PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – It’s been the deadliest year on Portland roads in more than two decades, according to traffic officials.
Two people were killed in separate crashes Friday morning, bringing the number of traffic deaths in Portland up to 49, according to law enforcement. The number, up seven from last year, marks the most traffic deaths in the city since 1997.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation says it has invested millions to make roads safer, and although numbers are up, other factors are at play. The agency says some contributing factors have been difficult to curb, including incidents involving distracted or impaired drivers and an influx of people moving to the city.
Officials say this year’s numbers coincide with another record–the amount of money PBOT has spent to fix the problem. The city made a commitment several years ago to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries through an effort called Vision Zero. PBOT estimates it has invested about $60 million this year in high-crash infrastructure investments.
“Yes, where we have made those changes, we have seen a reduction in crashes,” Hannah Schafer, a PBOT spokeswoman, said.
The first crash in Portland Friday morning involved a pedestrian and occurred near Northeast 122nd Avenue and Northeast Halsey Street.
The second crash, a head-on collision, occurred in the 300 block of North Lombard Street.
Since 2008, five people have been killed within a block of the intersection at North Lombard and Interstate Avenue, and some 40 people have been injured, according to officials.
In the crash off North Lombard Street, police say the driver stayed on scene and cooperated with police. The name of the victims in both crashes have not been released.
The city says it's important to note that the numbers of pedestrians and cyclists killed in roads in major cities are up across the country.
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