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June 3rd, 2009 WW Editorial Staff | Rogue of the Week
 

Karla Keller

Worse than parking tickets: Drinking and driving.

     
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KARLA KELLER

While researching this week’s story “Meter Maid” (see left), more than just parking tickets jumped out in a review of court records on Oregon Department of Transportation regional maintenance manager Karla Keller.

Last fall, Keller was convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants. We realize everyone screws up, but as a high-level ODOT manager ostensibly dedicated to public safety, Keller ought to follow the rules in a state where 181 people were killed by drunken drivers in 2007. And this was Keller’s second DUII, making her this week’s Rogue.

On Oct. 14, 2008, Keller was on her way home to Milwaukie from Portland when she was pulled over for speeding by Milwaukie Police Sgt. Floyd Marl at 12:39 am. Marl’s report says Keller was slurring her speech and smelled of alcohol. Her daughter was asleep in a child safety seat.

At the police station Keller blew a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 percent, double the legal limit. She pleaded guilty in Clackamas County Circuit Court and was sentenced to a diversion program. She had a prior DUII conviction in 1988, a couple years into her 23-year career at ODOT.

If one of Keller’s maintenance workers lost his commercial driver license for a DUII, ODOT spokesman Pat Cooney says it would lead to discipline and possibly dismissal if the license were required. Keller says she doesn’t have to drive for her job. She declined to say where she’d been drinking last October, but said she had probably been drinking Stella Artois beer.

“When I think back on that October night, it’s clear I never should have done that,” Keller says. “I’ve followed every court requirement that I’ve had in front of me.”

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