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Local girl killed by car honored with new crosswalk

The crosswalk memorial event. Photos by Cecelia Love-Zhou

On Oct. 5, friends and family gathered on Commercial Street to not only remember the loss of Shatamera Pruden but celebrate the opening of a crosswalk in her honor.

Two years ago, Shatamera was crossing the intersection of Commercial Street SE and Royvonne Avenue with her 13-year-old sister, Jaleaha, when a car struck her. After crossing the first two lanes, the driver of the third lane stopped for Shatamera to cross. Tragically, the driver that struck her in the fourth lane did not see her. She later died in the hospital. Shatamera’s mother, Elizabeth Pruden, immediately sought to build from this tragedy. 

Pruden worked for months to ensure that Shatamera’s memory lives on. The community flocked in support of that message. The group met at the intersection, ready to cross at 5:55 p.m.: the same time Shatamera was hit. Before crossing, Pruden performed a sage smudging ritual to cleanse the area and completed the ritual upon arriving at the memorial for Shatamera down the road. 

In front of the memorial, Pruden gave an emotional speech, remembering Shatamera and thanking everyone who came to celebrate her life and the success of the crosswalk. The group stood in solidarity, holding their signs up to passing cars, before crossing once more. 

In the wake of such support, Pruden said she feels blessed, “…but it’s also overwhelming. I know she’s watching, you know? I’ve completed my daughter’s legacy…I got to join the elite club of parents. The ones that get to go on; they make a difference; their kids’ deaths mean something. I’ve been given a platform to build more. The mayor just talked to me. We’re going to sit down and brainstorm toward this Oregon pedestrian law.” 

The Oregon pedestrian law gives pedestrians the right of way when crossing a street. Pruden has set out to improve this law, becoming a traffic safety advocate in Oregon. 

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