Portland skyline

Gladstone, Oregon

Gladstone, a city of just over 12,000 residents in Clackamas County, offers a number of historical oddities for so small a place. Incorporated in 1911, it was named for William Gladstone, a 19th century British Prime Minister, apparently because a number of local residents admired the English statesman. In the older part of town the north-south streets are named after Ivy League colleges (Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Columbia) while the east-west roads mimic the names and layout of the main streets in the Back Bay section of Boston (Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, etc). The city’s earlier Native American heritage survives mainly in the form of the Pow-Wow tree, a state historic landmark that, long ago, served as a meeting point for the Clackamas and other local peoples.

Gladstone’s location at the confluence of the Willamette and Clackamas rivers, across from West Linn and Oregon City respectively, also offers both a quiet, scenic location and easy access to the faster-pace of life and myriad services found in nearby Portland, barely a dozen miles away. Among these is the Law office of Matthew Kaplan. From his office at the KOIN Center, Suite #1111, 222 SW Columbia Street in Portland, Matthew Kaplan assists clients with a variety of issues, including auto accidents with a particular emphasis on helping victims of drunk and distracted driving. Call his office at (503) 226-3844 to schedule an appointment.

The realities of drunk driving, as documented by the Oregon Department of Transportation, are stark. For all of the emphasis on enforcement and public education over the last 20 years, in the decade between 1999 and 2008 (the last period for which the state has published comprehensive data) the number of fatal and injury traffic crashes per million vehicle miles here in Oregon remained basically unchanged (55.5 in 1999 vs 55.0 in 2008).

In that time, the state DOT reports, “the percent of fatalities that were determined to be alcohol involved has increased from 39.4% in 1999 to 41.1% in 2008.” In all, the state recorded 24,811 DUII offenses in 2008 – 3,572 of them in Clackamas County. Indeed, 15 of the 30 motor vehicle fatalities in the county in 2008 involved alcohol, drugs or both. The county recorded 893 DUII convictions in 2008 but, even more tragically, also logged 153 DUII arrests of underage drinkers.

These statistics are particularly noteworthy in light of Oregon’s so-called Dram Shop Law, under which restaurant, bar and tavern owners, as well as clerks at retail stores selling alcohol, can be held responsible for the damage patrons do if they serve such people when they are already visibly intoxicated.

The lesson here is that despite all the resources that federal, state and private groups have put into alcohol education over the years more work needs to be done. Our courts strive to hold DUII offenders and other reckless and negligent drivers responsible for their actions, and Gladstone and other Clackamas County communities can take some comfort from the fact that these education and enforcement efforts continue, despite all the obstacles they fact week in and week out.

Gladstone is approximately 14 miles South of Portland, on the east bank of the Willamette River. To reach the Law Office of Matthew D. Kaplan from Gladstone, take State Route 99-E north toward Portland. After passing the Oregon Museum of Science and Technology, turn left onto SE Madison St to reach Hawthorne Bridge and cross the river. Coming off the bridge follow SW Main St for three blocks, then turn left onto SW 3rd Avenue. Go three more blocks, then take a left onto SW Columbia St. Matthew’s office is at KOIN Center, Suite #1111, 222 SW Columbia Street in Portland. Telephone (503) 226-3844.