Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Sign of Ignorance — Part 3

On Wednesday, I e-mailed the Oregon Department of Transportation "citizen representative" about our continuing problem with the "sign of ignorance" at the corner of Barbur and Capitol Highway, just east of Hillsdale.

If you have read earlier posts (here and here), you'll know that ODOT has planted a bicycle warning sign squarely in front of a directional sign to Hillsdale. At the least, we have sign clutter. At the worst, we have confusion and even possible death (as in traffic fatality resulting from confusion, inattention and disorientation). I might add that the Hillsdale directional sign, does contribute to commerce in Hillsdale. In these times, the local economy needs all the help it can get.

In any case, on Thursday, in response to my e-mail, I received the following e-mail. It is an indication signs of life at ODOT. Here it is:

Hi Rick,

Thank you for contacting "Ask ODOT." I searched our database for record of
your previous contact, but could not find your name, email address or
phone number in our system.

[Note: The person I talked to on the phone never sought any "data" from me. Computer rule #1: No data, no data base. Back to the response... .]

I wanted you to know that we have received
other complaints about the placement of the new bike warning sign on
Barbur Blvd near the Capitol Highway turn-off. We are determining the
best solution for moving it and/or other signs in the area so they will
all be visible. I understand - three weeks seems like a long time. Our
maintenance crews must work this project in with all the other highway
maintenance tasks they do. It may take a few more weeks, but we will get
it done.

Thank you again for writing to the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Please contact us again if we can provide additional information.

Kim Jordan
Oregon Dept. of Transportation
Citizens' & ODOT Representative
e-mail "Ask ODOT"
888-275-6368 Toll Free
503-986-3434 Phone

I fear Kim's e-mail isn't all that reassuring. How much "determining" does it take to move a sign five feet? With Kim's approval, we could do the "project" ourselves. ODOT could contribute the savings to our Hillsdale Community Foundation or put it into a Hillsdale/Capitol Highway sidewalk account.

I hope you are among the "citizens" who have contacted the "representative." I say, keep those cards, letters, phone calls and e-mails flowing to Kim.

The clock is still running on this one. Three weeks and counting.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Painful Prose

Generally I find it fairly easy to write, but it’s painful to write these words—literally.

Two evenings ago, while hastily peeling a small potato, I managed to peel off the very tip of the middle finger on my left hand. The superficial wound bled a bit, but I finally stanched it by applying a gauze pad with prolonged pressure. The peeler has a serrated blade, and now the serrations are etched on the oat-sized, oval wound, which I have covered with a Band-Aid.

I'm happy to report that the healing is coming along nicely but not without irritation.

I’ve been typing for 55 years or so, and, until I suffered this minor injury, it's been decades since I have given any thought to which finger is responsible for which letters on the keyboard. Monday's mishap has reminded me that the left middle finger reigns over the “c,” the “d” and, significantly, the all-too-common “e.”

As I say, this is painful to write, as in w-r-i-t-e (wince).

So I’ve backed off posting in the last two days. I figure it'll be the weekend before I’m more or less back to pain-free prose. Pain-free for me at least.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

The Curious Case of the Trespassing House

On the morning of October 8, the land under the Hillsdale house of Dave and Katei Hendrickson gave way. The collapsing hillside sent the house sliding down into the home of Dr. Yuan Chou and his wife, Siuke Tong.

Both houses were destroyed and others above Terwilliger Boulevard and beneath Burlingame Place were damaged.

Now we learn that what happened that morning wasn’t — appearances to the contrary — a "landslide."

What happened is that the Hendrickson house “trespassed” onto the property of Chou-Tong property.

Moreover, the Chou-Tong house was the victim of a “flying object,” namely the Hendricksons' house.

And the resulting destruction was a “private nuisance” and is subject to a claim called “strict liability.”

You guessed it. The whole sad landslide (or is it "landslide"?) story has created a litigation landslide.

Chou and Tong are suing the Hendricksons, their own insurance company and the insurance company’s agent for a total of $1.7 million.

And yes, you guessed again, the insurance company, Farmers, maintains that the Chou-Tong policy doesn’t cover landslides, which, insists Farmers, is what precisely happened on the morning of Oct. 8.

Oh, and Farmers also insures — and is defending — the Hendericksons. Flying house? Trespassing? Private nuisance?

Tell it to the judge!

You can read Shasta Kearns Moore’s mind-boggling account of the legal back-and-forth here on the Southwest Community Connection’s web site.

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