John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Because when you think about pedestrian right-of-way, you think “Sasquatch.”
Somebody check Portland for a weirdness leak. Oregon’s Department of Transportation and Metro’s new traffic-safety campaign features none other than Bigfoot, grunting and moaning his way through a message about pedestrian right-of-way.
The point is clear enough: “In Oregon, every intersection is a crosswalk,” even those without zebra stripes. But why Sasquatch? Officials were impressed by the actor’s similar work in commercials for a sandwich company, reports KGW-TV, and thought he’d be perfect for an eye-catching PSA. “Aside from the fur, the grunting and groaning, he’s a normal person,” the Portland actor, Ira Kortum, told the station. “Like anyone else, he appreciates safety!”
And, after all, the Pacific Northwest is reputedly a favorite haunt of the hairy cryptid. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has cataloged more than 200 sightings since the mid-1980s, with reports of “howls and footprints,” “whooping sounds,” and an “unrecognized stench.” There’s also this 2014 incident described on the state’s website:
Subject Claimed to have Shot Bigfoot
Sr. Tpr. Thompson was asked to assist the OSP Criminal Division in checking on a report that a man claimed he had shot Bigfoot. The man was deer hunting last season in the mountains outside the city of Rogue River when he thought he saw a bear and took a photograph of it. It was foggy and he thought the animal stood up and was coming after him. Believing it was Bigfoot, he shot at it and then left the area. He later posted the photograph on the internet and a concerned citizen reported it to OSP Criminal Division because the photograph looked like it could be a man in a dark coat. The hunter, who lives out of town, agreed to drive down and meet with Sr. Tpr. Thompson and took him to the site where this occurred. They located a tree stump that was the object the subject saw, photographed, and shot at.