PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — — Eight people have already died in crashes on Portland streets since the start of 2022, a faster pace than the record set last year.
The 8th happened Saturday night when a person was hit and killed by a driver who fled the scene at SE 160th and Powell. That driver is still at-large and no description is yet available of a suspected vehicle.
Late Thursday, one person died and and another seriously hurt when 2 cars crashed at SE McLoughlin Boulevard and Holgate. A 22-year-old was later arrested and faces multiple charges.
“It has been a really tragic weekend, and the last year was really tragic. But we are seeing a change in the number of fatalities and serious injuries on city streets in Portland,” said PBOT’s Hannah Schafer. “The number of those type of crashes has actually remained fairly steady and or dropped in the last year.”
Both crashes happened on roads maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
“Many of those streets, including these locations that you talked about are typically more, feel like a highway. They will be wide streets with traffic signals that are stretched out. There are long distances between stops,” Schafer said. “People feel like they can drive fast because the roads are wide.”
The Portland Police Bureau said there were 67 fatal crashes, the highest number of traffic fatalities in 34 years.
Schafer said PBOT made a commitment in 2015 to try and eliminate traffic deaths on city streets.
“We are seeing a change in the number of fatalities and serious injuries on city streets in Portland,” she told KOIN 6 News. “The number of those type of crashes has actually remained fairly steady and or dropped in the last year.”
Officials said the shortage of officers for traffic enforcement meant less crashes were being investigated.