PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland intentionally allows drivers to park vehicles illegally close to crosswalks and intersections, making it difficult to navigate the city and potentially deadly for all road users, a lawsuit filed this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court says.
The lawsuit seeks to address what attorney Scott Kocher describes as Portland’s “ongoing failure” to provide adequate sight distance at street corners or crosswalks, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Kocher is using the 2019 death of a motorcyclist, one of 49 people killed in what was the deadliest year since 1997, as a test case to argue the city’s negligence.
The family of Elijah Coe, a 48-year-old chef who was killed on East Burnside Street in May, is seeking $5.9 million in damages and demands the city retrofit its intersections to comply with its own code governing sight distances as well as state law.
Dylan Rivera, a city transportation spokesman, declined comment citing the ongoing legal dispute.
Coe was riding his motorcycle when a vehicle driven by Eric Whitfield turned left onto the same street. According to the lawsuit, parked vehicles blocked Whitefield’s view of the street.
The lawsuit also cites Whitefield for negligence and failing to yield the right of way. He couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Coe swerved to avoid Whitfield’s vehicle and struck a westbound driver head-on, the lawsuit said. He died five days later.