Profiles in absence

There's been quite a flap the last few days about the Black state representative from North Portland who was stopped twice in three nights on I-5 by state troopers near Salem. The lawmaker, Travis Nelson, says it seems like racial profiling. The cops aren't responding too much, other than to say Nelson was let off with warnings, once for driving 76 miles an hour, and once for holding his cell phone while driving.

While we brood about that familiar ugliness, I have a more fundamental question about the state police traffic enforcers: Where the heck are they? You never see one in Portland or anywhere near here. Meanwhile, the number of jackasses driving dangerously on Portland-area freeways and highways has grown exponentially. You encounter one every couple of miles or so. No wonder traffic fatalities are up.

My favorites are the dudes who cruise along at high speed, driving too close, weaving, and with no license plates. You want to send a message of lawlessness and hopelessness? To me, that's the epitome.

If there were state troopers on the interstates and federal highways in Portland, they would earn their salaries in citations 10 times over.

Don't we in Portland pay state taxes? The word "galore" comes to mind. So why don't we get state police? Let's ask these people, who are supposed to be representing us:

Hey, Lew Frederick! What the heck is the deal? Hey, Michael Dembrow! Hey, Kate Lieber!

Another interesting feature of the Nelson story is that unlike the Portland fuzz, the state cops wear body cams, and their cars have dash cams. Why don't the officers have them in Portland? It's the usual dysfunction. The hangup is that the police union wants the cops to be able to see the tapes before they give their side of the story. They say it will help the officers write more accurate reports. (They'd also like to have the tapes hidden unless and until they want to release them.) But people who have been victimized by the cops (and there are many) justifiably suspect that the bad boys on the force want to see the footage before writing a report so that they can make their lies more believable.

And so on and on it goes, for years now. No cameras. What a sorry excuse for a government we have in this moribund city.

Anyway, my personal rule on the freeways is no more than seven miles over the speed limit. Especally on the straight parts of I-5 once you're south of, say, Wilsonville. You go 11 over, and you're asking for it.

Anywhere but in Portland, that is.


  1. Doesn’t take a genius to know that I5 between Salem and Wilsonville is heavily monitored

  2. Nothing like playing the race card while speeding in the dark of night- of which he was not ticketed b/c you know profiling.

  3. Cruise is set to 74 from the rest stop just outside Canby to the In N Out in Keizer. I stay to the right and pass everyone camped in the other two lanes. Same goes headed north.

    The other stretch I try to keep it at 55 is 205 between the New Bridge and 10th St where it turns to 65. WL police like to camp in there and nail you for getting irrationally exuberant on the downhill by the old rest stop.

    Agreed though. We need way more enforcement out there.

  4. lawmaker is shocked law applies to him. more at 11.

  5. Playing the race card works better when published by experienced PR people.

  6. Speaking of dwindling traffic enforcement in PDX, I have some statistics from the Oregon Judicial Department regarding DUII's that have been charged statewide and it is broken down by county from 2019-2022. I'm not confident when I press "publish" that the stats will send in a preferred table type format, so please forgive the manner in which these are presented. I will list the county, then 4 successive numbers. First number is 2019, last number is 2022. Each is the the number of DUII's filed in each county's circuit court (it doesn't take into account DUII's charged in muni courts and Clack/Wash counties have several of them. I don't believe Mult Co has any muni courts):

    Multnomah: 1679/995/765/563
    Washington: 1515/1036/1095/1239
    Clackamas: 1015/845/915/980
    Marion: 822/789/889/948

    One of these things is not like the other.

  7. I drove for a living for 15 years up until about 6 years ago. I used to be the best driver on the road, and could do my route blindfolded through the winding roads of the OR/WA coast. Now I drive worse than the stereotypical “old man”, and I hate driving and have lost my nerve out there.

    People seem to be driving a lot faster on the freeways of the metro area than they used to, and rarely do I see slowpokes like I used to. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to put two and two together why that is.


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