Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: April 12, 2015”

The highway difference

idaho RANDY

Road trips, and the amount of time they take, may mark the single area of great difference between the Oregon east of the Cascades and the Oregon to the west.

West of the Cascades, there’s little interest in raising speed limits, and for good reason. Traffic is heavier, especially in the metro areas but to a sometimes surprising degree away from them as well. Roads have lots of points of entry and exit. Many roads are fairly narrow and twisty. Even Highway 101, the great coastal highway located well away from the metro areas, is often packed with traffic, and even where it’s not it is hilly, winds around – little of it seems to run in a straight line – and has lots of roads branching out, since it is only major route through the region. Driving times often are determined less by the number of miles involved, than by the number of vehicles and turns.

Eastern Oregon is like a whole different road system. Some of it runs through mountains, true, but even most of those roads are far less twisty than across the Cascades. Traffic is relatively light (even, in relative terms, on I-84 east of The Dalles). Most highways are remarkably straight, and most are wide, well built-out roads, and many of them have limited access.
Driving east of the Cascades is not like driving to the west.

A couple of pieces of legislation, offered by lawmakers from eastern Oregon (Ontario and Cove), show some awareness of that. The states all around Oregon have higher speed limits on their freeways, and on many rural highways as well. While you can make a solid case for lower limits in the Willamette Valley and environs, it’s a different story in the long runs between, say, John Day and Lakeview, or Arlington and Pendleton. There, the greater danger in keeping things slow would seem to be road weariness from drives extending too many hours.

The Oregon legislature has a pretty good track record of taking road trips in bringing issues to far reaches of the state. Before dismissing these two new bills, as so many others have been over the years, western lawmakers might do well to roll a few miles on those long-long stretches.

And reconsider.

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

New options for Boise downtown (Boise Statesman)
A look back at the legislative session (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Woodgrain Millwork expands in Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa police not getting requested pay raises (Nampa Press Tribune)
City uncertain about AG probe of finances (Pocatello Journal)

Oregon pot industry prepares to open (Eugene Register Guard)
Aerial herbicide rules still debated at Salem (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing a study on growth at Klamath County (KF Herald & News)
VA staffing lacks persist at Oregon facility (Medford Tribune)
What to do about pot edibles? (Portland Oregonian)
Democrats dominating legislative session (Portland Oregonian)

State budget realigns park spending (Bremerton Sun)
Gangs at Everett drawing in younger children (Everett Herald)
Oregon debates over sentencing law changes (Longview News)
Lead in guns threatening health of cops (Seattle Times)
UW looking into color blindness cure (Seattle Times)
Spokane schools will oust unvaccinated students (Spokane Spokesman)
many government text messages disappear (Tacoma News Tribune)