Portland City Council votes to increase red-light cameras around city

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance Wednesday to increase the number of red-light traffic cameras around the city.

The ordinance was put in front of city commissioners by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, which seeks to add as many as 30 additional traffic cameras and sign a second contract that will allow the agency to consider using new camera technology. Commissioner Mingus Mapps said that the city’s goal for the cameras is to slow down traffic and save lives.

“The research in this space is clear: Speed kills,” Mapps said. “For example, you are likely to survive a car crash at 30 mph or below. However, you are likely to die in a car crash at 45 mph and above.”

red light camera_183921
File: A traffic camera on SE Madison Street. (KOIN 6)

Weather models show a slight chance of snow hitting Portland starting Wednesday

Sixty-nine people died in fatal crashes in Portland in 2023. The Portland Police Bureau determined that 40 of those fatal crashes happened at high speeds. In areas where Portland has already installed “speed” and “intersection-safety” cameras, Mapps said, the city has recorded a 93% reduction in high-speed driving.

Portland Bureau of Transportation Traffic Safety Section Manager Dana Dickman said that PBOT is expecting the second traffic camera contract to cost an additional $8 million over a five-year period. The additional costs would be covered by an estimated 500,000 traffic tickets issued by the cameras during that period.

Portland traffic camera map.
A map of Portland’s red-light cameras. (City of Portland)

Multnomah County declares state of emergency, opens winter shelters

The city currently has 15 operational traffic cameras issuing tickets throughout the city. Six new camera locations are currently in a 30-day warning phase before tickets are given. Four are under construction and another 12 are in the design stage. PBOT warns drivers that going through a yellow light when they are able to stop prior to entering the intersection is a violation of Oregon law.

“A red-light camera system is connected to the traffic signal and sensors buried in the pavement at the crosswalk or stop line,” the city said. “The system continuously monitors the traffic signal. Any vehicle passing over the sensors after the signal has turned red triggers the camera to take two photos and record the date, time of day, time elapsed since the beginning of the red signal and the speed of the vehicle.”

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KOIN.com.