Silent Bike Ride Will Honor Cyclist Killed in Southeast Portland

The intersection Lance Hart was killed at is a popular crossing spot for students to access their local elementary school.

Children walking and biking to Whitman Elementary in October 2018. (Portland Bureau of Transportation)

On June 23 of this year,  32-year old bicyclist Lance Hart was hit by a car and killed on the intersection of SE Flavel St. and SE 78th Ave. It marked the city's 27th traffic-related death of the year.

A memorial will be held for Hart at Flavel Park on Tuesday at 5 p.m. Bicyclists who attend will do a silent bike ride from where Hart was killed to a nearby community center.

Three groups involved in Portland's transportation scene are co-sponsoring the memorial. BikeLoudPDX is a group of biking activists who advocate for safer biking transportation and traffic safety. SouthEast in Active Motion is a neighborhood association that tries to eradicate what they call "transportation inequities" on the east side of the river. And the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association has been advocating for road improvements in their Southeast neighborhood for years.

The intersection where Hart was killed, Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association chair Chelsea Powers tells WW, is the same intersection kids often cross to reach Whitman Elementary.

"We don't have a lot of marked roads or crossings, we don't have many paved roads and even less sidewalks," says Powers.

The neighborhood received a $2.2 million federal grant fund for the Portland Bureau of Transportation to construct sidewalks  in 2017, after pressuring PBOT for several years to find funding for the lack of sidewalks and potholes dotting the neighborhood. This February City Council moved to accept the grant funding.

Powers says the neighborhood has more than four miles of unpaved sidewalks.

To repair all of the roads in the neighborhood would cost an estimated $5.35 million. She says fixing the intersections is "incredibly necessary."

"It should be a priority to get those dangerous intersections fixed with that project," says Powers.

Police say the driver who hit and killed Hart, 21-year old Nicholas Martinez, had been under the influence of alcohol. He was charged with manslaughter, reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

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