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Two teenagers dead, another on life support after Bulter Road head-on collision

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Neighbors are calling for better traffic safety measures along Butler Road after a fatal accident over the weekend.A tragic accident in the Persimmon Neighborhood that caused the death of two teenagers and has a third on life support spurred public outcry to find ways to make a dangerous stretch of Gresham road safer.

Friday night, Nov. 6, Gresham police responded to reports of an accident at the corner of Southeast Linden Drive and Butler Road. The collision involved a car with six teenagers inside that allegedly crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a pickup.

The teenage male driver of the car died at the scene and one of his female passengers died later that evening. Two other female passengers were in critical condition after the accident — one has been upgraded in condition and is "doing a bit better," police said, while the other has been placed on life support.

The two other teenage boy passengers in the car were treated and released from the hospital. The driver of the pickup truck was also released from the hospital and has been cooperating with police.

"My thoughts and condolences go out to everyone impacted by this tragic accident," said City Manager Eric Schmidt during an emotional traffic safety discussion Tuesday morning, Nov. 10. "We are conducting a safety audit right now."

Gresham officials committed to seeking solutions for that stretch of road, which residents said has been a site for many accidents in the past.

"I have seen many light poles and trees taken out by crashes," said John Harrold, a resident for 22 years who lives just a stone's throw from the site of the most recent collision. "This is an unusual one mile stretch of city road that can be a speedway at times."

In the immediate aftermath of the accident, the city placed an electronic reader board along Butler to inform people of the crash and remind everyone to drive safely. The neighborhood also privately funded the placement of a 30 mph radar board on Southeast Regner Road.

The city is investigating median improvements, speed bumps, stop signs and flashing lights. Staffers have also agreed to set up meeting with the Persimmon Homeowners Association to discuss other potential options moving forward to make that stretch of roadway safer.

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