1 week ago
2 weeks ago
Rest in peace Chief BlodgettRetired Fire Chief Al Blodgett Passes Away After Half a Century of Service with Newberg Fire Department
Earlier this evening, June 29, 2019, retired Fire Chief Al Blodgett passed away. Chief Blodgett was a true “lifer,” serving more than half of his life with the Newberg Fire Department.
Since the moment he arrived in 1946, Newberg was always home to Chief Blodgett. Graduating from Newberg High School in 1958, Al’s heart for service led him to join the Newberg Fire Department as a volunteer in 1960.
Chief Blodgett balanced a volunteer firefighting schedule with the owning and operated of Al’s Family Diner until 1984 when he became a full-time paid firefighter. Chief Blodgett worked through the ranks of the department, winning several awards for service and leadership, eventually being sworn as Fire Chief in 2006. Upon his retirement, Chief Blodgett served 50 years with the Newberg Fire Department.
Community always came first for Chief Blodgett, when not responding to emergency calls, he could be found flipping pancakes, wrapping presents for children or hanging Christmas lights around town. If there was an event in Newberg that brought the community together, chances were high that he attended it, helped support it or planned it.
Our thoughts are with his family and the many firefighters that served alongside him. A time and date for his service will be forthcoming. ...
3 weeks ago
Jeb Bladine: McKay Road deaths require speed limits
Decades ago, McMinnville citizens demanded action after 10 deaths in 10 years on the Three Mile Lane Bypass. Who will match that level of outrage after 12 deaths in 12 months on McKay Road?
Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.
Back then, Three Mile Lane was a full-speed, two-lane roadway to the airport. Appeals for reduced speed limits met with resistance from the state, but that tide turned when local funeral directors testified in detail about their ventures to collect bodies from that decade-long series of crashes.
New speed limits were approved. As a result, there were no more deaths along Three Mile Lane in the following decade, leading toward major redevelopment of the roadway.
The situation with McKay Road is more complex. But the immediate response must include speed reduction.
Starting three miles south of Newberg off Highway 219, a combination of McKay, Yergen and Ehlen roads runs about seven miles to Interstate 5 at a point near Donald. That little-known drive used to serve as a pastoral alternative route to the freeway, but two years ago, the first phase of the Newberg-Dundee Bypass flooded the farming area with a crush of new traffic.
Today, a five-mile stretch of that roadway is considered Marion County’s Blood Alley.
Last week, I decided to write about McKay Road, after learning there had been 10 fatalities since last summer. Sunday, a head-on collision killed two more, including a 65-year-old Willamina man.
Partial completion of the Newberg-Dundee Bypass drew driver attention to the rural alternative route, and it will take a multifaceted approach to stem the surge of destruction, injuries and fatalities.
Speed remains a common factor in the fatal accidents, and law enforcement is responding.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office reportedly ticketed 93 speeders in eight hours last month, 20 going between 75 and 90 mph. And it is planning a similar patrol effort next week.
Speed control, accompanied by law enforcement, is essential.
Officials will resist speed limits, saying it will create more problems from impatient drivers making even more dangerous roadway choices. Tell that to the families of the next dozen McKay Road casualties.
Highway death tolls often are caused by alcohol, distracted driving and pure stupidity. But speed can make the difference between close calls and deadly collisions.
Center-lane rumble strips may help. State legislators passed a bill allowing rural “safety corridors” with increased fines, but studies question the effectiveness of doubled fines.
Perhaps drivers would respond to this sign: “Speed Limit 50 / $1,000 Fine.”
Time and again, lowered speed has reduced deaths. That time has come for McKay Road.
Jeb Bladine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-687-1223. ...
Separate the 2 directions with temporary concrete barriers and severe speed enforcement with double fines in the safety corridor. It will remove the motive to short cut? This is really "Blood Alley"
I’ve lived here my whole life, this road has always been a death trap. Finally the four way stop became a two way on Butteville rd. Accidents still happen... then slow strips... still accidents.... the new truck stop was put in with little traffic change... in fact it’s worse. Lights need put on the truck stop exit. I avoid it anymore in fear of waiting on the freeway to get off. People are now traveling on champoeg rd which is not safe either. We need a center lane put on McKay rd! It’s now a bypass and will not change. Speed change will not help the amount of people driving this road. I come out of arbor grove and it’s literally impossible anymore........ stop lights, flashing lights and expanding the road will be the best solution. Quit making small solutions that should have been done a decade ago. And center lane rumble strips make ithard to pass when necessary