PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- After 23 deadly crashes in the city this year, Portland police are now targeting their efforts to find drivers, walkers and cyclists who are breaking the law and putting themselves or others at risk.
"We're out here to slow traffic down," said one officer on patrol (pictured above). "We're out her to obviously call attention to this area is a problem: given the amount of crashes, the speed, pedestrians crossing where they shouldn't. We're out here, essentially, to enforce the laws and educate the public."
The "traffic safety" sting began Thursday afternoon, and lasts through the night. Officers are focused on two high-crash corridors.
"Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick have asked Portland Police to provide targeted enforcement on Thursday, designed to improve traffic safety this summer," reports Portland's Bureau of Transportation. "An unusually high number of traffic fatalities so far this year is cause for concern, they say, and the public needs to know driver awareness can help keep the roadways safe."
This police "mission" will focus on all traffic violators, including distracted and speeding drivers, pedestrian violations and unsafe bicycle operation.
"We're building safer crosswalks as fast as we can and working with the community to address our high crash corridors," said City Commissioner Steve Novick in a prepared statement. "But everyone plays a role by paying attention no matter how you're getting around."
Novick oversees the Bureau of Transportation.
The first sting was from noon to 3:30 p.m. Thursday on SE Division Street from SE 82nd to 162nd avenues. The second is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday on SW Barbur Boulevard, from SW Hamilton Street to Capitol Highway.
Both of these areas are among the 10 corridors in the city's High Crash Corridor Program, where the City of Portland reports it is working with residents and businesses to identify traffic safety solutions and encourage compliance and additional enforcement of traffic laws.
Participating agencies in Thursday's sting include the Portland Police Traffic Division, East Precinct and Central Precinct, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and the Oregon State Police.
The 23 fatal crashes to date in 2013 compared to 17 during the same time in 2012, said Portland Police Chief Michael Reese.
"People are dying or being injured on Portland's streets," Reese said, "from traffic crashes that often can be avoided."
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