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Hood to Coast yields few traffic incidents

Local law enforcement agencies report few problems during 35th annual Hood to Coast relay

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Members of the Rocket Girls team meet up in the Scappoose High School bus bay to pass off the team's relay baton. The team completed the Portland to Coast walk relay with a time of 30 hours and 24 seconds. Thousands of relay runners and walkers made their way to Seaside last week on Friday, Aug. 26, during the 35th annual Hood to Coast and Portland to Coast Relay, a route that brings racers through Scappoose and St. Helens along Highway 30.

Participants took a slightly altered route this year, jaunting east on Southeast High School Way during one leg of the race to meet teammates in the Scappoose High School’s bus bay. In years past, runners met their teams along the highway, often causing congestion and posing as a hazard for drivers and athletes. In 2015, a crash along the highway involving a van of relay runners and a passenger car sent one person to the hospital and blocked traffic flow in the area.

Traffic in the area near the high school was visibly less crowded this year.

Columbia River Fire and Rescue Division Chief Ian O’Connor reported nine emergency medical service calls involving Hood to Coast participants Friday, while law enforcement reported few incidents.

Scapppose Police Chief Norm Miller reported only one call on Friday associated with the Hood to Coast event. At 9:35 p.m., a vehicle travelling eastbound on the highway near Walnut Street was observed driving 100 mph. Officers caught up with the vehicle in the parking lot of Scappoose Cinema 7, where two people attempted to flee on foot. Paul Hendrickson, 31, was arrested on charges of DUII, reckless driving and driving without a valid license.

St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss, who was a participant in the relay event, said his department did not respond to any calls for service involving runners this year.

South of Scappoose in Multnomah County, law enforcement agencies conducted a saturation patrol from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday along the highway and made 96 traffic stops, a decrease from last year’s patrol, a press release from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office stated.

Officers issued 71 citations and 19 warnings during the patrol.