WL Public Safety board tackles traffic safety, emergency preparedness
Last summer, The Tidings visited with each of the City's advisory board chairs to learn more about the behind-the-scenes work that helps define the future of West Linn.
A year later, we're rebooting that series to learn what has changed — and what hasn't — at the advisory board level since 2016.
We continue with the Public Safety Advisory Board.
Last year, West Linn was named the safest city in Oregon by BackgroundChecks.org.
But that doesn't mean the city is without public safety issues, and the city's Public Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) has been hard at work this year on a series of projects to make the community an even better place to live. Specifically, according to board chair David Baker, the PSAB has spent 2017 focusing on emergency preparedness, teen driving, general traffic issues and drug abuse prevention.
The emergency preparedness efforts center on the Map Your Neighborhood program, which has grown over the past several years as a mechanism to help connect residents and promote understanding of resources nearby in the event of a disaster.
"We are tremendously grateful for the time and effort that former members Dennis Richey, Grant Oaks, and Christine Steel put in on building and strengthening disaster readiness among our neighbors," Baker said. "All three left big shoes to fill and I am happy to report that new members Judy Wiechmann and Kris Duncan have stepped up and continued to advance this important initiative."
The board is also helping organize an Emergency Preparedness Fair that will take place Sept. 28 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from 4 to 8 p.m.
Traffic safety efforts focused on teen driving early in the year, with inspiration from Carrie Higgins — the mother of Maddi Higgins, a West Linn High School student who died in a car crash in 2014.
"In March, we sent four young drivers from West Linn to participate in Street Survival — a one-day course at Portland International Raceway where participants get an opportunity to safely experience the limits of their vehicle with their own driving coach and ultimately gain a better appreciation for the importance of making good decisions behind the wheel," Baker said. "My hope is that we will continue to send young drivers to the school in the years to come."
Already, the board has raised $600 to send eight more drivers to an Oct. 1 Street Survival event.
On another traffic-related note, the board's next meeting Monday, Aug. 28, will feature a presentation from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue about traffic calming measures.
"The board will be taking a look at different engineering based solutions that could potentially remedy citizen concerns about speeding and cut-through traffic while not slowing down first responders," Baker said. "This issue was originally brought to the board by Dylan Pakes, who lives on West A and has expressed a desire for the City to address chronic speeding on his street."
As far as accomplishments, Baker said he was happy with the results of a prescription drug take-back event in conjunction with the West Linn Youth Advisory Council and the police department in January.
"We collected and safely disposed just under 100 pounds of unused and expired medication," Baker said. "Proper disposal is important for better preventing the theft and misuse of these substances."
The board's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. at TVFR Station 58's community room.
By Patrick Malee
Assistant Editor, West Linn Tidings
Pamplin Media Group
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