PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Michelle DuBarry lost her toddler son 13 years ago.
“He was struck by a careless driver in a crosswalk where he was being pushed in a stroller by his dad, who was also injured in the crash,” she said. These type of deaths “are sudden, they are impossibly painful for everyone involved and they are entirely preventable.”
“We need politicians and transportation leaders to act,” said DuBarry, a member of Oregon & SW Washington of Families for Safe Streets. “We need to treat this crisis with the urgency that it demands.”
“These deaths are preventable. We need to treat it as the public health crisis that it is,” said Sarah Iannarone, the executive director of The Street Trust.
The third Sunday of November every year is a worldwide day of remembrance for people who died in car crashes. Dozens of people gathered Sunday outside the Lloyd Center, part of Portland’s participation in the World Day of Remembrance in 70 US cities and countries.
Organizers of the Portland rally asked city leaders to sign a pledge acknowledging this crisis and committing to actions that can save lives.
“We should have plowed roads, we should have sidewalks, we should have safe streets for everyone, for every Oregonian and we need to come up with the money to pay for it,” Iannarone said.
Under the portico of Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum were 60 black body bags, each representing a person killed on Portland’s streets this year.
In fact, the tally stands at 62 people who died in traffic crashes so far in Portland in 2023.
DuBarry said there is “evidence that the problem has become unacceptable to our community.”
The Portland Bureau of Transportation said it’s putting up 40 more speed cameras in the coming year to try and prevent crashes.
As part of the event, the Morrison Bridge will be lit up yellow through Sunday.