Portland's wave of traffic deaths has continued into the new year, with eight people killed by cars since Jan. 1. That's on pace to match last year's 50 traffic fatalities—and includes a bleak new factor.
Twice this year, Portland drivers struck people apparently sleeping on sidewalks.
The first death was Jan. 24, when a man near Montavilla backed out of his driveway and unintentionally ran over a woman sleeping on the sidewalk.
On Feb. 14, a truck pulled into the parking lot of a Sellwood-Moreland convenience store and ran over a man lying on the sidewalk. Police tell WW they have "reason to believe he may have slept outside at times."
No arrests were made in either incident.
Portland has spent more than $100 million on a plan called Vision Zero aimed at eliminating traffic deaths on city streets. It hasn't worked yet. Meanwhile, regional government Metro is considering a measure that would tax the wealthiest Portlanders to fund homeless services.