63 people were killed in Portland traffic crashes in 2022, report says

By Jeff Thompson (OPB)
March 13, 2023 10:44 p.m.

More than two-thirds of the traffic deaths in Portland happened on the so-called ‘high-crash corridors that make up less than 10% of the city’s roads

In 2022, 63 people died in traffic crashes in Portland, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s 2022 Deadly Traffic Crash Report released on Monday.

That matches exactly the number of traffic-related deaths in Portland in 2021, which had been the highest number in at least three decades, the report shows.

A Portland Police Major Crash Team van with sliding door open is parked across a road, next to a blue and white Portland Police SUV. Two officers stand in the road next to the vehicles, with yellow tripod measuring device.

Portland police officers responded to the scene of a single-vehicle rollover crash the morning of Dec. 17, 2022, on Southeast 148th Avenue just south of Southeast Main Street. The driver was transported to a hospital and later died of his injuries on Jan. 1, 2023.

Courtesy Portland Police Bureau

PBOT spokesperson Dylan Rivera says speed and impairment were major factors. And more than two-thirds of the traffic deaths happened on the city’s high-crash corridors, which make up less than 10% of Portland’s streets.

“If we can improve these high-crash corridors and streets, we can make the biggest difference in reducing traffic deaths,” he said, “because those are the streets and intersections that are contributing the most to traffic deaths.”

Rivera says that, for several generations, roads have been increasingly designed to move people quickly. Now PBOT is focused on moving people safely, with specific improvements aimed at those 30 streets and intersections where most of the crashes happen.

Of the people killed in traffic crashes last year, 28 were pedestrians, and about a third of those pedestrians were experiencing homelessness.


The report shows that 74% of total traffic deaths occurred in darker conditions, between dusk and dawn, but 93% of pedestrian deaths happened during those times.

Related: Northwest lawmakers pitching ideas to make roads safer as fatalities have increased in recent years

City Commissioner Mingus Mapps, who oversees the transportation bureau, said this is a stark reminder for Portland drivers to slow down and follow the rules of the road.

“No one should be killed just by traveling on the streets of Portland, no matter how they travel,” Mapps said. “I urge everyone to think of this report as a call for us to drive carefully, to never drive while impaired and to always follow the speed limits and other rules of the road.”

The report is a snapshot of the traffic deaths in 2022, based on preliminary data from Portland police. The Oregon Department of Transportation expects to provide final figures in 2024.

Rivera said identifying broader traffic trends can take even longer.

“These numbers can go up and down,” he said. “But it takes five years or more for trends to really emerge from these numbers, and to see how people are changing their traffic behavior and their travel behavior generally. So we share these reports on an annual basis to update the public on what we know, and to be as transparent as possible.”

Traffic deaths have been increasing steadily since 2014 in Portland and in Oregon, which mirrors a national trend.

Related: Slow down, people! Surge in traffic deaths continues in Pacific Northwest