People making their way to and from this year’s Clackamas County Fair and Rodeo often have their minds on what they are about to see or what they just experienced.

And for Vince Hoffarth and his staff, that can be dangerous. But Hoffarth, a lieutenant with the Union Pacific Railroad Police Department, wants to make sure that everyone arrives and leaves safely. As part of its UPCARES program?(Union Pacific Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety), once again he and his department will be patrolling the railroad intersection on Pine Street to make sure safety happens.

Over the years, Hoffarth and his officers have conducted traffic enforcement operations along the tracks and intersections that lead into the fairgrounds. They’ll be back this year to do more of the same.

“This year we will be focusing on the safety of traffic and pedestrians at Pine Street,” he said. “We want to make sure pedestrians and automobiles are getting to and from the fair safely.”

Hoffarth said the primary task will be keeping an eye on drivers stopping in the right places. Secondarily, Hoffarth and his team will be watching to make sure pedestrians are adhering to the lights and gates of the crossing.

“We will be issuing citations, depending on the situation,” Hoffarth said. “We want to make sure cars are stopping before that white stop line — educate drivers that they need to stop before that line to keep themselves clear of the gates and stay off the tracks.”

While citations are part of the equation, Hoffarth said the real thrust is education and safety.

“Unfortunately, people going to and from the fair are sometimes not thinking about where they are. Their minds are focused on other things and not focused on safety at the crossing. We are here to help.”

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