With Roads Nearly Empty, Portlanders Are Driving at Dangerous Speeds

In one day, four people were cited for driving 100 or more miles per hour over posted limits.

Speed limit signs in the Madison South neighborhood. (Aaron Mesh)

Portlanders are driving too fast on the city's empty roads, the Portland Police Bureau says.

Data from the bureau shows speeders driving more than 31 mph over the speed limit has spiked from two citations on Feb. 9 to 29 citations on March 29.

On that same day, 90 people citywide were cited for driving 21 to 30 mph over the speed limit, as opposed to 44 on Feb. 9. Four people were cited on March 29 for speeding 100 or more mph over the posted limit.

On a media call with reporters April 3, Police Chief Jami Resch said that while crime has generally been lower than usual, the bureau is troubled by the flouting of posted speeds.

"The traffic laws are still in place and they will be enforced by the traffic officers," Resch told reporters. However, Resch said, traffic accidents have decreased nearly 30 percent, especially after schools in the city closed.

The trend of speeding has continued into this week, the bureau says.

"With the open roads, cars, motorcycles, people traveling on the highways are just tending to pick up the speed quite a bit," Portland Police Officer Bill Balzer told reporters April 7. "Just because the highways are less traveled doesn't mean people can start driving faster. It's not a time that we need additional people in the hospital from car crashes."

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