PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Dozens of people gathered at a SE Portland intersection Monday afternoon to rally for safety improvements at a notoriously dangerous crossing where a cyclist was hit and lost his leg over the weekend.
“It’s terrifying, it’s absolutely terrifying,” Julia Corkett, the mother of the cyclist hit this weekend told KOIN 6 News.
On Sunday morning, 22-year-old Alistair Corkett lost his leg when he was cycling through the intersection and a truck turned in front of him and hit him.
On Monday, his mother went to the scene of the crash to thank those who helped him, and support protesters rallying for change at the dangerous intersection.
“He could have died,” Julia said. “He could have died if people hadn’t been there to help him and tie off his leg, he could have bled out and die.d”
Over the last 10 years, 73 crashes have occurred at the intersection. The city has named the area of Powell Boulevard a high crash corridor, meaning it’s a priority for improvements.
“I do think it’s a problem,” Marc Swart, who works at the intersection, told KOIN 6 News. “When I cross around here I try to look the drivers in the eye before I do anything.”
Over the last five years, Swart said he’s dealt with many problems at the intersection of SE 26th and Powell, where hundreds of Cleveland High School students cross every day. He said he’s witnessed tragedies at the intersection, including a kid who was hit by a car.
“The crash Sunday is incredibly sad and we are in the process of designing a project that prevents future crashes,” Kimberly Dinwiddie with ODOT said.
ODOT said it’s currently designing a $3.8 million project that will add left turn signals on 26th, cut down trees that block sight lines in several other areas, and add flashing crossing beacons and lights.
“It’s a great idea, I think something needs to be done,” Swart said.
But with a long history of crashes, some wonder why it’s taken so long for improvements.
“We want to make sure we do this right and we make a safe road for everyone,” Dinwiddie said. “We have a limited amount of road we can use so we also have to purchase land for improvements.”
According to ODOT, the improvement project will now take a year to design.
You can find the Facebook event for Monday’s rally here.