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Smile, you're on Speed Safety Camera in Southwest Portland

HANNAH SCHAFER, PORTLAND BUREAU OF TRANSPORTATION. - A new Speed Safety Cameras installed along the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in Southwest Portland.Portland has just installed the first so-called Speed Safety Cameras in state along Southwest Beaverton Hillsdale Highway. Police will issue warnings to drivers who are pictured exceeding the speed limit over the next 30 days. The typical fine will be $160.

“No family should lose a loved one to reckless speeding,” Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick said in a Tuesday press release announcing the installation. “The connection between death and high speeds is clear. Unfortunately, too many people continue to disregard the fact that safe speeds save lives. That’s why the implementation of these new Speed Safety Cameras is so important — they are a proven tool for reducing speeding.”

The installation on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway is the first safety camera installation since Portland and community safety advocates convinced the 2015 Oregon Legislature to pass HB 2621, which allows them to be used on High Crash Corridors in the city limits. The highway is such a corridor. The city has been using other cameras to ticket speeders in other parts Portland for many years.

The announcement comes as traffic fatalities continue to increase in Portland. The 30th fatality occurred on Aug. 19 when a 15-year-old girl was killed by a speeding driver on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. By that time last year, only 23 people had been killed in traffic crashes in Portland. The increase is occurring despite the City Council adopting a Vision Zero goal of no traffic fatalities last year.

According to the announcement, the cameras are mounted along High Crash Corridors and when people driving past them exceed the posted speed limit, they capture photos and video. A Portland police officer will review violations before a citation is issued. Any money received from the tickets pays for the program and safety improvements on the corridor. Additional cameras will be installed during winter and spring 2017 on Southeast 122nd Avenue between Foster and Powell Boulevards, on Marine Drive, and and on outer Southeast Division Street.

“Speed Safety Cameras are a critical tool for addressing unsafe driving speeds on Portland’s High Crash Corridors,” Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Director Leah Treat said in the announcement. “We have an imperative to address the high rate of fatalities happening along these roads and to keep Portlanders safe - whether they are walking, bicycling or driving.”

New speed signs and speed reader boards were also installed on Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway warning drivers in advance of the cameras in both directions. in addition, PBOT staff conducted extensive outreach with local neighborhood associations as well as over 75 businesses and community organizations to raise awareness of the changes along the corridor.

In addition to the new cameras, PBOT is delivering three additional safety and maintenance projects on a section of Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway beginning this fall that reflect the goals of the Southwest Community Plan and the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway High Crash Corridor Safety Plan.