Splendid Cycles

Distracted driving, Vision Zero, speed limits and more: Checking in on the Oregon legislative session

Posted by on May 5th, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Distracted driver being distracted.jpg

Lawmakers are poised overhaul Oregon’s cell phone/distracted driving law.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon lawmakers want to make it easier to hunt animals with your car (seriously), but they want to make it harder to use your phone while doing so.

We’re just over half-way through the 2017 legislative session and it’s time to see how the bills we’ve been tracking are holding up.

As you might recall, back in February we flagged nine House bills and nine Senate bills. (We’re also watching the Joint Transportation Preservation and Modernization Committee. They’re set to unveil the big transportation funding package very soon. It could even happen at their meeting this Monday.)

Some are dead, some are on life support, and some are flourishing and are likely to become law. Here’s the full rundown:

House Bills Still Alive

HB 2355 – Anti-profiling bill (Overview)

Summary (written by legislative staff): Requires law enforcement agencies to record specified information related to pedestrian and vehicle stops, including race and gender of person stopped, legal reason for stop and disposition of stop. Phases in recording requirement based on size of agency. Directs Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) to review compiled information to identify patterns or practices of profiling. Requires CJC to provide, beginning July 1, 2020, annual report to legislative committees, Office of Governor and Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). Authorizes DPSST to provide advice or assistance to law enforcement agencies identified in report and requires summary of advice or assistance provided to be presented at public meeting of local public safety coordinating council. Directs DPSST to establish mandatory educational programs to reduce profiling.

Status: Alive. Passed House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 8-2 on on March 30th. Now in Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

HB 2409 – Speed camera bill (Overview)

Official summary: Authorizes city to operate camera and other technology, mounted on street light or other appropriate place, to record drivers who speed in excess of 11 miles per hour over limit. Requires city to notify community and drivers of use of technology. Requires police officer to review photograph and data before issuing citation. Prohibits issuance of both speeding ticket and ticket for running red light, unless driver exceeds speed limit by more than 21 miles per hour. Provides registered owner of vehicle to whom citation is issued with ability to submit certificate of innocence or certificate of nonliability.

Status: Alive. Passed House 45-15 on May 3rd. Now in Senate Judiciary Committee awaiting hearing and work session.

HB 2597 – Distracted driving bill (Overview)

Official summary: Renames offense of operating a motor vehicle while using mobile communication device and expands it to cover operating a motor vehicle while using mobile electronic device. Defines key terms. Increases penalty for first offense. Increases penalty for subsequent offense or if first offense contributes to an accident. Allows court to suspend fine upon first offense if person completes distracted driving avoidance course. Directs Department of Transportation to create standards for distracted driving avoidance courses.

Status: Alive. Pass the House 46-13 on May 1st. Now in Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 2682 – PBOT’s speed limit bill (Overview)

Official summary: Authorizes City of Portland to establish designated speed for certain highways without seeking approval of the Department of Transportation. (See our report on this bill here.)

Status: Alive! Passed the House 55-1 and is now in the Senate Committee on Business and Transportation.

House Bills That Are Dead

HB 2440 (Overview)

Official summary: Directs Department of Transportation to remove high occupancy vehicle lane restrictions on Interstate 5 in Portland.

Status: Dead. It never went anywhere. Not sure how someone thought it would make sense to remove the HOV lane on a section of freeway that is bumper-to-bumper every day.

HB 2461 (Overview)

Official summary: Establishes process for issuance of certificate of approval for operating autonomous vehicles.

Status: Dead. Never even received a committee vote. Seems like it would be good for the State of Oregon to get ahead of the coming AV wave in order to support forward-thinking cities like Portland.

HB 2532 (Overview)

Official summary: Directs Department of Transportation to post certain information on its website about selection process for transportation projects and about transportation projects selected for inclusion in Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. Directs department to use least-cost planning and practical design for all projects. Directs department to report to Legislative Assembly and commission on results of using least-cost planning and practical design. Directs department to update highway design manual.

Status: Dead. Didn’t go anywhere.

HB 2667 – Vision Zero Bill (Overview)

Official summary: Establishes Task Force on Vision Zero.

Status: Dead. Despite strong and emotional testimony in favor of this bill back in February, the State feels its current traffic safety efforts are sufficient. There was concern from ODOT staff that this task force would duplicate existing efforts of the Traffic Safety Action Plan. Given what a radical shift in thinking and policymaking Vision Zero requires, it’s not surprising that ODOT isn’t ready to fully embrace it.

HB 2683 (Overview)

Official summary: Directs Department of Transportation to remove directional sign on Southeast Powell Boulevard between Southeast 20th Avenue and Southeast 21st Avenue in Portland.

Status: Dead. This odd bill didn’t go anywhere; but it did generate a story in the Portland Tribune.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Senate Bills Still Alive

SB 2 (Overview)

Summary: Similar to HB 2597, this is Senate President Peter Courtney’s attempt to get tough – very tough – on people who use cell phones while driving. It does some of the same things as the House bill, but it comes with much stronger penalties. Because of its potential to find someone guilty of a felony and its relatively high fines (up to $2,000 after a third conviction, and $10,000 if there’s a minor in the vehicle), SB 2 doesn’t have as much political momentum as it counterpart in the House.

Status: Alive. Passed Senate Judiciary Committee 3-2 on April 11th. Now in Joint Ways and Means Committee awaiting floor votes.

SB 34 (Overview)

Summary: “Expands “move over law” to include any motor vehicle that is displaying warning or hazard lights or specific indications of distress.”

Status: Alive. Passed the Senate 16-13 on February 23rd. Scheduled for a work session in the House Judiciary Committee on May 10th. I feel like this bill is a major missed opportunity that should have included language that would have specifically included people using bicycles as well as motor vehicles. Bicycle users should benefit from the strength and awareness of the “move over law” because the existing “bicycle safe passing law” is weak and relatively unknown to the public and to law enforcement officials.

SB 35 (Overview)

Summary: “Increases, from $1,500 to $2,500, the property damage threshold amount that must be met before a person is required to submit a motor vehicle accident report.”

Status: Alive and likely to become law. Passed Senate 28-2 on February 28th and passed the House Transportation Committee 9-0 on April 26th. This is a car-centric bill that will make it even harder for bicycle users to receive justice after a collision and it will lead to less reporting of bicycle-involved crashes in general. While the cost of cars has gone up, the price of many bicycles is still well below the existin $1,500 threshold, much less the higher amount. This bill is very likely to pass.

SB 327 (Overview)

Summary: “Extends recreational immunity to employees and agents of owner of land when acting within scope of duties and those with private property interests in land. Eliminates duty of care to maintain land for entry or use by others for certain purposes.” For more on the issues behind this bill, read our coverage from back in February.

Status: Alive and likely to become law. Passed Senate 30-0 on April 11th. Work session in House Judiciary Committee scheduled for May 9th.

SB 372 (Overview)

Summary: “Requires State Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt rules for issuance of wildlife salvage permits to salvage deer or elk accidentally killed as result of vehicle collision.”

Status: Alive. Passed Senate 29-1 on April 6th. Now awaiting a work session in House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

SB 454 (Overview)

Summary: “Directs Department of Transportation to establish Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area highway improvement program.” Bill would hasten transportation infrastructure project development in the Gorge, including projects that would make bicycling better.

Status: Alive. Passed Senate Committee on Business and Transportation on April 17th. Now in Joint Ways and Means Committee.

SB 493 (Overview)

Summary: “Creates new manner of committing crime of assault in the fourth degree when person with criminal negligence causes serious physical injury to vulnerable user of public way by means of motor vehicle.” Current Oregon law does not have a penalty that triggers unless the vulnerable roadway user is killed in the collision. This bill would fill that “negligence gap” when someone is hit and suffers serious injuries. It came up last session but didn’t pass because it made the crime a felony. Here’s our previous coverage.

Status: Alive. Passed Senate 19-10 on May 2nd. Currently in House Judiciary Committee awaiting hearing and work session.

Senate Bills That Are Dead

SB 504 (Overview)

Summary: “Eliminates limitation of liability for owner of land used for trail or recreational purposes when owner is public body.” This is the response from trial lawyers to the recreational immunity bill (SB 327 above). It would make public agencies liable for tort claims from people who use parks and trails.

Status: Dead. Didn’t go anywhere.

SB 556 (Overview)

Summary: Creates offense of driving with dog in driver’s lap. Punishes by maximum fine of $250.

Status: Dead. Received a public hearing on March 20th but failed to get voted on by a committee. It’s too bad! This is actually something that would be easy to enforce (dogs on laps are very visible) and it would have improved public safety in a tangible way.

The next big deadline in the legislative calendar is May 19th. Bills must have a work session scheduled in the second chamber or else they are dead. The session is constitutionally required to end on July 10th, but sources tell us legislators are aiming for June 23rd.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • MaxD May 5, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    SB 1008 has been gutted. This bill would have tightened regulations on dirty diesel engines and stop Oregon from being used as a dumping ground for the most polluting vehicles form adjacent states with higher standards. There is an effort to pressure lawmakers to strengthen the bill and pass it: Here is some text from the facebook page:
    Join Neighbors for Clean Air to write postcards and make phone calls to your state lawmakers! We are working hard to pass a bill this legislative session to reduce diesel pollution (SB 1008) and it has been gutted by industry and politics-as-usual. But, we don’t plan to stand by idly while that happens. And we hope you won’t, either!

    We’ll have postcards, pens and stamps, but feel free to being your own postcards, too. Also, it’s during happy hour, so order a beer and a snack and stay awhile! Kids welcome.

    Bring a friend! More voices = better policy for the people.

    Questions? Email Lisa@whatsinourair.org

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    • I voted for Trump May 9, 2017 at 2:38 am

      Haven’t noticed any problem with diesels. Where have you noticed it?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 8:47 am

        It’s a problem in Portland, for sure. Our air is some of the dirtiest in the country. If you believe science, that is.

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  • bikeninja May 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    I am so glad that someone who speeds through a red light on a 40mph street going 60 mph will only get a single ticket. We wouldn’t want to burden someone doing something so blatantly dangerous with 2 tickets would we? The republic is saved.

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  • Jason May 5, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I’m not sure your opening sentence makes much sense- It’s illegal to hunt animals except with approved weapons, and that law is supposed to just make animals killed by unintentional collisions salvageable. Most states have that on the books so the meat doesn’t go to waste.

    I don’t see many people, even rednecks, trying to intentionally ram a 200-1000lb animal with their car. 🙂

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      i realize that jason, i was just trying to be cute (something I’m not good at and usually get in trouble for).

      but still… what would prevent someone from running down an animal purposefully and then claiming it was an “accident”?

      if you’ve ever spent time in rural oregon, you’ll know there’s little to no law enforcement presence.

      I’ll never forget seeing someone hunting by car (with a gun pointed out the window) while riding the Oregon Outback a few years ago.

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      • B. Carfree May 5, 2017 at 9:38 pm

        Somewhere near the Yuba river in California I was once more than a little surprised to see two men in camo and face paint standing up in an open-air Jeep that was being driven towards me. They were clearly looking for game with their arrows nocked in and were ready to shoot. It was also a bit before sunrise, though not by much.

        Can anyone explain why one would need camo and face paint if one is going to hunt from a car? It’s not like you’re going to sneak up on anything with all that racket. I thought it was weird (but I smiled and waved).

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        • I voted for Trump May 9, 2017 at 2:24 am

          They were probably going to be dropped off near their hunting spot, but figured they’d hunt on the way to the drop off point.

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      • OregonJelly May 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm

        Nothing would prevent it. And nothing needs to.
        We should have a compelling reason for passing laws. “What if” doesn’t cut it.

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      • Trikeguy May 8, 2017 at 12:50 pm

        Have you ever seen what happens to the vehicle that hits a large animal. People die in those accidents. Besides, most of the rednecks I grew up with would just go out and spot light the deer because of the very low chance of being caught.

        I’ve got some great stories of some of my classmates Huntin’ adventures.

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        • I voted for Trump May 9, 2017 at 2:28 am

          The fine for hunting violations can be very high. Including confiscation of your vehicle and guns. Not worth the risk for most folks.

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      • I voted for Trump May 9, 2017 at 2:26 am

        What would prevent that? Well maybe significant vehicle damage for one. And, only animals standing in the middle of the road would be in danger even if a driver wanted to run them over.

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    • wsbob May 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Illegally bagging game by crashing motor vehicles into them, is apparently a problem in some places. I have watched a show in past…think it’s called ‘Alaska State Troopers’, multiple episode show.

      At least one of the episodes included a segment in which the officer stops to check on a couple guys that were starting to load up an elk they said ran out in front of their big pickup truck with a heavy duty front bumper grill. People don’t have to actually hit a big critter so hard in one fell swoop with their vehicle…they only have to wing it, to bring it down. Then, they can hop out of the truck to give the poor beast a shot from their firearms, to put it down, ‘out of mercy’. Meat is money.

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      • soren May 7, 2017 at 9:30 am

        also murder.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy May 7, 2017 at 3:05 pm

          What if an animal kills another animal?

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      • I voted for Trump May 9, 2017 at 2:35 am

        For all practical purposes, there are no elk in Alaska. Moose, yes. Caribou, yes. Elk – no. Well, there are a few on a couple of Islands. Maybe you saw a Caribou?

        Here’s the elk range map:

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  • Stephan May 5, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Hey Jonathan,

    It seems like your headline is a bit confusing — did distracted driving win or did the bill that will address it win (so far)?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 5, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      thanks stephan. good catch. fixed it.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Sorry, I’m having a hard time following this thread because I’m in heavy traffic right now.

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      • wsbob May 5, 2017 at 4:23 pm

        …I hear there’s less traffic on the roof. Quieter too. Difficult to ride a bike or drive on though.

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      • Stephan May 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm

        Here is my fun story of the week regarding distracted drivers. As I was crossing NE Fremont, I noticed a driver using her phone and a police officer sitting at Starbucks just on the other side of the street. So I said to the police officer, politely: “There is a driver using her phone!” To which he replied: “Yeah, there are many of them.”

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      • Dan A May 5, 2017 at 7:18 pm

        “You’re doing a bad job.” “Nope, I’m doing a terrible job!”

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        • Stephan May 5, 2017 at 7:31 pm

          🙂 Or: “Please do your job!” — “This is how we are supposed to do our job!” I do not blame the officer, it just reflects that our city does not want to seriously address this problem.

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          • rachel b May 5, 2017 at 8:16 pm

            WE (the people) do want the city to address the problem though. It seems like some silent sea change happened with how our cops handle things (that change being “hands off! do nothing!”). I mean, I’m well aware we’re shorthanded and that’s frustrating to our police force as well as to citizens. But they really really seem reluctant to actually DO anything anymore, and most things short of gang violence seem to be beneath their notice.

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            • Stephan May 5, 2017 at 9:12 pm

              Yes. And to add to it: I would welcome if Mayor Wheeler included Vision Zero enforcement as something the new police chief would need to tackle; and if he declared Portland “open” to tech companies that want to try out innovative solutions to disable cellphone use while driving.

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            • David Hampsten May 6, 2017 at 8:08 am

              Portland doesn’t really have a large police department relative to its population (623,000 residents vs 950 sworn officers for all shifts), so it really boils down to what you think their priorities should be: traffic enforcement, domestic abuse, drug crime, theft, murder, rape, drive-by shooting, gangs, corking traffic after Sunday church service (popular here), riot control (ever popular in Portland), etc etc, plus all the paperwork related to cases (over half their time on the job, since there is often a huge lag between when a crime is committed and when it gets tried in court.)

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              • rachel b May 6, 2017 at 2:46 pm

                Well, right. I remember when we used to have a police force that served us all. So… where’s all this extra property tax and weed money going? Why haven’t we hired more police to serve this ever-burgeoning population and need? That’s what I don’t get: that it’s apparently acceptable to our city’s leaders to just let it go. “Oh–we’ll just see what happens if we just don’t respond to our citizen’s needs the way we used to, as a matter of course.”

                All that neglect is a slippery slope–it’s basically like putting up a sign “Suckers Here!” to anyone that would steal, vandalize, stalk, harass, etc. etc. etc. And I’m definitely seeing the fallout.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 6, 2017 at 3:58 pm

                Crime is down. We could actually stand to lose a few officers.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 6, 2017 at 9:16 pm

                We did. We lost too many.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy May 7, 2017 at 3:06 pm

                Sadly, the violent protestors seem to be creating a need to keep the officers around.

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              • K Taylor May 7, 2017 at 10:56 pm

                Adam H. ‘Crime is down. We could actually stand to lose a few officers.’

                Really? Or is our new ‘lower’ crime rate mostly just a product of this new laissez-faire policing strategy?

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  • wsbob May 5, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    “…Prohibits issuance of both speeding ticket and ticket for running red light, unless driver exceeds speed limit by more than 21 miles per hour. …” HB 2409 – Speed camera bill

    Too much latitude. It doesn’t make good sense to give people a break on a speeding violation, when they’ve violated the law requiring them to stop at stop lights. If two violations occur, two citations should be issued. And also: 11mph over posted speed limit is too much latitude given. 5mph would be enough latitude. Allowing people to exceed 21mph over posted before being cited for a speeding violation in addition a red light citation, seems simply irrational, and of course, very dangerous policy.

    SB 34: The so called ‘move over’ law, is likely, ‘811.145¹ Failure to yield to emergency vehicle or ambulance’. https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.145

    How someone might envision this law to include bikes, I’m not sure. An idea to persuade people to make the law require that road users move over for people displaying flashing lights on their bikes, seems like a tough call, because many people equip their bikes with blinking lights front and rear, as standard low light and night lighting gear for regular travel use.

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    • John Lascurettes May 5, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      It’s like it’s actually encouraging people already driving 10+ over max speed to punch it to “make the yellow” — simultaneously a dangerous and illegal act. Sigh.

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      • Dan A May 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm

        May as well take a selfie and a bong hit while you’re at it.

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  • Justin M May 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Who on earth thinks it should be legal to drive with a dog on your lap? That’s ridiculous. Also, I think most people don’t even feel comfortable with speeding over 21 miles per hour on the freeway. But on a street with red light cameras??? That’s way too much leeway. That’s an entire speed limit’s difference. Why even bother passing this law at all? 20 miles per hour might as well be 100. Also, a little off topic, but has anyone else noticed that when you get a burrito at Los Gorditos the dairy all pools at the bottom so the last couple inches are just a gloppy unpleasant mess? Their tacos are great tho.

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    • wsbob May 5, 2017 at 11:41 pm

      “Who on earth thinks it should be legal to drive with a dog on your lap? …” justin m

      Answer to the question: …people that feel the need to drive with their lap, I suppose. Personally, I think it’s nuts to have a dog or any pet, unrestrained in a moving motor vehicle.

      A few days ago, I was walking along on the sidewalk, and a car on the street, comes from behind and turns left at the corner The car’s driver side window was open, and a big dog’s head with a lot of hair, was sticking outside the window. Kind of like those joke photos where it looks like the dog is actually doing the driving. I presume a human was driving the car, but truth tell, because of the big dog’s head in the window, I couldn’t actually see a person behind the wheel of the car. High-tek engineers are making great advances these days with AI. Maybe the dog was an experimental canine cyborg with a chip implant programmed for driving ability.

      People driving and riding in cars, are required to have seat belts. Infants have to have their own car seat belted into the vehicle’s seats. This is partly so, in the event there’s a collision, they won’t become a missile, and crash into one another. But pets…are left to fend for themselves in the vehicle. No restraints for pets, but there should be. .

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      • Pete May 6, 2017 at 10:55 am

        My dog prefers the floor to the seat, and frankly that seems a much safer place in a crash. Can’t figure out how I could restrain him down there, though, and certainly don’t want a law telling me I have to. We’ve used car seats with restraints designed for dogs in the past, but they’re not designed to keep the dog safe in a crash, only constrained while in the car. I could easily see that restraint snapping the dogs neck if wearing just a collar and not a harness; many folks probably wouldn’t think twice about that while buckling up Fido.

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        • Chris I May 6, 2017 at 5:43 pm

          The safest way is to use a harness that is purpose-made. We use them for our dogs and attach them in the back of the wagon to tie-down points. The harnesses do come with seat belt attachments if you prefer to use the back seat.

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        • wsbob May 8, 2017 at 12:15 pm

          Dog sitting peacefully on the floor of the vehicle in transit, is certainly better than the general routine of just letting the dog be wherever. First priority is to prevent the dog from becoming a missile, crashing into and hurting people in the vehicle. Chris I has got the idea down though…there likely are body harnesses available for all sizes of dogs. Put one of those on the dog, and attach it to some tie-down points. This may help the dog survive or sustain injury if the vehicle is involved in a collision.

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    • David Hampsten May 6, 2017 at 8:11 am

      It’s more common than you might think. I’ve seen people riding their bikes with Fido in the front basket, being petted while their person is still pedaling.

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      • rachel b May 8, 2017 at 9:58 pm

        If I were a dog in Portland I’d be very irritated by all the to-ing and fro-ing and would request to please stay in my house or yard more, thanks very much.

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  • SE May 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor).
    if you’ve ever spent time in rural oregon, you’ll know there’s little to no law enforcement presence. .
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    same can be said for us east of 122nd. 🙁 The Hondas with trumpet pipes and the crotch rocket street racers are going full blast after the sun goes down.

    sitting above cars next to me at stop lights, I’d say it’s rare for a driver NOT to be on their cell, and they don’t seem to disconnect when the green comes along.

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    • David Hampsten May 6, 2017 at 8:13 am

      What even more fun is watching the East Precinct officers doing the same thing.

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    • rachel b May 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      “same can be said for us east of 122nd. The Hondas with trumpet pipes and the crotch rocket street racers are going full blast after the sun goes down.”

      Same can be said for SE 26th! I happen to live across the street from a #@)$ing “car enthusiast.” Living with his parents. Jobless. With a posse. I hate him and his fart can of a modified car (#3).

      Every other car going down the street on sunny/hot days and nights seems to be trying to break the sound barrier.

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  • Todd Boulanger May 5, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    It makes perfect “selfy” sense that some legislator would submit HB 2461 (remove carpool lane on I-5) as the exiting carpool causes frustration on both sides: it keeps SOV drivers from use of all the facility AND it fails to take carpoolers across the finish line (Interstate Bridge).

    I wish someone had gut and stuffed it instead of letting it die: tweak it to keep the carpool and extend it across the Interstate Bridge (or at least to the state line).

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    • B. Carfree May 5, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      Interesting take on it. I was thinking the purpose of the bill was just to move the Overton window to preclude any further additions to our paltry collection of carpool lanes.

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  • Spiffy May 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    autonomous vehicles: why are they currently illegal? ORS?

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    • I voted for Trump May 9, 2017 at 2:45 am

      Who said they were? If you go get plates for a car, do they ask if it is autonomous? If not, get the plates and put ’em on.

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  • Spiffy May 5, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    driving with a dog in your lap: this bill would be as useless as the cell phone bill… there were already distracted driving laws on the books in every state I ever checked before this cell phone nonsense started…

    specific laws haven’t kept up with the pace of distraction… I don’t understand why they keep making more specific laws to cover things already covered by broader ones…

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    • I voted for Trump May 9, 2017 at 2:47 am

      Because the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Most of these bills are covered already by other laws. Good examples of why the state is 1.8 billion in the hole.

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      • El Biciclero May 9, 2017 at 9:59 am

        I think PERS is the best example of why the state is 1.8 billion in the hole.

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  • Todd Boulanger May 5, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    And too bad that SB 556 (aka “doggie airbags”, as I call them) did not see the light of day for cross over.

    It always shocks me the number of well meaning drivers who let their dogs have full reign in their lap and arms while they operate a vehicle. It reminds me of what used to be socially “oK’ long ago to hold small children in your lap (pre-seat belts) while driving or as a passenger…now we know how poor that outcome is for traffic safety…

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  • Todd Boulanger May 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Jonathan – thanks for posting this list for your readership. (And others working in the Capital to keep them moving ahead, like Gerik with The Streets Trust (aka BTA).)

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  • El Biciclero May 5, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    RE: SB 35 (“accident” report dollar amount requirements). The one clause that could be changed to require more reporting of collisions with bicyclists (other than the injury/death requirement) is the language about “…must be towed from the scene…”.

    If this was changed to read more like “…cannot be removed from the scene of the ‘accident’ under its usual means of propulsion…”, OR “…must be hauled away from the scene…” Something to cover a bike that cannot be ridden, but that nobody would consider to have been “towed” if you had to stuff it into a trunk or onto a rack to carry it away.

    If the “towed” language covered removing unrideable bikes from the scene, then both “drivers” would need to submit a report for something as “minor” as a tacoed wheel, bent crank, or broken chain, even if there was no damage to the car.

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    • wsbob May 6, 2017 at 12:07 am

      SB 35 (Overview)

      Summary: “Increases, from $1,500 to $2,500, the property damage threshold amount that must be met before a person is required to submit a motor vehicle accident report.”

      I’m wondering why Oregon senators would even make or accept such a proposal, let alone seriously considering making it into law. At the least, the lower dollar amount threshold with the prospect it holds for more paperwork, seems like part of the incentive for people driving, to do all they can to avoid being involved in collisions. Is it the police dept’s that are trying to reduce their paperwork? Or maybe it’s the insurance companies.

      One thing I think may be true today with higher costs of vehicle body work repair: $1500 damage, may not be much more than cosmetic, paint scratched, bumper dented, etc, leaving the vehicle still drive-able.

      “…Something to cover a bike that cannot be ridden, but that nobody would consider to have been “towed” if you had to stuff it into a trunk or onto a rack to carry it away.

      If the “towed” language covered removing unrideable bikes from the scene, then both “drivers” would need to submit a report for something as “minor” as a tacoed wheel, bent crank, or broken chain, even if there was no damage to the car.” watts

      Something like this might be fair, but I know little about how car insurance works. Somebody crashes into your ride, bike or motor vehicle, you still need transportation to get to work. $100-$200 damage to a bicycle’s wheels, isn’t just cosmetic, and most likely means the bike isn’t ride-able. If fault for a collision renders the vehicle, un-driveable or un-rideable, maybe that should be criteria for being required to file a police report.

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      • El Biciclero May 7, 2017 at 8:37 am

        I would guess that the reason for the proposed change is “paperwork reduction”. As you note, it’s hard to look at a car funny without causing $1500 worth of damage these days, and having to fill out all those yucky reports after crashing into something…ugh! Plus, I don’t know who has to process them after they’ve been turned in to the DMV; I’m sure their life is miserable as well.

        I have a feeling we are not finding out about a lot of bicycle-involved crashes, and if DMV “accident” reports are the main means of doing so, then the auto-centric reporting requirements are one reason why we don’t hear about them. I think we need a better way to track collisions involving bicyclists and to analyze the characteristics of those collisions, so we can get a better picture of the kinds of things that need to change to make non-car travel safer. If there were some other way of doing this, I wouldn’t care about DMV “accident” report thresholds based on automotive repair schedules.

        But yes, “rendering a vehicle unusable” is the basic criteria I’m thinking of for triggering a required report, since all that would have to happen is bending one $200 wheel, or breaking a $150 derailleur to render a bike unusable and get that collision into “The System” so it can be included in statistics.

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        • wsbob May 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

          “…one $200 wheel, or breaking a $150 derailleur to render a bike unusable and get that collision into “The System” so it can be included in statistics.” el bic

          200 hundred dollar wheels and 150 dollar derailleurs? Not many people have pricey gear like that on their bikes except racers and people with lots…of disposable income. And expensive gear like that isn’t required equip a bike to be very well performing transportation. I had to replace my front derailleur last spring: brand new, local shop, shimano, around twenty bucks. Brand new mavic/shimano road wheel set from a local shop for 200 bucks or less.

          I understand the dollar amount threshold point you’re drawing attention to. I’m saying the dollar amount of damage inflicted on a vehicle due to a collision, can be arbitrary and secondary to the functionality of the vehicle. If a person’s vehicle is hit by someone driving or riding another vehicle (someone crashing their bike into another person’s bike, can cause major damage.), the person with the damaged bike is left without a functional ride.

          Lots of people lean on money, drive, used motor vehicles that cost 1000 dollars or less, and depend upon these well worn rigs to meet their travel needs. Some guy with a lot of money and a fast, expensive sports sedan crashes into, and renders unfunctional, their bare bones ride? That may be a major hardship. Should this type of traumatic collision not require a collision report from the person that drove into the heap that was such important travel to the person that owned it?

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          • El Biciclero May 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm

            Your scenario would almost certainly require an “accident” report to be filed under both current and proposed new rules. A) If somebody driving an Audi A6 crashes into a ’92 VW rabbit, it’s going to do at least $2500 damage to the Audi: report required. B) If an A6 crashes into a rusty heap and damages it enough that it has to be “towed”, then again, report required. Now, if two ’92 VW rabbits crash and are both able to limp away from the scene, then…?

            I’m not trying to say that only people with expensive cars/bikes should have the privilege of getting their crashes reported—quite the opposite. The only reasons a report would not be required when the same A6 driver runs over my Huffy are A) dollar amount of damages less than $99.97, and B) Bikes aren’t generally considered to have been “towed” when they are hauled away from a crash scene (I welcome legal theories on the definition of “towed”, however). I’m just proposing that if we make the dollar amounts even further beyond the possibility of ever requiring an “accident” report based on the cost of damage to a bicycle, we could at least make sure the definition of “towed” included removing a bike that was damaged enough that it could not be ridden away from the scene, regardless of the cost of the damage. Maybe a ten-cent chain link got broken…

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            • wsbob May 9, 2017 at 11:06 am

              The point that should be the deciding factor, is not how the damaged vehicle must be removed from the collision scene other than by more or less normal operations, but that it must be moved from the collision scene other than by normal operation.

              In other words…if it can’t be driven or ridden away as functional transportation, due to someone having damaged the vehicle in a collision, this means the person using it has to replace or substitute their means of transportation.

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    • I voted for Trump May 9, 2017 at 2:48 am

      If a cyclist is in a crash with a motor vehicle and they can walk home, they’d better by very happy about it. The “property damage” is not a concern.

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      • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 8:32 am

        Uh, yes it is.

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      • El Biciclero May 9, 2017 at 9:56 am

        Could say the same about a driver—do we expect a driver who walks away from a crash that totals their vehicle not to be concerned about the property damage? What about a homeowner who narrowly misses being hit by a tree that falls on their house?

        Unless I misinterpret your comment, saying that “property damage is not a concern” for someone who happens to be riding a bike at the time they are in some kind of collision (assuming that by “property” you mean that person’s bike) sounds like you’re placing them in a lower class than others whose property might be damaged in a similar situation. Tell me that’s not what you’re saying.

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        • I voted for Trump May 10, 2017 at 12:36 am

          Lower class? That’s not what I’m saying.

          The cyclist could file the accident report even if they only suffered scratched paint. Lots of car drivers would just agree with the other driver to a cash settlement over a fender bender.

          Any car operator would have an obligation to stop, render aid, and pay for damages to a bike.

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      • wsbob May 9, 2017 at 11:38 am

        Count your blessings? Is that what you’re saying? Sounds like it, and yes, always a good mindset. Much better than the ‘Me First!.’ mindset that led people to vote the donald in for pres. Some people in the U.S. don’t like illegals harvesting vegetables and fruit for the U.S. consumer? So what? They should count their blessings too, because by way of the lower cost illegal labor, they’re getting lower cost vegetables and fruit?

        People in the U.S. are upset about losing jobs due to outsourcing production to other countries, like Mexico, where the labor is cheaper? So what? They should count they’re blessings that they’re citizens and don’t wind up being deported. Enough of your use of a political hot button weblog name to sneak politics into discussions of bike and general transportation related issues.

        Fact is though, someone screwing up your bike through inept or unintentionally poor driving, is a major inconvenience, even if you’re of sound body after the collision.

        It’s this eventuality that all road users can benefit from a little incentive to help try and avoid having happen. This hurrying around that a lot of people try to do in or on their vehicles in the city, really doesn’t pay off. City streets are a very confined traffic grid. Little travel time is actually saved by zipping around, blowing stop signs and lights, and the risk factor by doing so, can rise amazingly. Save a little time hotroddin’, have a collision because of it, and watch time wasted pile up, doing paperwork, going to court, to the doc, healing, going to funerals, getting vehicles repaired.

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        • I voted for Trump May 10, 2017 at 12:40 am

          Cheap veggies? Not really. The costs to society (you know what they are) make the veggies exceptionally expensive – you just pay in other ways.
          I did not bring up politics in the comment you replied to; I also did not and do not condone hotrodding.

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          • wsbob May 10, 2017 at 8:43 am

            However expensive you feel prices for certain basic commodities like fruit and vegetables are in the U.S., the fact is their cost is due to production relying on comparatively less expensive labor provided by people that aren’t citizens of the U.S. Specifically, from Mexico. Labor provided by U.S. citizens costs a lot more. That’s the reason for the outsourcing problems too, which the sitting pres initially claimed he wanted to cut off cold…until reality set in after having been elected.

            He told people that wanted a simple answer, what they wanted to hear, so they elected him. Now look what’s happening. Oh, but the stock market is rallying. So what? Who, that’s struggling to pay rent and put food on the table, owns stock?

            As for the nation’s transportation system, with the exception of the 30’s depression years, and WWII years, the U.S. economy has basically done phenomenally well since the early years of motor vehicle travel and transport, based fundamentally on that mode of transportation, and as years passed, to the exclusion of other personal modes of travel that is walking and biking. The numbers of people that walked or biked, or took mass transit, dropped as motor vehicles became very affordable and accessible: think, the Model T, for starters.

            Motor vehicle travel and transport can be a good thing, but U.S. society has let it go too far, so today, we don’t have very good infrastructure for walking and biking. What we have today for walking and biking infrastructure, tends to be perfunctory…the obligatory, good structural quality sidewalk or bike lane when road repairs need to be made, adjoining noisy, busy, dirty thoroughfares used to capacity with motor vehicles. To date, with today’s walking and biking infrastructure, beyond the perfunctory provision, there has not been given much thought to having that infrastructure actually connect neighborhoods with employment in services, in a form that is practical and comfortable to use, that can actually be more enjoyable to use, at least some of the time, than it is to pop into the car for a mile trip to the grocery store.

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  • B. Carfree May 5, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    I spent the last two days driving to Medford and back in a moving truck. Almost every motorist I could see was playing with his/her vibrator while driving. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised by the two collisions I came upon in the construction zones. While the legislature could put an end to this distracted driving thing by simply mandating that cell signal providers shut down access to units that are moving over some minimal speed, they clearly value the convenience of using these toys more than the lives lost. (Roadway deaths up 56% since 2013 statewide.)

    Frankly, I’d like to see the bulk of the ODOT budget redirected to the hiring, training and deployment of traffic cops. Everyone thinks s/he’s an excellent driver and that everyone else is a lousy driver, so this might not even get a lot of opposition from everyday people. If we did this, we might just get roads that are safe enough that people who are interested in riding bikes go ahead and do so.

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    • Dan A May 6, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Vibrator? That must have been an interesting drive.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 6, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Road trip to Medford!!!

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    • rachel b May 8, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      You hit on the perfect euphemism for a smartphone, B. Carfree. Buncha wankers. 🙂

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  • Kittens May 7, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Adam H.
    Crime is down. We could actually stand to lose a few officers.
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    Crime isn’t down, there just isn’t enough law enforcement to enforce the law anymore.

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    • Chris I May 8, 2017 at 5:20 am

      Major violent crimes are down significantly over the past few decades.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy May 8, 2017 at 8:39 am

        Sure seems to be a lot more theft and petty crimes though. The kind that impact more people than major crimes.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 8, 2017 at 9:46 am

        Yes. But it has ticked up recently.

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      • I voted for Trump May 9, 2017 at 2:50 am

        More folks are packin’. Criminals are nervous.

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        • Brian May 9, 2017 at 8:25 am

          Or, maybe there are other variables that have led to the continued decrease since the early 90s? The theory that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is just that, a theory.

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          • wsbob May 9, 2017 at 11:11 am

            Whether it’s true or not, I’m not sure, but I’ve heard that good guys with guns against bad guys with guns, get shot more often vice versa. Maybe through more experience handling and using guns, bad guys with guns have got the edge on the good guys.

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            • I voted for Trump May 10, 2017 at 12:46 am

              If I’m in a public setting, particularly one where escape is difficult like in a theater, if a bad guy starts shooting people I’ll choose to be in the theater having the greatest number of good guys with guns. But it’s a free country – you can choose to be in the one where only the bad guys have guns – that’s OK with me.

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              • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 7:46 am

                Where do I make that choice? Is it an option on Fandango?

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              • wsbob May 10, 2017 at 8:15 am

                What I’m trying to say, is that when a national leader, like our sitting pres, contributes to a certain level of widespread paranoia by telling scary stories, with the result being ordinary citizens with no skill or aptitude for handling guns, going out and getting guns to arm themselves, the result that has been found based on past experience, is that the bad guys that are good at using guns and other weapons, because that’s their life…wind up with the good guy homeowner, law abiding citizen, losing in a shootout.

                I’m not generally opposed to concealed and carry. Everyone arming themselves though, is a really poor, dangerous way to have law and order.

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              • Free Market Economist May 10, 2017 at 12:14 pm

                out of “reply” buttons so will “reply” to previous post.
                Dan A,
                You can make the choice by voting for people supporting concealed carry; you might even choose to carry yourself but that decision is a personal one that only you can make and as with all decisions, there are pluses and minuses which you must weigh for your situation.
                If you have some data supporting your claim, then please provide a link. It will not change my mind – if someone breaks into my home I’ll prefer to point my gun at them rather than take them on with a bat or knife, or cell phone. 😉

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 8:48 am

          Packing to leave town? Because housing is so expensive?

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    • rachel b May 8, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      I think people have been reporting less crime, too. I sure don’t. I know it’s just a waste of time and I’m not likely to get any kind of response that’ll help me any. I would bet domestic violence and rape offenses are being reported less than ever (remember the whole fiasco of the untested rape kits?). I know of at least one woman who was stalked by a guy on the Esplanade–he followed her to her car and was threatening. She reported it and the police said they couldn’t do anything unless (until?) he assaulted her.

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  • Jim Lee May 8, 2017 at 7:57 am

    A possibility:

    Dogs using self-driving cars.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 8, 2017 at 9:28 am

      That’s why I took away my dog’s phone.

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  • Trikeguy May 9, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    I voted for Trump
    The fine for hunting violations can be very high. Including confiscation of your vehicle and guns. Not worth the risk for most folks.
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    The laws and substantial penalties do not stop the behavior – some people are dumb as a bag of hammers.

    True story (of many) – friend from high school goes to college at OSU. Borrows room-mate’s car and takes a buddy up spot-lighting. Just after taking a deer they hear a car approaching and see it’s lights, so they toss the deer and gear into the trunk. The officer drives up and starts questioning them about the shot he heard and they BS him until he’s just about to go away when: THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. from inside the trunk. The deer wasn’t dead. Car confiscated – and it wasn’t their car. I imagine that once they got out of jail the room mate came close to killing them.

    In the 90’s a co-worker went huntin’ above Falls City – he was supposed to be gone just Sat, Sun and Mon (a holiday). On Tuesday he doesn’t show up. Discovered he’d been driving up to the spot he was going to hike in from, saw a deer, took it from the road and then, get this, was *DRESSING IT BY THE ROADSIDE* when the officer caught him. He was in jail from Fri. through Tue because he wasn’t even arraigned until Tue. because of the holiday weekend. He looked so hurt when I laughed at him until I couldn’t stand up.

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    • I voted for Trump May 10, 2017 at 12:50 am

      They got what they deserved. The law worked.

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    • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 7:50 am

      The amazing part of these stories is that the police appeared! Is this what they are doing instead of speed enforcement? Trolling for unlicensed deer hunting?

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