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Derrick DeGroot

Derrick DeGroot, Klamath County Commissioner.

Over the last two summer construction seasons Klamath County has experienced several major traffic accidents in our State Highway construction zones, one ending in a preventable tragedy.

Over the course of the last couple weeks, I have reached out and had conversations with several agencies and private contractors that led to a joint meeting with Klamath County Public Works, Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Police, Klamath County Sheriff’s Office and private road construction owners and operators.

The outcome of this meeting was an agreement that enough is enough, we need to do a better job keeping our people safe. While more long-term solutions are being sought, the need to act now is recognized and a plan has been put into place.

Our local Oregon State Police Office, in cooperation with the Klamath County Sheriff will enhance traffic patrol in our construction zones this summer.

In an effort to keep our contractors and fellow motorists safe, a very strict enforcement stance will need to be taken. This is not about money, this is a response to the carelessness that has caused preventable serious injury and loss of life.

Oregon Department of Transportation is also responding by working to free up additional resources and provide flexibility in scheduling and safety features that will allow our construction crews a chance to keep out of harm’s way.

I would like to thank LT. Donnie Miller from the Oregon State Police, Jarod Johnson from the Oregon Department of Transportation and Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber for responding to the community’s cry for action.

Citizens of Klamath County, I implore you. Please put down your phone, don’t drink and drive, slow down and obey the traffic controls and laws in our construction zones.

Our fellow citizens are out there to provide good roads for us to travel on, these are our neighbors, friends, brothers and sisters that are trying to do their jobs. Let’s at least do them the courtesy of providing a safe working environment.

The short inconvenience of road construction will provide us many years of smooth traveling.

Derrick DeGroot

Klamath County Commissioner