Mysterious rush hour crash closes 82nd Avenue
A single vehicle smashup on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, just south SE Mill Street, on Wednesday, May 23, at 7:30 a.m., ended up shutting down the always-busy thoroughfare all the way through morning rush hour traffic, and at times later on in the day.
"Preliminary information suggests this was a single vehicle crash into a power pole," was all the official information Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Burley was able to find initially.
"There were no reported injuries requiring ambulance transport to a hospital," Burley added to THE BEE.
As we arrived at the scene, more precisely what had occurred became clear: A late-model light blue Chrysler sedan appeared to have been southbound on the US Highway 213 – the "Avenue of Roses" – at a relatively high rate of speed.
For reasons unknown, the Chrysler veered off the road, smashed into a wooden utility pole, and continued right on into a steel chain-link fence south of the 82nd Avenue Food Mart and L.K. Foods parking lot. The vehicle was finally stopped by a sturdy-looking utility truck parked on the other side of the fence, in the Pho Van restaurant's parking lot.
There were no visible skid marks indicating any effort to turn or slow down by the driver.
Portland General Electric (PGE) workers arriving at the scene looked puzzled, wondering why the utility pole – now suspended from the overhead wires – hadn't come crashing down.
Because the pole was teetering precariously over the S.E. 82nd Avenue, a Portland Fire & Rescue crew blocked off the street and strung up red "DANGER – DO NOT ENTER" tape.
"It doesn't appear that this incident caused an outage, other than to a single building at the site," said PGE spokesperson Steve Corson.
"But pole replacements can take a while, since we have to clear the debris, auger out the base of the existing pole, put in a new one, install new equipment, and reconnect everything – including the lines that run across the highway."
PGE crews finally finished and closed out the incident at 6:20 p.m. that evening, Corson said.
The good news is that no one was severely injured during this unexplained smashup; but the wreck negatively impacted traffic along SE 82nd Avenue of Roses for hours. There is no word on whether any citations were issued to the driver.