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Crash at Highway 47 claims two Pacific students

Deaths of Kiden Dilla and Ayan Osman spark intersection changes, memorial


Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Kiden Dillas father, Sam, was visiting his native South Sudan when he got the call about his daughters death.Two Pacific University freshmen, commuting to Forest Grove from Portland, paused briefly at a stop sign on Northwest Verboort Road the morning of April 7 before turning left onto Highway 47 — and directly into the path of a box truck.

The driver, 18-year-old Kiden Dilla, and her best school friend, 19-year-old Ayan Osman, appear to have died instantly, leaving their families and friends devastated. The two had helped re-energize Pacific’s Black Student Union and had bold plans for the future. Both wanted to major in public health. Dilla then wanted to bring her skills to poverty-stricken South Sudan, where her parents grew up before fleeing the violence there.

On the Pacific campus, the deaths of Ayan and Kiden sparked plans to create a memorial bench in their honor, although it is still being discussed and no time or location has been set.Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Fellow Pacific University students mourn Kiden Dilla (left) and Ayan Osman by decorating the schools spirit bench in honor of the two girls, who died in a car crash while driving to the Forest Grove campus from their homes in Portland.

A more visible result of their deaths — with positive, community-wide ramifications — was the Oregon Department of Transportation’s response to the community outcry for safety improvements at the deadly intersection. ODOT secured amazingly quick approval for planning and designing a roundabout there. Roundabouts tend to have a much lower crash rate (and much less severe injuries) than traditional intersections. Funded by the state, construction is scheduled to start in winter 2016, finally addressing concerns first raised by family members of Kaylee Tawzer, who have been calling for safety improvements ever since the 16-year-old Banks girl died at the same intersection in 2007.

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