Mysterious rush hour crash closes 82nd Avenue

Here’s why outer East Portland traffic, from Stark to Division streets on 82nd Avenue of Roses, was shut down for hours on May 23 …

In the Montavilla neighborhood, SE 82nd Avenue of Roses is closed to traffic during the morning rush hour, and at times throughout the day, as a result of a car smashing into a utility pole.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A single vehicle smashup on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, just south SE Mill Street on Wednesday, May 23, at 7:30 a.m., ended up shutting down the always-busy thoroughfare all the way through morning rush hour traffic, and at times later on in the day.

“Preliminary information suggests this was a single vehicle crash into a power pole,” was all the official information Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Burley was able to locate initially.

“There were no reported injuries requiring ambulance transport to a hospital,” added Burley, to East Portland News.

Workers at shops nearby say they’re surprised no one was killed when this Chrysler left the street and collided with a utility pole.

As we arrived at the scene, more precisely what hyad occurred became clear: A late-model light blue Chrysler sedan appeared to have been southbound on the US Highway 213 – the “Avenue of Roses” – at a relatively high rate of speed.

For reasons unknown, the Chrysler veered off the road, smashed into a wooden utility pole, and continued right on into a steel, chain link south of the 82nd Avenue Food Mart and L.K. Foods parking lot. The vehicle was finally stopped by a sturdy-looking utility truck parked on the other side of the fence, in the Pho Van restaurant’s parking lot.

There were no visible skid marks indicating any effort to turn or slow down by the driver.

PGE crew members ponder the best way to begin replacing the pole and electric power lines.

Portland General Electric (PGE) workers arriving at the scene were puzzling out why the utility pole – not suspended from the overhead wires – hadn’t come crashing down.

Because the pole was teetering precariously over the SE 82nd Avenue, a Portland Fire & Rescue crew blocked off the street and strung up red “DANGER – DO NOT ENTER” tape.

“It doesn’t appear that this incident caused an outage, other than to a single building at the site,” said PGE spokesperson Steve Corson.

More PGE crews and equipment arrive on scene to begin the day-long process of replacing a utility pole.

“Pole replacements can take a while, since they have to clear the debris, auger out the base of the existing pole, put in a new one, install new equipment, and reconnect everything – including the lines that run across the highway,” Corson told East Portland News.

PGE crews finally finished and closed out the incident at 6:20 p.m. that evening, Corson said.

There were no substantial injuries reported in this crash, officials say.

The good news is that no one was severely injured during this unexplained smashup; but the wreck negatively impacted traffic along SE 82nd Avenue of Roses. There is no word on whether any citations were issued to the driver.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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