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City of Tigard to jaywalkers: Watch your step

Pedestrians must use crosswalks if they are within 100 feet of one

TIGARD - Your mom always taught you to look left and right before crossing a street, but now there will be more eyes watching you, especially if you cross in the middle of a block when a crosswalk is nearby.

The City Council approved 3-0 Tuesday night a jaywalking ordinance, which states that pedestrians may not cross a street or roadway other than within a crosswalk if they are within 100 feet of a crosswalk.

'In the last two years, there have been 36 pedestrian injuries - 21 within the last 10 months, including some fatalities,' said police Chief Bill Dickinson.

Officer Leigh Erickson pointed out details of the ordinance, which the council and police department had previously discussed.

An ordinance was presented to the council in November, and council members directed staff to make some revisions, which included reducing the distance for compulsory use of a crosswalk and establishing a clearly defined rule for citizens to follow when not within 100 feet of a crosswalk.

If no crosswalk is accessible, pedestrians should cross a street or roadway at a right angle, according to the ordinance.

Erickson pointed out that several metropolitan cities, including Portland, Beaverton, Milwaukie, Gresham and Wilsonville, already have jaywalking ordinances.

'The (revised) ordinance is the cleanest and easiest for people to understand,' Dickinson said. 'We think it will be fairly easy. We will do very little actual enforcement. The real goal is education.'

Mayor Craig Dirksen noted that 'I was surprised that we did not have a jaywalking ordinance. One of the primary reasons for the city to have one is safety.'

City Manager Craig Prosser commended Erickson for his interest in establishing a jaywalking ordinance and initiating the process to get it enacted into law.

The ordinance goes into effect 30 days from the time the council approved it.