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When I took over as commissioner in July 2005, I said safety - saving
lives and reducing injuries - would be my first priority. I meant it.
If I got extra transportation dollars (thank you, Portland City
Council) I prioritized them for safety projects.

With bike, automobile, freight, transit and pedestrian advocates, I
held the City's first transportation safety summits. We analyzed and
mapped crashes. We involved the public in figuring out solutions. We
took action when needed. And it has paid off with safer city streets.

In 2008, we saw the lowest number of total traffic fatalities ever
recorded in the City of Portland: 20 traffic fatalities in the city -
15 auto fatalities, 5 pedestrians, and 0 bicyclists. For a complete
summary of last year's traffic safety results in Portland, see the
2008 Traffic Fatalility Summary:

At no time since we started recording fatalities in 1925 has the
number of transportation fatalities been so low.

Even one death or injury is too much, but our increased safety means
that fewer families had to cope with the terrible tragedy that traffic
fatalities bring, and that our neighborhoods are becoming more

For example, after several "right hook" bicycle fatalities in 2007
where vehicles turned right and collided with bicycles, my office
spearheaded the installation of green "bike boxes" at 14 intersections
around the city. These intersections represent the most dangerous hot
spots for bikes - and now every one of them communicates a visible
message to bicyclists and drivers about how to move safely through the

The cities in the world with the safest streets are cities where the
streets are accessible for people.  Portland has increased walking,
bicycling, and transit with a variety of strategies, including speed
bumps, bike boulevards, bike lanes, curb extensions, and signal
improvements to help people cross the street. Safer Routes to School
programs empower kids to walk and bike to school, and programs like
Sunday Parkways that change the way people think about their
neighborhood streets.

I am proud of these results, proud of the Portland Bureau of
Transportation and Oregon Department of Transportation staff who have
helped make them happen, and grateful for each injury and fatality
that has been avoided in our city. 

Help us keep Portland's streets safe. Transportation funding has not
kept pace with transportation costs.  We need the Oregon Legislature
to support Governor Ted Kulongoski's proposal to increase
transportation funding and help provide resources for maintenance and
safety work that Portland so badly needs.

Please contact your legislator and urge him/her to support additional
transportation funding to preserve the safety of our streets in
Portland and around the state. To locate your legislator, go to and click on "find your legislator" in the menu on
the right side of the page.


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