VENETA — Motorists traveling to or through the Veneta area in the coming days would be wise to slow down, buckle up, put away the cellphones and — if necessary — find a designated driver.
Lane County sheriff's deputies will be out in force beginning Thursday, conducting what they call "high visibility traffic enforcement patrols" during the Oregon Country Fair.
The well-established event runs Friday through Sunday, and deputies plan to maintain a presence in the area through Monday.
Deputies issued 149 citations — including 51 seat belt tickets and 30 speeding tickets — and took 15 people into custody while conducting similar, focused patrols during last year’s event. Two people were arrested on intoxicated driving charges, and four more for drug possession.
During the 2016 fair, deputies worked with three other law enforcement agencies to make 14 intoxicated-driving arrests.
The annual event always brings extra vehicle and pedestrian traffic to the Veneta area. Because of that, the speed limit along a portion of Highway 126 will be lowered to 45 mph during the fair, sheriff's officials said.
Flaggers will work to control traffic at the fair's main entrance along the highway. No parking or U-turns are allowed along the highway and Suttle Road during the event.
A pair of traffic safety grants administered by the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association will pay for the extra sheriff's patrols, officials said.
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