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Staff photo by Kathy Aney

The eastbound lanes of the Interstate 82 bridge at Umatilla won’t open in 2018 as expected.

A kick in the pants to the delay on the Interstate 82 bridge between Oregon and Washington, which means we have at least another four months (but we’ll bet even longer) of intermittent traffic jams on our way to and from the Tri-Cities.

We know we’re spoiled in Eastern Oregon that traffic is hardly an issue most days and most places. The 206 offramp in Pendleton and the area around Hermiston High School can prove a bit tricky at the wrong time of day, but it’s nothing compared to the gridlock larger cities deal with day in and day out.

That’s one of the benefits of living here.

But to hear the bridge fix is delayed until spring or summer because of unforeseen weather and unexpected work is hard to take seriously. The weather has been the same as any year, and timeframes should account for some surprises along the way.

It’s been more of the same in Pendleton with the removal of the Eighth Street Bridge, which has taken longer than originally expected at an extra cost to everyone involved.

Construction delays are nothing new, and there’s not much we can do about them but be patient and plan a few extra minutes for our drive. But it would be nice to at least get an accurate assessment of what we’re in for on the front end.

A tip of the hat to Sheriff Terry Rowan and District Attorney Dan Primus for their responsive handling of the Umapine homicide early Monday morning.

There’s never anything pleasant at a scene where a person has been killed and a suspect is on the loose. Coordinating a response, including interviewing witnesses and examining the crime scene, requires attention to detail that could make or break a case when it comes to a courtroom. And contacting family members of the deceased is surely the hardest part of the job for any sworn officer.

Relaying information to the public during the investigation is often low on the priority list, especially when so much is unknown or slowly being uncovered.

On Monday, Rowan and Primus, Umatilla County’s top two elected public safety officials, made an extra effort to keep the East Oregonian and the public at large informed about the investigation. As much as they could, anyway.

They made time for us on the phone and through text messaging, and talked to our reporters at the scene. They also sent press releases verifying information to news agencies around the area.

We know that rumors spread quickly, and believe the best antidote is to have verified information out as quickly as possible. We strive to be a part of that antidote, and appreciate the hard work that goes into the investigation and prosecution of heinous crimes.

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