lawyers can help with personal injury claims as a result of an accident
Portland’s Zidell Marine launched its final barge into the Willamette River on June 16, 2017, symbolically marking the end of an era, with plans to remake its 33 acre site into a new mixed use neighborhood along the South Waterfront.
At the South Portland Business Association’s June 7th luncheon meeting, Portland attorney Charlene Zidell unveiled Zidell Marine’s long-awaited masterplan for its South Waterfront development, with a brief history of the company and its contribution to the city of Portland.
Zidell’s Post World War II Salvage and Barge Building Business
From the beginning, salvaging and re-purposing has been central to Zidell’s philosophy. Following World War II, Emery Zidell used the family’s South Waterfront scrap yard to dismantle, scrap, and re-use parts of retired warships to construct barges and petroleum tankers.
By 1960, the company’s ship-dismantling and re-constructing operation had become the largest in the country. In 1961, it launched its first barge, and has been building barges ever since. Seeing a changed market, in September 2016, Zidell decided to exit the barge-building business, but will continue to lease barges and operate its Tube Forgings of America business in Northwest Portland.
Zidell Reinvents Itself as a Developer
After over 60 years in the salvaging and barge-building business, the company plans to once again reinvent itself, this time as a developer in the rapidly expanding South Waterfront area, home to Oregon Health & Science University towers. In 2012, working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Zidell completed an extensive, 19 year-long, $20 million clean-up of the site, in preparation for sustainable redevelopment.
In a question and answer session during Charlene Zidell’s talk, South Portland Business Association member attorney Richard Rizk asked her to name the greatest challenge Zidell Marine has experienced with moving forward with the project. She explained that its 19 year-long, $20 million remediation project, working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), to clean up the site in preparation for new development has been the greatest challenge so far.
The 118-unit Emery Apartments, now ready to rent with complete amenities and services, was the first building to rise from the Zidell Yards. Across the street from The Emery are parks and retail, on the corner is the OHSU Wellness Center, and within walking distance is the streetcar, a new light rail station that connects to downtown Portland and the Airport, and the OHSU aerial tram.
A 21st Century Vision for a Vibrant Community
In December, 2016, the Zidell family revealed its ambitious new vision to recreate Zidell Yards into something distinct, bold, and of lasting value for the City of Portland. Although the company has received architectural drawings, it has not yet hired an architect to complete the plan.
Zidell’s vision is to create a healthy 21st century living, working, and recreational environment along the Willamette River that incorporates culture into the fabric of the community. It plans to redevelop the 33 acre site to accommodate 2,600 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of office space, a grocery store, a retail anchor, restaurants, parking, a 200-room hotel, three parks, a public plaza, and a waterfront greenway with recreational access to the river.
Zidell will need to renegotiate with the city how many of the three parks planned for development Portland Parks will own, and is currently working with the city to include structures that will extend out into the water, such as dock and swimming pool.
Infrastructure Construction Will Pave the Way for Development
The necessary infrastructure construction on the undeveloped site, with roads and sewers, will start at the end of 2017, and construction will start fall 2018, with buildings opening two years later.
The development of Zidell Yards depends on the extension of Bond Avenue, which runs parallel to Moody Avenue, until it stops at Whitaker Street, near the tram terminal. The two roads will be the development’s main arteries, with Moody as a one-way street southbound and Bond going one-way northbound.
The Portland Development Commission (PDC) has pledged urban renewal dollars and Portland Bureau of Transportation funding to pay for the extension of Bond and additions that would help connect it to downtown, and the PDC promised funding for the project’s waterfront greenway. With road construction concurrent with the surrounding development by Zidell, the city can use tax revenue from the project to fund the road construction.
Examining collision claims from January 2012 to October 2016, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), a leading insurance research group, showed in the results of its recent study that claims in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon increased 3% in the years since legal recreational marijuana sales began between January 2014 and October 2016, when compared with surrounding states.
The Highway Loss Data Institute’s study conducted a combined analysis using neighboring states as additional controls, to examine the collision claims experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington before and after law changes. Control states included Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, plus Colorado, Oregon and Washington prior to legalization of recreational use. Medical marijuana use was permitted during that time in Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Utah, and Idaho did not permit it.
HLDI compared loss results for Colorado, Oregon and Washington individually with loss results for adjacent states without legalized recreational marijuana use prior to November 2016. Colorado’s increase in claim frequency was 14 percent higher than neighboring Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming. Washington’s claim frequency increase was 6 percent higher than in Montana and Idaho, and Oregon’s increase was 4 percent higher than in Idaho, Montana and Nevada. The combined increase for all three states was 3 percent. The study accounted for the following factors, using neighboring states with car crash increase for comparison:
- Number of vehicles on the road
- Age and gender of drivers
- Weather and seasonality
- Whether the driver was employed
“Worry that legalized marijuana is increasing crash rates isn’t misplaced,” said David Zuby, executive vice president and chief research officer of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “HLDI’s findings on the early experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause.”
Earlier AAA Foundation Study Shows Similar Results
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a similar study in 2016, showing traffic fatalities had increased 6 percent in Washington from 2013 to 2014 after marijuana was legalized in that state, while national fatalities decreased during that time. AAA’s study showed that one in six drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had recently used marijuana.
AAA Study Questions Validity of Marijuana Blood Test
The AAA study also concluded that limits of THC (the intoxicating chemical in marijuana), based on blood test established by states with legal marijuana, have no scientific basis because there is no science that shows drivers become impaired at a specific level of THC in the blood. Frequent users of the drug can also show persistent levels of it long after use, while THC levels can decline more rapidly in occasional users, causing innocent drivers to be convicted and guilty drivers released. The average time to collect blood from a suspected driver is often more than two hours, requiring a warrant and transport to a police station or hospital for testing. By that time, the drug may no longer be present.
Because blood tests are imprecise with measuring levels of THC, the AAA Foundation recommended replacing current laws with ones that rely on police officer conducted field sobriety tests, backed up by a test for the presence of THC.
Oregon Police Drug Recognition Program
In Oregon, police officers attend a Drug Recognition Program. When an officer in Oregon pulls over a car for a traffic violation such as speeding, swerving, or broken taillights or if the driver is suspected of a crime, the officer evaluates the driver for the following obvious signs:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Candy bar wrappers
- “Beavis and Butthead” type laugh
When the officer suspects that the person is intoxicated, he or she asks the driver to undergo the following field sobriety test:
- Balancing on a line and walking with one foot in front of the other
- Balancing on one leg
- Touching one finger to the nose
Field Sobriety Tests Used by California Police
Police officers in California use a somewhat different set of field sobriety tests.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
The officer moves an object or his or her own finger from side to side in front of the person’s face to detect an involuntary jerking of the eye associated with high levels of intoxication. A person’s eye will normally jerk after being strained beyond a 45 degree angle. If the eye begins to jerk at or before moving 45 degrees, it is evidence that the driver is under the influence.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that this test is 77 percent reliable.
Walk and Turn Test (also called the “Walk the Line Test”)
The officer asks the suspected offender to walk a certain number of steps in a straight line and observes if the person:
- Loses balance
- Makes the wrong number of steps
- Is unable to stay on the line
- Breaks while walking
- Begins before instructed
NHTSA estimates that this test is effective 68 percent of the time.
One Leg Stand Test
The officer instructs a suspect standing on one leg to raise his or her foot, hold still, count, and look down. The officer may arrest the suspect if he or she is:
- Putting the raised foot down
NHTSA estimates that this test is effective 65 percent of the time.
Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, the nation’s busiest ports, have been the center of a legal dispute between port trucking companies and their drivers, a dispute that has widened to include the entire nation’s port trucking industry.
Nationally, there are over 2000 port trucking companies, known as drayage, running 100 trucks or less, transporting cargo between docks and warehouses. As many as 25,000 drivers in Southern California transport goods to and from port terminals every day.
Port Trucking Companies Found in Violation by Labor Commission
Between 2011 and 2017, 875 complaints were filed against port trucking companies with the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), alleging that drivers were misclassified as independent contractors and denied the wages and benefits given to full time employees. Of those complaints, by 2017 the Labor Commissioner’s office issued determinations in at least 376 cases, finding that drivers were in fact employees and therefore owed over $40 million in stolen wages and penalties.
In 2016, the California Labor Commissioner’s office offered port trucking companies “amnesty” from any penalties they incurred for misclassifying drivers if they voluntarily made their drivers full time employees and provided back pay, but no companies applied for the program.
Port Drivers Take Their Case to Court
In addition to complaints brought before the DLSE, drivers have also been exercising their rights as employees through the court system with class action suits for misclassification and wage theft, and have also filed dozens of individual and “mass action” suits involving multiple plaintiffs.
All of the cases brought before the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, cases filed with class action, “mass action,” and those filed with individual lawsuits sought to address violations of the California Labor Code, including unlawful deductions and unreimbursed expenses, and failure to provide meal and rest breaks.
State and Federal Agencies Weigh in on Port Trucking Company Violations
In addition to the courts and the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, other state and federal agencies have found port drivers to be employees. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined that drivers in at least six major port trucking companies were employees not independent contractors, and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) conducted an investigation of a port trucking company for misclassification, which resulted in a 2014 judgement finding the company’s drivers were employees, and ordered it to reclassify them.
Teamsters Union Supports Justice for Port Drivers
Justice for Port Drivers, a campaign supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, has organized drayage drivers throughout the country, most heavily in Southern California. The union has for years helped drivers file labor complaints and lawsuits. Justice for Port Drivers organizers say that trucking companies force the costs of fuel, insurance, maintenance, and lease payments onto their drivers. Drivers also say they are not compensated for the many hours they are required to work.
To be fully autonomous, self-driving cars must identify all nearby objects correctly, have perfectly updated mapping systems, and avoid all software glitches. Nearly all companies involved in producing autonomous vehicles rely on LIDAR for vehicle navigation. Can LIDAR deliver the kind of accuracy and dependability required of self-driving cars?
LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, was invented soon after the 1958 invention of lasers. Using a laser, scanner, and a GPS receiver, LIDAR works by bouncing light off far-away things to precisely determine their distance and shape. Since light travels at a predictable speed of 671 million miles per hour, the time it takes for projected light to bounce off objects and return shows the distance to whatever is around the LIDAR system, typically down to a centimeter. Some LIDAR systems take millions of measurements every second. By building up a mosaic of these measurements in 360 degrees, LIDAR can paint a three-dimensional picture of the world around it.
LIDAR Used by NOAA and US Forestry Service
LIDAR is used as a surveying tool to make high-resolution maps, with applications in geography, geology, seismology, archeology, forestry, atmospheric physics, and laser guidance. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) uses LIDAR to produce accurate shoreline maps, make digital elevation models, and to assist in emergency response operations. Because the technology can show accurate data on canopy cover, openings, and density of trees, the U.S. Forestry Service currently plans to adopt LIDAR to improve forest thinning efforts. Capabilities of LIDAR instruments vary, with the best sensors able to see details of a few centimeters at distances of more than 100 meters.
Limitations with Camera and Radar in Autonomous Vehicles
Self-driving vehicles being tested by companies such as Alphabet, Uber, and Toyota rely on LIDAR to locate themselves on the detailed maps they need to identify objects around them. Most companies in the race to commercialize self-driving cars, with the exception of Tesla, consider LIDAR essential. Tesla instead relies solely on cameras and radar. Supplementing its front-facing camera, a Tesla Model S also incorporates long-range front facing radar that can reach over 500 feet, short-range ultrasonic sensors which can detect objects up to 16 feet, and GPS. However, radar sensors can’t see much detail, and cameras don’t perform well in conditions with low light or glare. A camera lens can also get dirty or covered with snow or not see behind fogged-up glass.
LIDAR Does Not Work in All Situations
LIDAR also has limitations. It doesn’t work in fog, heavy rain, or snow. With snow on the ground, a LIDAR sensor and camera have a difficult time seeing lane markers and other markers that help a driverless car drive and change lanes safely. Even in good weather, road markings may not be visible, causing many to say that changes need to be made to the infrastructure for autonomous cars to be successful on the streets. Ford seems to have found a solution to the problem of invisible road markings with its high-resolution 3D maps that provide information about the road and what is above the road.
Driverless cars, which rely on landmarks to pinpoint themselves on the map, also struggle going over bridges. Because bridges don’t have many environmental cues like surrounding buildings, even with GPS it is hard for an autonomous car to determine where it is. Driving in cities with tall buildings, where it is difficult to receive a GPS signal, is also a problem for an autonomous vehicle, and “drop-outs” can occur. These are issues that technologists need to solve before driverless cars become completely road-ready.
Compared to Portland political demonstrations in November and January, demonstrations on June 4, 2017 were well maintained within three downtown city blocks, with relatively minimal traffic disruption.
“The intent of law enforcement is to provide a safe environment for all participants, non-participants, and community members while ensuring the peaceful exercise of the First Amendment,” the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) stated.
Expecting a few hundred to over a thousand participants, no permits were issued by the city for the June 4th events, scheduled for downtown Terry D. Schrunk Plaza, City Hall, and Chapman Square. PPB said they expected all rally and protest participants to remain on the sidewalks or in city parks, and advised drivers to plan for possible traffic disruptions in the area.
Constant Law Enforcement Presence Keeps Crowd in Check
In response to online threats made by multiple groups prior to the event, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) partnered with the following agencies to keep the peace:
- Oregon State Police
- Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office
- Federal Protective Service
- Department of Homeland Security
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- United States Attorney’s Office
- Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office
- Portland Fire & Rescue
It is hard to imagine a better place for Portland city demonstrations than Terry D. Schrunk Plaza, a federal property managed by the U.S. General Services Administration, with the Federal Protective Service as the lead enforcement agency for the property. Demonstrators in that area are required to follow specific conduct rules at the city, state, and federal levels.
To keep protesters out of the streets, police stretched yellow crime scene tape along sidewalks adjacent to the streets, and officers outfitted in riot gear maintained a constant presence to keep the crowd in check. Although 14 arrests were made, no serious violence occurred.
November Protesters Spill onto Bridges and Freeway
In contrast, more than 200 protesters blocked traffic in both directions on Interstate 5 in Portland for four hours during the November 10, 2016 post-Presidential election demonstrations, which extended for several days. One woman was struck by a vehicle that tried to make it through the human barrier on Interstate 5, and a protester was shot in an apparent argument over blocking traffic on the Morrison Bridge during a protest.
“Pedestrians walking on the freeway is illegal and extremely dangerous to all road users,” Portland police said.
To prevent further incidents, the state Department of Transportation (ODOT) briefly shut down Interstate 5
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) advises truckers and other motorists traveling through Baker City to expect delays Friday morning, June 23rd on Highway 30 toward Haines, Highway 203, and into Keating due to the start of the weekend long Baker City Cycling Classic.
Racing on Friday will begin at 9:00 am and finish about 12:30 pm. For the safety of cyclists, it will be a fully closed route, with no vehicles allowed on course until the last rider finishes.
The three day long Baker City Cycling Classic was created in 2002 by Nathan Hobson to showcase the sport of competitive cycling, and in 2012 received the Ovation Award as Best Sporting event in Oregon. Local non-profit Baker Loves Bikes and the Baker and Union county communities sponsor and support this yearly event, with the mission of Baker Loves Bikes to “educate and support greater access and safe opportunity for all cyclists in Baker County.”
Why is the event held in Baker City? While the weather is unpredictable even in June, with snow, hail, rain, and blistering heat at times, Baker City is in the heart of rolling farm country with well-maintained roads with generous shoulders and few cars. Each year, the colorful streets of Baker city are blocked off for the race, and restaurants set up chairs outside for fans to eat lunch and sip microbrews while watching this mini Tour de France from the front row.
This year’s event will continue throughout the weekend, with each race lasting from 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the caliber of the racers. On Saturday, the first race will start at 8:30 am from the Baker City Church of the Nazarene on Hughes Lane and continue out to Highway 30., and then onto Davenport Rd, Chandler Lane, and finally onto Old Oregon Trail Rd, to finish about a mile from Highway 86.
Northbound traffic can expect detours from 8:00 am until 11:30 am on Highway 30 at Hughes Lane onto Pocahontas and then onto Chico, where it will rejoin Highway 30. A second event, the wild Tour d’Town Criterium circuit race and Kids Races will be held in Historic Baker City from 1:00 pm until 7:30 pm, restricting parking on Main Street, Valley, 1st, 2nd, 10th/Broadway, Court, and Washington Avenue from Saturday morning through Saturday at 8:00 pm.
Friday, May 26th marked the first day of Ramadan. It also marked the day three caring individuals attempted to stop hate speech in its tracks on a MAX train one fateful afternoon. On that day, a pair of teenagers, one of whom was wearing a hijab, were targeted for racial hate speech by a fellow passenger. The man yelled racial slurs at the two young women when a few fellow passengers intervened. Three men were stabbed on that train and just one survived.
According to witnesses on the MAX line train heading east in Northeast Portland, the man was yelling what would be best characterized as hate speech toward various ethnicities and religions. Only some of the speech was directed at the female passengers. He was ranting about many different topics in a hateful manner when at least two men tried to quiet him down. At this point, these men were viciously attacked with a knife. Three men total were stabbed, and just one survived. One died at the scene, one in a nearby hospital, and survivor Micah Fletcher, 21, has recently recovered from injuries sustained.
Micah David-Cole Fletcher was en route to his job at a pizzeria after attending classes at PSU. He was stabbed on his left side in the neck, just millimeters away from suffering a fatal wound. After undergoing two-hour surgery, he was expected to survive. The lone survivor of the MAX attack had won a poetry competition in 2013 when he was still in high school. He was rescued by an unidentified passenger who put pressure on his wound before he received emergency care. The man also used Fletcher’s cell phone to call Fletcher’s mother and let her know what happened. As a veteran, he claimed he was familiar with first aid. He did not disclose the full scope of the injuries he sustained on the train, saving her from excessive worry.
Regarding the attacker, he is a known white supremacist who had an intense criminal record before carrying out the stabbings. The day prior to the altercation he had allegedly picked a fight with another woman at a MAX station. He allegedly threw a plastic bottle at a woman of color who in turn sprayed him with mace.
Despite relatively easy reporting and repair or replacement of a defective vehicle or part at no cost, some truck fleets delay reporting and fixing defects to avoid lost revenue from sidelined equipment.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) depends on truck fleets to report a dangerous vehicle manufacturing or design defect, so that it can investigate and issue a recall if necessary. However, while about 235 million vehicles in the U.S. generate about 45,000 complaints a year to NHTSA, 9 million trucks only generate 600 calls.
NHTSA Makes Reporting Truck Defects Easier
In an effort to streamline the reporting process, NHTSA offers four ways carriers can report a problem.
The Vehicle Safety Hotline can be reached at 888-327-4236 from anywhere in the United States, including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where representatives are on duty from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.
A letter can be sent describing the problem with a phone number, so the person reporting can be reached for more information. NHTSA can also send a postage-paid complaint form to provide information about the complaint. Carriers can call 888-327-4236 to obtain the form.
All correspondence can be sent to:
NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (NEF-100)
1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E.
Washington, DC 20590
Electronically report a problem by visiting www.safertruck.gov.
Fax a letter or complaint form to: 202-366-1767.
NHTSA’s Investigative Recall Process
After NHTSA receives a certain number of complaints on any specific line of vehicles, tires or equipment that has a potential for causing a risk to safety, it opens an investigation. During that investigation, investigators perform a detailed technical analysis of the issue using all available information.
The investigation includes, but is not limited to, service bulletins, consumer complaints, warranty claims, crash and injury data, part sales, inspections, tests, surveys and other documents prepared by the manufacturers.
NHTSA’s investigative process consists of:
- A review of customer complaints
- An analysis of any petitions calling for defect investigations and/or reviews of safety-related recalls
- The investigation of alleged safety defects
- An investigation into the effectiveness of safety recalls
If NHTSA’s analysis of the data indicates a safety defect exists, the manufacturer must fix it at no charge to the vehicle’s owner. A potential problem can be anything related to electronics or mechanical equipment. A recall may also be issued when a vehicle is not in compliance with a motor vehicle safety standard.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a life-altering and costly event. Those who have had severe or repeated traumatic brain injuries may have long-lasting problems with movement, learning, or speaking, which require full initial and ongoing assessment and care. Due to the expense of obtaining assessment, evaluation, and ongoing treatment of these cases, high-dollar verdicts in traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases can reach the six- and seven-figure level.
Making the Case for TBI Reimbursement
To prepare for negotiation with defendants and insurers in court or at settlement, a plaintiff’s lawyer receiving a TBI case must produce a Cost of Future Care report, also called a Future Care Assessment or a Life Care Plan to determine the limitations and losses of the client-patient. The Cost of Future Care report considers the severity of the TBI which has been established through assessment tests, and legal reports, medical opinions and technical accident details. To produce a long term needs analysis, the lawyer then researches and consults with relevant experts regarding the client’s prognosis.
Screening and Assessment to Determine Extent of TBI Injury
A doctor initially examining a TBI patient will ask questions to test the patient’s ability to pay attention, learn, remember and solve problems, and will check the patient’s reflexes, strength, balance, coordination and sensation. The doctor may also order imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an MRI to visually assess damage. Periodic, ongoing assessment for months or longer of those with a TBI is important to monitor responses to rehabilitation and to life after the injury.
Once a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury has been established, further screening assessments are performed to evaluate the extent of damage and assist in establishing a comprehensive treatment plan. Screening is conducted by a speech-language pathologist, audiologist, or other professionals.
A speech-language pathologist tests a TBI patient’s speech, language, communication, and swallowing. The speech-language pathologist may also perform a hearing screening. If the patient shows hearing loss, an audiologist may be added to the screening team to further assess hearing loss.
Since depression can be a consequence of neurological damage or part of post-traumatic stress disorder, which often accompanies a TBI, if signs and symptoms of depression are present or suspected, the patient is referred to a neuropsychologist, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist for further assessment.