Does the City of Portland have adequate sidewalks?
PORTLAND -- Dozens of people gathered outside a home in Southeast Portland to say goodbye to a girl who was hit and killed while crossing the street Thursday evening.
Morgan Maynard-Cook, 5, was on her way home at about 7 p.m., according to her mother Connie Ruiz.
Maynard-Cook was with a 13-year-old, holding hands to cross the street at Southeast 136th Avenue and Ellis Street.
"One car on the right hand side stops so she pulled her hand out of my hand and ran across the street," the 13-year-old told KGW. "But the car on the left hand side was speeding that way and she ran in front of it and it hit her. And she flew and I couldn't tell if she hit the mailbox or not, so I picked her up after I dropped all my stuff and ran over to the house that we were going to and set her on the porch and started banging on the door."
The driver that struck the child stayed at the scene, police said. Alcohol, speed or distracted driving do not appear to be factors, police said. The Traffic Division Major Crash Team was investigating the death.
"Because one car on this side stopped, so she thought it was okay and ran," the teen said. "I said 'no Morgan! Wait!' And she just kept going."
The girl's mother told KGW that another daughter was struck outside her house in June of 2010. Ruiz said much of the neighborhood has no sidewalks or crosswalks, and has lots of children trying to walk around in those conditions.
"She's just recently been asking us about heaven," Ruiz said of Morgan. "She's very curious, very full of life, a very happy little girl just wanted to run and learn and play and be a kid."
Morgan attended Gilbert Park Elementary School.
Jefferson Smith, who lost a run for mayor to Charlie Hales, ran on a platform that argued East Portland was neglected by City Hall, with road improvements made elsewhere.
"We have to rethink our transportation priorities," he told KGW, "We have to prioritize safety over smoothness. I would take a little bumpier ride, for another kid to stay alive, and I think most Portlanders would too."
The David Douglas School District also has concerns about student safety and sidewalks.
“This is an area of the community that definitely lacks sidewalks and lacks adequate crosswalks," said spokeswoman Barbara Kienle, "So that is a need that the community has expressed in multiple different venues. I know that it’s on the minds of a lot of leaders in this community and we would hope to see sidewalks come soon.”
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales came to the scene Thursday evening. At noon Friday, he issued a prepared statement, expressing sympathy for the family and emergency responders.
He said that in his first 60 days in office, there have been eight vehicle-related deaths, four of them pedestrians. He acknowledged the discussions the deaths have generated throughout the city.
"We will work through these decisions together, as involved citizens, as elected officials, as city employees, as residents of Portland, and as people who are holding our families a bit tighter today."
Ruiz said a memorial fund was set up at Bank of the West under the name Morgan Lynn Maynard-Cook.
KGW reporter Ashley Korslien contributed to this report.