PBOT News Release: Portland gains state OK for permanent speed reduction on Outer Division, a high crash corridor

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Portland Bureau of Transportation

News media contact:

Dylan Rivera
Portland Bureau of Transportation
(503) 823-3723

PBOT News Release:
Portland gains state OK for permanent speed reduction on Outer Division, a high crash corridor

(May 25, 2017) The Portland Bureau of Transportation has won state approval to make the speed limit on SE Division Street 30 mph on a permanent basis. On March 2, the Portland City Council declared a safety emergency on Outer Division and directed PBOT to reduce the speed limit from 35 mph to 30 mph.

Vision Zero Portland logo

Under state law, the Oregon Department of Transportation has the authority to set speed limits, even on city streets. The Council also directed PBOT to seek state approval to make the speed reduction permanent, since the emergency action by council was limited to 120 days, by state law ORS 810.180(9). ODOT officials notified PBOT this week that they have approved PBOT’s request to make the speed limit 30 mph from SE 82nd Avenue to the city limits, at SE 174th Ave.

In 2016, five people died in traffic crashes on SE Division – four people walking and one person driving – and three people sustained life-altering injuries. Seven of the collisions occurred on a two-mile stretch between 124th and 156th. For that reason, City Council declared an emergency speed limit on Outer Division.

“Speeding increases the risk of serious injuries or death on our streets,” said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who proposed the emergency change that took effect in March. “I’m so glad that the state has agreed with our speed reduction on Outer Division. We must do all we can as a community to make sure all our streets are safe for people walking, biking, rolling and driving.”

Southeast Division is one of 30 streets on the High Crash Network identified in the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan, which City Council approved in 2016. The plan calls for PBOT to reduce speeds on the High Crash Network, and seek authority to lower speeds citywide.

“This speed reduction will save lives,” PBOT Director Leah Treat said. “Thanks to the City Council’s leadership, and the state’s agreement, we are making a dangerous corridor safer for all users. Our goal is zero traffic fatalities. One of the best ways to get to this goal is to reduce dangerous speeding on our roads. PBOT will continue to work with state and community partners to make our streets safer for everyone.”

Death rate by various speeds

Speed reduction is just one strategy PBOT is using to improve safety on Outer Division. The City Council directed PBOT to implement a variety of safety improvements in the corridor. With the Safety Action Plan for Outer SE Division Street, PBOT is educating the public on how they can be safer on city streets, designing safer bike lanes and building median island and marked crosswalks. Learn more about the project, including a June 29 open house, at the project web site.




The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation.