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Mayor: Spike in deadly Portland crashes 'unacceptable'

Mayor: Spike in deadly Portland crashes 'unacceptable'
Portland police officers conducted a traffic sting to enforce crosswalk safety near Southeast 28th and Powell Boulevard on Tuesday, the same day Mayor Charlie Hales said the number of deadly crashes in Portland this year is "unacceptable." (KATU photo)
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PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland streets have become especially deadly in 2013, averaging about one fatal crash every week.

Some of those deadly crashes have been because of dangerous driving. Others were caused by drunk drivers.

“Every person who dies in a crash represents a family and community tragedy. So far in 2013, we’re averaging about one death a week. That’s unacceptable,” Mayor Charlie Hales said in a news release Tuesday.

Portland’s Bureau of Transportation says citations for traffic violations are down so far this year, despite the spike in fatalities.

“Fatalities are what they call a random occurrence and so you can’t really pinpoint exactly, so you have these highs and lows and it’s really unfortunate that this year’s starting off with a significant number of fatalities,” said Sharon White with the bureau.

This map shows the locations of Portland's 10 deadly crashes in 2013, which resulted in 11 deaths.

View Deadly crashes in Portland in a larger map

“The Transportation Bureau is working diligently to make streets safer for everyone and raising awareness that drunk and distracted driving is a killer.” city transportation Director John Widmer said.

Tuesday, police officers caught drivers not stopping at a crosswalk at Southeast 28th and Powell.

One of the people ticketed was Charlie Tiller.

“I totally get it that people aren’t terribly focused on it right now,” Tiller said. “It’s always a bummer to get pulled over by the cops.”

Several traffic safety meetings have been held in the last month. The next meeting is scheduled for April 8 with the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association.

KATU's Bob Heye contributed to this story.

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