SCAPPOOSE, Ore. (KOIN) — Kerrigan Clark would have graduated from Scappoose High School next year. Instead, her classmates were mourning her loss and meeting with grief counselors after the 17-year-old died Wednesday.
The Ford Focus she was driving went down an embankment on Cornelius Pass Road north of Skyline Boulevard sometime before 11 a.m. on May 6. She died at the scene.
“She was a light in a dark world,” said Chance Rice, a youth pastor at Branches Church. “She was an amazing person.”
There is no guardrail blocking the steep drop to McCarthy Creek below, where her car landed.
In 2008, a road safety audit was completed after another Scappoosse teen, Taija Belwood, also died in a crash near that spot.
Multnomah County spokesperson Mike Pullen said safety improvements have been made. “They’ve proved effective but there’s a lot more to be done.”
The target date for future improvements is now 2017.
Pullen said they “had the money to design (more improvements) but we don’t even have the money to build them.”
He added he hoped “it would be a community effort to make this a priority to get funding.”
Kerrigan Clark was a regular at Dutch Bros Coffee in Scappoose and St. Helens. The business is planning a Saturday fundraiser called “Cup for Kerrigan,” where all the proceeds from sales will go to the Clark family.
“This community is just so amazing when everybody comes together in a time of tragedy,” said franchisee Kevin Murphy.
“My heart breaks for her family,” Chance Rice told KOIN 6 News. “I know Kerrigan’s good to go, she’s up in heaven, smiling down, but it leaves a loss, a hole in all of our lives.”