Phantom highway worker re-stripes road

By Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer October 26, 2012 02:53 pm

A person dressed in a safety vest and looking a lot like an Oregon Department of Transportation worker took it on him or herself to re-stripe a nearly 700-foot stretch of Highway 203 last week.

Oct. 18, Pete Caldwell of ODOT reported to Oregon State Police that a yellow line had been painted on the highway outside Union near Godley Road. The Oregon State Police said the 692-foot stripe had been painted next to the segmented line in an apparent attempt to create a no-passing zone.

ODOT spokesman Tom Strandberg said Thursday that an investigation began after someone noticed that the yellow line appeared wavy and crooked, unlike the professional results produced by actual highway workers.

“We got calls from people wanting to know what was going on because the line wasn’t straight,” Strandberg said. He said the agency received at least one report about a person dressed in a vest and using a four-wheeled portable spray paint cart to paint the line.

Strandberg did not have a description of the suspect. He said ODOT believes the person laid down the stripe because of some concern about people speeding through the area.

Still, the act was an illegal one.

“If someone’s putting highway markers where they’re not supposed to be, it’s a safety concern for ODOT.”

Strandberg estimated removal of the line will cost ODOT about $3,000 and a good deal of intensive labor. The OSP took photos of the vandalism and made contact with area residents, but the phantom highway worker has not been apprehended.