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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Action and Memorials for Pedestrian Deaths

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Willamette Pedestrian Coalition is pulling together a "safety awareness action" at 5 pm today at the site where two young Portland women were struck last week in a marked crosswalk on SE Foster. Lindsey Leonard, a 23-year-old employee of Sock Dreams, died in the crash and her friend Jessica Finlay is still in the hospital in critical condition. The driver of the car, Tito Jose Feliciano, has been released without charge or citation.

The action at SE 80th and Foster will be "quiet" according to the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, which asks people to "bring a homemade sign that asks everyone to watch out for one another and to share the road safely" to the deadly corner between 5-6:30 pm. The group's announcement takes a compassionate tone toward drivers, placing the blame for a series of recent deadly crashes on a chronic lack of safe pedestrian infrastructure:

"Entire neighborhoods remain without sidewalks. Pedestrian connections to bus stops and business centers are incomplete or absent in many areas. Additional funding is necessary, and our elected officials need to prioritize transportation that is used by everyone, for everyone is a pedestrian at some point in their day. The recent transportation bill that passed the state legislature, for example, did not raise the minimum spending on bicycle and pedestrian facilities from 1% to 1.5%, which would have been a small but a positive step. Instead, we received earmarks for highway projects. This is recessive and needs to change."

Lents neighborhood activist Jeffrey Rose drove past the scene of Leonard’s death minutes after the crash. “We saw a couple people laying in the street and we just sort of shook our heads. It wasn’t a real surprise,” says Rose. “We’ve got people coming off the freeway and tearing down Foster Road. It’s not a hospitable place for pedestrians.” That intersection has a "pedestrian refuge island" in its center, to help pedestrians who scurry across the road one side at a time. Obviously a road containing a "refuge island" is not safe enough.

So: 5-6:30 PM today, SE 80th and Foster.

This week there will also be a memorial for Kipp Crawford, the 31-year old drummer who was killed by two drunk drivers last week in North Portland. Crawford's family and friends are hosting a celebration and memorial for the well-liked musician at his old house, 6107 N Greeley Ave, Wednesday November 11 at 6 PM.

There will also be a memorial concert for Crawford at Mississippi Studios on Saturday, November 21st. His former band, Celilo, will play a show at Mississippi for Crawford, who helped remodel the venue and worked at the bar next door. "He was always thinking about music," says Mississippi employee Shelley Bowers, who fondly remembers Crawford's warmth and his habit of air drumming whenever he thought no one was looking.

Victim Kipp Crawford
  • Victim Kipp Crawford

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