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to reach the true summit, you’ll have to scramble up a
rocky user path.
Most turn around here, but you could continue an-
other two miles down the mountain to the north trail-
Directions: The South Trailhead: From the coastal
town of Manzanita, follow U.S. Highway 101 north for
2.4 miles. Between mileposts 40 and 41, turn right onto
gravel Neahkahnie Trailhead Road and follow it a
half-mile to a parking area and trail on the right.
1) Cape Falcon
It’s difficult to say this hike is truly “better” than
the route up Neahkahnie.
But the combination of wonders on this trail
pushed me to place it No. 1.
The out-and-back route of 5 miles connects Short
Sand Beach and Cape Falcon, while traveling through
rainforest and past a small waterfall in between.
The hike starts at the same Short Sand Trailhead
used for hike No. 3, and follows the same route to the
popular cliff-walled beach.
From the beach, follow multiple signs for Cape Fal-
con through a jungle of dense, mossy forest, passing
giant trees and multiple views of Neahkahnie Moun-
tain to the south.
An unmarked but easy-to-see trail splits onto Cape
Falcon at mile 2.4. The massive headline juts into the
ocean and showcases views along the coast to the
north and south.
Directions: From Manzanita, drive north on U.S.
101 for four miles to the multiple large and obvious
trailheads along the highway for Short Sand Beach.
Zach Urness has been an outdoors writer, photog-
rapher and videographer in Oregon for nine years. He
is the author of the book “Hiking Southern Oregon”
and can be reached at zurness@StatesmanJour-
nal.com or (503) 399-6801. Find him on Twitter at
Marion County Sheriff’s Officer Sgt. Todd Moquin patrols for drivers using their cellphones in early November in Salem. A new
law went into effect in October that bans drivers from using their cellphones for navigating, social media or any other
“hands-on” applications while driving in Oregon. MOLLY J. SMITH/STATESMAN JOURNAL
LAUREN HERNANDEZ SALEM STATESMAN JOURNAL
USA TODAY NETWORK
Oregon Coast beach provides a scenic escape at Nehalem
Bay State Park. ZACH URNESS/STATESMAN JOURNAL
We thank you for the opportunity
to work together and for making
us feel at home in our community
A month into Oregon's new distracted driving law,
Oregon State Police and the Marion County Sheriff's
Office are already reporting significant increases in
Polk County and Salem police agencies haven't seen
an uptick yet, but say they expect to in the coming
Starting Oct. 1, drivers could no longer use their
cellphones for navigating, social media or any other
"hands-on" applications while driving in Oregon.
While police agencies trained for the law's rollout, it
may take a years-worth of statistics to determine how
much of an effect it is having on driving behaviors,
said Lt. Chris Baldridge, public information officer for
the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
"But naturally there will be an increase in citations
as the new law fixed a loophole that prevented our dep-
uties from writing citations under the old law," Bal-
dridge told the Statesman Journal.
Marion County Sgt. Todd Moquin, who worked on
House Bill 2597 which brought the new law into effect,
described it as a response to climbing fatal automobile
crashes in Oregon. Traffic deaths reached almost 500
in 2016. The rise was part of a nationwide spike that
reached 35,092 fatalities in 2015.
"Thirty-thousand people ... is a city the size of Keizer
— gone," Moquin said.
Most citations in Marion County
Sheryl Resner Bridgette Justis
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FINANCIAL ADVISOR FINANCIAL ADVISOR
South | 503-362-5439 West | 503-588-5426 Keizer | 503-393-8166 Silverton | 503-873-2454
Caitlin Davis Chip Hutchings
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Dallas | 503-623-2146
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Statewide, Oregon State Police issued 207 distract-
ed driving citations during October, compared to 91 ci-
tations in October 2016.
By county, troopers issued the highest number of
tickets in Marion County with 28 citations and 27 warn-
ings. That compares to just 7 citations and 28 warnings
in October 2016, said OSP Captain Bill Fugate.
Senior Trooper William Duran said the increase is
due to having an "extra, tighter grip" on the law allow-
ing officers more freedom in enforcing distracted
Marion County Sheriff's deputies wrote 59 citations
under the new law in October.That number does not re-
flect warnings or educational opportunities deputies
used with drivers during traffic stops. In October 2016,
deputies issued 35 distracted driving citations.
Baldridge said the boost in citations, in part, comes
from the new law closing loopholes that use to let driv-
ers scroll through Instagram or Facebook. legal. Now
drivers can't even hold phone in their hand, let alone
use it for browsing social media.
Polk County Sheriff Mark Garton said his deputies
did not issue a single citation for distracted driving vi-
olations in October but issued 12 warnings to drivers.
Garton said patrol deputies participate in briefings
before hitting the road at the beginning of each shift to
discuss opportunities to gain compliance with the law
through education as opposed to issuing citations "left
"That way, a person is learning that there is some-
thing illegal about that behavior," Garton said. "That's
better than enforcing as a monetary means."
Oregon state troopers issued two citations and two
warnings for distracted driving in Polk County in Octo-
ber. In October 2016, troopers didn't cite anyone for
distracted driving in Polk County, but did issue two
Salem Police officers recorded 33 citations and 16
warnings for distracted driving in October, said Lt.
Dave Okada. For same month in 2016, Salem Police is-
sued 34 citations and 19 warnings.
Okada said officers have seen a trend in drivers not
having the proper equipment to comply with the
hands-free law, like a cellphone mount on the window,
dashboard or console.
"The misnomer is if you don't hold the phone you're
okay, but you have people with the phone without a
mount on a console and they're shouting into it," Okada
said. "We just want people to follow the law."
In Dallas, Lt. Jerry Mott said officers are enforcing
the new law using their own discretion during traffic
The Dallas Police Department has one dedicated
traffic officer and the rest of the officers do traffic as
they are available. Mott said the number of distracted
driving citations did not increase in October.
He expects the number of citations to increase as
officers get better at spotting violators.
"Until then, it's hard to gauge where we are with this
law," Mott said.
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Police hear creative excuses
Roughly 75 percent of drivers who are cited for dis-
tracted driving in Marion County admit to breaking
the law, Moquin said. The other 25 percent of drivers
“The misnomer is if you don't hold the
phone you're okay, but you have
people with the phone without a
mount on a console and they're
shouting into it. We just want people
to follow the law.”
LT. DAVE OKADA, ON DRIVERS AND THE HANDS-FREE LAW
deny using their phones and offer a different explana-
Moquin has overseen the county's traffic enforce-
ment team for the past two and a half years and has
heard a variety of excuses during stops for distracted
One man who held his phone up to his ear told Mo-
quin he was scratching his head. Another man who had
the phone near his chin claimed he was tapping the
phone on his chin and was merely deep in thought.
Moquin's patrol vehicle comes equipped with cam-
eras providing a 360-degree view of the surroundings.
The cameras come in handy when Moquin needs prob-
able cause to pull someone over for violating a law,
when a visual aid is needed to show drivers what they
did wrong and when the driver challenges the citation
On a recent rainy November afternoon, Moquin was
patrolling Interstate 5 when he came up next to a wom-
an driving at roughly 70 mph, talking into a phone she
was holding to her mouth with her left hand and scrib-
bling notes with her right hand.
When Moquin motioned her to pull over, she pulled
over to the left-hand shoulder of the road, which is ille-
gal and considered failure to yield to an emergency ve-
Moquin cited her for using a cellphone while driv-
ing, a $260 ticket on the first offense. He gave her a
warning for failing to pull onto the right shoulder of the
When it comes to distracted driving, however, Mo-
quin doesn't give warnings.
While the sheriff's office allows deputies to use dis-
cretion in issuing citations, Moquin's traffic safety
team decided against distracted driving warnings.
Two years ago, the sheriff's office investigated 18
fatal car crashes on Marion County roads. Last year
they responded to three. Moquin said it's unclear
whether each of those was a result of cellphone use,
but data shows distracted driving has contributed to
the overall rise in highway fatalities.
"The law is in effect and it's our job to keep the roads
safe," Moquin said. "The tickets weren't being written
before the new law, but they are being written now."
Behaviors that tip off police
Police officers are still learning how to decipher
whether drivers are using their phones while driving.
Mott, the Dallas lieutenant, said his officers are ex-
ploring how to best approach enforcement, including
how they judge whether a behavior is egregious
enough to issue a citation as opposed to a warning.
Unless a person is seen physically holding a cell-
phone, Mott said it's difficult to verify.
"More often than not, the person is doing something
with their phone if they're swerving into other lanes,"
Mott said. " But how do I differentiate that from some-
one looking down to grab something out of their purse
Moquin said his Marion County team looks out for a
variety of tells: drivers lingering when traffic lights
turn green, looking into their lap at red lights, follow-
ing too closely, failing to use turn signals and driving
through stop signs.
On a recent patrol along Lancaster Drive in Salem,
Moquin came up behind a vehicle stopped at a red
light. The driver could be seen reflected in her review
mirror, looking into her lap.
"Until I can actually see what she might be doing, I
can't pull her over," Moquin said. "So now we start
watching to see what she's looking at."
The light turned green and the woman continued
through the roadway.
Moquin pulled up next to her, craned his neck to
peer through her window and saw the woman was eat-
ing a burrito.
"Is that distracting? Absolutely. Is it illegal? No."
Moquin said. "If she got involved in a car crash and said
‘I was eating a burrito and didn’t hit the brakes and I hit
that car,’ I can give her a ticket for careless driving."
Email Lauren Hernandez at lehernande@states-
manjournal.com, call 503-399-6743 or follow on Twitter