Published: September 5, 2017

Jim Miley works on the Region 2 Striping Crew. Last June, Jim and his crew were painting a stretch of highway near Oakridge. A motorist, upset about the striping crew holding up traffic, exited his vehicle in a rage and physically attacked Jim before fleeing the scene. After the attack, Jim was able to get to his vehicle and radio for help. Unfortunately, the responding officer was limited by law and only able to charge the assailant with the lowest degree of assault – charges that were dropped by the Lane County DA.

Jim worked for 3 months to finally get the case taken to a Grand Jury, which came back with some substantial charges (special thanks to Eric Hasselman, Lane County Deputy DA, for his work to see that the assailant faced consequences). As a result of that battle, Jim wanted to see the laws changed, and approached SEIU 503 leaders about helping him through the legislative process to better protect the ODOT workers who are keeping our highways safe.

When ODOT leaders heard Jim’s story they began brainstorming how to make sure this didn’t happen again. Last fall Jim Miley (Lyons), Mike Scott (Grants Pass), Lee Erickson (IR Flanders), and Craig Johnston (Lawnfield) worked with several legislators who were willing to sponsor legislation raising the degree of crime for assaulting a highway worker up to the same degree as assaulting a police officer. In early August Governor Brown signed House Bill 2721 into law, making it a felony to assault a highway worker or flagger.

Congratulations to Jim and all the hard-working SEIU members at ODOT.