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Oregon Roads No. 104

Scholarships Available for APWA/T2 Schools

The Oregon Chapter of the APWA offers multiple tuition-free scholarships to cover Oregon public works employees’ attendance at the Spring and Fall Schools and Northwest Public Works Institute Classes. Supervisor approval is required and only one request per agency per year will be considered.  The requesting agency is responsible for the travel costs of the employee. If you are interested in tuition for yourself or an employee, contact the Oregon APWA at (541) 994-3201 or the T2 Center at (503) 985-2855 for further information.

Included in this newsletter is a first hand account from a recent APWA Scholarship Recipient on the benefits of the classes and scholarship.

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New Lives for Old Signs

Think about recycling efforts that you have encountered in the past. What comes to mind? Many people imagine an extensive supply chain for picking up large piles of old materials; huge warehouses for sorting and storing materials; and high-tech processing facilities with cutting-edge technology for cleaning, resurfacing, and repackaging.
In reality, many recycling efforts are small, localized, and targeted at specific types of materials. Local road agencies, where costs are climbing and funding is dwindling, are hotbeds for innovative examples of low-key material recycling and reuse.
New from old
The Montcalm County Road Commission (MCRC) has devised a simple and effective system for reusing street signs. Three years ago, the MCRC purchased metal-working equipment to break down and reuse old sign blanks. “Because of the rising cost of buying new material, our sign shop decided to start recycling old signs,” said Rob Putnam, Supervisor of the Montcalm County Sign Shop.
To outfit his shop, Putnam purchased a five-foot hydraulic metal shear and a roller to place vinyl on sign blanks for a total cost of about $1,300. With the new tools, the MCRC makes over 250 signs using blanks from old ones.

“The process is quite simple,” said Putnam.  “We simply cut up large old signs to make new signs that are smaller.”
After cutting the sign blank to size, they straighten it (if necessary), power wash the surface to remove the old vinyl and adhesive, and then lay out and cut new vinyl material for the background and legend.  To finish it off, they use an iron-working machine to cut a radius on each corner and punch mounting holes. “If you don’t have access to an iron-working machine, you can use simple hand tools like a drill and grinder to produce similar results,” explained Putnam. He purchased an iron-working machine with the money he saved from the first year of recycling signs.
Just over half the cost
Using their new tools and sign blanks scavenged from old signs, the MCRC sign crew has produced speed limit signs, do not pass signs, and road name signs. And they’ve saved a good amount of money.  According to Putnam, a 9-inch by 36-inch road name sign on new material would cost $12.00. “Using recycled material, we’ve been able to get the cost down to $7.00 per sign,” he said. “In an average year, we make about 250 road name signs.  We save a significant amount of money by cutting up old signs.”
No science involved
To get started with any recycling effort, Putnam advises starting simple; signs are a great first step. “There’s no elaborate, scientific process for identifying a sign for recycling,” he said. “If an old sign still has a piece of usable material in it, we cut it up and put it to good use.”

Reprinted by permission from the Michigan LTAP Center
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From the Director...

During the second half of 2013, an additional 11 program participants completed their Level 1 Roads Scholar requirements.  Those successful individuals are:

​Zeb Cortese (City of Albany)
Bob Stafford (City of Eugene Airport)
Joshua Lillegard (City of Hillsboro)
Lee Slater (City of Hillsboro)
Nick Peterson (City of Redmond
Adam May (City of Springfield)

​Craig Walter (City of Warrenton)
Maximino Vallejo (City of Woodburn)
Kent Jamerson (Josephine County)
Matthew Nelson (Multnomah County)
Thomas Sagers (ODOT)

If you are one of these individuals, your certificate will be mailed to your supervisor in January. With the addition of these recent graduates, 334 program participants have completed the Roads Scholar Level 1 Certificate since the program inception in the fall of 2001. Our congratulations go out to all on these individuals on their accomplishments which demonstrate a significant commitment to self-improvement and personal development. We also extend our appreciation to the counties and cities of Oregon and the Oregon DOT for participation in and support of the Oregon Roads Scholar program.

We will continue to offer more Roads Scholar Level 1 classes at numerous locations during the 2014.  If your agency is interested in hosting the RS-9 Maintenance Math and RS-10 Introduction to Survey and Grade Checking classes, please let us know since we will soon begin working on a schedule for these classes.  We also plan on offering RS-5 Asphalt Pavement Maintenance 1 and RS-6 Asphalt Pavement Maintenance 2 at the 2014 Street Maintenance and Collection Systems Spring School scheduled for April 8th to April 10th at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond as well as the Level 2 class, RS-14 Roadway Safety Fundamentals 1 for those who have completed the Level 1 requirements. 

To schedule the RS-9 and RS-10 Roads Scholar classes or if you have questions, please contact the T2 Center by calling 1 (800) 544-7134 or (503) 986-2855.

Oregon T2 Center Director

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Ladder Safety

Portable ladders are handy, practical, effective and simple to use. They are also one of the most widely used — and misused — pieces of equipment. Ladders have a high accident and injury frequency. Falls are the most common cause of disabling injury or fatality. It’s worth it to learn more about safety around ladders.

Ladder incidents are primarily caused by:

  • Inadequate training on ladder safety.
  • Using ladders that are defective or in poor condition.
  • Positioning the ladder incorrectly and other misuse.
  • Using unsafe work practices.
  • Choosing the wrong ladder for the specific job.
  • Poorly maintaining and storing the ladder.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are more than 164,000 ladder injuries annually in the U.S. Yet many incidents involving ladders are preventable. 

Prevention begins with the basics, like training and good work practices, but also involves selecting the correct ladder, and inspecting and maintaining the ladder. To select the correct ladder, consider the work surface, potential obstructions, whether others will be around, the electrical situation and more.

Look at the design and construction of the ladder, including weight, portability and proximity to conductive power.  Ladders are primarily built of wood, fiberglass and metal (aluminum). These materials contribute to the ladder’s “duty rating,” and that will tell you about its capacity: a critical component in selecting the right ladder for the job (look for the duty rating on the manufacturer’s label).

Before and after you use a ladder, there are important steps to take to be safe, such as proper inspection, maintenance and storage. First, pre-inspect your ladder for:

  • Broken or loose rungs.
  • Rot or decay.
  • Cracks or splints.
  • Corrosion or oxidation of metal ladders.
  • Missing or loose nails, bolts, screws or safety shoes.

If any of these are visible, fix the ladder or find a new one. If it is defective, tag it “Do Not Use.”

Give your ladder proper maintenance. This includes an annual inspection by a trained person, and it should be noted on the ladder the last date of the inspection.  Keep your ladder clean from oil, grease, mud or any other items that may make it slippery or damage the ladder. Ladders should be stored horizontally on racks or at floor level leaning against the wall. Do not store near heat, dampness or in exit or aisle ways. Fiberglass ladders should not be stored in sunlight.

Employers often assume that workers know how to use ladders properly. Without proper training, a ladder can be as dangerous as any power tool. Proper ladder training includes:

  • Identification of fall hazards in the work area.
  • Proper procedures for erecting, maintaining and disassembling portable ladders.
  • Proper placement and use of ladders, including ascending and descending.
  • Instruction on a ladder’s maximum intended load.
  • Consideration of a user’s physical capacity.
  • Retraining as needed.

Safety and workplace requirements for ladder construction, performance, use and care are covered by the American National Standards Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Knowledge of these official requirements is vital, but in the end, as with many potentially unsafe work situations, it may come down to common sense — and some very important safety steps you must take before ever stepping on a ladder.

Reprinted with permission from the November issue of InsideODOT

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Circuit Rider Corner - Winter Driving Basics

By Dave White

Be gentle when using the gas pedal, the brakes, and while steering. Gently apply the brakes. During a “panic” stop, on a vehicle with ABS, do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure until the vehicle stops. On vehicles without ABS, apply the brakes as hard as you can without locking them. After stopping, a very light gentle application of the accelerator is better than using the “jack rabbit” method. You want to start moving without spinning the wheels. Jerking the steering wheel may cause the vehicle to go into a skid. Gently turning steering wheel should minimize the chance of causing a skid.

If a skid occurs, steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go. It is generally better to run off the road than to crash head-on into another vehicle.

Another important consideration is following distance. Generally a 2 to 4 second following distance is recommended. However in icy or packed snow conditions, 6 to 8 seconds would be a better practice.

Perhaps the most important consideration is speed. It is difficult to determine a specific speed for every condition but it is always slower than we might normally drive. Driving slower gives the driver more time to avoid problems and if a collision occurs, there will be less damage and the chance of surviving increases.

Other considerations:

  • Use your headlights to increase the ability of other drivers seeing you.
  • Do not use cruise control in less than ideal road conditions.
  • Be alert for bridges and shady areas. They generally freeze first and stay frozen longer.
  • Only use tires that are in good condition. Tires are our only connection to the road surface, so they need to have adequate tread. Consider using stud-less traction tires instead of studded tires to minimize road damage.
  • Four wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles are generally exempt from the rules requiring chains. These types of vehicles have better traction but keep in mind that they do not stop any better than other vehicles.
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Can you spot what’s wrong with these pictures?

​Picture #1 ​Picture #2
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2013 Northwest Public Works Institute Graduates

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APWA Scholarship Recipient

What a great learning experience last week was!!  My head is still spinning from all the wonderful information flowing around!  I felt like a giant sponge trying to soak it all in!  All the instructors had great information to share, and I thought the format of the days with student interaction and table-teamwork was fabulous – it was awesome to hear first-hand about everyone’s personal experiences through their work in the Public Works profession, and their thoughts and comments on all the different issues they have dealt with! 

I feel attending even this one workshop has already strengthened, increased my confidence, and helped me to grow in many ways, which I hope to give back to my own Public Works Department and community!  I can’t wait to complete the two upcoming workshops! Words can’t really express how excited and moved I was when Maggie emailed me that the Board had approved my scholarship request!  This funding will allow me to complete the series in a 12-month time frame, allowing for the best continuity of learning!  My hope is that others will also benefit from potential scholarships through this program in the future!  It truly makes a difference!

Melinda Olinger
City of Hubbard Public Works

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Technical Resources

To request a copy of any of the below publications, call the T2 Center at (503) 986-2855.

Guidelines on Ensuring Positive Guidance in Work Zones
This document describes the importance of ensuring good positive guidance when implementing a work zone traffic control plan. Four key concepts are emphasized: ensuring that all driver information needs are met to allow them to navigate safely through the work zone, standardizing the information provided to drivers to meet their expectations, ensuring that information is spread out through the approach and work area to avoid driver overload, and ensuring that all work zone hazards are identifiable and visible to the motorist.

Guidelines on Motorcycle and Bicycle Work Zone Safety
This document describes work zone conditions that can cause safety concerns for motorcyclists and bicyclists. The document offers recommended practices and describes effective strategies and techniques that can be used to help mitigate those concerns. The documents addresses the following types of hazards: degradations in roadway pavement surface quality, degradations in pavement friction, pavement discontinuities and abrupt elevation changes, degradations in roadway geometrics, and methods of improving motorcycle and bicycle safety in work zones.

Guidance on the Use of Automated Flagger Assistance Devices
Automated flagger assistance devices (AFADs) are mechanically operated temporary traffic control devices that function under the same operational principles as traditional flagging. AFADs are considered a safety enhancement because they minimize flaggers' direct exposure to traffic by allowing them to control the flagging device from an area away from traffic, such as behind a guardrail. As a result, the AFAD increases worker safety compared to traditional flagging methods.

Pedestrian Checklist and Considerations for Temporary Traffic Control Zones

Designers, construction engineers, policy-makers, traffic control plan developers, inspectors, and contractors will find this detailed checklist invaluable for determining and accommodating the requirements of pedestrians in work zones, including specific ADA requirements for pedestrian routes.

Temporary Traffic Control for Maintenance Operations

Roadway maintenance activities occur in close proximity to traffic, creating a potentially dangerous environment for workers, drivers, and incident responders. In many such cases, a Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) Zone is needed to protect both workers and incident responders as well as to allow for the safe and efficient movement of road users through or around TTC Zones. There are seven fundamental principles for TTC Zones that should be taken into account on every maintenance project, regardless of size or duration.

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Training Calendar

Calendar of Events and Training
Class Title
Feb 24
Certified Bridge Construction Inspector
Feb 5
Survey Verification for Inspectors
Mar 11
Erosion Control Fundamentals
Mar 12
Certified Environmental Construction Inspector
Feb 19
Certified HMAC  Inspector
Jan 28
Mar 4
General Construction (Standard)
Feb 4
Feb 11
Feb 19
Traffic Signal
Feb 6
Feb 13
Traffic Signal Recertification
Feb 10
General Construction (Entry)
Oregon State University (OSU)
Class Title
Feb 2014
ADA Design for Bikes & Pedestrians
AOC/LOC Oregon Local Leadership Institute 
Class Title
Jan 28
Financial Planning and Analysis
Jan 29
Feb 1
Feb 3
Local Government Budgeting
Baker City
Feb 5
Customer Service in the Front Line
Feb 8
Feb 22
Land Use Planning
Baker City
Feb 11
Mar 17
Governing Basics
Feb 12
Mar 18
Government Ethics
Central Point
Feb 19
Public Contracting Basics
Feb 27
System Development Changes
Mar 5
Economic Development
Mar 6-7
Effective Supervision Part 1
Baker City
Mar 13-14
Effective Supervision Part 2
Baker City
Mar 19
Local Government Manager
Central Point
American Public Works Association (APWA) 
Class Title
Mar 11-14
NWPWI Developing Leader
Apr 8-10
APWA Street Maintenance & Collection System Spring School
Apr 29-30
APWA Preventive Maintenance for Roadway Surfaces
Miscellaneous Conferences
Class Title
Mar 11-13
Northwest Transportation Conference
Oregon T2 Center                           
A full list of training classes offered by the T2 Center is available on-line at the above website under the "Training Programs" heading. To schedule any of the "Circuit Rider" classes, please contact Tasha Martinez at 503-986-2855. Additional information on training sponsored by the T2 Center is available at our website under the "Training Programs" and "Training Calendar" headings.
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Answer to What's Wrong With These Pictures...

Picture #1:

Almost too many violations to list!

For starters:

  • Pickup is partially in the travel lane.
  • The flagger is not visible for 500’.
  • The flagger should be about 100’ behind the pickup.
  • The flagger should be standing on the shoulder looking at traffic.

Is this practice tolerated by your crew?

Do you think the flagger is in position to warn the other workers? 

The picture would make a good safety meeting topic.

Picture #2:

  • Flagger is in the middle of the road. He should be on the shoulder.
  • Flagger has his back turned to traffic.
  • Flagger is in the shade.
  • Flagger is standing in a curve.
  • The bottom of the paddle should, be above the flaggers’ eyes.
  • Is this lack of training or lack of supervision?

A very poor but common practice observed in work zones around the State are flaggers standing in the lane with traffic coming straight at them. There is no guarantee that they will stop. The MUTCD and the OTTCHB both state that the flaggers’ initial position is on the shoulder.

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Upcoming Event

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Oregon T2 Steering Committee

The Technology Transfer Center Steering Committee members listed below help guide and direct the policies and activities of the Oregon Technology Transfer (T2) Center. You are invited to contact any of them to comment, make suggestions or ask questions about any aspect of the T2 Program.?
​Bruce Hildebrandt, Chair
Street Supervisor
City of Salem
Jim Buisman
Public Works Director
Lincoln County
Gerald Russell
Staff Engineer
Bureau of Land Mgmt, Portland
Terry Learfield
Road Maintenance Supervisor
Clackamas County
Liane Welch
Public Works Director
Tillamook County
Evelyn Pech, Vice Chair
Operations Supervisor
Marion County
Larry Beskow
City Engineer
City of Medford
Emily Ackland
County Roads Program Mgr.
Association of Oregon Counties
City Committee Member





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T2 Statement of Purpose

The center is jointly sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the counties and cities of Oregon, and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). FHWA funds are provided through the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP).

The purpose of the Oregon T2 Center is to help local transportation agencies obtain information and training on transportation technology relating to roads, bridges and public transportation. To accomplish this purpose, we:

  • provide low-cost seminars, training classes and workshops;
  • publish a quarterly newsletter;
  • provide a “Circuit Rider” service, taking video programs and informational materials to local agencies;
  • provide a lending library service of audio/visual programs on a variety of transportation topics;
  • provide copies of technical bulletins or reports upon request; and
  • respond to telephone and mail inquires relating to transportation technology or make a referral to a specialist.
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About Oregon Roads Newsletter

Oregon Roads is a quarterly publication of the Oregon Technology Transfer (T2)Center, furnishing information on transportation technology to local agencies. It is distributed free of charge to cities, counties, tribal governments, road districts, and others having transportation responsibilities. The opinions, findings or recommendations expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Oregon Department of Transportation or Federal Highway Administration. We do not endorse products or manufacturers. Where names of either appear, it is only to lend clarity or completeness to the article. Space limitations and other considerations prohibit us from providing an advertising service to our readership.
Rebekah Jacobson, T2 Director
Tasha Martinez, T2 Program Coordinator
Bob Raths, T2 Trainer

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