Fatal crash on Cornelius Pass Road prompts new search for safety

Following a fatal crash Monday that took the life of a teen driver, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is looking to make changes to improve safety along Northwest Cornelius Pass Road . Full Story
Jes In St Helens

Portland, OR

#41 Jan 30, 2008
If you read the news reports you will find that they have said that speed was a factor in this wreck. I agree with everyone that we need our roads to be safer but I disagree with the way that the belwood family is going about doing this. They are focused on just one road and with the effort they are putting forth and the support they have they should use that to change all of our roads and help us to get more law enforcement to enforce the laws of the roads and slow people down and get them to stop passing in unsafe areas and to quit tailgating. We do not stand in our commisioners shoes so we do not know what they do or don't do and where they have focused their time, energy and our tax dollars.
Tammy Belwood

Portland, OR

#42 Jan 30, 2008
The news reports say speed was a factor when she hit an icy spot. You can go twenty miles an hour and hit ice and go out of control.
We do not know her speed. There were no skid marks at all on the road and no one saw the accident so there is no way to know. As
I said before we understand that this a zero tolerance driver error road. There was no tolerance when Taija hit ice to make a correction. The guard rail would have at least prevented here from going over the side. There are obviously some people that think we should not care about Cornelius Pass Road. There are many that think that we should. Everyone is welcome to their own opinion. I don't judge others and wish that people could be more understanding. The students of SHS are preparing a presentation to present to others schools on general driver safety and the dangers of the road.
We have tried to be cautious with the petition signing locations to have safe entrance and exit. We will continue to make drivers safety our top priority when planning these dates.
One last comment about the law enforcement end of things is the
Mult. County Sheriff Dept. says they do not patrol this road because there is no where to pull someone over.
Jim

Englewood, CO

#43 Jan 30, 2008
If it's in the news, it must be true...right? How naive, shallow and insensitive. Shame on you! Those that do nothing pointing the finger at the few who do most and at one of the most difficult times a family can go through. I am shocked by anyone taking a position on a topic that they absolutely know nothing about, and making suppositions and guesses to blame this tragedy on speed or driver error. Absolutely amazing and pitiful. Again, shame on you.
Jes In St Helens

Portland, OR

#44 Jan 30, 2008
"Belwood apparently was driving too fast when her car hit a patch of icy pavement and left the road. Alcohol was not a factor, McRedmond said."
As quoted from the oregonian! I am sorry for you loss and I understand your pain. I lost someone tragically from anothers fatal error yet I did not go after that person or place blame. I also suffered an injury by someone else's negligence and I agian knew that person would never let it happen again so I did not go after that person. I think our commissioners hands are tied as to what to do with this road. And I think that with all the effort you are putting forth and the support you have behind you from the communities you should be looking at not only improving corneilius pass but other roads as well. Jim you sound like an angry man who does not like opposition and I feel so sorry for you. Tammy you sound like a very reasonalbe person who has dealt with a major trajedy in an astounding way. I commend you for your strength. We have lots of unsafe roads in this state and more close to home in this county that I wish were better but they aren't. I either take my chances or avoid them all together. When the roads are to bad I stay home mostly for fear of the other drivers. I have been drivimg for over 30 years and am from Alaska and I do know that if you go slow enough you can control your vehicle. Its when you aren't paying attention or are going to fast that you loose control. Gaurdrails may have prevented this accident. Nobody will know! I have seen people go over and through gaurdrails too. The only safe thing to do is to slow down or not drive at all. There is no 100% guarantee for safety here.
Jesse

Englewood, CO

#45 Feb 1, 2008
People keep saying that the Belwood family is placing "blame" somewhere. I have yet to see or read anywhere where they have "blamed" any body for this terrible accident. If you do any research you will find that what this road so unique compared to any other back roads in the area is the volume of traffic that uses this road everyday, and it is only going to get worse. The motivation behind these efforts are to hopefully prevent another family from losing a loved one on this "goat trail" of a road.

I don't see how anybody can be against improving this road when it is the #1 accident prone road in the county.

“Patriot First”

Since: Nov 07

Portland, OR

#46 Feb 2, 2008
Jesse wrote:
People keep saying that the Belwood family is placing "blame" somewhere. I have yet to see or read anywhere where they have "blamed" any body for this terrible accident. If you do any research you will find that what this road so unique compared to any other back roads in the area is the volume of traffic that uses this road everyday, and it is only going to get worse. The motivation behind these efforts are to hopefully prevent another family from losing a loved one on this "goat trail" of a road.
I don't see how anybody can be against improving this road when it is the #1 accident prone road in the county.
Where are you getting you info that it is the #1 accident prone road in the county? I would love to see a report on that type of statistics.
Jes In St Helens

Portland, OR

#47 Feb 2, 2008
Yah for you claudia--I totally agree with you and when you see where she went off the road you know speed was the factor and not the road itself.

“Patriot First”

Since: Nov 07

Portland, OR

#48 Feb 2, 2008
my heart goes out to the family...no question on that.
has anyone approached the idea that she might have dozed off and kept going straight instead of making the small turn she needed to? it happens. no fault, no blame.
just all part of life.
i've lost people on roads too.
they are called accidents for a reason.
i went off a 40 foot embankment myself once.
had there been guardrails, it would have been worse because of the other cars it would have involved.
my cousin would have lived thru a bad accident had he NOT had a seat belt on.
there are no absolutes that would fix every highway loss.
it's a road that does require a certain amount of driver experience and caution.
at 3am...sleepiness might have played a factor too. who knows.
it's all so sad.
i would hate to know my death would cause so much strife tho.
Linda

Portland, OR

#49 Feb 2, 2008
I appreciate all of the postings about Cornelius Pass Road. I travel it at least twice a week with my children. My kids say that I always have a royal enterage following me and we joke about it so that we do not get upset about being tailgated. I drive the speed limit, stop on the side to let others who want to go faster pass me, yet still I get the finger from some of those whom I politely allow to pass (others are quite polite). I work on keeping myself safe. I'd also like to hear what ODOT/Multnomah County can do to make the road safer. Hwy 30 gets a good saturation of troopers since it is a dangerous highway, perhaps daily patrols will encourage safe driving on Cornelius Pass. I, in the 12 years that I have lived here have only seen a patrol car there a two times.
Jes In St Helens

Portland, OR

#50 Feb 2, 2008
the people who are behind CP improvements say that there cant be police patrols cuz there is nowhere to pull someone over--just yesterday when i drove it i saw lots of places to pull someone over and when all else fails there are lots of driveways--its an excuse that these people have come up with just to get more people on their side and its not right--they need to be more factual--we don't know what the state budget is and what our state people do so we must not judge them
Larry in St Helens

Portland, OR

#51 Feb 3, 2008
A traffic fatality. Yes it's unfortunate. Is it the fault of the road? NO.

So they install guardrails. Now the person that is outdriving the conditions is going to bouce off the rail and go into oncoming traffic and hurt somebody else. I'd rather go off into the ditch than go head on.

Fix the potholes and keep the lines painted. Guard rails are not the do all, end all.

Slow down and pay attention.
allie

Salt Lake City, UT

#52 Feb 3, 2008
my sympathy and prayers are with the taija family i can only pray that it wont happen to another family. again i am truly sorry for your loss.
Sueanne in St Helens

Portland, OR

#53 Feb 4, 2008
I agree with everyone who says that this accident was just that an accident and that the road isn't to blame. I drive by the sight where this young girl died and its hard to beleive that ice or the road is to blame. It looks to me like she simply wasn't paying attention and went off the road. Had there been a gaurdrail in place who knows what would have happened. Maybe she wouldn't have gone off the road but then maybe she would have bounced back into oncoming traffic and taken more lives or cause more injury. It irritates me when something like this happens and then the family rallies for improvements or places blame not where it belongs. Does Cornelus Pass need improvements? My thoughts are yes and no. We have other roads that are more heavily traveled and need that money more. The oppinion that law enforcement can't patrol that road cuz there is no where to pull someone over is B.S. If that's their excuse and so far it is the oppinion of an ex-multnomah county officer-then put in cameras. People today are quick to blame and not take fault for their own mistakes. It is time we all wake up and point the finger in the right direction.
To the Belwood family I am so sorry for your loss. I too have lost to accidents on the road but I do not place blame on the road.
Tammy Belwood

Portland, OR

#54 Feb 4, 2008
As I said before we have no idea how it occured. Speed, ice, sleeping, spacing out, or a deer in the road. We have done research and there are guard rails that absorb the impact rather then deflect the car off. We want incremental change. We want a safe road for all. Thank you to everyone for the kind words in the loss of my daughter. My heart is broken and I hate to see another family feel the sadness I feel. We did mention to Mult. County about putting up cameras for law enforement. They did not seem to be interested in that idea. This will be my last post here as it makes me sad to defend my family.
I appreciate the dialogue. I just have such a void in my life and heart that I cannot continue to read this and explain how we feel. Some of you understand and some don't. I can respect that. Taijas motto~ Love everyone. I try. For my little girl.
St Helens Native

Portland, OR

#55 Feb 11, 2008
I see that your numbers aren't growing on the website for supportors. Could it be because when someone challenges you either ban them from your website or run as you are doing now. You ran cuz you don't want to fight anymore. You hate being challenged and when faced with that you react by banning those from the taija-belwood.com website. When you do that you loose support. Do you really think people are going to support you when you act irationally? How long have you lived out here? I bet you are one of those portland transplants huh?! Cuz you ain't no tough columbia county stock! I hope this act of yours fails and fails hard and you all stop what you are trying to do. CP is not the most dangerous road in the county. I would think Highway 30 has that honor. The only thing that improves our safety on our roads is for everyone to hang up and drive and wake up and pay attention! Slow down why are you in such a hurry?
Duke Smith

Portland, OR

#56 Feb 16, 2008
It is hard to understand the venom out there for a cause that is directed ONLY at making a dangerous road safer to drive on. As I have pointed out, Cornelius Pass is not the most hazardous road to drive on from Skyline to Hwy 30. That distinction, IMO, belongs to Logie Trail. So why Cornelius Pass Rd instead of Logie Trail? It is simply because CP Rd is the most heavily traveled. It is a major commuter road that needs improvement in order to cut down on the accidents. I worked that district for 12 years and there were more accidents on CP Rd than anywhere in my area save for Hwy 43 and Scholls Ferry in Sylvan--yes, Dunthorpe was and still is in the unincorporated county.
At any rate all you kibitzers out there are off course and just need to be ignored for your obvious ignorance. Read all of the posts--no where is anyone suggesting that driver error was not a factor in this accident, and yet that point is brought up over and over again like you are waging war against what? You create a straw man as there is no argument there. Get it? No argument save between the seeds of sneering acrimony and whatever objectivity remains in your tortured skulls.
The taija-belwood effort is only about improving the safety on a heavily commuted road. And that is all there is to it.
This is the last time I will visit this particular site. As with all other publicly visible cause celebres, no matter how fair and reasoned, there will always be the usual lot of sneering naysayers who disrupt and distort because they just don't get it.

Good luck taija-belwood.com , I hear that you are making headway. There is a federal investigation concerning the road's safety, and the county commissioners and the state legislature now have CP rd on their radar screens.
St Helens Native

Portland, OR

#57 Feb 19, 2008
Those of us who are raising issues are simply saying all this outcry and outpouring over this one accident is just so plain dumb. One girl gets killed and all of a sudden this outpouring of oh my god this road needs fixed. When the cause of this accident is speed and inattention. My GOD people wake up and smell the freaking roses. You are simply sensationalizing an accident and praying on peoples emotions to get their support. Thats what has people upset is the way that the belwood family is going about this. They are praying on peoples good hearted emotions and extorting from that. You are getting upset because you don't want to face the truth or the negative. Sorry but its true.
Amy

Portland, OR

#58 Feb 20, 2008
To the Bellwood Family, I am very sorry for your loss. Taija's death has caused great sadness in our community.
Thank you for working so hard to make this road safer for my family. Every time I drive Cornelius Pass at night I breathe a sigh of relief once I reach HWY 30. Please keep up the fight.
Angie Senner Barrick

Columbia, MO

#59 Feb 27, 2008
Driving to work on a winter morning at 6:00 AM I hit a patch of ice and skidded. I kept turning the wheel and nothing happened. I pumped the brakes and nothing happened. Nothing could stop me from sliding off the edge of the road and into the swamp below...except the guardrail. I was 18. I lived in Woodburn and Taija's mom was my best friend.

I hope none of you who seem to know exactly what the cause of the accident was never have to experience the fear of an icy road which prevents you from controllng a car.

I live on Orcas Island now where road crews spent the last two months repairing all of our guardrails. We lost a revered member of the community last year in the lake because she went of the road due to an icy patch.

By the way...she wasn't speeding and she wasn't young, it was just impossible to control the car.

Grow up people...it's just a guardrail. Find something else to be angry about, but don't take it out on the belwood family.
sorry

West Linn, OR

#60 Feb 28, 2008
My heart goes out to the family that lost their dear child. As a parent who has lost a child in a tragic accident, I know the temptation to find an explanation and to find a "cause" to keep the sensless tragedy from repeating.

But I also know we cannot develop public policy based on our emotions. We cannot afford to protect ourselves from ourselves at every turn. At some point, we just need to concentrate on individual responsibility and make the best of a very sad situation.

I'm willing to bet that more people are injured and killed on Cornelius Pass Road when one car crosses over into the path of another than when one drives off the road. Perhaps guard rails in the middle of every highway and roadway in Oregon would make sense. Certainly more people would live on our roadways if we defeated wrong way driving in this fashion.

But the cost would be astronomical.

I think pouring our efforts into better driver education for young people would be the best use of the understandable energy this unfortunate event has generated.

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