Tag Archives: CCRider

An Opinion: Vote YES on All Three Measures

Election ballots arrived in the mail this week and local voters are being asked to make a choice on three critical ballot measures.  I am encouraging voters to support all three.

The Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District has placed two Measures on the ballot.  Measure 5-245 is a ten year bond for the purchase of a badly needed, new fire engine and would cost taxpayers 26 cents per thousand of assessed property value.  Measure 5-246 is a five year levy to fund the salary of a Training Captain to assist in the administration of the Department, mainly to organize the training of volunteers, as well as respond to calls when on duty.  This would cost taxpayers 32 cents per thousand of assessed value.

The Vernonia Fire Department currently has one paid responder, Chief Dean Smith.  According to Smith, volunteerism at the District is at an all time low and call volume is as high as it’s ever been.  State requirements for volunteer training continue to increase.  On top of that the VRFPD remains the lowest funded of any District in Columbia County.

Smith and the Vernonia Fire District are facing a perfect storm-a community that is too busy to volunteer, a limited training schedule to get the small number of volunteers they do have to meet state requirements, limited resources to fund operations and equipment,  and not enough responders to answer the larger volume of calls they are receiving.

As Smith likes to point out, he and his small band of dedicated volunteers don’t just respond to fires.  They assist the local ambulance service on EMS calls and also serve as the local rescue unit.  They handle anything from extrications from motor vehicle accidents, to providing traffic control, to  getting cats out of trees, and they have to be trained for all of them.   Read More

County Approves to Changes to CCRider Service

CCriderBusThe Columbia County Board of Commissioners approved the recommendations forwarded from the Citizens Transit Advisory Committee to reduce public transit service.  The service reductions are the result of the need to establish a reserve to cover costs associated with operating the system, as required by state budget law. It is also necessary to address the need to adequately staff the program so that it remains in compliance. The third factor impacting the reductions is the inability of the program to leverage federal and state dollars because there have not been adequate community cash contributions to do so.   Funding for CCRider services comes from three sources, fares, grants and community contributions from the incorporated cities in the form of cash.

The service reductions approved effect the hours and days of service, and require some changes to routes.   The changes are to take effect April 1, 2013, and were approved by the County Board of Commissioners at their March 27, 2013 meeting, include the following:

Dial-a-Ride (DAR)

The DAR system is the most expensive service we provide.  In the past Riders were able to schedule rides that were typically from home to a specific destination and back.  Service was individually tailored to the riders’ needs and there were few restrictions on who used the service, where the trips went, and when the trips were run.

The changes approved by the County Board of Commissioners, require riders to submit a qualifying    application and be approved to use the DAR system. An Application and Rider’s Guide can be       found on the Rider website at www.columbiacountyrider.com.   Riders can also call our dispatch at   503-366-0159 to have the DAR Service Application and Riders Guide mailed to them.

The changes approved now require DAR services be limited to provide rides to seniors, those disabled and special needs riders.  Rides are then prioritized by type of ride, with the number one   priority being medical rides for those needing to go to doctor appointments, and the number 2 priority being those riders whose life needs require them to have access the pharmacy, grocery store and other life needs.

DAR Service Changes By Area

St. Helens/Scappoose/Columbia City service is provided Monday through Friday, with    service hours of 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Clatskanie and Rainier DAR service was combined and service hours are Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Vernonia service is limited to Tuesday and Thursday with service hours starting at 10:00 a.m. and ending at  3:00 p.m.

Weekend Service:

This service allows the Rider to provide 7-day a week service, but without additional funding after June 30, 2013, this service will cease.

Nehalem Valley:  Route runs from Vernonia to PCC/Rock Creek and the Trimet Willow Creek Transit station.  Service on this route will run twice a day Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

North Flex-Westport to Longview: This route will be combined to become the Westport/Clatskanie to St. Helens Fixed Route with a transfer at Rainier to a new Rainier to Longview Route.  This service will run three times per day 5 days per week, and will improve connections for north county residents to be able to get to Portland in a more connected way.

South Flex, Portland Fixed and St. Helens to PCC/Willow Creek:  These routes will not change.

Staff and drivers are fielding a lot of questions about the changes and ask for patience from riders as the we are dealing with the major changes and to please call us with any questions as the changes take effect.

“We are finding that in some cases there are unintended consequences that we had not expected to occur,” said Janet Wright, CCRider Transit Director, “however, we are trying to be as responsive to all rider concerns and get information out as soon as we become aware of any issues”.  “Riders with any questions should not hesitate to contact our dispatch at 503-366-0159”.

For information on the CCRider Transportation System, riders can go to www.columbiacountyrider.com for information or call our dispatch at 503-366-0159.