A commissioner for the City of Portland, Ore. has received an agreement to settle one of the pending wrongful death actions for the loss of her husband for $1.45 million. The settlement was reached with the Oregon Department Transportation following a head-on collision in September 2014 on a stretch of interstate with no cable median barriers. Another $750,000 was paid by the state to the family of the front seat passenger, who also died.
Another $9.5 million lawsuit against two other drivers is still pending.
Additionally, decedent’s widow pushed hard for legislative action that would specifically require the Department of Transportation to finish erecting median barriers on 100 miles of unprotected highway identified as prone to deadly cross-over crashes, such as the one that killed decedent. Senate Bill 921, known as the “Fritz-Fairchild Act,” was passed by both legislative bodies, signed by the governor and codified in Chapter 275 of the state’s 2015 laws. It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2016. The measure will specifically target a dangerous, unbarricaded stretch of interstate that has been neglected for years as political priorities shifted. This was despite the DOT being aware of the need for updates as far back as 1996.
These new changes will cost an additional $20 million. Continue reading →