Reasserting pedestrian rights in Portland

The influx of out-of-staters is making the streets more dangerous

Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
3 min readSep 29, 2022


I gotta say, crossing the street as a pedestrian in Portland is much more of a challenge than it used to be! Fortunately for me, I learned how to be assertively safe as a pedestrian when I lived in Boston where the drivers are actively aggressive, so there’s nothing that a driver in Portland (or indeed anywhere on the West Coast) can bring that I can’t handle.

But it’s not me that I’m worried about. It’s the other pedestrians. First because the streets are less safe, but secondly because I am observing that in general pedestrians are becoming more timid, and while I understand that reaction, it’s making the streets more dangerous, not less. A right is being chipped away because it’s not being used.

For those who don’t know, drivers in Oregon are required to stop at any crosswalk as soon as a pedestrian steps off the curb, and remain stopped until they are six feet out of their lane. A crosswalk legally exists at every intersection WHETHER MARKED OR UNMARKED. [link] Basically, a pedestrian in Oregon should barely have to break stride. It’s one of the best aspects of Oregon driving law.