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ODOT responds to tack incident with a State Trooper and a big magnet

Posted by on May 16th, 2008 at 10:25 am

“”It’s a great place to ride and I don’t want to take that away from anyone.”
ODOT maintenance manager Larry Olson

The Oregon Department of Transportation has responded to reports that Troutdale residents scattered tacks on the shoulder of the Historic Columbia River Highway — a popular bike route and gateway to riding in the Gorge.

Larry Olson is ODOT’s maintenance manager for that area and he says they’ve confirmed that a retired Oregon State Trooper will monitor the area to “keep an eye out this weekend and watch for suspicious activity.” Olson also told me that work crews are out right now sweeping the shoulder with a large magnet attached to the front of a truck.

Olson says his section manager told him they could sweep the area on Monday, but according to Olson, “That’s not good enough… we need to do it tomorrow [Friday]”.

Olson says he was aware of similar tack incidents happening in the past and that he takes the issue very seriously. It also helps that Olson enjoys biking on the road himself from time to time. “It’s a great place to ride,” he said, “and I don’t want to take that away from anyone.”

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  • Mark P. May 16, 2008 at 10:33 am


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  • Meghan May 16, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Let\’s all give thanks for great government workers that respond when they see a problem!! Remember there are people like Mr. Olson when you hear someone gripe about how \”I already pay too much in taxes.\” (I\’m looking at you, Mike Erickson.)

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  • jeff May 16, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Thank you Mr Olson!

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  • Adam May 16, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Nice to see a quick fix to this one. Thanks Mr. Olson!

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  • Sue May 16, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Yeah! Is there a way to send Mr. Olson a big \”thank you\” via email or such?
    Is the sweeping going to happen all summer long?

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  • a.O May 16, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Much appreciated.

    How is it that ODOT has authority to order a retired OSP officer to monitor a particular stretch of road?

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  • toddistic May 16, 2008 at 10:55 am

    a large magnet, what a clever idea to combat this.

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  • Recnerd May 16, 2008 at 10:58 am

    District 2C – East Portland
    Phone: 503-665-4193
    999 Frontage Road Ste. 250
    Troutdale OR 97060

    Here is Mr. Olsen\’s #. I called and thanked him for his quick action. I would encourage others to do so as well. It is always nice to hear thank you no matter who you are.

    Have a good ride.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) May 16, 2008 at 10:59 am

    \”How is it that ODOT has authority to order a retired OSP officer to monitor a particular stretch of road?\”

    I did not word that correctly.. they didn\’t \”order\” him as in give him a command… they are working with contacts in Oregon State Parks to make the Trooper available. I\’ve edited the sentence.

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  • Spencer May 16, 2008 at 11:02 am

    After reading all the comments on this and the original post, a definitive statement should be made. Talk is cheap and the dollar speaks.

    Jonathan, has any one tried talking to entities such as the Troutdale Chamber of Commerce, Mcmenamins Edgefield and the local cycle clubs. Maybe instead of all this resentment, the two could plan a bike rally beginning and ending in town to show the businesses and residents the number of cyclist (cyclist = money) who recreate in the area. This builds awareness in the local community for the extra $ and introduces more cyclist to the area in a positive manner. On the stick side, it shows the community what is at stake considering that there are a number of other communities actively trying to solicit bike tourists.

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  • Russell May 16, 2008 at 11:06 am

    a.O – I think some retired officers remain on an \’on-call\’ (if they are still fit and left the service on good terms) list for when the state/city/county needs extra help?

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  • A.P. May 16, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Hah, what a good idea. That\’s how we always picked up the nails from our job sites when I worked construction. We just had a big magnet with wheels and a handle to push it around on.

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  • destin May 16, 2008 at 11:22 am

    great work!!!!!!!

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  • Spencer May 16, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Here is the emial I sent to Edgefield and I am working on my Chamber of commerce one.

    Get involved!


    As a member of the Troutdale community I would encourage your business to work with the local government to address the annual \”tacking\” of the bike lane on the Columbia Gorge Highway. My wife, friends and I ride there a number of times per year and often meet at the Edgefield for the after ride drink up and meal. We also routinely climb at Lewis and Clark State park and are often as hungry and thirsty.

    I would encourage you to read about the issue here: http://bikeportland.org/2008/05/15/headed-to-the-gorge-watch-for-tacks-in-the-road/

    It would be good if you, as a significant member of the local community, could take a stand about this issue and work locally to address this issue. Please read the comments associated the aforementioned posting and you will realize that there is a lot of concern in the bike community. On a weekend, I routinely see large numbers of bikes on top of cars in your parking lot and locked up at the Edgefield.

    Perhaps hosting an event to encourage biking in the George could go a long way in showing the local business the benefits of promoting bike tourism and help bring more people out to your beautiful Edgefield Manor.

    Thank you,


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  • Zaphod May 16, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you!

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  • Dave Sohigian May 16, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Excellent. Another example of how awareness of biking in Oregon drives changes in enforcement, which leads to even more awareness. A virtuous cycle.

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  • joeb May 16, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    There is probably one individual disrupting and discouraging a large number of East County road users and we have an ODOT response to restore appreciation for the region. This just feels good. I hope the Individual gets the message.

    When I head out, I always seek owner operated and local businesses. The Corbett Store is almost a required stop after Crown Point or Larch Mountain. It\’s kind of hard to \”Buy American\” these days, but I \”Buy Oregon\” as much as I can.

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  • Jessica Roberts May 16, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    I just called Mr. Olson to thank him. He said that the magnet didn\’t pick up anything, so he\’s sending someone back out to look and see if maybe the tacks are aluminum or brass that wouldn\’t get picked up by a magnet. He also said he hoped that, in working with OSP, they might be able to catch someone in the act.

    I\’m impressed at how quickly they took action.

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  • Hollie May 16, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    This warms my heart. Thanks to ODOT and Larry Adams for their quick attention to this disheartening problem!

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  • true May 16, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    That\’s impressive. Thank you, Mr. Olson.

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  • Marcy Jacobs May 19, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    After getting a \’tack-flat\’ last Thursday, before the sweep, I was gratified to hear of ODOT\’s and Mr. Olson\’s actions. However, the shoulder from Troutdale to Corbett and beyond also contains lots of ground glass, which looks like it has been liberally sprinkled. Sometime, kids (or adults) toss bottles on the Scenic Hwy. from the Crown Point roundabout. I am wondering if there can be a regular sweep program developed for that stretch.

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  • Joe V June 9, 2008 at 9:13 am

    yeah, you can sweep it your damn selves

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