Letters: Milwaukie public-safety solutions offered
I recently read your article and I was saddened by what I feel was, or perhaps should be, the core of the article ("Crosswalk crash déjà vu in Milwaukie," July 26).
In July, we had a very dear friend visit us from Seattle. He comes several times a year to visit our family and his godson. While in town he always makes arrangements to work out during his stay, keeping with his fitness routine. After speaking with a gym located in downtown Milwaukie, he went in search to find it and check out the facilities prior to actually working out there. He located the address and had parked mid-block so he walked across the street to the gym.
A Milwaukie policeman stopped him and told him he had jaywalked. Our friend then realized and apologized as he had been focused on finding the address and gym. The officer questioned him as to why he was in Milwaukie and what his business was. Our friend is African-American.
Upon returning he told us, "Gee, I had no idea how serious jaywalking is in Milwaukie" and explained further what had happened. I was shocked and embarrassed to say the least. On any given day, people jaywalk in downtown Milwaukie and during Farmer's Market it is a regular occurrence. The rules should apply to everyone.
I am not condoning jaywalking by any means, but I have never been questioned, nor anyone in my family, for jaywalking. When I called the Milwaukie Police Department to express my concern about our friend being questioned the supervisor stated if jaywalking was witnessed they have to say something. This is understandable. I asked about Farmer's Market days and the officer felt there were just too many people jaywalking to question them. I suggested flyers and police presence to help educate folks.
As I told the officer, I certainly hope our friend was not stopped and questioned due to the color of his skin! That was how it felt to me, and it was the reason why I took the time to reach out to the Milwaukie Police Department regarding my concern.
Saving lives should be priority
Once again, seeing my former neighbor's name, Norma Gabriel, come up in conjuction with the story of Kelsey Zionskowski and her fight to recover (which Norma didn't), I think about what I have read over the last two months ("Life changed forever after woman hit by car in Milwaukie in 2014," Aug. 23).
One thing keeps popping into my head: the Milwaukie Transit Center having through traffic and a point made of access to City Hall parking. I have only lived in Milwaukie since November, but I feel a part of its workings and safety.
Why doesn't the city have the access to the parking from the Harrison Street side? Keep that bus area for passengers and walkers. I don't know how to slow a drunk or sleeping driver, but sometimes there are solutions to save lives.
Thank you for your continued focus on this.