Return of rain triggers car crashes across East Portland

Details of this wreck at SE 82nd Ave. and Woodstock Blvd. are sketchy, but take a look at one intersection-shutting accident, representative of the rain-caused motor mayhem many experienced as the winter rains returned …

The intersection of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and SE Woodstock Boulevard was closed for hours on the rainy afternoon of October 3rd, as workers tried to untangle utility wires from a dump truck with trailer, a car, and a downed traffic control signal.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As the first dark, winter-like days descend over East Portland, the number of traffic collisions spikes up, every year. All over East Portland, a variety of motor vehicle accidents – large and small – were reported over the police radio on the wet day of Friday, October 3.

Fortunately, none of the smash-ups were serious – but at least one of them provided an interesting photo opportunity.

About 1:00 p.m. on October 3, we heard a police call about a crash involving a double gravel truck, a car, and a utility pole, at the intersection of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and SE Woodstock Boulevard.

From what we learned, no one was injured in this odd-looking accident. From this view, it looks like the car has been destroyed. This was NOT the case!

-3 Looking at the car from this angle, you’ll note that the Buick seemed to have escaped the tangle with a double dump truck with only minor scratchs from the power cables.

Downed wires close intersection
When we arrived on-scene, we saw a Knife River dump truck and trailer combo stopped diagonally across SE Woodstock Boulevard, on the west side of the intersection.

A utility pole, on the northwest corner of the intersection, had been snapped into three sections. The upper portion of the pole – the pedestrian traffic signals were about a foot above its jagged end – smashed into the window at the Liberty Buy-Sell store; the security bars inside the store kept the pole from protruding further into the store.

Also west of the intersection was a silver Buick, stopped on another diagonal.

Hovering about a foot above the Buick was the top of that utility pole. The street lamp stanchion affixed to the pole, gracefully arched, followed the curve of the windshield and the hood; the lamp fixture dangled in front of the car’s bumper. Amazingly, we didn’t see any broken glass on the car. The only damage appeared to be a few scratches from the power lines being coiled on and around it.

This usually-busy intersection was closed; traffic signals were hanging chest-high above 82nd Avenue.

Details remain sketchy
Neither the police officer at the scene, nor police bureau officials, were able to provide any further information about this odd wreck, which closed this major intersection for hours, as utility workers worked to untangle the wires and restore service.

When we asked the men who were said to be, respectively, the drivers of the truck and car, what had happened – both refused to comment on the cause of the crash.

That unusual development suggests that perhaps BOTH drivers were at fault! Officials have yet to comment on the incident. No one appeared to have been injured in the wreck.

The utility pole was broken cleanly in three pieces.

We were told (unverified) that the man in the red shirt and hat was the driver of the dump truck rig – here he stands next to the store window shattered by the utility pole.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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