Oregon Operation Lifesaver
About OR OL
Rail grade crossing and railroad trespass incidents are claiming far too many Oregon lives each year.
Oregon Operation Lifesaver is about helping people make the right choices:
- The right choices at rail grade crossings .. “LOOK, LISTEN & LIVE”.
- The right choices in and along railroad rights-of-way. . “STAY OFF, STAY AWAY, STAY ALIVE”.
Oregon Operation Lifesaver is a not-for-profit Oregon corporation that is part of an international family of organizations devoted to ending tragic collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-railroad crossings and on railroad rights-of-way. To accomplish our mission, we promote the 3 E’s:
Operation Lifesaver strives to increase public awareness about the dangers around the rails. The program seeks to educate both drivers and pedestrians to make safe decisions at crossings and around railroad tracks.
Operation Lifesaver promotes active enforcement of traffic laws relating to crossing signs and signals and private property laws related to trespassing.
Operation Lifesaver encourages continued engineering research and innovation to improve the safety of railroad crossings.
Oregon Operation Lifesaver began in October 1977, following the lead of the state of Idaho, home to the first Operation Lifesaver, founded in 1972. In 1978, the national Operation Lifesaver organization was created to provide support for the growing number of state organizations. In 1986, Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), became an independent non-profit organization. In 1994, Oregon Operation Lifesaver incorporated, adopted by-laws, elected officers and attained non-profit tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization.
Since our founding , the number of collisions at public highway-railroad crossings in Oregon as steadily decreased, despite an increases in both train and motor vehicle traffic. Operation Lifesaver’s public awareness program is considered to be a major factor in reducing collisions and incidents involving trains.
Oregon Operation Lifesaver Today
Today, Oregon Operation Lifesaver is one of 50 states and a growing number of countries with active Operation Lifesaver programs. Oregon OL is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions for Oregon’s railroads, and a small amount of grant money provided by the Federal Railroad Administration, administered through OLI.
More than 40 Certified Operation Lifesaver Presenters volunteer throughout the state of Oregon, offering free programs to a wide variety of audiences. Operation Lifesaver Presenters receive rigorous training and have access to a range of sophisticated curriculum developed by OLI. OLI is constantly reviewing and improving the materials designed to educated children from pre-school to teens, mature drivers, bicyclists and the general public. Special programs are available for school bus drivers, commercial drivers, emergency responders, and law enforcement.
If you are interested in learning more about Oregon Operation Lifesaver, becoming a volunteer, requesting a presentation, or making a financial contribution please contact us.
OR OL Events
OR OL Safety Partners
Oregon OL is supported through contributions of resources and effort from the following organizations:
Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Union Pacific Railroad
Valley River Mall
Oregon Pupil Transportation Association
Albany and Eastern Railroad
Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad
Port of Coos Bay
City of Prineville Railroad
Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad
Portland and Western Railroad
Rogue Valley Terminal Railroad
In addition, the following organizations are partners with Oregon OL in supporting our safety efforts:
Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Railroad Administration
Klamath Northern Railroad
Lake County Railroad
Mount Hood RR
Oregon Association Chiefs of Police
Oregon Department of Education
Oregon Pacific Railroad
Oregon Trucking Association
Pacific Railroad Preservation Association
Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad
Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad
Sumpter Valley Railroad
Oregon Rail Users’ League
Wallowa Union Railroad
Willamette Valley Railroad
Oregon Eastern Railroad
Wyoming and Colorado Railroad
For School Educators
Education Resources Overview
As an educator, you teach your students to strive for excellence, pursue their interests and to be safe and responsible citizens. Operation Lifesaver has developed classroom lessons teaching safety around highway-rail grade crossings and railroad tracks. Your students will take critical information they learn from you into their future; Operation Lifesaver wants to help you make sure their future is a safe one.
- Lesson Plans are available for all age groups ranging from Pre-K through 12th Grade
- If you develop your own lesson plan and would like to share it with other educators, please submit it here.
Teacher Resources can be used with lesson plans or as stand-alone components. Bring railroad safety messages and images to the classroom through video clips, PSAs, pictures, bulletin board ideas, newsletter articles, award certificates, OL presenters, and more.
- Driver's Education
- Art Downloads and Bulletin Board Ideas
- Book List
- Request a Classroom Presenter
- Safety Tips & Messages
Links to additional resources
OLI also provides links to sites for the rail industry and related rail-safety information. These can be accessed here.
Request a Classroom Presentation
Operation Lifesaver Presenters are trained and certified to provide important safety information to driver's education students and other school children, community service clubs and civic groups, school bus operators and professional truck drivers, company safety programs and others. Contact us today to schedule a presentation for your students.
Oregon Laws you need to know
Oregon has specific Laws regarding Rail Crossings and Railroad Property to help protect both the public and railroad employees. These apply to both Pedestrians and Drivers and violations can carry substantial fines and penalties, including possible loss of drivers license, and can include probation and/or jail time in the case of Misdemeanors. Citations for violations of these laws may be issued by local and state law enforcement personnel, as well as railway police.
Click on the links for each law to see its specific definition. The fines and penalties for each are shown at the end of this section.
Pedestrians must obey all railroad crossing signals, the same as drivers:
- 814.030 Failure to obey bridge or railroad signal. Class D Violation.
It is Illegal and considered trespassing to walk upon and remain upon railroad tracks and railroad rights of way:
- 164.255 Criminal trespass in the first degree. Class A Misdemeanor.
- 164.245 Criminal trespass in the second degree. Class C Misdemeanor.
It is illegal to damage any items on railroad tracks and railroad rights of way:
- 164.365 Criminal mischief in the first degree. Class C Felony, up to a $125,000 fine.
Drivers must obey all railroad crossing signals and move properly through a railroad crossing:
- 811.455 Failure to stop for railroad signal. Class B Violation.
- 811.475 Obstructing rail crossing. Class B Violation.
- 811.305 Driving on left at intersection or rail crossing. Class B Violation.
In addition to the above, Commercial drivers and drivers of certain types of vehicles can be cited if the do not follow proper safety practices:
- 811.460 Failure to follow rail crossing procedures for high-risk vehicles. Class B Violation.
- 811.462 Failure of operator of commercial motor vehicle to slow down and check tracks. Class B Violation.
- 811.470 Improper movement of heavy equipment across rail crossing. Class B Violation.
Commercial drivers may have their licenses suspended for up to a year if they are convicted for certain violations:
- 809.535 Suspension of commercial driver license for specified railroad crossing violations. Up to 1 year suspension if convicted for violation of any of the following: ORS 811.455 (Failure to stop for a railroad signal), 811.460 (Failure to follow rail crossing procedures for high-risk vehicles), 811.475 (obstructing rail crossing), and 811.462 (Failure of operator of commercial motor vehicle to slow down and check tracks).
Fines for Violations (as of 2018) ORS 153.019
The actual fine listed on a citation ("presumptive fine") will be between the minimum and maximum, but is roughly doubled when the violation occurs in a "special zone" which includes Highway Work zones, posted School zones, or designated highway Safety Corridors.
- Class A: Minimum: $225 Maximum: $2,000
- Class B: Minimum: $135 Maximum: $1,000
- Class C: Minimum: $85 Maximum: $500
- Class D: Minimum: $65 Maximum: $250
The fines may be higher in certain counties that have enacted surcharges
Fines for Misdemeanors ORS 161.635
Misdemeanors carry the following maximum penalties:
- Class “A” Misdemeanor: $6,250 fine and/or 1 year in jail and up to 5 years probation
- Class “B” Misdemeanor: $3,500 fine and/or 6 months in jail and up to 5 years probation
- Class “C” Misdemeanor: $1,250 fine and/or 30 days in jail and up to 5 years probation
Steven Kreins Executive Director
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