Floyd Prozanski, Scott Rohter, the McKenzie Hwy and the Truth
By Scott Rohter, Candidate for State Senator
October 26th, 2018
At a recent Eugene City Club debate my opponent Floyd Prozanski accused me of several things including basing my campaign for State Senator largely on the fact that there are no rumble strips or fog line reflectors on the entire length of the McKenzie Highway. He went on to say that since ODOT will be correcting that deficiency in the Fall of 2019 there is really no reason for me to go forward with my campaign. Unfortunately like most politicians our current State Senator struggles with the truth so some clarification is in order.
Since Floyd Prozanski was first elected to the Oregon Legislature there have been over 9,000 accidents, 7,000 injuries and at least 200 deaths on the McKenzie Highway. One of the main reasons I am running against him is to end the carnage that occurs along this highway, by providing motorists with the basic safety features found along most major highways, but that is not the ONLY reason I am running for office. Floyd and I disagree on many other issues, however the most important job of any public official is, and it should be public safety.
Mr. Prozanski claims that ODOT is going to begin a project next year that will include installing fog line reflectors and rumble strips along the McKenzie Highway. If that is true then its about time, but you should ask yourself why has it taken so long.. Why nearly two decades into the 21st century are residents of Lane County still driving on a major highway that was built to the safety standards of the 1900’s? There are no overhead lights.There are no fog line reflectors embedded in the asphalt to illuminate the edges of the road at night, and there are no rumble strips to alert motorists when they are crossing the yellow lines either in the center of the road or along the edges of the roadway. Why is it necessary for 200 people to die before the government does the right thing? Maybe you should ask Mr. Prozanski who is on the Legislative Task Force for Public Safety.
Before I started my campaign I spoke with ODOT officials and they told me there were actually no plans to put fog line reflectors and rumble strips along the McKenzie Hwy. They told me that the highway was already safe and “people merely needed to drive the conditions of the road”….
If my campaign for safer highways has prompted ODOT to re-examine its position vis a vis n the McKenzie Highway then all I can say is good, but it is no thanks to Floyd Prozanski and its about time. (UPDATE : No safety upgrades were infact done along the McKenzie Hwy in 2019.)
Here is the truth.. Floyd Prozanski has been unconcerned about this major public safety issue for over two decades while over 200 people have lost their lives. That is why he should not be rewarded with another four years in Salem as our State Senator.
Furthermore if those upgrades are going to get done the way they should be done and not the way they were done on Highway 58 or the way they are being done right now along Highway 126 west of Eugene it will NOT be because Senator Prozanski is such a strong advocate for highway safety. His legislative career in Salem is a testimony to that. These much needed improvements will only get done the way they should be done if you elect me to be your next State Senator. I have to drive this highway every night, and I will make sure that the safety upgrades get done the way they should be done.
My efforts to improve safety along the highway have widespread support throughout the community. My signs are popping up on private property all along the highway calling for a safer improvements. I am sure this hasn’t escaped the attention of ODOT and Senator Prozanski. Being the professional politician he is Floyd has resorted to a page right out of the national Democratic playbook. He has begun resorting to personal attacks upon me, but the question still remains… Why has Senator Prozanski done nothing about the horrendous safety record of the McKenzie Highway during the entire 23 years he has been in the Oregon Legislature?
Let me offer a plausible explanation… Senator Prozanski is an avid bicyclist. He would like to see the entire McKenzie Highway, turned into a bikeway, not just the section north and east of McKenzie Bridge as it is right now. Since there is only about 12 to 15 inches of asphalt on the other side of the fog lines, and rumble strips would take up most of that space making it virtually impossible for a bicycle to travel, Senator Prozanski has been opposed to putting rumble strips along the edges of the roadway. That explains why they are not there. It also explains why he will not push for them to be installed in the future. The only way rumble strips will be cut into the edges of this highway is if I am electedto be your next State Senator. The McKenzie Highway by default has been purposed to be everything to everybody… It is a Scenic Highway, a National Network Highway, and a Bikeway all in one and all on the cheap!
Recently ODOT has been working on the Florence to Eugene section of Highway 126. Rumble strips have been installed along the road, but unfortunately they end about three miles west of Veneta… There are no rumble strips beyond that point and there are no rumble strips on the highway as it crosses Fern Ridge Reservoir so as not to disturb the falcons’ at night. In addition the rumble strips that were installed have been modified so as to be softer and quieter in order to be considerate of people who live along the highway… Never mind the driver who is fast asleep at the wheel… If he doesn’t hear the rumble strips that’s his tough luck…
Who makes these decisions? You don’t have to look any further than Floyd Prozanski… and when the first tanker truck carrying 10,000 gallons of gasoline, diesel fuel, toxic chemicals, or hazardous waste crashes and winds up in the McKenzie River… then it will be too late. The drinking water for 200,000 people will be seriously impacted for a long time…. a lot longer than EWEB’s backup well water supply can realistically be expected to last. What are you going to do then? When it happens you can lay the blame right on Senator Prozanski’s Senate doorstep, and on Lee Beyer’s as well. Both of these men have been in positions of power and authority in the Oregon State Legislature for most of the last two decades. They are responsible for this.