The Oregonian reports this morning on an Oregon pedestrian death involving a MAX train. The Oregon pedestrian accident took the life of a 71-year-old Portland man Friday night. “Transit police are continuing to investigate the incident,” according to the newspaper.
The man reportedly died when hit by a MAX train early “Friday night near East Burnside and 160th Avenue.” The newspaper quotes a Tri-Met spokesperson saying that “the Blue Line train was eastbound and that trains usually move about 35 mph in the area where the incident took place. She said the accident took place near a pedestrian crossing specifically designed to help make sure that people getting ready to cross the tracks have a good view of oncoming trains.”
The Oregonian quotes family members saying that the victim had lived in the neighborhood since 2001 and was in good health. He was taking his regular evening walk at the time of the accident, according to family members who spoke to the newspaper.
The exact circumstances of this accident need to be investigated thoroughly and carefully. It is possible that the family could find they have cause for an Oregon wrongful death claim depending on the results of the investigation. From a legal perspective, it is especially important to examine whether the train’s operators were following proper procedures as well as the functionality of the switching and signaling equipment along the Blue Line.
As a Portland wrongful death attorney with extensive experience in pedestrian deaths and accidents I will be watching this case closely to see what the investigation eventually concludes and, perhaps equally important, what larger questions the results of the investigation may eventually raise. Safety issues involving Tri-Met trains and busses have emerged far too frequently in the last few years. Though the city and Tri-Met have made some progress in addressing pedestrian safety concerns the bottom line remains that Greater Portland needs and deserves a transit system in which fatalities and serious injuries are never an issue.