Portland Votes for 20MPH Speed Limits

Portland City Council recently voted to set 20 miles per hour speed limits on residential streets. The council voted unanimously to reduce speeds to 20 mph from 25 mph in residential areas, which make up about 70% of the city’s street grid. The ordinance takes effect immediately on roads that lack speed limit signs. The council predicts that replacing all the 25 mph signs throughout the city will take until April and cost upwards of $300,000. Speed limits on arterial streets will not change.

Portland commissioners Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish strongly support the change. Ms. Fritz has had three family members killed in traffic collisions. She believes that excessive speed may have contributed to the death of her husband who died in 2014 in a car crash. Mr. Fish thinks law enforcement should work to enforce the policy, recalling a time driving through Northeast Portland when he drove the posted speed limits and surrounding drivers were visibly upset.

By |February 19th, 2018|General News|

Is Congestion Pricing Right for Portland?

The Oregon Department of Transportation recently invited the public to opine on the use of congestion pricing to improve the flow of traffic on the state’s vital highways: I-5 and I-205 in Portland. The state hopes to ease the volume of traffic on freeways, highways, and bridges in the gem of Oregon, known for around-the-clock rush hour. That’s right; traffic has officially gotten so bad that we are now considering congestion pricing to alleviate one of Portland’s greatest headaches.

This past December, Portland City Council and Mayor Ted Wheeler directed the Bureau of Transportation to study congestion pricing to see how using tolls on select portions of the city’s roads and bridges could reduce some of the congestion that is plaguing the city. ODOT recently hosted a series of open house events to receive public input. Residents were able to voice their opinions at several local events. If you missed out, you may still be able to submit comments and questions to the project team or submit feedback online.

By |February 5th, 2018|General News|

Oregon Daycare Suspended for Two Infant Deaths in Two Years

Long gone are the days where a typical two-parent household could survive on one income. With the exorbitant cost of living reaching unprecedented figures, most families require two working adults to stay afloat. As a result, working couples with young children are often forced to surrender their offspring to caregivers. Parents are overwhelmingly enrolling children in expensive daycare programs so that they can work to make ends meet.

By |January 22nd, 2018|General News|

Some Oregonians Can Now Pump Their Own Gas

A law that affects fewer than 300,000 Oregonians sparked a national debate on social media just days before it went into effect. On January first, Oregonians stepped into the new year with more freedoms they didn’t even want. House Bill 2482 allows gas stations in certain, rural parts of the state to offer self-service and is responsible for making Oregon the rear-end of all the gas-pumping jokes you may have heard lately.

By |January 8th, 2018|General News|

Rizk Law Holiday Party at the Urban Office

Rizk Law enjoyed a festive holiday party at the Urban Office on SW Macadam Ave with live music provided by vocalist Lorna Baxter and accompanying instrumentalists. We wish everyone safe travels this holiday season and a happy new year!

By |December 27th, 2017|Uncategorized|

RizkLaw: Intro to Personal Injury Protection

Learn about Personal Injury Protection and how it will help you recover from your next auto accident!

By |December 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|

NTSB Investigates High Speed Washington Train Derailment

Positive Train Control



On December 18, 2017, Amtrak Cascades’ first run of its new high-speed passenger service between Tacoma and Portland ended in disaster just minutes after departure when the train failed to negotiate a curve where the train crosses over Interstate 5.

Traveling at a speed of 81.1mph in a curved section of the track near DuPont, Washington posted with a 30mph speed limit, the train jumped the track and continued in a straight line over an Interstate 5 overpass near Mounts Road, spilling thirteen of the train’s 14 total cars onto the congested freeway below. Three passengers on the train were killed and those who survived were taken to hospitals with injuries. Miraculously, there were only a few injured passengers in vehicles on the freeway and no fatalities.

It was supposed to mark the beginning of expanded service of Amtrak’s Cascades route between Portland and Seattle with six round-trip trips per day. A separate passenger line, Amtrak Coast Starlight, would also travel the new route once per day. About 867,000 people rode Amtrak Cascades in 2016, with the average train carrying about 250 people. Monday’s train carried around 80 people when it came off the tracks.

Washington Rail Expansion Project Saves Little Travel Time

The line of track, through the Point Defiance Pass, was recently upgraded as part of Washington State Department of Transportation’s $181 million rail expansion project. The upgrades were part of $800 million in capital improvements meant to reduce delays south of Tacoma. Amtrak Cascades shared the tracks with oil and other freight trains. Although the new route was touted as faster, it would shave off only 10 minutes of total travel time.

NTSB Initiates Investigation of Crash

The National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) was on the scene to learn what the crew was doing when the train went off the rails, and why the emergency brake was not activated by the engineer. The investigators interviewed the engineer, conductor, and the other three crew members for a long list of information, including how much sleep they got the night before, what they ate that morning and any medications they were taking. Emergency radio transmissions between the conductor and the dispatcher were reviewed, and video from inward- and outward-facing cameras damaged in the crash were taken to the board’s Washington, D.C. laboratories for data retrieval.

By |December 20th, 2017|Personal Injury|

Social Host Liability During the Holidays

The holiday season is already upon us. From late November to early January, a surge of festivities invites us to socialize with our coworkers, friends, and loved ones. Too often, there are more opportunities and obligations to imbibe than many of us can handle. Consequently, the toll for alcohol-related crashes and fatalities spikes during the holiday season. The number of personal injury claims brought forth against intoxicated persons and their handlers follows suit.

Whether you are a social host or you run an establishment that sells alcohol, be wary of Oregon’s dram shop law that holds both vendors and social hosts liable for personal injury claims after an alcohol-induced incident. Yes, even homeowners can be liable when victims sustain injuries after DUII and other accidents if they are not careful about to whom they serve alcohol.

Social Host and Dram Shop Law

Like every other state, Oregon allows individuals hurt by an inebriated person to pursue a civil claim against the at-fault party. The funds from this claim are allocated to costs associated with the accident, such as medical bills, lost wages, the costs of ongoing care, and pain and suffering, among others. Under certain circumstances, the injured party may also sue the social host or vendor responsible for providing alcohol to the intoxicated person. The victim of the accident must establish just two facts to have a viable lawsuit:

  • The injured party must show that the vendor provided alcohol after the intoxicated person was already visibly intoxicated.
  • The injured party must show that he or she did not “substantially contribute” to the state of intoxication. This means that the injured party must not have taken any action to encourage more drinking by buying more alcohol or aiding his intoxication in any other way, such as by giving the drunk to purchase even more alcohol.

Oregon Social Host Liability

Like vendors, social hosts can be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit. A person who sustains injuries because of an intoxicated person’s negligence may sue the social hosts who served the intoxicated person alcohol. For a successful claim, the victim must prove that:

  • The intoxicated person was visibly intoxicated when the host served him alcohol, and the
By |December 19th, 2017|Drunk Driving and DUII|

Portland Prepares for 2018 Winter Storms with Salt and More Plows

Snow Storm




To prevent a repeat of last winter’s extreme snow and ice accumulations that paralyzed the city for days at a time, Portland plans more widespread use of road salt this year.

City Unprepared for Last Year’s Thaw and Freeze Event

Last year’s storm was complicated by a short thaw followed by a days-long deep-freeze that turned packed snow into a sheet of ice that plows couldn’t remove. Traffic was stopped trying to navigate slippery hills and city streets, and schools and businesses were closed for days at a time. Finally, the Washington Department of Transportation brought in eight plows and a supply of road salt, however, many felt that not enough salt was applied and too late to be effective.

Portland Reconsiders More Road Salt Use This Year

The city has begun to re-evaluate its long-held belief that road salt draining into rivers and streams from runoff is too environmentally hazardous. This year, city officials felt that the benefits of using road salt during the area’s crippling though relatively short winter freezes would outweigh any environmental damage.

The city’s new plan calls for more widespread use of road salt, with six new salt spreaders that can be installed on city trucks, and it will turn to other bureaus and private businesses to get more crews out clearing roads. City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and the Transportation Bureau asked for $1.2 million to buy new snow-clearing equipment and $1.6 million a year for PBOT’s weather-response staff and materials. Instead the bureau got $30,000 for the new salt-spreaders, with $300,000 set aside in contingency funds for any unforeseen snow removal costs.

“If we do see a major snow or ice event on the level of last year, I won’t be hesitant to ask for more money,” said Saltzman.

City’s Goal of Passable Roads During This Year’s Snow and Ice Storms

Portland’s transportation bureau this year is prepared for what weather forecasters predict to be a similar snowy season due to the influence of La Nina, a pattern of oceanic cooling. The city will keep 300 tons of salt on hand, enough to treat between 2,000 and 3,000 lane-miles of roadway, and will be able to receive and store another 1,000 tons of salt ahead of a big storm.

With a goal of trying to achieve “passable” roads that are navigable for vehicles with front-wheel drive, Portland will try to limit its use

By |December 16th, 2017|Auto Accidents|

New CPSC Rule Bans Toxic Phthalates in Children’s Toys

Child with Toy








After nearly a decade of proposals and delays, in October 2017 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a final rule prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, and sale of toys and child care products containing five phthalate chemicals known to cause neurodevelopmental and reproductive disorders in children.

Phthalates are chemicals used to soften or plasticize vinyl. The CPSC’s 2017 final rule bans five phthalates in children’s toys, however does not require warning labels on products containing these toxic chemicals.

CDC Detects Widespread Phthalate Exposure

As early as 2003, researchers at the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) documented “widespread exposure to a high level of a group of chemicals called phthalates” across the general American public, causing the CDC to recommend that the chemicals and their effect on human health be studied further and unlocking funding for studies focused on phthalates.

National Academy of Sciences Report Shows Phthalate Health Risk

In December 2008, the National Academy of Sciences published a report linking phthalates to the following conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Breast cancer
  • Obesity and Type II Diabetes
  • Low IQ
  • Neurodevelopmental issues
  • Behavioral issues
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Altered reproductive development
  • Male fertility issues

Earlier in May 2005, researchers had identified an association between pregnant women’s exposure to phthalates and adverse effects on genital development in their male children.

Congress Passes Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 with Phthalate Ban

In August 2008, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), which prohibits toys and child care items containing three phthalates (DEHP, DBP, and BBP) and also imposes an interim ban on three additional phthalates (DINP, DNOP, and DIDP) until the CPSC’s Chronic Hazard Advisor Panel (CHAP) had completed an investigation on those phthalates.

CHAP Finally Publishes Its Phthalate Report with Deadline for CPSC

Six years later in July 2014, the CHAP published a report recommending that the CPSC ban five phthalates, including a permanent ban on DINP, with a recommendation to also ban DIBP, DPENP, DHEXP, and DCHP. The report, called the first major regulatory document in the federal government highlighting the extent of the new science on the risks of phthalates, gave a deadline of January 14, 2015 for a final rule by the CPSC.

Litigation Follows Missed CPSC Phthalate Final Rule Deadline

Because a final rule had not been passed by the January 14, 2015 deadline, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC),

By |December 11th, 2017|Child Injury Accidents, Product Liability|