Neighbors upset after 'safety island' removed near crosswalk

Residents mad over removal of 'safety island'

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Many residents in Portland's Linnton neighborhood  are outraged after the Oregon Department of Transportation removed what neighbors called a "safety island" with no warning.

For more than a decade, the island sat near the crosswalk at the intersection of Highway 30 and Northwest 107th Avenue.

It was part of the community's efforts to improve pedestrian safety along the stretch of highway that runs through the Linnton neighborhood.

In 2001, 14-year-old Ryan Calvert was hit and killed by a driver as the teen was crossing highway at that intersection.

He had just gotten off his school bus.

Danny Wagner was also on that bus. He was angry the raised island was removed.

"We have kids that are walking back and forth trying to get up to their houses and back down to school," he said, describing the spot where his friend was killed.

Many Linnton residents called the small median a safe haven.
"It was elevated so it gave people a place to step up if they needed to out of the way of traffic," said Katrina Matthews.

Linnton residents also believe the raised brick island made the area look more like a neighborhood, not just a highway.

"It alerted drivers to the fact there's pedestrians around and it's not just a place speed through," said Art Wagner.

ODOT said the island was traffic hazard and that it had received numerous complaints about it over the years.
"It did not meet any of our safety standards," explained ODOT spokesperson Don Hamilton."We actually had a cop car hit that and flipped one night rolled over, we've had injuries from trucks that hit it."

ODOT said it took out the island as part of a larger Highway 30 improvement and paving project.



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