Letters to the Editor for March 10, 2015

House Bill 1951 fixes a problem

Before the 2015 legislative session started, I contacted Rep. Liz Pike and requested her assistance.

The Revised Code of Washington has a law that provides direction to government agencies on how vehicles must be marked. This law, RCW46.08.065, contains language that provides an exemption for vehicles used by state, county and local police agencies, allowing them to be unmarked. The authority to use unmarked police cars in Washington State comes from this statute.

Unfortunately, the way the statutory exemption was written leaves it open to interpretation and has created some problems for law enforcement.

I asked Rep. Pike if she would sponsor a bill in the session that would resolve those issues. Her bill, 1951, is simple and clear. It revises a sentence in the law and fully resolves the ambiguity of the existing statute.

As chief of police for the City of Camas, I am hoping that this piece of legislation is signed into law.

Mitch Lackey, Camas police chief

Concerns about oil trains continue

A couple of weeks ago, the Washougal City Council and the Washougal School Board formally expressed grave concerns about the safety of the increased oil train traffic through our community. Both passed resolutions calling for increased safety measures as more and more oil, propane and butane terminals are proposed for the West Coast.

Their fears are well founded. In the middle of February, there were two major derailments and explosions involving oil trains. Both accidents occurred in trains using the latest model 1232 oil tanker cars, supposedly the safest available at this time.

More recently, on March 5, there was another huge explosion involving a BNSF crude oil train, this time in Illinois. Fortunately, in all three accidents, there was no loss of life, but it would have been a different story had they occurred in Washougal.

I am very grateful to the city council and the school board for passing these resolutions. In doing so, we are joining many other communities with similar concerns. Safety issues must be addressed before plans for more terminals are approved.

Diana Gordon, Washougal

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