Slow drivers in POrtland, Oregon ... what gives?

I just returned from a job interview outside of that beautiful, well-planned, wonderfully crunchy Oregon city known as Portland.

One thing that struck me about the city’s drivers, aside from the fact that a disproportionately large amount of them were behind the wheels of old Volvos and Subarus, was that those drivers were excruiatingly slow. Slower than Ohio drivers, slower than Wisconsin drivers … we’re talking smoke-a-bale-of-chronic-and-hop-into-your-Legacy-with-the-Protect-Mother-Earth -sticker slow.

So, those from Stumptown … do you know that cars can go faster than 40 MPH? If so, why don’t you try it?

elmwood, you stated that your interview was outside of Portland. Try going downtown sometime. There are drivers in the metro area that would run down your infirm one-legged Auntie Mame, whilst she was crossing the street with the help of her three-legged seeing-eye kitten; just for the fun of it!

While I don’t live in Portland, I visit there frequently. I haven’t noticed Florida-fossil style of driving habits there as yet. If you want to see slow drivers in action, visit Southern Oregon. The Rogue Valley is rife with them.

That’s why I live in the Applegate Valley. It’s just south of the Rogue Valley, and the slowwww drivers haven’t found us yet. :slight_smile:

Sorry man. If that was a blue 78 VW bus with the Dead sticker on the back window. That was me.

I can only speak from the I5 perspective, but for me Oregon is known as “Driver’s Purgatory”. I can’t believe people drive so slowly. Portland has some wonderful freeways, but they’re posted at 50 mph! In L.A. people would be doing 80 on them. I really hate driving in Oregon.

BTW, truthbot, my granparents lived 14.2 miles out of Applegate. Up the paved road, and down the dirt one. By Johnson’s Creek. An uncle lives in Grants Pass.

The speed limit on city streets in Portland is less than 40 MPH.

So maybe these people were just decent, law-abiding citizens, being tailgated by dangerous speed-demons like you?

Johnny L.A., really? I live off of Watergap Road, in Williams. I have lived in the Grants Pass area since 1968. Small world, eh? (high five)

Tell your uncle I said “hi”. I own a ‘corner market’ on the outskirts of Grants Pass, and chances are I’ve met your uncle. And yes, I must confess, I drive like a little old lady myself. With all the red-light cameras in place and deer prancing across the roadway like they were auditioning for “A Chorus Line”, I have learned to drive expecting the unexpected.

My driving record remains pristine. Although it seems I may have pissed off a few out-of-state visitors at one time or another… So sorry about that. No hard feelings I hope.

Before the oil embargo and the coming of thw national 55 mph speed limit, Oregon had signs on the highways that said: MEDIAN SPEED 50. I had to ask a State Trooper what that meant. He said it meant, “go with the flow,” i.e., if conditions were clear and everybody’s doing 80, he’d pull you over for doing 60.

Jeez. A little harsh there, don’t you think? Elmwood mentioned the low speeds. Not that (s)he was going faster or tailgating.
We’re trying to fix the ridiculous highway speeds. Things should clear up fairly soon–look up HB 2501, i think it was.

Oregon here.

I am not sure where you encountered the slow people because seems like they are trying to run me down when I am around PSU area.

Oh yeah and about “smoke-a-bale-of-chronic-and-hop-into-your-Legacy-with-the-Protect-Mother-Earth -sticker slow.” I would not doubt this to be the case. Its one of the reasons Oregon is so beautiful.

I do not live in Portland I am around Eugene… But when I am up in the PSU area its a mad house on the freeways.

Hey Elmwood if you’re considering moving here why didnt you slow down a bit and take a look around. No sense in running down the locals.


Nothing to contribute here. I just found it interesting that I (a current KC guy) am likely moving to Portland myself soon!

Are they slower than Iowa drivers?

The speed limit on freeways within city limits is 55. In ‘rural’ areas it’s 65 and may soon increase to 70. The speed limit on surface streets varies from one area to another within the city. I can’t imagine anyone expecting to be able to drive at a sustained speed of more than 30 mph in the downtown area, there are way too many traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. If you were in an outlying area, you’re probably right about driver “impairment” being at the root of the problem. It’s very common, and in the many, many years that I’ve lived here, I’ve discovered it’s much more pleasant just to join them rather than complain.

I’m seconding the probability of the chronic causing it, m’self.

I moved to Portland from Pittsburgh - two polar opposites of driving speed. Otherwise, I blame:

  1. I-84/Banfield has grooves - make that ditches - for at least 11 miles in the center lane, making it feel as if your car is swerving back and forth nonstop, causing the center lane drivers to go about 35mph to feel in control. Drivers in RH and LH lanes go 33.5 MPH to prevent center lane driver from slamming into them.

  2. All other freeways merge with 84, so people driving on them most likely came from it and are already rattled by the center lane grooves.

  3. Also pretty much all the bridges are freaky to drive over ('cept Burnside), causing more rattled nerves. I flat out refuse to drive over the Freemont bridge.

  4. Bicycles. Everywhere.

  5. About a 2:3 ratio of 1980’s Volkswagen : other car.

Hey, You!, Portland kicks ass regardless of traffic. Welcome, welcome.

I love Portland traffic. People driving in the left lane under the speed limit and don’t get shot. It’s called civilization. Perhaps it will spread to the rest of the country some day.

BTW, a lot of main streets on the east side (past 82nd) have traffic signals timed to under the speed limit. So if you have any brains at all, you’ll slow down and take it easy for miles of uninterupted driving (outside of rush hours).

If you think you have to go 80 to get somewhere, you’ve got a crummy life.

I always thought the lack of speeding had to do with Oregon’s massive speeding tickets…

Why do Portlanders drive slowly? Well, lotta reasons, I guess. The laid-back lifestyle certainly does play a part, as do the cannabis-enabled, the bicyclists, and the low speed limits. One other factor that a lot of folks haven’t mentioned, however, is traffic flow and Portland’s screwy urban planning.

For being a city laid out on a logical grid, Portland is almost incomprehensibly difficult to get around in without knowing the town. Many streets dead-end, have random speed-humps, or narrow from being major thoroughfares into smaller, residential roads with lower effective speed limits. Seeing smaller residential streets that dead-end, only to start up again a block or two further north isn’t too uncommon in my section of town. Oh, yeah, and if you think I’m being too hard on the place, try to get onto the Ross Island Bridge from Northbound I-5. Seriously, folks, you have to (a) get onto a city street/connector northbound for three or four blocks, (b) take the flyway over I-5, © go southbound two blocks, (d) take two right turns through an obviously residential area, and (e) wait for a stop sign, so you don’t get creamed in traffic. I’ve never seen a major interchange that’s been so poorly designed. (And it seems to be murder on rush-hour commuters.)

Portland’s traffic flow is also hampered by the lack of decent, high-speed thoroughfares throughout a large portion of town (I live in the Woodstock area of SE, if the locals care). Most of the major streets, especially north-south, are four-lane urban arterials with decent numbers of stoplights and a pretty low maximum speed limit (35, generally). This, I think, is the major cause of Portland’s laid-back driving atmosphere. It’s going to take you a while to get wherever you’re going, so you might as well chill the hell out and get there when you’re gonna get there.

I’ve had a running joke for a while that the fastest way to get around Portland is to pick what you would naturally assume to be the slowest route. I generally stay off the highways and stick to wider urban streets to get me where I want to go, even though the limit is much lower. And, hell, if things get too rough, I guess I could fire up a doobie.

Heh… I think I passed you up going to the show the weekend before last. Still wasn’t as good as the older (non-VW) van with the “Orgasm Donor” bumper sticker we saw. They yielded a good conversation at the gas pump, lemme tell ya.


I drive slow (read: the speed limit)

:smiley: :smiley:

Oh. Was I driving? Thanks, man.