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Woman struck in Hall Boulevard crosswalk suing Tigard, ODOT for $7M
Holly Lour is alleging negligence on the part of the city and state led to a crash that severely injured her in 2014.
A woman struck and injured while crossing Hall Boulevard in Tigard two years ago is now suing the city and the Oregon Department of Transportation for negligence.
Holly Lour is seeking $7 million in the lawsuit filed Dec. 21 in Washington County Circuit Court. The complaint filed against the City of Tigard and ODOT alleges that the crosswalk she was using when she was hit by a truck at about 5 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2014, was known to be dangerous.
The crosswalk in question is just north of Highway 99W, adjacent to the Tigard Plaza shopping center.
Lour's attorney, Travis Mayor, provided The Times with copies of emails and letters that appear to have been exchanged between ODOT and city staff, members of the public, and the attorney, which he said confirm that the state agency and city knew the crosswalk was unsafe.
The records indicate that the crosswalk initially was installed by the city in 1990, and that at one point in 2001, ODOT paved over the crosswalk.
David P. Sadler, a state traffic investigator, explained in an email to a Tigard city employee in 2001 that the Hall Boulevard crosswalk "is not one that we would install unless there is overwhelming evidence of its need."
But, the email added, "ODOT feels that since they covered up the (city's) crosswalk we have an obligation to replace it. ... I believe that if the city can provide us with a letter stating their responsibility for the walk and future maintenance we can replace the crossing."
Another letter included in the records provided to The Times is dated Jan. 10, 2002, from a Tigard city engineer asking the state to re-stripe the crosswalk.
"Since the pavement resurfacing covered the painted crosswalk we have had many calls from citizens asking for it to be replaced," wrote Agustin P. Duenas. "I have asked our maintenance crew to remove the pedestrian crossing signs until the crosswalk is replaced. After it is replaced, the City of Tigard will continue to maintain the crosswalk markings and the signs."
While the crosswalk was repainted, that was not the end of the issue.
In a 2011 email included in the records, ODOT traffic investigations team leader Merle Hill told a Tigard resident who wrote to the state with concerns about the paint coming off the crosswalk that it had been installed "without proper state approvals," adding, "When a crosswalk is scheduled for removal we sometimes allow the markings to be worn off from traffic but it appears the marking remnants need to be more completely obliterated for safety."
While the stripes painted on the road surface are badly worn and barely visible in spots, they remain identifiable as crosswalk markings. Road signs in either direction also mark it as a crosswalk.
Lour was 19 at the time of the crash, according to the complaint. It states that she suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures and has undergone multiple surgeries as a result of the crash.
The city and ODOT's "negligence was a substantial factor" in Lour's injuries, the complaint alleges.
The suit seeks $1 million in economic damages and $6 million in non-economic damages, saying that her "permanent" injuries "have been painful and will continue to be painful in the future" and "have also caused her loss of enjoyment of life."
ODOT's Don Hamilton declined to comment on the suit.
"We don't litigate these things in the press," he said.
The section of Hall Boulevard where the crosswalk is located is part of what is officially considered a state highway maintained by ODOT.
Tigard City Manager Marty Wine said last month she was unaware of the lawsuit and generally does not comment on pending legal matters.
By Mark Miller