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    Latest pedestrian death on Portland freeway highlights safety concerns

    By Joelle Jones,

    2024-06-14

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=46dIOO_0trtEOqY00

    PORTLAND, Ore. ( KOIN ) — After a man was struck and killed by a car Friday morning while trying to cross I-84, transportation officials are addressing concerns raised about keeping pedestrians and drivers out of harm’s way.

    Portland police said the driver stayed on the scene to cooperate after striking the pedestrian early in the morning, with the freeway now back open . Police said they’re still working to figure out why the man, who had no mode of transportation, was crossing.

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    KOIN 6 News saw camps near the crash site, a common occurrence all around the interstate in Portland. For the safety of drivers and pedestrians, we asked the Oregon Department of Transportation what’s being done to keep people from walking onto our most dangerous corridors.

    “People are getting injured, they’re getting killed out there on the freeways and we’ve got to do what we can to put a stop to this,” said Don Hamilton, an ODOT spokesperson.

    The fatal crash occurred on I-84 just west of the I-205 interchange just after 4 a.m.

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    ODOT said in addition to incoming infrastructure improvements, such as increased lighting and street markings, the department is using some of the funding granted by the Oregon legislature to help remove graffiti to also deter people from walking onto the freeways.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2IF3Db_0trtEOqY00
    A fatal crash blocked Interstate 84 eastbound on Friday June 14 (ODOT)

    “Some inhibitions on the areas: that’s going to mean some additional fencing, some additional steps that we can take to try to prevent people from getting down into the freeways into harm’s way,” Hamilton said.

    ODOT said they plan to ramp up those safety improvement efforts this summer, saying similar tactics have been used to deter people from camping and walking near dangerous overpasses before, such as under the Steele Bridge.

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    “The camps along the freeways are especially dangerous because people are running across the freeways, oftentimes at night. It’s really, really dangerous. This is why we are always working with police, we’re working with social service agencies to try to get those camps away,” Hamilton said.

    Hamilton said they plan to implement more landscaping deterrents like the rocks placed under the Steele Bridge. However, when KOIN 6 checked that very spot Friday afternoon, we saw several people camping despite an illegal camping notice.

    “I’m in this particular area because I have to be in close proximity to the feeding stations,” Ty, who is experiencing homelessness, told KOIN 6.

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    Ty acknowledged he could improve on his own personal responsibility, such as always remembering to push the crosswalk button before crossing the street. However, he said another part of the equation for street safety falls on the City of Portland.

    “I don’t think the city has all of these areas properly regulated with lights, and signs and so forth,” Ty said. “One is out of my control, like what the city chooses to do with its money but I need to take my life more seriously given the statistical facts.”

    The City of Portland said half of the 24 pedestrian deaths last year were of people experiencing homelessness. In fact, the city saw a record-breaking 69 traffic deaths in 2023 , overall.

    Police said there have been 27 people killed in crashes this year, one shy of the 28 deaths recorded this time last year.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KOIN.com.

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