support for the “road diet” and addition of bike lanes as a way to improve safety on the street.

PBOT reports that 50 people came to the meeting and a “large majority” supported the Phase 1 improvements which include:

  • Removing paint and restriping the new three-lane configuration, including one travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane, bike lanes east- and westbound, plus a bicycle lane on SE 60th Avenue northbound to connect to the SE Lincoln Neighborhood Greenway;
  • Installation of a marked crosswalk with a pedestrian island between SE 67th and SE 68th Avenues; and
  • Signal improvements at SE 60th, 71st, and 76th Avenues, including pedestrian push buttons and loop detectors at 71st and 76th Avenues.

Graphic created by the BTA showing before and after lane configurations.

Those loop detectors will be key to maintaining traffic flow, even with one less standard vehicle lane. The signals at 71st and 76th, PBOT says, are currently timed and they changed regardless of whether cross-traffic is present. “The pedestrian push buttons and loop detectors are designed to keep traffic flowing on Division,” PBOT says, “Even with the removal of one travel lane, PBOT’s traffic model shows these signal improvements will provide a reduction of travel times for vehicles moving through the project area.”

This project came out of PBOT’s High Crash Corridor program which aims to tame major arterials that have a higher than average concentration of serious injury and fatal collisions. The re-configuration of lanes on Division is expected to improve safety for all road users, not just people who ride bikes.

PBOT has set aside $100,000 in the current budget for the project and it’s expected to begin this summer. Learn more at the project website.