A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council OKs red light and speed cameras

Written December 13th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

This intersection, Santiam and Geary, is one of those where the city will have new speed and red light cameras. (Photo taken on Dec. 9, 2023.)

There was no debate and no disagreement on the Albany City Council Wednesday as members unanimously voted for new traffic cameras likely to yield a massive increase in revenue from fines.

Dollar amounts were not mentioned, however, as the council with considerable enthusiasm approved a police department proposal to make a no-bid deal with an Arizona company to install red light and, for the first time, speed camera systems at four intersections.

Councilwoman Steph Newton was not present for the vote. She joined the meeting later. The other five council members all voted for the sole-source procurement of the camera gear.

In a memo to the council requesting the action, Police Chief Marcia Harnden said the cost will be $3,000 per camera system per month, and the expense will be offset by the fines drivers pay for violations.

Assuming that each intersection will have just one new camera system, that puts the annual cost at $144,000.

Harnden told the council Wednesday night that speeding is by far the biggest problem the Albany police get complaints about.

According to the chief, the department’s mobile speed trailer once clocked someone on North Albany Road at 134 miles an hour. (That must have been when no one else was on the road. Otherwise, with normal traffic, it’s impossible, but no one on the council wondered about this.)

The chief said her conservative estimate is that the additional cameras will yield 15,000 to 17,000 tickets a year. An average fine of $200 per ticket equals annual revenue of at least $3 million.

Harnden expects a staffing increase will be needed in some departments, including the equivalent of one additional full-time employee in the city court.

Councilwoman Marilyn Smith said the cameras will not be a money maker for the city, and neither the revenue nor the cost would be necessary if drivers obeyed the speed limit. “I do,” she said. “It’s not that hard.”

According to the police plan, the cameras will be installed at Santiam and Geary, at Queen and Elm, and on North Albany Road at Thornton Lake Drive. Two more cameras will cover the two approaches at Queen and Geary that don’t already have them.

No one said when the cameras will be in place. (hh)

The story has been edited to clarify the voting.

30 responses to “Council OKs red light and speed cameras”

  1. Cap B. says:

    Oh, *!&*t !!! I want to swear up a storm, but can’t here on the blog. I can’t figure out your Santiam and Geary picture. Is that big building Petco? I didn’t know what that stretch of road was called now…but, I guess it is Santiam.

    Jesus H. (you know what!)!! I would move if I had the money and if there was anywhere feasible to move nowadays in this country of ours. Well, it used to be ours.

    I would like to tell smug Marilyn Smith (maybe Coach K’s smugness is catching) to try making a right turn on red when the timing is off on the lights turning from green to yellow and red. Will she still be a Miss Goody-2-Shoes cheerleader for the Council after she pays her fine!!!

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    $3,000,000/yr. minus an administrative cost finds its way into the city’s cash-starved general fund.

    And a Councilor claimed these speed cameras won’t be a money maker?

    Addiction and denial: the hardest thing to admit by a user. Therapy is clearly required.

  3. Craig says:

    The cameras will yield 15,000 to 17,000 tickets a year that do absolutely NOTHING to reduce accidents.
    41-45 TIckets per day to generate revenue! Not to make us safe, just more monies for the Council to play with. Nothing to do with safety at all!
    Please give the names of who voted for this crap. All the names. Each and everyone should be voted out. ASAP. This is a blatant money grab.
    No Debate? No disagreement? I have a few disagreements.


  4. DD says:

    What happend to community? When the police don’t do their jobs but would would rather have an outside agency do it. I think if we put in more cameras than get rid of a police officer for each one. Than we can offset the cost of them. I would have to say that most of the drivers in Albany drive slower than the speed limit by 5 to 10 mph. So why are we adding cameras when from HH. Other article showed no benefit of having them.

  5. Terry Klein says:

    134 mph, your speed camera is a joke. City Council has been brainwashed again

  6. Ray Kopczynski says:

    This was a very easy vote for me. What’s interesting is the complainers are not claiming they have a “right” to speed (there is none other than for 1st responders), rather the methodology by which more speeders will be caught. That it may not force speeders to slow down…my personal take is/will be – the fine for speeding is not painful enough to get their attention.
    Full disclosure – Yes, I have been speeding at times. Yes, if I get a ticket, I will pay it.

    • Craig says:

      If there is any profit in the tickets a way will be found to gouge the very constituent’s you claim to represent.
      A simple google will show you very clearly what has happened in Oregon already.

      What makes you think anything has changed. This isn’t about safety, it says it in the report that nobody was questioning. Obviously nobody questions a good revenue stream.

      This is about outsourcing legitimate local issues for the purpose of gouging constituents and generating revenues.

    • Gothic Albany says:

      Ray, I’m kinda curious how many of these people complaining in the comments section actually cared enough to take time to write a letter to city council or comment in business from the public on the matter.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        I can’t speak for any other councilor, but personally, I’ve had zero-zip-nada comments about this issue directly to me via email, letter, phone call, etc. Council has had one or two folks commenting in business from public that I recall…

    • Cap B. says:

      Mr. Coach Ray K. weighs in, and he found it “easy” to vote for more money-making, preying-on-the-public traffic cameras. Oh, and, yes, he has been guilty of “speeding at times” and will gleefully pay a ticket if he gets one. (I have to go throw up!!)

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Anything that extracts money from the citizens of Albany is just GREAT per your voting record. If it wasn’t for your (and your co conspirators) voting record, you wouldn’t be so damn desperate to keep extracting more money from us.

      Aren’t you special? You would actually pay the fine for speeding if you got a ticket. What in the hell do you think the rest of us would do? Again, you demonstrate how disingenuous you are!

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        You are correct in one regard. I only get one vote, but if I fundamentally believe it is in the best interest of the entire community (and not the usual folks habituating this blog), I will guarantee you I will vote to increase my taxes (and yours by extension) if my vote helps get a majority on council.

  7. chris j says:

    Wow! The real Mr. K came out. He admitted he breaks and disrespects the law. How smug is that to endanger other people and feel content to pay a fine rather than obey the law. You think this might show an established trend.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      If anyone tells me with a straight face they have never gone faster than the speed limit, pardon me while I do a spit-take…

      • KinderParkNeighbor says:

        I am a middle-aged United States citizen who has spent their entire life residing in four different states in our nation. I am not disabled, financially destitute, or unreasonably eccentric.

        I have never propelled a vehicle faster than any speed limit, posted or otherwise. (Straight face.)

        I don’t like cars. I have received a driver’s permit multiple times. I know how to operate a motor vehicle. I can do so safely. It may be that I would feel more comfortable living in Rome, but I like to walk.

        I live in your ward. I expect you to represent me, not guffaw when you imagine a different lifestyle.

  8. MK says:

    Will the ticket be issued to the vehicle owner (or lessee) or the driver? As in, what if I let my friend borrow my car for the day while theirs in the the shop and it was them driving when the citation/ticket was issued?

  9. Bill Kapaun says:

    I remind the citizens of Albany to go back and read this article by one of the more illustrious commentators of our time-


    • Hasso Hering says:

      That commentary is from 2014 and outdated. Those fees no longer go to the street fund.

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        The point is that the CITY tries to extract money from any possible source and ISN”T always up front about it. They never quit!

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        Just to add-

        The only reason I see that this is outdated is because The MAYOR/CITY COUNCIL has diverted funds that were INTENDED for STREET REPAIRS to their own stupid pet projects.

        Everybody should read that column and ask- “WHAT HAPPENED RAY”?

  10. Marci Monroe says:

    The one on Thornton lake- how will the camera know when it is school time or not- speed goes from 40 to 20 mph during school hours – just curious how it will know when it’s school zone or not ?

  11. Gordon L. Shadle says:


    Hopefully the Councilors where briefed on this when the Chief asked for permission to impose speed cameras on Albany drivers.

    So….Will the speed cameras activate every time a vehicle travels above the posted speed limit?

    Will the ticket amount depend on how fast the vehicle is traveling, i.e., faster means a larger fine?

    How much over the posted speed limit activates a fine, e.g., 1-10 mph over? 11-20? 134+?

    What are the presumptive fines for these violations?

    Are they different than a human cop nailing you with a radar gun

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Working on the money angle. Story on presumptive fines upcoming.

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Should be an interesting $ story.

        Another question – Like many other Oregon municipalities (ex: Medford), is Albany planning to install Flock license plate cameras?

        This is a permanent pole mounted system that can track the movement of every single car every single moment of the day. The system captures make, model, color and license plate.

        No violation needed. No warrant required.

        Like red light and speed cameras, the system is marketed as a reasonable tradeoff – less privacy for more perceived safety.

  12. KinderParkNeighbor says:

    There are two questions that should be addressed. 1. How much money has been spent already on the traffic cameras? I expect the city council to know that already. 2. How much money has been received due to fines imposed by the tickets that were issued?. I expected the council to ask that one, they didn’t.

    We know the cameras have had little to no impact on the safety of that intersection. I’d argue that they made things worse when they were installed. I can’t be the only one to remember that during the first few months of its operation, the camera watching the Queen approach would flash so much that it was literally blinking. With absolutely zero traffic to been seen on either road and that thing would be flashing out morse code. Which is probably why 70%! (according to the Chief) of the pictures taken were of people not committing a traffic infraction.

    What happens when someone goes flying through an intersection at an unsafe speed while driving someone else’s car? Nothing. The owner denies involvement and the speeder is not prosecuted.

    The cameras are ineffective at this location and are actually needed at other intersections. So why not put them there? “There aren’t any traffic lights to put them on.”… So what we need are traffic lights.

    I smell kickbacks.

  13. hj.anony1 says:

    Greedy police and city council. Disgusting!!!

    Time to take the front plate off. Shove it on the dash and smile.

  14. Birdiken says:

    They are already counting the money and looking to add another 6 figure salary all before collecting a dime. I’’m sure locals will just avoid those areas all together. Those visiting our city who get a ticket will be sure never to come back.

  15. chris j says:

    Go start spitting Mr. K. I obey the laws. Never a ticket for speeding or anything else. At a young age I lost family to people who assumed everyone breaks the law. A family member and I have both been hit by speeding cars while riding our bikes. Four family members killed or severely injured by speeding cars. I have been hit in my car by other drivers 6 times while driving. Vehicles are lethal weapons. I do not want to cause my kiddos the grief I suffered as a child due to those who lack the moral fortitude to recognize the consequences of their actions. If you need a camera to keep you in check that is all on you.

  16. Mac says:

    “North Albany Road at Thornton Lake Drive” what a waste of time and money, you cant even get people to go the speed limit there, usually 10 mph under.


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