Job opening

April 6, 2005 at 6:38 pm (Planning, Portland)

Portland needs a new train operator.

William Alan Wagoner, 58, of Beaverton had been on paid
administrative leave since the Jan. 2 collision at Southeast Fifth
Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Hillsboro.

The firing sets the stage for a showdown between the drivers’ union and
the transit agency that could include dueling crash reports and
questions about what drivers have been taught.

“We don’t think he should have been fired,” said Al Zullo, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757.

He added, “this was an unfair and capricious action taken by our
capitalist masters.” Come on, there HAS to be some kind of action taken
against this guy. This guy toatlled a fire engine, which in addition to
being very expensive, it was, you know, probably on its way to put out
a fire or something.

…police determined the fire engine used an electronic Opticon device
23 seconds before the impact to change the traffic light to green in
its direction and red in other directions, including for the train.

Wagoner pushed the “pre-empt signal,” to give the MAX train the
go-ahead and stop cross traffic as he left the station. The train was
traveling about 25 mph when it struck the fire engine, which was
traveling about 15 mph.

Wagoner told police that “he has been taught that once he pushes his
call button, he has the right-of-way all the way to the next platform,”
the police crash report stated. He said he was unaware that emergency
vehicles could override the MAX signal.

So just push the button , close your eyes and floor it? Guess
what? Trains have stop lights, just like cars. What if the
fire engine driver had pushed his button, floored it through an
intersection and killd a group of seniors on their way to the Early
Bird Special? Would “I didn’t know they would be walking there after I
pushed my Magic Button” be an acceptable excuse?

—–

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