Fatal crash on Cornelius Pass Road prompts new search for safety

Jan 2, 2008 Read more: KATU-TV Portland 169
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 . Read more
Jason B

Vancouver, WA

#21 Jan 14, 2008
I commute to work every day on this road. The road is dangerous regardless of whos driving safe or not. The fact of the matter is that no matter what,not everybody is going to drive safe. I feel bad for wife and my family who worry about me everyday I travel this road. I do not speed or drive crazy on this road and I felt I ve had several close calls due to other drivers, ice, and limited visibility at times. There is in fact times prior to this tragedy I often wondered, I can't believe they dont have guard rails in place. I often see guard rails on other highways that are not nearly as bad as this road. Another bothersome fact is that there is none or very limited cell phone service in these areas. If you go off the cliff and nobody sees you. You are stuck down there with no way to contact anybody. I am sure this also decreases signs of survival. In the dark it is twice as bad with oncoming traffic limiting your vision. I can't believe people argue in favor of not fixing this road?? Money is spent on so many other things besides saving peoples lives. I dont think guard rails and reflectors is asking for too much.
Bryana

Springfield, OR

#22 Jan 14, 2008
to Jen when you lose someone from that road or any other accident then you will understand what everyone is going through you shouldn't be so ignorant.
Taija Belwoods Mom

Gladstone, OR

#23 Jan 15, 2008
I agree with everything you are saying Jason. The cell service is a concern. When Taija was late that day I thought maybe she was broken down and could not call me. Little did we know. I still believe a guardrail would have made a difference. Multnomah County is concerned that a guardrail would cause a "ping-pong" effect and "bounce" her into oncoming traffic. There are guardrails available that help absorb the impact of a collision and not "bounce" the car off. Hopefully a change will happen before another life is lost.
Bryana

Scappoose, OR

#24 Jan 16, 2008
im friends with taija and jen your rude and inconsiderate for your comment i think you shouldn't be so ignorant
Duke Smith

Gladstone, OR

#25 Jan 19, 2008
I remember back in the late 1980s after a particularly bad accident up C/P Rd. I was blocking traffic at the intersection with HWY 30 and there were TV reporters taking interviews of local residents. Most blamed it on the lack of enforcement and the road conditions. Well the deputy working that district covers Sauvie Island to Sylvan, and cannot patrol it adequately. In addition there are few places to work radar, and since the speed was 45 MPH there were not many speeders with the curves and all the slow trucks. It remains that the road is simply hazardous to drive on.
I just finished reading a local paper's article about the forum at the Scappoose high school which was attended by a Mult. Co. Planner and a Lt from the Mult Co. Sherrif's Office. I thought it very condescending that the planner floated out the idea that it would cost $40 million dollars to straighten out the road, and the officer suggested we donate out money toward driver education in lieu of funding guard rails. Nobody was asking for that kind of money, and the consensus was for guard rails. And driver education is not going to do anything to make that road safer. There are building codes so we don't build unsafe houses, and just the federal safety regulations alone, if strung end to end, would stretch from coast to coast. So WHAT is the matter with improving safety on C/P Road? Sorry, but these folks are out of touch. This will need to be a concerted grass-roots effort if we are to get anything accomplished. Write letters, emails, phone calls, petitions and keep it going. Eventually, they will get the message.
Taija Belwoods Mom

Gladstone, OR

#26 Jan 19, 2008
That is right on Duke. Your words make so much sense. We are planning a letter drive on January 25th. We will have letters prepared that concerned drivers and community members can sign. We will then begin a trickle letter campain to the appropriate people. I have learned alot of facts from your writtings and I really appreciate your comments.
Jill

Vancouver, WA

#27 Jan 19, 2008
I often Find myself driving this road and my boyfriend drives it daily. I have never had any accidents on it and I think my lucky stars for it every night! I find myself wondering If I were to go off the edge would any driver notice? Would the person I am behind see it?
I too did drive the road the morning of the accident and I didnít find any ice or poor conditions but maybe I was just lucky. Maybe had I been more to the left or more to the right that could have been me. I would really like to see improvements on this road either way. I do see Jens point in saying it is our personal responsibility to watch every piece of road we drive over but accidents happen. Factors fall into place that can make outcomes uncontrollable. There is no way to prove that it was simply the danger of the road that caused this accident for sure but does that matter? A life was taken when something could have been done to try and prevent it.
I am sorry for the loss in your family.
zach smith

Portland, OR

#28 Jan 22, 2008
i miss you taija. taija was one of my best friends i told her every thing i trusted her with my life. im miss and love you taija
zach smith

Portland, OR

#29 Jan 22, 2008
people dont understand how we feel and they call us ignorant for fighting for our safety. its ignorant not to help or to understand how we feel.
Duke Smith

Gladstone, OR

#30 Jan 23, 2008
Thanks Taija Belwoods Mom (even though I know your real name). Seems we have some mutual friends in Columbia City. Just wanted you to know what a wonderful child she is. I say is because her memory has left an indelible mark on so many. I thought when my daughter first brought her over what a remarkable teenager she was. Such a zest for life, and so polite and respectful. I was thinking where on earth did my daughter find HER? I can see why she was voted to be most sincere. She was so very non affectatious--just herself, very poised and, as our friend in Columbia City said--"spunky." Maybe a public forum isn't the place to say all these things, but this is the age of myspace,com, and I do not think she would mind--she was, after all is said, such a very special child.
As for personal responsibility, there never was any doubt that caution prevents accidents. No one has made an opposing claim. That is a given. That was never the focus. This is a campaign to make the road more safe to drive on. Cornelius Pass Rd from HWY 30 to Skyline is the dangerous section we are focused on. The road was paved in the early 1900s, it follows the same narrow winding route, and it was NEVER meant to endure the current volume of traffic--which grows year by year. There are plenty of equally dangerous roads in Columbia County's hills, but none bear the volume of traffic as does Cornelius Pass. It is the combination of narrow precipitous road AND traffic volume that INCREASES the likelihood of tragic accidents. Something must be done to make the road more safe, and something WILL be done this time. I just mailed my treatise to the Mult. Co. Board of Commissioners today. We need lots more.
Jim

Englewood, CO

#31 Jan 24, 2008
In addition to the petition drive we have 2000 letters printed to be signed and mailed to the effected county commissioners, elected officials and public works departments. Commissioner Rojo De Stefi, Senator Betsy Johnson and others are already taking measures to expidite safety improvements which will encompass many, many areas.

Thank you all for you kind words. Please visit www.taija-belwood.com to pledge your support.
Kelsey

Gladstone, OR

#32 Jan 27, 2008
I miss Taija very much! She was one of my best friends. The road needs to be fixed!

<3<3<3
I love and miss you taytay!
you will never be forgotton
<3<3<3
saint helens

Portland, OR

#33 Jan 28, 2008
I understand all the issues of the Pass, I drive it daily. In fact on Friday I was coming over and there was what looked like a patition signing at the top by the little store and with all the cars trying to figure out wether to stop or not it almost caused me to rearend the guy in front of me. So while you are doing a good thing please be more considerate of the flow of traffic.
THERESA

Portland, OR

#34 Jan 28, 2008
Yes there was a petition signing at the store at Skyline. I dont understand why they had to stop and decide if they were coming into the parking lot or not. The flow of traffic might have been a little different but I also think a lot of people stop at that store so you should be aware as a driver that people may stop there to enter the store or for the petiton drive. Same thing in a parking lot or anywhere else. Do you have a better suggestion? Did you stop to sign the petition? But we do thank you for saying we are doing a good thing. Thanks
Safe Drier

Portland, OR

#35 Jan 29, 2008
I am a frequent commuter on Cornelius Pass and Highway 30 either to the Beaverton Area or Portland Area. When conditions are icy and/or snowy I am either tailgated or sped past. It is the responsibility of the driver to slow down-if you are being tailgated just pull over and let the idiot around you. It is my understanding that there were indications that Taija was speeding from the tracks left behind. You can not blame the road there are alternate routes around the pass of which I take when the roads are to dangerous. No I don't take Logi Trail I go all the way around. Yes it takes a little extra time but it saves my life. You take your life into your own hands when you get behind the wheel of a car. Had this accident happend because of a head on crash then Bellwood family I ask of you what would you do then? How would you go about preventing head on crashes? Ask that we have barricades on all our roads. I would rather see any extra money we have go into our schools to decrease class sizes then to improve one road out of hundreds in Oregon. I understand you are hurt and frustrated but you are pointing fingers in the wrong direction! And KUDOS to all those who agree with me! There are still sensible people out there. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!
Grow Up

Portland, OR

#36 Jan 29, 2008
Quit trying to place blame where it doesn't belong Belwood family. I am sorry for you loss but come on people grow up. Its driver error that caused this crash. She should have slowed down and this wouldn't have happened. Look at all the back roads that have no gaurdrails. Take Nicolai Road in Goble for instance on a 90 degree corner if you go off the road you end up in the lake and you know what no one has yet cuz they SLOW DOWN! DRIVER ERROR is to blame not the freaking road. You guys are in the wrong here and going to annoy a lot of people with your activist ways. Concentrate your efforts and money gathering on more important things please!
Banners

Portland, OR

#37 Jan 29, 2008
Did you know that if you speak out against making just Cornelus Pass safer in the taija-belwood.com website you will get banned from it. There was a writer who was asking that they make all roads safer not just the one road and that person got banned! Can you beleive that? What does that say about the belwood family? I guess they don't like to hear anything but support for thier prescious cause.
DIzzy Izzy

Portland, OR

#38 Jan 29, 2008
How about making the intersection of Cornelius Pass and Highway 30 safer? There are more wrecks there and more deaths then on CP. I think your efforts are not focused in the right area. In fact one of the CP/30 accidents was even on an episode of COPS! This mother of 4 or 5 kids lost her life and all her kids were with her in the car when the accident happended!
THERESA

Portland, OR

#39 Jan 29, 2008
WOW! What a bunch of ignorant people. How do you know it was driver error? Were you there? I also dont know where banners got the info about someone being banned for speaking about making more roads safer. I am sure the Belwood family wants to make every road safe but their efforts are in one spot becuase their family member died there and it is impossible for the Belwood family to fix every road. Just like I heard Tammy say the American Heart Association focuses on the heart even though there are many more things then just the heart that need attention. Grow up said to focus attention on more important things. What do you suggest? What do you focus your attention on? Have you lost a child on a road? Yes people drive to fast on all roads, but why not try to do something about it? I cant believe you people. You dont know until you go through it.
THERESA

Portland, OR

#40 Jan 29, 2008
Does driver error mean dont try to make the road safer? The Belwood family hasnt only put their efforts into this one thing. I dont know where you get your info Banners. Did you know they even attended meeting for teenagers to learn to be safer drivers? You should be more informed about what you talk about.

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