Hazardous materials by rail plan complete

SALEM — The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal has announced that three Oregon counties, Morrow, Polk, and Umatilla, have completed local hazardous materials by rail emergency response plans

These plans identify rail lines locally that transport hazardous materials, outline emergency notification and response procedures, and are created in conjunction with local emergency planning committees and county emergency managers.

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal — who, among other responsibilities, coordinates emergency response planning for oil or hazardous materials spills or releases during rail transport — recently worked with Morrow, Polk, and Umatilla counties to complete the plans. Input is gathered from stakeholder groups including first responders, emergency planners, tribal representatives, railroad operators, healthcare administrators, and many more to ensure a “whole community” approach to planning and response.

The overall goal of these local plans is to develop the framework for a safe, effective, and efficient response to a hazmat by rail emergency that might occur within their jurisdiction. Plans include information such as the frequency of hazardous commodities transported, emergency notification and response procedures, evacuation routes, probable areas and population impacted along the rail lines, and historically, culturally, and environmentally sensitive areas.

With roughly 40 percent of all hazardous materials transported in the United States shipped by rail, Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker applauds communities for taking preventative action locally.

Pedestrian safety operations yield improvements

INDEPENDENCE — As part of its ongoing efforts to improve pedestrian safety in the city of Independence, the Independence Police Department has conducted a four-hour long pedestrian safety enforcement operation that focused on motorists who failed to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. This operation was made possible by grants from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

On June 18, a pedestrian enforcement and education program focused on drivers and pedestrians who were violating right-of-way laws. As a result, 18 enforcement stops were made during which five citations and 18 warnings were issued, and one arrest was made.

Independence Police Department officers strongly encourage members of the community to follow basic safe practices:

Drivers should be on the lookout for and stop for pedestrians.

Drivers should stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk and stay stopped until the pedestrian is two traffic lanes away or has reached the sidewalk.

Pedestrians should use a crosswalk when crossing the street and obey pedestrian signals.

Pedestrians should look both ways for traffic before crossing and ensure cars are yielding before crossing. Remember that having the right-of-way does not prevent you from being seriously injured by a driver who is not paying attention. Traffic safety is everyone’s personal responsibility.

Pedestrians should wear bright colored, reflective clothing and use a flashlight when waling during hours of darkness. Be visible.

Dallas man convicted on sex crimes

DALLAS — Dale Lynn Sherman, 48, has been sentenced to serve over 14 years in prison by Polk County Circuit Judge Norm Hill after being convicted of 29 counts of second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse. Sherman, of Dallas, was convicted at a trial held June 20, presided over by Hill and prosecuted by the Polk County District Attorney’s Office. The case was investigated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Marion, Polk seek input on community health

SALEM — Marion and Polk counties are in the midst of conducting a Community Health Assessment and are calling upon community members for local perspectives on health.

The Community Health Assessment happens every five years and is an opportunity for Marion and Polk counties to partner in gaining a better understanding of the community’s health. Compiling information from community forums, an online survey, and local health care data, the assessment creates a snapshot of the community’s health and quality of life. The findings will be used to create a Community Health Improvement Plan, which prioritizes critical health areas for strategic intervention. The data will also be published for public use and shared with local leaders to inform local policy and planning.

An online survey is currently live and will be available in Marion and Polk counties until Friday. The survey addresses individual experiences of accessing health care as well as other areas that impact health, such as quality housing and transportation. The survey takes about six minutes to complete and is available in both English and Spanish. All answers are anonymous and confidential.

Take the survey online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/2RJZP8Z.

For more information about the Community Health Assessment process: www.co.marion.or.us/HLT/communityassessments.

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