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IMG_4034Is it me?  Is it you?

I didn’t wear a hoodie for Trayvon. I didn’t march to Save Our Girls or Kony.  I didn’t do the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” march for Mike Brown in Ferguson.  I didn’t do the “Can’t Breath” march for Eric Garner in NYC.

You won’t see me out there. Nope.

While I can’t deny that I’m Caucasian, I can say that as a motorcycle enthusiast I’ve experienced law enforcement arrogance that allows an armed “professional” to be less responsible of my rights than a typical citizen.  And I’ll acknowledge up front that I can’t represent or fully appreciate any of the issues through a racial lens or what African-American people feel.

It’s not that I don’t believe in any of these causes.  I’m not in denial that there are aggressive LEO’s out there who push the limits with their actions.  Just this week an Oregon State Police detective was prosecuted for destroying evidence and lying about it.  And a Clackamas County Sheriff was fired for mishandling and then lying about evidence, forcing the dismissal of 10 cases!  Clearly an affront to all Americans.

It’s just that I’m not convinced marching in 2014 is really going to make a difference.  But, let’s back up for minute before I explain why.

About four years ago I attended a day-long training session at the Oregon Public Safety Academy (DPSST) on law enforcement using deadly force in making arrests. You can read about it HERE.  I was in “Tactical Village” – a sprawling complex with faux buildings, roadways, cars, buses and the typical neighborhood debris you’d find in any urban environment.  We had Glock’s that fired paint-pellet bullets and went through various training scenarios to simulate real-world incidents.  I spent several hours responding to chaotic, dangerous or unpredictable situations in an effort to serve others or as they say… “walk in a LEO’s shoes.”  Suffice to say that my lack of split-second decisions got me killed repeatedly and made me realize how we all should talk about citizen retraining, so critics will at least wait until they have all the facts of a case before calling in the high-profile, paid-to-incite activists.

So, why do I sit behind my computer and criticize some of the marching or protest efforts?  This isn’t 1960 when the act of sitting in a restaurant sparked a nationwide movement that changed some things. It’s 2014 and we live in a “right now for the moment” world or I prefer to call it a bandwagon, hashtag advocacy society.  People create protest hashtag campaigns faster than a drive-thru burger joint.  Then along comes the funky complementary graphics they believe it provides everyone a sense of solidarity.  If its trending, we’re hashtagging it. Get your hashtag t-shirt or beanie now!

But, once the thrill is gone, so are we.

Think I’m trippin?  What happened to the girls everyone wanted to save a few months back? Where are they now? How many of those hoodies everyone posed in put Zimmerman in jail or helped to pay for legal fees for Trayvon’s family?  Where have all the occupy chanters gone?  What’s changed in 3- years?  So, how are these new protests around the country stopping cops from killing or from spraying mace in the faces of the marching kids today or tomorrow?  If you can answer that then I may reconsider my position.

People lose interest when they realize the issue is more complicated than a hashtag.  They can’t sit still long enough to ensure change before racing off to the next hashtag driven controversy.

I’m disgusted by much of what I’ve seen – on both sides.  We have constitutional rights to a legal system that treats all equally and fairly.

But, the real work happens when there’s no marching, or when there’s no protesting.  Do we really need high-profile, paid-to-incite activists flying in on carbon-spewing private jets to rally the disenfranchised?  The real work happens at the polls during the primaries or a non-presidential election. The real work happens as members of your community-based organizations, at your local city council town hall and in our churches. The real work is not on social media and a race to the next crowd gathering. Social media is great for promoting a message, but not change itself.  Where is the solidarity to do the real and very difficult work?!

Marching for a few hours or a couple weeks is not going to change anything.

Photo taken by author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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800x400-rebel-reaperThere’s been 19 motorcycle fatalities so far this year in Oregon.  Too many and more than twice the 9 deaths in 2013 during the same period.

ODOT has stated and the facts bear this out that many of the fatal crashes are due to operator error, unsafe riding–speeding, following too close and abrupt lane changes.

And then we have the below idiot…  Speeding, reckless driving, acting stupid and irresponsible on the way to work.

On July 2, 2014 at approximately 6:26 a.m., an OSP senior trooper on patrol saw a black & silver 2003 Suzuki motorcycle displaying a Washington license plate eastbound on Highway 30 milepost 42 traveling 120 mph. When the trooper activated the patrol car’s emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop, the motorcycle sped up faster on the two lane highway passing other unidentified witnesses using the westbound lane and eastbound shoulder. The trooper lost sight of the motorcycle a couple miles later and terminated the attempt to stop it.

At approximately 6:40 a.m., a report was received from a log truck driver that the reckless, eluding motorcyclist pulled into the Dyno Nobel (a leader in commercial explosives) plant parking lot where it was parked. The trooper and officers from St. Helens Police Department and Rainier Police Department arrived at the parking lot and found the unoccupied motorcycle.

Subsequent investigation confirmed the motorcycle’s operator, Michael Tejada Echeverria, age 19, from Longview, Washington, worked at the plant and he was contacted by officers.

Mr. Echeverria was arrested and lodged in the Columbia County Jail for Felony Attempt to Elude on a Vehicle, Reckless Driving, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person. He was also cited for Exceeding the Posted Speed in Excess of 100 mph, No Motorcycle Endorsement, and Driving Uninsured.

Clearly Mr. Echeverria will drive without a motorcycle endorsement.  He must be thinking that the U.S. Constitution guarantees him the right to travel the roads of the land freely, and that state laws don’t apply.

Hey Mr. Echeverria, 1776 sent a telegraph to explain something… There is no constitutional right to drive a motorcycle or a car.  You may have the right to travel throughout the country, but that means walking, taking a bus, taking a taxi, riding a bicycle, hopping, skipping, uni-cycling, kayaking, or using a skateboard.  Since a motor vehicle can be a very dangerous instrument in unskilled hands, the state is fully justified in demanding proof that you can operate a motorcycle without endangering anybody, and in reserving the right to revoke your driver’s license if your conduct shows that you tend to disregard the rules of the road and the safety of the people around you.

It’s okay to wish to be a rebel, but enjoy that skateboard when you get out of jail.

Photo courtesy of Rebel Rockers Skateboards.

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speeding_102Only fourteen days since the first reckless motorcyclist was arrested in 2014, and now we have Jason James Overhuel of Keizer, OR., exhibiting a new era of motorcycle excellence.

On January 17, 2014, an Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper stopped to assist a motorcyclist whose motorcycle broke down during the evening. During the contact of the motorcyclist, Mr. Overhuel, age 30, told OSP officers he was waiting for gas but denied operating the motorcycle. The OSP officers learned that Mr. Overhuel’s operator license was suspended.  After roadside assistance arrived, Mr. Overhuel was WARNED not to operate the motorcycle because his license was suspended. If he did and OSP spotted him, he would be cited and the motorcycle would also be towed and impounded.

After sleeping on it… and what can only be described as an epic misunderstanding of the OSP troopers words of advice.

At approximately 10:31 a.m., the next day, the same OSP trooper that had stopped to assist the disabled motorcycle saw a motorcyclist riding southbound on Interstate 5 near milepost 257 at a high rate of speed. The trooper overtook the speeding motorcycle and obtained a speed reading of up to 102 mph, using all 3 lanes to pass slower traffic and failing to yield to the trooper’s emergency lights for a brief period until stopping.  After the stop the OSP trooper confirmed that it was Mr. Overhuel.

OSP arrested Mr. Overhuel for reckless driving and he was also cited for violation Driving While Suspended.  And as previously communicated, the motorcycle was towed and impounded.

Mr. Overhuel looks to be stuck in a below-average eddy and it will take a lot of rowing to get out.

Photo courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk

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ambulance with lightsI know there are ongoing activities to promote motorcycle safety in Oregon.

Yet, my observations riding around the Portland metro area is that we just don’t see as much in the way of highly visible – “in your face” – awareness programs this year.  Maybe I’ve missed the billboards while concentrating on and trying to navigate the highway ruts/grooves from all the road construction?

I’ll tell you what I have noticed…   Several motorcycle crash reports from Oregon State Police and articles in the Oregonian.  It’s sad to say, but when I see a motorcycle accident in the paper, that’s increasing awareness!  Some might even debate that reading about motorcycle accidents provides a better deterrent than a motorcycle awareness campaign could accomplish.

What do you think?

When there is an accident, the motorcycle community wants to know what happened.  Why and who caused it?  But, more often than not we’re left speculating about what led up to the accident, or second guessing the police report.  Follow up seldom occurs and accurate conclusions are challenging to get.  I truly dislike blogging about these disheartening events, but over the last 4-weeks we’ve seen a spike in accidents.  All motorcyclists were wearing helmets and below is a brief summary:

  1. June 17 –  John Edward Tomer was eastbound on Highway 26 near milepost 46. For an unknown reason, the motorcycle traveled across the westbound lane where a witness in another vehicle slowed to avoid it. The motorcycle continued off the highway into a ditch and hit a tree bordering the north side.  Mr. Tomer was pronounced deceased at the scene.
  2. June 21 – Terry Brateng stopped his motorcycle with two other motorcycles on the right southbound shoulder of I-5 near milepost 194 underneath an overpass next to a concrete shoulder barrier to shelter from a passing heavy rain shower.  After getting off his motorcycle, Brateng was walking around the front of the motorcycle when he was struck by an automobile driven by Kaitlyn Inman which failed to drive within a lane.  Brateng was seriously injured and remains in Sacred Heart Medical Center.
  3. June 23 –  Stephen Anthony Williams was on Highway 37 about 8-miles southeast of Highway 97 and collided into the passenger side of a dodge van turning into a private driveway.  He was air lifted to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend where he died of injuries.  The van’s driver, Glen Harvey Jr was arrested for criminally negligent homicide and DUII.
  4. June 24 – On Highway 19 west of Spray, Randall Upshaw was found by a passing motorist in the highway along with a dead deer.  Upshaw was deceased and the preliminary investigation indicated a collision between the motorcycle and the deer.
  5. July 3 – Robert Irving Floding died from injuries suffered during a crash on June 10th.  This was the 19th traffic fatality in Portland in 2013
  6. July 5 – An adult male crashed his motorcycle in the 1400 block of SE 10th Avenue in Portland and was pronounced deceased at the scene.  A medical condition was being reviewed.  No names were released.
  7. July 9 – A Roseburg couple, Kenneth and Linda Minshew were critically injured on Highway 138E two miles west of Tokette when the motorcycle traveled off the highway and struck a tree.
  8. July 11 – A fatal motorcycle crash on SE Milwaukee Avenue just south of McLoughlin Blvd.  Damian Gerold Waytt was traveling at high rate of speed on a Kawasaki ZX6 and failed to negotiate a partial right turn and went off the road.  Video HERE.  This was the 23rd traffic fatality in Portland in 2013.
  9. July 11 – Jacob J. Godfrey was found lying in berry bushes several hours after an overnight motorcycle crash off Highway 194 (Monmouth Highway) and 3-miles east of Highway 223.  The Yamaha motorcycle traveled off the highway and when Mr. Godfrey didn’t come to work the next morning friends went looking and spotted the mark on a road side tree, stopped and heard him call out for help.  He was reported in fair condition.
  10. July 16 – A motorcycle and dump truck were involved in an accident on Highway 229 at milepost 21 near Siletz. For an unconfirmed reason the motorcycle operated by John Hausmann and with passenger/wife Angela Hausmann crossed the center line and collided with the truck.  Their injuries are believed to be non-life threatening.
  11. UPDATED:  July 19 — A reckless motorcycle was traveling eastbound on Highway 30 in excess of 100 mph and tried to eluded OSP.  The trooper tried to stop the motorcycle rider, but he failed to yield to the trooper’s emergency lights and siren, then continued on eastbound.  Iosif Savitskiy eventually crashed into a yard in North Portland and was arrested.  Video HERE.  Another idiot giving motorcycle riders a bad name…

My condolences and sympathies go out to the families and friends of these riders.

There are many reasons for the spike in motorcycle accidents and clearly we can’t shove all the blame onto distracted automobile drivers.

Given the high number of riders who will be out this weekend packing the roads for Run21 and the National BMW rally, I wanted to remind riders… please just pay attention and ride safe.

Photo courtesy of lifemoresimply.blogspot.com

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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e-citationWe’ve all been there.

The riding posse jostles out of a parking lot or a fuel stop and spills out onto the freeway.  The front of the pack has merged onto the freeway as everyone behind must speed up so, we twist open the throttle and try and catch the front of the pack.  Everyone is doing the same thing.  Some cars are smart enough to let us have our way and some are not.  Then you glance down at the speed-o-meter just long enough to see it somewhere north of 70 mph and as the eyes return up to the front you glimpse a red/blue flashing light in the mirror.

Speaking of traffic enforcement…  in the state of Oregon, twenty-four hours a day, the Oregon State Police (OSP) issue traffic citations.  In fact, OSP issues a citation approximately every 2.6 minutes as they hand write more than 200,000 citations annually.  And after a copy is given to the person stopped by the trooper, copies are hand-delivered to the local court and another copy to the respective OSP field office.  It doesn’t stop there as transcriptions of a single citation will occur at the field office into the OSP Records Management System and again at the circuit or justice court.

Clearly all this “processing” leads to a considerable number of resources being dedicated to capturing information on the citations for the respective court system along with a certain percentage of transcription errors.

Enter the OSP Mobility + E-Ticketing Program.  A program which developed an electronic citation process to more efficiently move a citation from the law enforcement officer’s hand to circuit and justice courts all across the state.

Aren’t we lucky to have such visionaries cheerfully remove our wait burdens during the ticket processing?

OSP-EticketThe program started back in January 2011 when the OSP began exploring alternatives as part of a series of technology-based projects to transform how OSP troopers work and how the Department conducts daily business. The Mobility + E-Ticketing Program was successfully rolled out earlier this year as 39 circuit courts began moving from the delivery of handwritten citations to electronically receiving citations in “twitter speed” from the scene of the traffic stop.

It’s all about improving efficiency and automating the tedious act of an officer issuing a traffic citation.  OSP consulted with the Oregon Justice Department (OJD) and the Chief Justice of Oregon to ensure legal compatibility with all state statutes. And, multiple agencies and vendors worked collaboratively to deliver a fully integrated solution that automated OSP systems and helped the courts. By developing an electronic citation process that could be used by all law enforcement agencies across Oregon just think of the utilization metrics and nifty cost saving stats.  With a “we look forward to seeing you frequently” mind-set, E-Ticketing also helped implement the OJD Courts ePay process, allowing offenders to pay citations on-line within 24 hours instead of being involved in a process that could take more than 3 weeks to resolve.

The OSP Mobility +E-Ticketing Program cost approximately $2.5 million including hardware, software, equipment, installations, and other related costs.  The state used a federal grant to upgrade technology and installation of in-patrol-car computer systems. The mobile computers give troopers immediate data sharing capabilities with other law enforcement agencies while they are involved in a stop.

So, the next time you twist the throttle, know that the nice folks at the OSP, OJD and Trial Court collaborated to deliver you a citation efficiently with the intent of helping you move along to your destination as quickly as possible – of course within the legal posted speed limits!

Photo courtesy of OSP.

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Beating a dead horse…  we get to read about another ignorant Oregon motorcycle rider and the foolishness.

In Roseburg on Saturday at approximately 10:55 a.m. OSP Senior Trooper Mark Moore saw a motorcycle with two occupants northbound on Interstate 5 near milepost 120 and noted its speed at 83 mph in a 65 mph speed zone. As Moore was overtaking the motorcycle to initiate a traffic stop, it sped northbound attempting to elude at speeds estimated over 100 mph.

As Moore was trying to keep the motorcycle in sight, it got off at Exit 127 in north Roseburg and became stuck behind traffic on Edenbower Boulevard. Moore caught up to the motorcycle stopped at a red light, noted the license plate and saw the operator of the motorcycle had a female passenger. When the operator saw OSP behind him he sped northbound in heavy traffic on Highway 99 towards Sutherlin passing vehicles in the oncoming lanes traveling at over 100 MPH. OSP terminated its attempt to stop the motorcycle.

At 3:20 p.m. OSP troopers went to the registered owner’s residence and contacted ALEN PATRICK BROCK, age 21. Following an interview with BROCK, he was arrested and taken to the Douglas County Jail where he was lodged for Felony Eluding Police in a Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, and Recklessly Endangering a Minor. He was also cited for Violation of the Basic Rule to wit: 107 mph in a 55 mph speed zone.

Troopers also contacted and identified the 14-year old female passenger. After she was interviewed by OSP she was released to her parents from the suspect’s residence.

To Mr. Brock, really, REALLY?!  Thank you for helping label motorcycle riders as misguided and stupid.  Does it feel good to contribute to the increasing insurance rates and providing ammunition for the anti-motorcyclists?

Photo courtesy of C. Road and dennisselisseth.blogspot.com

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First Responders at Vehicle Fire on I-5

10-years ago changed everything.

That’s the mantra we’ve heard over and over the last couple weeks on the remembrance run up of the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001.  Within 24 hours of the attacks the first newspaper had already labeled the site in New York as “Ground Zero.” If anyone needed a sign that we were about to run off the rails, as a misassessment of what had actually occurred that should have been enough. Previously, the phrase “ground zero” had only one meaning: it was the spot where a nuclear explosion had occurred.

But, in certain areas of our collective lives everything did change.  It was an accurate description. Security increased.  The U.S. went to war in two far-away lands.  Ugly barriers went up around public facilities. Navigating airports became a new kind of nightmare.

And since 9/11, counterterrorism has been the FBI’s No. 1 priority, consuming the lion’s share of its budget—$3.3B, compared to $2.6B for organized crime—and much of the attention of field agents is a massive, nationwide network of informants. After ten years of emphasizing informant recruiting as a key task for its agents, the bureau now maintains a roster of over 15,000 spies—many of them paid $100K per case.

Then there is the heightened “ten year” terror threat.  It was frustrating to search the news for facts. Dozens of stories, all using the same stilted cop jargon, told us to be suspicious of every unattended car and empty milk carton we saw, but to bravely go on about our business. Someone said they heard there were truck searches in downtown Portland. I haven’t seen anything like that, but who knows.   The advice is to be suspicious of suspicous swarthy passers-by. Hows that for being politically correct?!

Some will debate that the event has been used as an excuse for two wars, runaway military spending, and the stripping down of our civil liberties.  For me the saddest thing is that the victims of those suicidal monstrosities have been misused ever since.  While I agree that it’s not a good idea to waste a lot of time nursing hurt feelings. Or is it a good idea to wallow in the past either. Too much of the 9/11 ceremonies seems to be doing just that. That and photo ops for our leaders.  Don’t get me wrong, the morning of September 11, 2001, gave me one of the biggest shocks of my life. It’s right up there with the day Kennedy was shot. I can give you minute details of where I was, what I was doing, how I found out what had happened, and how shaken I was.

But does anyone else find these overdetermined celebration and remembrances troubling.  We do need to remember the day we were attacked and should never forget the fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters who lost their lives or the families that lost loved ones on that day.  We should never forget the first responders who rushed to the aid of NY that day.  But, shouldn’t the remembrances be more private?

Independent of how you come down on the topic, the sad truth after spending wasting BILLIONS is that we are not any closer to safety and our way of life in the U.S. is attacked every day in so many ways. From desperate people who believe that guns and intimidation are the only way to maintain their self esteem to the undocumented drunk driver with an attitude that they are above the law.  The one thing which doesn’t seem to change is watching the dishonest manipulation of our politicians by those with selfish agendas and those politicians running with open hands and empty values with delusions of power and greatness toward the highest bidder.  (Latest example: Geoff Morrell goes from the Pentagon to BP)

All of that said, I do want to express the sadness I feel for those who lost special people on 9/11 and in our ongoing wars.

Photo courtesy of OSP… First responders on scene of a truck fire on I-5 this week.

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