If you haven’t driven through Stanfield lately, I’m here to provide you with a public service announcement — road construction is taking place on Highway 395 and it wasn’t very well marked when I drove through town recently. However, a nice Oregon State Police trooper pointed it out to me.

I say nice because he didn’t give me a ticket. And he could have. I was driving a tad fast coming down the hill. In addition, I couldn’t readily find my current insurance card.

As I was driving in what I thought was the right-hand lane, I asked my husband what was in the road? “I don’t know, it looks like debris,” John said.

The very uniformly placed debris was actually little white tabs that evidently were supposed to alert me that I was driving in a non-lane. I must say, had it been yellow, orange or red it would have been much more obvious.

When the trooper told me I wasn’t traveling in a lane of traffic, I was flooded with memories of newspaper stories and Facebook posts about the Oregon Department of Transportation’s recommendations for a “road diet” through Stanfield. The plan, which is now being worked on, is to shrink the five lanes down to three as well as a bike path and additional room for on-street parking.

I’m grateful (and so is my billfold) the officer didn’t provide a parting gift in the form of a ticket. I will certainly remember the changes in the road the next time I cruise through Stanfield. In addition, when I was messaging a friend in Pendleton who was planning to come to Hermiston the next day, I told her about the road project — letting her know it’s not very clearly marked.

It’s been awhile since I received a traffic ticket — more than a decade ago I got stopped for speeding a couple of times within a few months. I challenged one of them and the judge threw it out. However, the other stuck. I was cruising down Old River Road, anticipating getting home to tell John about the great deal I got on a kayak for him at REI. However, the money I saved was quickly eaten up by the ticket.

And prior to those incidents, I got a speeding ticket in November 1994. After spending a long Thanksgiving weekend at my folks’ place in Coos Bay, John and I were driving through Portland when I got pulled over.

I was highly disappointed that my usually ultra protective German shepherd didn’t bark at the po-po when he ambled alongside the pickup bed. Gastineau didn’t make a peep. Evidently, being a “police dog,” he must have felt some sort of camaraderie with the cop. Whatever.

To ensure that wouldn’t happen again, I began training our dogs to bark on command to verbal cues in German as well as hand signs. Oh, and to avoid getting pulled over for speeding, I use cruise control as much as possible.


Tammy Malgesini, the Hermiston Herald community writer, enjoys spending time with her husband and two German shepherds, as well as entertaining herself with random musings.

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