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Security concerns prompt US Navy to close portion of Waterfront Park path

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 9th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

The Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau announced this morning that the riverfront path in Waterfront Park south of the Steel Bridge is closed to all traffic. The closure began today at noon and will remain in effect until noon on Monday.

See the statement from PP&R spokesman Mark Ross below:

"We just found out that a section of Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the Willamette will be closed on the WEST sideof the river, between the Steel Bridge and the Burnside Bridge from noon today (Thursday, June 9th) until about noon on Monday, June 13th.

The Navy closes this area to create security zone for the ships participating in the Rose Festival. However they DO have a detour in place that directs cyclists to a closed lane on Naito, and then back into the park at about NW Couch.

This is what they've been doing every year since 2002, so it's nothing new; just something for the public to be aware of."

This closure adds to difficulties in the area as the floating portion of the Eastbank Esplanade is expected to remain closed until June 15th due to high water in the Willamette River.

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  • JR-eh June 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    But they are the ones with the weapons. This should be the most secure place from here to San Francisco. What the hell are they worried about? It's not like they are leaving the keys in it and the doors unlocked.
    Lame. Didn't want to go spend money downtown anyhow. FoPo is where it's at tonight.

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    • dmc June 9, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      Wasnt it just a few months ago where that 18 year old was trying to go through with a car bomb in Portland? You are ignorant.

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      • Paul Johnson June 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm

        You mean that guy that tried to clear loiterers obstructing the busiest location in the city? Sounds like a TriMet user that finally had enough of the stupidity of scheduling public events in a transit center...

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  • Joe June 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I was riding down that way at noon and weapons walking towards ppl.. ( scary ) if you ask me. but hey I'm free?

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    • Chris W June 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      what? wanna try that one again? weapons walking towards people?

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  • q`Tzal June 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Security conspiracy stories ... ptbththp!

    Use this valuable time to resurface all these non-automotive surfaces.

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  • Schrauf June 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Except early morning, the waterfront is a useless transportation corridor during the Rose Festival anyway, unless your commute speed is a walking pace.

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  • Paul Cone June 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Curious that Portland Parks said on their Facebook page that they "just found out" about it. I saw fences going up Tuesday morning. And why don't we get detour signs like motor vehicle and other bike routes do? Maybe Parks shouldn't be in the transportation business.

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  • kiel johnson June 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I think they should close down I-5 too. You could totally do something dangerous from there. Oh wait, cars go on that, nm, they have priority.

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  • Joe June 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    careful on Naito ppl in the bike lane.

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  • sockeye June 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    If the water front is such a security concern for the Navy, and people can no longer tour the ships like they could when I was a kid. Couldn't they dock those things further down the Willamette somewhere? It seems like a hassle for the Navy, the City of Portland, and the citizens of the city. I get put off every year by the level of security these boats require just to make it more convenient for sailors to carouse with some cougars? Can't they still do that while docked at swan island or something?

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  • Dabby June 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    This is stupid.
    Might as well straight come out and say:

    Under the clever guise of securing funding for our military, we have deemed yet another security threat, this one code orange on the Waterfront in Downtown Portland.
    While it will inconvenience many, it will however ensure that we are prepared for the local FBI's modus operandum of training youths to blow stuff up.

    We hope that you are comfortable having weapons out and ready to protect you from people entirely like yourselves.

    Have a nice day.
    But not on the Waterfront between the Burnside and the Steel bridges...

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    • captainkarma June 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      Very perceptive. Of course, now you are on a list somewhere.....

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      • q`Tzal June 10, 2011 at 9:28 am

        If you live your life in fear of being on a list like this you are not living your life.

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  • Dabby June 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    On a final note,
    Rose Festival (the waterfront activites) blows anyway.

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  • Kristen June 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I'm assuming the lower deck of the Steel Bridge will still be open?

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  • Mike June 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Bah. PDX hasn't been the target of a terrorist attact in like 6 months! Why would the Navy be concerned about the ships?

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    • Paul Johnson June 9, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      In six months? Or never?

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  • Carl June 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I'd like to thank the Portland Police for kicking off Pedalpalooza with such an intense and thrilling event.

    I've just returned from the Portland Police Bureau "Burnside Bridge Frogger" event where once westbound bike traffic reaches the MIDDLE of the bridge, there's an officer telling you that you can only bike across on the SOUTH side of the bridge.

    That's where the fun begins: groups of cyclists dashing across five lanes of motor vehicle traffic and then biking down the south sidewalk or against traffic in the bike lane. Horns honking, cops yelling, smiles, waving...it was beautiful.

    It was very dangerous and I was scared but I lived to tell the tale and I'm proud to've served my country.

    Thanks Portland Police Bureau. Things would've been really boring if you stopped people at the S-curve.

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    • Oliver June 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      Now that sounds exciting!

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    • John Lascurettes June 9, 2011 at 4:11 pm

      Do they stop cars from using the vehicle lanes? Because if they don't: YOU ARE VEHICULAR TRAFFIC on a bike. Take the lane!

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      • Carl June 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

        John, John, John... When will you learn? This is an ANNUAL EVENT. On this special day YOU ARE NOT VEHICULAR TRAFFIC. No amount of arguing with them will change their minds on that point. Just because it's nothing new, though, doesn't mean it's not annoying (or illegal).

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    • BURR June 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      I believe that I just saw the PPB closing the south sidewalk of the Broadway Bridge to cyclists (but not pedestrians) as well.

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  • Oliver June 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Meh, it could be as much for public safety as anything. Big ships, big lines, high water, gangways, novel situations.

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  • heather andrews June 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    If they can't be gracious guests in our city, perhaps they ought not be invited back.

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    • middle of the road guy June 10, 2011 at 9:28 am

      What ever happened to gracious hosts? Sounds like a couple of selfish cyclists with their spandex up in their crack more than anything else. Other people like this event and come in from elsewhere for it. Stop being so myopic and thinking only about yourself.

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      • Paul Johnson June 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm

        If they want it, they can pay for it out of pocket or get some private sponsors and a private venue. I'm tired of subsidizing that money losing event that makes Portland absolutely intolerable for most of the summer.

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  • steve June 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    At about 4p I was told by PPD that the Steel and Broadway bridges were closed to peds and bikes. I argued the "bikes are vehicles" but was told those were his orders, 10 mins later the deck of the Steel was open though.

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  • Joseph Rose June 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Jonathan,
    I'm pretty sure they do this every year.
    J

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    • BURR June 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      close the path, yes; close the bridge crossings to cyclists, no.

      "This bike is a pipe bomb"

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    • Dabby June 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm

      They do it every year.
      Very true.

      Paranoia runs rampant.

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  • Sarah Bott June 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    The Naito "bike lane" is clogged with pedestrians walking each direction, and even parked cars. Navigating to the Steel Bridge was scary and dangerous. When I turned back to go to Burnside, I also had to cross the middle of Burnside traffic at rush hour to get to the side that wasn't closed. Worst commute ever! I hope the police and PBOT will do something about the bike lane abutting the Waterfront carnival area.

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    • John Lascurettes June 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      I ask again: are they closing the road to cars? To trucks? To motorcycles? If the answer is no, take the freaking lane and continue on - you ARE vehicular traffic, particularly if the bike lane is "closed".

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      • BURR June 10, 2011 at 10:02 am

        exactly

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  • Pdxbiker June 9, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Sheesh, I can't believe you people. Once a year for a few days. Its called Rose Festival. Did you snobs all just move here? Lots of people like to see the ships. Lots of people like to meet the the sailors. Unless you've been living on Mars, times have changed. The days of boating up to or strolling right on a naval vessel are over. Hence the security zone. Don't forget we have an individual residing behind Portland bars right now for allegedly believing he was detonating a bomb during last years Christmas Tree Lighting. And I speak as a Navy Veteran who stayed in Portland after being impressed by the city and its friendly people during my Rose Festival visit over 30 years ago.

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    • Paul Johnson June 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      All in all, you make a pretty compelling argument to make this the last year for the Rose Festival as an annual event.

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    • q`Tzal June 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      Pdxbiker
      The days of boating up to or strolling right on a naval vessel are over. Hence the security zone.

      If the government fears its citizens so much why are they driving such a high value target/asset in to the middle of a threat zone?
      This ain't the Green Zone; this is Portlandia - fear our deadly hipster smugness.

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  • Noelle June 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Worst. Commute. *ever*. Nice job with the signage. I totally enjoyed the snippy comments by tourists, the obscenely long bridgelift only to discover the lower deck would stay closed, and riding on the road on the steel. Awesome.

    And right-passer guy? You made my day.

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    • Paul Johnson June 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      What's the detour, so I can update the maps...

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  • Ed June 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    So, how can I proceed north from the bike path on the east side of the river to N. Interstate Ave. next Monday with the esplanade closed and the detour on the west side also closed and possibly the Steel Bridge also closed to bikes? Any ideas, anyone?

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  • Manji312 June 9, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    This happens every year, nothing new. Best to plan for alternate routes....there are more ways to get around Portland than the waterfront.

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  • Hart Noecker June 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Is the Navy here to protect Portland from another FBI concocted fake terrorist plot?

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  • Jeff June 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Wow!

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  • Paul Johnson June 9, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Do we even need Rose Festival anymore? It loses money, it's a tremendous pain in the butt for folks who live here, and tourists actively avoid hitting Portland when it's going on because of the crowds. So why even bother with it anymore?

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  • Kevin Wagoner June 9, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I took the Burnside Bridge today due to the Steel closure. I noticed a cop car parked in the bike lane on Burnside so I took over the auto lane safely and continued on my way. Until the cop waved me out of the lane and informed me that bikes were not allowed to cross on that side of the road. I asked the cop why I could not continue in the auto lane like the other cars and trucks. The cop was not able to answer my question as he continued to stop other cyclist. The cop informed us that he would not ticket us for crossing 5 lanes of traffic in the middle of the bridge and proceeding on the other side of the road going against on coming traffic.

    The cop was very nice and professional.

    This experience today seems very odd to me.

    I do not understand why I could not legally proceed in the lane as I understand that to be legal.

    I do not understand why the city didn't have a better (safer) process to ensure all the bikes, cars, and pedestrians had safe routes home.

    Was this road closure a surprise or did we just fail to put a plan together for it?

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    • Paul Johnson June 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      Also sounds like you could have continued anyway and if they did cite you for it, get the ticket dismissed on the ground that what the officer was telling you to do was unlawful.

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      • John Lascurettes June 9, 2011 at 11:29 pm

        I'm half tempted to take the long way to the Burnside Bridge to challenge this tomorrow, but not before turning on a recording device before getting there. Bikes are vehicles. If the bike lane is closed, the mandatory side path law does not apply and I can take the lane.

        The irony of asking bicycle operators to use the south sidewalk is that by the time they reach the west side of the bridge, they are then breaking the law. Bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks between Water and W 14th and NW Naito and SW Jefferson. I think it's a pretty hefty fine too if they decide to entrap you on that.

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  • Norskiewa June 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Nice cops but non-existent detour signs going eastbound from Rose Quarter/Esplanade area. I realize the Esplanade closure complicates things, but NO signs for a detour seems a little, well, unplanned.

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  • Joe June 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    John Lascurettes
    Do they stop cars from using the vehicle lanes? Because if they don't: YOU ARE VEHICULAR TRAFFIC on a bike. Take the lane!

    word

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  • Joe June 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Kevin Wagoner
    I took the Burnside Bridge today due to the Steel closure. I noticed a cop car parked in the bike lane on Burnside so I took over the auto lane safely and continued on my way. Until the cop waved me out of the lane and informed me that bikes were not allowed to cross on that side of the road. I asked the cop why I could not continue in the auto lane like the other cars and trucks. The cop was not able to answer my question as he continued to stop other cyclist. The cop informed us that he would not ticket us for crossing 5 lanes of traffic in the middle of the bridge and proceeding on the other side of the road going against on coming traffic.
    The cop was very nice and professional.
    This experience today seems very odd to me.
    I do not understand why I could not legally proceed in the lane as I understand that to be legal.
    I do not understand why the city didn't have a better (safer) process to ensure all the bikes, cars, and pedestrians had safe routes home.
    Was this road closure a surprise or did we just fail to put a plan together for it?

    dude because ppl think bike r the problem... its backwards

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  • Joe June 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    yes bad planning effects all.. regardless

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  • Joe June 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Dabby
    They do it every year.
    Very true.
    Paranoia runs rampant.

    LOL love it,, true

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  • Joe June 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    BURR
    close the path, yes; close the bridge crossings to cyclists, no.
    "This bike is a pipe bomb"

    dude right on..

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  • GlowBoy June 9, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    "Also sounds like you could have continued anyway and if they did cite you for it, get the ticket dismissed on the ground that what the officer was telling you to do was unlawful."

    As tempting as that might be, you might also get cited for disobeying the instructions of an officer. Not as likely to be dismissed, though telling you to run across 5 lanes of traffic is pretty outrageous.

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    • Paul Johnson June 9, 2011 at 11:40 pm

      Another charge that is easily dismissed if the instructions are illegal and dangerous. Like, say, playing Frogger on the Burnside Bridge.

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    • BURR June 10, 2011 at 10:04 am

      yes, you would get two tickets, one for whatever traffic violation the cop wanted to write you up for and another one for disobeying an officer. $484.00+ at that point.

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      • Paul Johnson June 10, 2011 at 4:20 pm

        But, it would give you the opportunity to challenge the judgement of the incorrect officer in a court of law.

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  • Psyfalcon June 9, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    If it is true that that they're closing the car lane to bikes, it needs to be investigated. I'm not exactly sure what harm a person on the sidewalk could do, but not allowing bikes to use the lane while others are is a major issue.

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  • Dabby June 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    If a police officer does not understand the rule of the law it is not your fault, nor is it a reason to follow his instructions and put yourself at risk.

    Take the lane and just ride past him....

    If you have to, quickly explain why you are right, then ride away.

    It works..

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    • Psyfalcon June 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm

      And Portland PD is under federal investigation for shooting people.

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  • yogi b. June 10, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Paul Johnson
    ...and tourists actively avoid hitting Portland when it's going on because of the crowds.

    Nobody goes there anymore - it's too crowded!

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    • Paul Johnson June 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      Worked for ODOT. Nobody drives in Portland anymore. Too much traffic.

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  • JD June 10, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Unbelievably myopic. Get real and join the adult world. Adapt to cahnge. There are numerous routes to use around this, I used a lane on Naito when the peds and cars blocked the way. So much whining for a group that uses self reliance to navigate and power themselves around.

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    • john June 10, 2011 at 9:59 am

      Yes exactly, I just rode up and over the steel bridge moved into the slow moving car lane for a portion of it. It was easy, relaxing and nice. Plus a nice view of the ships. I may ride up to broadway or go across hawthorne today and monday.

      Of course security is a concern. Ships inport are quite vulnerable and ever since the Cole / 9-11, etc, unfortunately present a target . The Sailors are young and their safety does matter.

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    • Paul Johnson June 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      Either way or we have very low tolerance to people being dicks.

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  • John Lascurettes June 10, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Rode across at 9:25 this morning with not only no incident but without any visible presence of police, military or security whatsoever. The only thing that I saw were signs next to the bike lane at the edge of the sidewalk the whole way that said, "no parking this block" which is odd since there's no parking on the bridge as far as I'm aware (it's a bike lane). I had turned on Voice Memo on my iPhone just in case before approaching the bridge so I could record whatever instructions happened, but nothing happened.

    Looks like PPD woke up to the mistake of it.

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    • A.K. June 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      Huh, what a weird set of things to happen. As of late the Burnside bridge has been my favorite way to cross the river, and I'm glad I didn't get around to going through downtown on my ride last night.

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    • Paul Johnson June 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      Actually, there's no parking there because it's a bridge. Unless marked otherwise, bridges are no stopping zones.

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  • Joe June 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

    good news, enjoy the day all and ride safe !

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  • ME 2 June 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Yep, this is an every year thing. I'd normally go Morrison to east side, but don't want to deal with the esplanade so I've been doing what I've done in the past taking the lane on Naito up and over the Steel Bridge. Fortunately, in the years I've been doing this motorists have been patient enough recognizing its a fleet week thing.

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