Drunk driving prosecutions in Portland – down 65 percent?

An informed reader left a startling comment on my post of yesterday about the dangerous lack of traffic enforcement in Portland. According to the reader's data, prosecutions for driving under the influence of intoxicants in Multnomah County in 2022 numbered only about a third of what they were in 2019. I'll reprint the reader's whole comment here:

Speaking of dwindling traffic enforcement in PDX, I have some statistics from the Oregon Judicial Department regarding DUII's that have been charged statewide and it is broken down by county from 2019-2022. I'm not confident when I press "publish" that the stats will send in a preferred table type format, so please forgive the manner in which these are presented. I will list the county, then 4 successive numbers. First number is 2019, last number is 2022. Each is the the number of DUII's filed in each county's circuit court (it doesn't take into account DUII's charged in muni courts and Clack/Wash counties have several of them. I don't believe Mult Co has any muni courts):

Multnomah: 1679/995/765/563

Washington: 1515/1036/1095/1239

Clackamas: 1015/845/915/980

Marion: 822/789/889/948

One of these things is not like the other.

No kidding! Where are the Mothers Against Drunk Driving? Do they even exist any more?

Portland City Hall burns milllions of dollars a year on "Vision Zero" blah blah, orange barrels, cute little lawn signs saying "slow down," bike toys galore, but drunk driving is not a priority? For shame.

Portland taxes, higher than ever. Portland city services, less than ever. But a bunch of the bureaucrats just got a 13 percent raise, so everything's fine at City Hall. Really.


  1. Sadly, the step is vigilantes. Some neighborhood groups will call it private security.

  2. I'm sure there's an inclusive 3-year community engagement process underway to discuss alternative DUI harm reduction methods that don't involve the carceral system and will result in a set of recommendations that include, among other things, a 1% tax on people who make more than $75,000 a year to pay for ignition interlock devices in all vehicles and free transit if you can blow a .05.

    1. DUIs are an important category of public safety law enforcement. But, I think the cop shortage is more urgent in the area of burglary/robbery/etc.

  3. I’m curious how the number of arrests compares to the number of prosecutions. Are some cases not prosecuted due to the shortage of public defenders? This could be a factor in addition to the lack of police presence.


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