Friday Transportation Seminar: Oregon Walks Pedestrian Crash Report: Causes, Effects, and Recommendations

Friday, April 23, 2021, 11:30am to 12:30pm PDT
Ashton Simpson and Scott Kocher, Oregon Walks; Brandon Summers, Forum Law Group
PDH: 1 | AICP: 1

We are committed to making decisions that promote the success and well-being of our campus community. Until further notice, all live events hosted by TREC will be online only.

Friday Transportation Seminars at Portland State University have been a tradition since 2000. You can join us online at 11:30 AM.



Perhaps you’ve seen a public meeting about pedestrian safety (or infrastructure projects) deteriorate into speculation about texting pedestrians or drunk drivers. What do the data say?

The Oregon Walks Pedestrian Crash Report reviews police reports and available information for all 48 fatal pedestrian crashes in Portland from 2017-2019. The authors will summarize their most notable findings relating to infrastructure, other systemic factors, equity and the information that the public receives about crashes. Participants may wish to review the report or articles describing it to prepare for a robust discussion:

The authors will welcome participants’ questions and suggestions about how to improve the report, which is in its first release. The complete dataset is available upon request (please email scott[at]


  • Most fatal pedestrian crashes in Portland cannot be attributed to traditional crash factors, such as intoxication or distraction.
  • Operation of streets as fast, wide, poorly-lit, multi-lane roads through neighborhoods predictably results in deaths of people walking and using mobility devices.
  • Fatal pedestrian crashes occur disproportionately in East Portland, and disproportionately kill Black Portlanders, elders, people experiencing houselessness, and people with ADA disabilities, among others.
  • Media and police reports focus on which participant was at fault, and generally ignore the infrastructure and systemic failures that are common to many fatal pedestrian crashes in Portland.


Ashton Simpson, Executive Director, Oregon Walks

Ashton is a community organizer, former U.S. Air Force Civil Engineering Technician, and a graduate of PSU’s Community Development undergraduate program. In his most recent role at The Rosewood Initiative, he served as Community Asset Director, providing planning expertise for under-resourced neighborhoods. As a progressive Black man growing up in Houston, and now living in Portland, he has seen firsthand the unequal development present in our pedestrian infrastructure, and the dangers this presents for vulnerable communities.


Scott Kocher, Board Liaison, Oregon Walks Legislative and Policy Advisory Committee

Scott Kocher was born and raised in Corvallis, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College. He worked as an attorney at Oregon's largest law firm from 2001 to 2006. Since 2006 Scott’s law practice has focused on representing people and families after serious and fatal traffic crashes.  Scott has served on policy advisory committees for the Oregon Transportation Safety Action Plan as well as Oregon’s state-wide bicycle advisory committee, and Portland’s pedestrian advisory committee, among others. Scott has volunteered with and served on the board of Oregon Walks since September 2014.

Brandon Summers, Project Staff, Forum Law Group

Brandon Summers spent over 20 years as a professional musician, recording and performing internationally. He recently joined the project staff at Forum Law Group and collaborated on the research and drafting of the Oregon Walks Fatal Pedestrian Crash Report. As a native Portlander who experienced the first two decades of his adult life without owning a car, Brandon is passionate about creating a city where walking, bicycling and public transportation thrive. As the son of an immigrant Indonesian mother, he is dedicated to equitable solutions. And as the father of two daughters, he is focused on ensuring that we do more to make Portland’s streets safe for generations to come.


This 60-minute seminar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development credit for AICP (see our provider summary). We provide an electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification maintenance.


Photo courtesy of Oregon Metro

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The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and professionals through education.