Neighbors call on county to help slow speeding drivers on dangerous road
A man died in this wreck on Southwest Stafford Road Friday, July 12, 2019. Neighbors want Clackamas County’s help in slowing traffic down on the road. (KATU Photo)
WEST LINN, Ore. — Following a fatal wreck Friday, neighbors are voicing new concerns over an ongoing problem — speeding, reckless and inattentive driving on a dangerous road in Clackamas County.
Longtime property owners say Stafford Road was mainly used by farm traffic and served the local community. That’s changed.
Over the past several years, Southwest Stafford Road has seen an increase in traffic, mainly from commuters trying to bypass congestion on Interstates 5 and 205. The road has also become a popular route to go between Wilsonville and West Linn, both rapidly growing communities.
inda Arakelian-Dorie has replaced the fence surrounding her business, AJ’s Stafford Feed & Pet Supplies, located at the corner of Stafford and Schatz roads, four times. Each time it costs here approximately $4,000. In 2011, a driver plowed into the business, and she had to rebuild part of the store.
“The car was wedged in my building facing this way,” Arakelian-Dorie said.
Additional crashes and near-misses prompted neighbors to send a flurry of requests for enforcement between mileposts 3 and 4 on Stafford Road.
In May 2018, their requests were answered.
Clackamas County installed a speed radar sign near the intersection of Southwest Stafford and Newland roads. However, the sign was suddenly removed in January.
Neighbors were under the impression the sign was permanent.
Clackamas County Traffic Safety Program Supervisor Joseph Marek says the radar speed sign was moved to another location.
Marek says under the Radar Feedback Program, signs are moved every couple of months to a new location. Moving the signs is more effective, Marek says, because if a sign remains at any location for a long period of time, drivers predict the sign and its effect is minimized.
Clackamas County owns eight radar speed signs, but Marek says not all of them are operational, some need repairs or upgrades.
Currently, there are four in use throughout the county.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office told KATU the agency’s traffic unit recently purchased a portable radar speed sign, bringing the county’s overall stock to nine; however, it is not in operation yet.
Marek says neighbors can fill out an online road concern form to alert authorities of roadway issues or request a radar speed sign. Currently, the wait is a year.
KATU obtained crash data for Southwest Stafford Road between mileposts 3 and 4.
According to state records, between 2010 and 2017, the last full year of data, there were no fatalities on this stretch of road; however, 38 were hurt.
Arakelian-Dorie and several other neighbors KATU spoke to say the county may need to reconsider the roadway’s design.
“I feel like that is just a Band-Aid,” Arakelian-Dorie said, referring to the radar speed signs. “I think there needs to be a better plan as to how they’re going to deal with this traffic. Maybe they need to put in a roundabout, maybe they need to put in lights … some sort of transportation, engineering plan that they come up with to do something about this road.”
Deputies identified the man who died in Friday’s crash as 65-year old Gregory Frogner. Deputies say a 17-year-old driver may have been speeding and ran a stop sign at Southwest Newland Road, crashing into Frogner’s pickup truck. Frogner’s passenger was taken to the hospital, so was the teen driver and two passengers.
Courtesy: Chris Liedle, KATU News