Engineer says Portland suburb’s red light cameras violate state law


RED LIGHT ISSUES: A Beaverton resident argues the city’s red light cameras violate state law.

By Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog

A Beaverton resident who works as an engineer says the Portland suburb is violating state law with its red light cameras.

Mats Järlström told Northwest Watchdog he will give the City Council a report on his findings. He did not disclose the full report, but said it will present facts with data showing it’s “abundantly clear” the city of Beaverton is violating Oregon law.“I will also present facts using references from Beaverton’s own memorandum showing that, (through) lack of traffic engineering or incompetence by the city of Beaverton’s transportation engineers and their ‘engineering practices,’ intersections in Beaverton are designed to kill pedestrians.”

A memo from the city attorney and public works department, issued in January, reviews the timing of the yellow lights at traffic signals with red light cameras. It says the duration of the yellow lights “appears to meet all applicable federal, state, and local laws, guidelines, and/or rules.”

Järlström and other residents say Beaverton violates drivers’ civil rights.

The city intentionally sets the lights to go longer, they say, knowing there could be an issue with the timing clocks for the yellow lights. City officials say the time never dips below the federal standard of 3.2 seconds.

“We need to follow the law or they need to change it,” Järlström told Northwest Watchdog.

His claim comes as the Wall Street Journal reports the number of cities using red light camera programs has declined, down about 6 percent since 2012. Issues with the red light camera include people feeling wrongly ticketed and watched, to red light camera company scandals and reports that show the cameras do little to reduce traffic accidents.

The Beaverton City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Contact Shelby Sebens at

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