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News Blog: Working for community and safety on the "Avenue of Roses"

By Hannah Schafer, Portland Bureau of Transportation

Duncan Hwang APANO

As a child of immigrants, Duncan Hwang grew up in Chinese restaurants in rural Michigan. He moved to Portland in 2004 to attend Lewis & Clark Law School. After graduating in 2007, Duncan worked throughout Asia in corporate law, but decided to return to his roots in community organizing and advocacy upon returning stateside. Duncan found a job at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) on Idealist.org and now serves as the Associate Director, living and working in the East Portland neighborhoods he hopes to serve.  At APANO, Duncan has the privilege to advocate for the health, safety, and well-being of Portland's communities of concern. He is also a member of the City of Portland’s Vision Zero Task Force.

APANO is a statewide, grassroots organization, uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice. APANO uses its collective strengths to advance equity through empowering, organizing and advocating with the communities they serve. A large portion of APANO’s priority communities reside very close to their headquarters along SE 82nd Avenue, but the organization works statewide to address disparities in health, education, and economic outcomes for their communities. 

Called the “Avenue of Roses”, 82nd Avenue is designated by PBOT as a High Crash Corridor and it is designated by the Oregon Department of Transportation as State Highway 213. A major north/south connector route, the 82nd Avenue of Roses serves Portland’s busiest transit line and has a large pedestrian population utilizing the corridor. A sizeable portion of the corridor’s residents and businesses speak English as a second language. As the Vision Zero Task Force continues to examine methods for reducing serious injuries and fatalities in Portland, High Crash Corridors like 82nd Avenue are a major focus. 

SE 82nd and FosterPortlanders crossing SE 82nd Avenue at Foster Road. Photo by Felicity J. Mackay, PBOT

Twenty-five corridors make up Portland’s High Crash Network, streets with the highest number of people dying and being seriously injured.  The High Crash Network makes up only 7% of the road network, but accounts for 47% of people dying (Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles crash data, 2004-2013). From 2004 to 2013, ten people died in traffic crashes on 82nd Avenue, seven were people walking and one person was bicycling. In 2014, the intersection of SE 82nd Avenue and SE Division Street was the 7th highest crash location in Portland with a total of 124 crashes from 2011 to 2014. 

Learn more about the corner of SE 82nd and Division by watching this video by Oregon Metro: “On the Corner of Change: 82nd and Division”

Says Duncan, "SE 82nd is the most dangerous corridor in the City's pedestrian high crash network. With many Asian Pacific Islanders and other communities of concern now living along 82nd and other high crash corridors in East Portland, pedestrian safety and walkability has risen to the top of our concerns.”

APANO's community development program focuses on SE Portland, particularly the Jade District and Lents neighborhoods. They manage the Jade District Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative for the City of Portland, which is literally boxed in by high crash corridors: SE Division, SE Powell and SE 82nd Ave. During an extensive community visioning process and design charette done in five languages, the overarching community concern was walkability and safety.

“Our neighborhoods are facing a public health crisis in the form of unsafe and incomplete streets, with preventable injuries and deaths unnecessarily tearing apart our families. Many of our community members have been impacted by dangerous streets and Vision Zero is an initiative APANO has high hopes for.” Says Duncan, “Getting to Vision Zero is a major equity priority that we're excited the City is taking so seriously."

vision zero logoThe City of Portland Vision Zero Task Force is charged with providing direction on the Portland Vision Zero Action Plan, including developing the vision, goals, policies, actions, and performance measures to get to zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries. In addition, Task Force members act as liaisons to the organizations and agencies they represent and will be ongoing champions for implementation of the Vision Zero Action Plan. Working together we will save lives.

Learn more about Vision Zero by visiting www.visionzeroportland.com.

(Follow the Portland Bureau of Transportation on Twitter @PBOTInfo and on Facebook)