The increasing price of fuel in recent weeks has made Troutdale's Flying J truck stop a very popular place. There have been regular periods of traffic jams and gridlock, also known as the I-84 exit 17 Vortex of Pain.
Frontage Road, where Flying J and other businesses are located, is the responsibility of ODOT. When discussions with ODOT have been held regarding gridlock on Frontage Road, their suggestion has been that Troutdale Police should write traffic citations for those motorists waiting in the long line from Flying J that spills out to Frontage Road. ODOT's logic: Hey, they're parking on a state road. That's illegal, so write 'em up!
Troutdale Police Chief Nelson has wisely not taken ODOT's advice. After all, it doesn't make sense to penalize folks for the crime of looking for the cheapest fuel.
Other outrageous suggestions I have heard, not from ODOT but from other government officials, include:
-Increasing the city gas tax to make Flying J's prices more expensive.
-Placing signs on I-84 warning motorists not to take exit 17 for fuel.
-Condemning the Flying J property, essentially putting them out of business.
I still can't believe someone actually came up with those suggestions. It boggles the mind, and puts me at a loss for words.
The only thought that comes to mind is, "We're from the government, and we're here to help".