70% of pedestrians killed in Portland traffic incidents last year were homeless, report finds

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland had more traffic deaths in 2021 than any year since 1990, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Vision Zero Traffic Crash Report released Wednesday.

In 2021, 63 people died in traffic crashes across the city. That’s up from 54 the year prior and well above the average of 46 recorded between 2017-2020.

The report notes a “dramatic increase” in the number of pedestrians killed on Portland’s streets. Pedestrians accounted for 27 traffic deaths, up from 18 the year before, and 70% of pedestrians killed last year were homeless, a trend the report calls an “alarming pattern.”

RELATED: Number of traffic fatalities in Portland at a three-decade high

Traffic deaths on state highways in Portland have also seen a significant uptick since the pandemic began. More than 50% of 2021’s traffic deaths were on state highways, compared to an average of 36% from 2017-2020.

Many of last year’s incidents remain under investigation, but PBOT said “speed and impairment” continue to be contributing factors.

The report notes 60% of traffic deaths in the last five years have occurred on streets in the “High Crash Network” — areas the city has identified as especially dangerous.

“We continue to work with urgency to change the design of these streets in a way that slows travel speeds and protects pedestrians,” PBOT said.

The increase in traffic deaths has continued in 2022. So far, 10 people have been killed in traffic incidents this year.

RELATED: Young woman among 10 people killed in crashes in first month of 2022

Read the full report below:


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