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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 4, 2009 4:23 PM. The previous post in this blog was Talking some sense into "urban renewal". The next post in this blog is Big Pipe, big stink?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A ticket for jaywalking in downtown Portland

When I first moved to Portland a little over 30 years ago, I was warned not to jaywalk. The police here ticketed you for that in those days. This quaint custom disappeared after a while, but apparently it's back, at least in these photos taken today and sent along by an alert reader:

And yes, that's a $97 fine.

Comments (43)

I suppose this officer was doing his part to fill the budget gap.

Ooooh this makes me mad. Shouldn't someone give the police officer a ticket for parking his motorcycle on the sidewalk? Police officers should get tickets for riding their bikes on the siewalks, too. That's illegal. And not using their turn signals - that's illegal. And using their emergency lights for non-emergency running of red lights - that's illegal (but hard to prove).

hey...gotta pay for those pensions and long term bond loans somehow....
The fire department is cracking down big time on businesses who have 'violations' that previously went unnoticed too.
who knows what is next...?

I guess if the homeless guys who use our neighborhood park as a restroom had $97, the cops would focus on them for once.

Classic. Officer Hoesly is a traffic machine - there is a reason he is one of the best compensated PPB officers. My guess is that he will show up for trial.

As the budget situation get worse, expect more of this from all departments. Isn't about time for CoP to check on sidewalks again.

There is nothing wrong with issuing a citation for jaywalking. By the way, apparently some people don't know that you are not allowed to even step off the curb if the walk signal is flashing. However, if you're already in the crosswalk, you can keep going.

...And it was not a "quaint custom" that disappeared for a while. The Portland metro area police have always made an effort to enforce these laws. Although I assume it is not always the highest priority.

I've seen people get ticketed for jaywalking downtown numerous times over the past 5 years. Not rare or new.

Don't jaywalk without looking both ways - for cars and police officers.

-Plead not guilty
-request a copy of the police report
-Request a change in the trial date at last allowable minute.

Guarantees the city loses money because they either have to pay overtime to have him come in on his day off or pay another cop to cover him while he testifies. Also there is the cost of the trial itself.

Also increases the chance you will beat the ticket because:
1.More likely cop will no show esp if the trial date changes.
2. If a clerk doesn't get around to sending you the police report it is a disovery violation & grounds for dismissal.

Disobeying a Walk/Don't Walk at an intersection or actually crossing in the middle of a block? The citation doesn't explain this point clearly at all.

Oncoming traffic impeded? The officer?

Flashing "Don't Walk" or steady on, with light changing from green, to yellow, to red?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Probably easier to catch a pedestrian breaking the law than someone blasting thru a stop sign or a red light.

Next thing you know, they'll be ticketing police vehicles parked in a no-parking zone.

I'll be the first to admit that I've crossed against a light if there weren't any vehicles coming.

SW 4th & Madison is the area with the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and Portland Police Bureau Central Precinct is if I am not mistaken?

Well, jaywalking in front of a police station and a Federal Courthouse will get you a ticket due to the law enforcement concentration in the area.

Pay the fine and remember where you are next time.

Maybe smoking weed in the Park Blocks will be the next enforcement enhancement. Or pissing on stairs. I'm guessing those perps don't pay the fine, though.

When we get enough people and bikes on the Bike Mall there will be no need to ticket low-carbon low-pollution modes of transport.

Please oh please Officer Hoesly, please spend some time around PSU between classes. NO ONE obeys the pedestrian traffic signals! They text message, cel phone chat, walk into traffic which has the right of way (both inside crosswalks and out) - my office is near PSU and it is nearly impossible to make a turn onto any street (but most particularly Broadway) due to a complete disdain for pedestrian traffic signals.

Any driver objection is met with the one finger salute or worse.

There, I ranted. Thanks for listening!

Lol, cop's signature looks like the stock market.

Disobeying a Walk/Don't Walk at an intersection or actually crossing in the middle of a block? The citation doesn't explain this point clearly at all.

It seems pretty clear that the violation is "failure to obey a traffic control device—Don't Walk signal." Also, it's my understanding (though this is pure hearsay, so it could be totally wrong) that crossing in the middle of the block is perfectly acceptable as long as you're not within 60 ft of an intersection. On our short 200 ft blocks that gives you 80 ft in the middle of a block to work with. Anyway, know if this is actually right?

Oh, and I would dispute John's assertion that this has always been something cops have enforced. I've lived, worked, and/or played downtown for over a decade and crossed against the signal directly in front of cops more times than I can count. Tthe next time I get a ticket will be the first.

I think it's better than declaring all the pedestrians illegally crossing to be fair game for aggressive drivers.

I don't think that pedestrians should try to second guess the traffic controls. Or, if you do, and get hit....tough nougies; no crime, no civil settlement.

The rise of cell phone use also is a cause for concern, because a lot of the pedestrians lunging out into the streets are just as clueless, and just as risky (but less protected) as a driver using a cell phone.

And we know from research that cellphoney drivers are four times as likely to be involved in a traffic accident. Equal to drunk drivers. Yes, it has been shown to be a distinct danger for pedestrians to talk and walk, particularly if crossing streets with significant traffic (like maybe in the middle of a large metropolitan area).

So...Do we ban pedestrians using cell phones or enforce the laws about pedestrians sharing the roads with vehicles, which means enforcing jaywalking laws? I support the latter.

Slow down. Pay attention. Obey the law.

Try it sometime, scofflaws.

This location is on the east side of City Hall - guess there wasn't anything going on in the restrooms.

As someone who works downtown, for the City no less, this seems to happen infrequently, but for an intense, focused period of time. Maybe trying to make a point? Or, collect a heap o'fines. Usually they're on the NW corner of the Portland Building, across from the Courthouse, catching people jaywalking as they cross over to the Seattle's Best coffee house.

If she pleads guilty, the fine is reduced, she's learned her lesson, the city gets some recompense for the cop's time, and I'm happy because I am sick of jaywalkers, especialy those who act indignant when you dare honk a horn, or ring a bike bell.

i got a jaywalking ticket at rose quarter last year. you can request to attend the "trauma nurses talk tough" class at legacy for $30 & they will probably waive your ticket fine. actually, i learned a lot and am glad i went to the class.

Don't know why one would need to obey the letter of the law in PDX.... Mayor Creepy sure didn't....

One more thing, instead of going after jaywalkers, howzabout going after the cyclists who break the law everyday downtown!!

I jaywalk at leat half a dozen times a day in this area, walking from the #14 stop on 2nd and Main to the Wells Fargo tower. I pass the Federal courthouse, justice center, and city hall. Everybody else does too. The only time I've ever seen anybody stopped was when three sharp businessladies crossed against a signal without checking for traffic first. The Lt. driving the unmarked car they obstructed, needlys to say, was not pleased.

Now if they would just start fining people for littering, the city would flush with funds.

I've become very conservative about jaywalking since I started working at TriMet. It's not that I think it's more dangerous than I used to, but I've realized how much stress it adds to the jobs of rail and bus operators.

Here in Beaverton, one of my son's friends crossed the street in our neighborhood and a cop happened to be going by at the cross street about half a block up. The cop turned around and stopped to lecture him about jaywalking. There's no lights, crosswalks, anything. Hell, there arent even any stop signs at the intersections in my neighborhood.

So if you cross the street to talk to your neighbor are you jaywalking?

Don's jaywalking rules:
-Don't do it in front of law enforcement
-Don't make traffic that has the right of
way slow for you (cars, bikes, police cars)
-Don't do it in front of small children: it
may encourage them to do it before they
develop the necessary judgement.
Otherwise it's a cool way to save a little time. I've done it in Portland, NYC and Cairo. In the last it's sometimes the only way to get where you're going. And I saw 3 auto pedestrian accidents in 3 weeks there last year (but none were seriously hurt.)

Police used to cite folks for jaywalking under a city ordinance that classified jaywalking as a criminal offense. If they caught you jaywalking, they caught you committing a crime and thus had probable cause to search you for anything else illegal you might be doing. ORS 814.020, on the other hand, classifies Failure to Obey a Traffic Control device as a Class D Traffic Violation, punishable only by payment of a fine and not a crime.

As an intern back in law school, we had a case where a defendant had been cited under the city ordinance and searched, which resulted in the police finding a bunch of bad stuff on the guy. We argued that ORS 814.020 preempted the more restrictive city ordinance and the search was thus unlawful. The judge rejected our argument. Walking past the courthouse later that day, I watched the same judge leave the courthouse and cross in the middle of the street, nowhere near the closest crosswalk.

Sometime later, the city ordinance was taken off the books, so the preemption argument disappeared and the police no longer have a useful tool to provide the pretext for a search. Maybe that led to the temporary decrease in jaywalking citations that folks noticed before now.

I've heard numerous stories of folks being ticketed by the Multnomah County Courthouse. The rumor, as I've heard it, is that PPD vigorously enforces jaywalking citations to harass and ticket criminal defense attorneys. Caught in that dragnet (as cover) are many others.

"especialy those who act indignant when you dare [...] ring a bike bell."

Funny, it's usually the people on the bike that act indignant towards anyone that isn't on a bike, or traffic control devices, or...

Jaywalkers are one of the reasons I hate driving downtown, especially the folks that stand 5 feet off the corner of the sidewalk, completely unaware that I'm trying to make a right turn. Does a 5-foot head start really help you that much?

They are, in fact, pushing jaywalking tickets downtown right now--we had notice from Tri-Met and the building my office is in to that effect. It's because they're getting ready to open up the bus mall again, and they want to get people used to the idea that it's not wise to cross in front of a train or bus that might come barreling down the street (I've seen buses run red lights on the mall so often I just expect it now).

I've lost count of all of the reasons to not be downtown.

I was passing thru downtown yesterday and hit the foodcarts near Big Pink.

I find it amazing that people aren't run down every day.

I was easing up Oak, driving about 18 mph to catch the green lights.

A guy walking up 6th, talking on his cell phone, almost walked into the side of my truck. He looked quite surprised. It did not appear that he even looked up to see that his light was red long before he ever got to the curb.

Wow, if you can't walk and talk at the same time, stay off the phone or sit down while you talk.

And i saw at least a dozen others crossing against the light.

Hoesley is a tool. I had a prior encounter with him and his little Vespa. Apparently, he wasn't in class the day PPD was discussing courteousness and respect. He has an attitude and doesnt seem to understand the word "intent". As previously noted, another reason to avoid downtown.

I was easing up Oak, driving about 18 mph to catch the green lights.

I don't know if it's the speed limit, but 18 mph is too fast, since the lights are timed at 12 mph.

If you can't jaywalk in a city with impunity, you aren't in a real city.

Isn't jaywalking the first step toward anarchy? (According to former Portland Police Chief Potter)

There should be a citation issued for the improper use of an apostrophe in the "DON?T WALK SIGNAL" line in the citation.

Don't blame Hoesly -- his keyboard was probably in Western while his printer was in Unicode. (I don't actually know what that means.)

Well, jaywalking in front of a police station and a Federal Courthouse will get you a ticket due to the law enforcement concentration in the area.

The sidewalk in front of Central Precinct is constricted and blocked by an Oregonian newspaper box. The sidewalk across the street is closed due to construction. (As, is often the case, two lanes of auto traffic.)

There's little room for pedestrians, and the personal irony for me is I have to walk through all this to get to my #14 Hawthorne bus...that then proceeds to drive AWAY from Hawthorne to cross over the Willamette on the Morrison Bridge, doubling what used to be my commute time.

Given all this, walking home becomes a viable option...except for "sharing" the sidewalk on the bridge with Lance Armstrong wanne-bes, who love nothing but passing pedestrians on the sidewalk as close --and as fast-- as possible.

Anarchy in our time...

Was on my way to courthouse this morning for criminal pre-trial conferences. Observed Ofc. Engstrom on a motor bike patrolling 5th and 6th Ave. He hollered and ran his siren at two different peds for crossing without a signal; both peds completely ignored him. Engstrom did nothing but motor along on his (not-so-)merry way.

Good to know that Ofc. Engstrom doesn't take this escalated enforcement seriously either.

Here is my process when approaching a crosswalk downtown with a DON'T WALK signal:

1. Look both ways for approaching vehicles.
2. Look both ways again for marked police vehicles.
3. Look both ways again for uniformed police officers on foot.
4. If none of the above are seen, proceed through intersection at own risk (of ticket, serious injury or death).

I once worked for an attorney who made a point to tell me that I should never jaywalk during a trial because it might be witnessed by a juror on one of my cases.

Frank, get a bike. You too can terrorize pedestrians on the Hawthorne Bridge.

Don't feel bad, I did jail time here in Eugene for a jaywalking ticket I forgot to pay.


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