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PBOT campaign urges drivers to 'Slow the Flock Down'

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is using the edgy new messaging campaign to curb speeding on city streets.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is spending about $120,000 on yard signs, billboards — and soon, TriMet bus ads — with the message "Slow the Flock down."

"Nationally, speed is about 30% of the time, the cause of some of our major crashes and serious injuries. In Portland it’s about 50%," Hannah Schafer with PBOT.

The Seattle Department of Transportation came up with the edgy wording, which they shared with Portland.

"A lot of the folks who we see speeding on the road nationally are younger drivers, and some we’re hoping this campaign message will resonate in particular with them," said Shafer.

Many people seem to appreciate the cause, but some question the campaign's efficacy.

David Meltzer commented on facebook, "I think it's clever, but in a city that's lowered speed limits by 5 or sometime 10mph, installed [fixed speed safety] cameras, and implemented many other traffic-calming tools, it's not that people don't know they're going too fast, it's mostly that they just don't give a "flock." 

OTHER STORIES: ODOT activates bilingual rapid flash pedestrian beacon in Cornelius

Credit: KGW

Janet Loughrey commented, "Since there are no consequences, people don't care how they drive or how they affect anyone else."

Credit: KGW

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) reassigned all but one full-time traffic cop to local precincts to cover historic staffing shortages in early 2021.

Monthly average speeding citations issued by PPB are down about two-thirds compared to before the traffic division was reassigned, as seen in the graph below. It's important to note that data for 2022 is only through June.

OTHER STORES: Portland is down to one full-time traffic officer as speeding tickets plummet

Credit: PPB

“$120,000 is budgeted for this campaign from the cannabis tax, which allocates money to our Vision Zero program for education," said Schafer.

If you'd like a sign, they're available at the Portland Building on Southwest 5th Avenue downtown, various community centers, and PBOT plans to offer them at Sunday's Blumenauer Bridge Dedication 

Chris McGinness is a meteorologist and transportation reporter for KGW. Got a story idea or a great photo you want to share? Email him at cmcginness@kgw.com or reach out on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

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