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Portland, Oregon

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News Advisory: Crosswalk enforcement Oct. 15th in SW Portland to emphasize safety for sight impaired pedestrians

(October 10, 2013) - The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau advise the traveling public that a crosswalk enforcement action is scheduled for Tuesday, October 15th,  2:30  to 4 p.m. on SW Capitol Highway at SW 26th Avenue. 

This crosswalk enforcement action takes place on national White Cane Safety Day and emphasizes safety for pedestrians who are blind and crossing the roadway using a white cane or seeing-eye dog, while also informing the public of longstanding Oregon crosswalk laws.

Each crosswalk enforcement action involves a pedestrian decoy positioned at a marked or unmarked crosswalk while police monitor how motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians adhere to traffic safety laws. Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who jaywalk may be issued a warning or citation by the Portland Police Bureau.

The SW 26th Avenue crossing is heavily used by pedestrians who use nearby TriMet bus stops and the Mittleman Jewish Community Center.  The crossing itself has pavement markings and signage mounted overhead and on poles.

“Being able to safely access community resources like Mittleman Jewish Community Center is important for my independence and quality of life,” saidPortlandresident Stephen Butler who will attend the enforcement action.  “Having drivers stop for me and others that are blind when we are in the crossing increases our ability and right to access this and other valuable community resources.” 

Portland is home to more than 12,200 people who are blind or vision impaired, according to the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.  White Cane Safety Day, celebrated each October 15th, recognizes the achievements of people who are blind and visually impaired in the United States and reminds the public that the white cane is an important tool in helping the visually impaired live with greater independence.

In recognition of White Cane Safety Day, the Transportation Bureau reminds all drivers to be aware of pedestrians in the crossing and knowledgeable of the specific laws related to visually-impaired pedestrians.  Oregon law says that “A driver approaching a pedestrian who is blind or blind and deaf, who is carrying a white cane or accompanied by a dog guide, and who is crossing or about to cross a roadway, shall stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian has crossed the roadway,” according to crosswalk law (ORS 811.035).

 Acting Captain Chris Davis, Portland Police Traffic Division, says, “Drivers must stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian that is blind has crossed all lanes of traffic regardless of the number of motor lanes, parking lanes, and/or bicycle lanes.”

The crossing at SW Capitol Highway & SW 26th Avenue is the eighth in a series of Crosswalk Enforcement Actions the City of Portland will be conducting this year.

Learn more about  pedestrian rights and responsibilities at