A construction flagger died this week after she was struck by a utility truck while helping Portland General Electric crews repair power lines along Highway 26 near Sandy.
Oregon State Police troopers were called out at about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday on reports that someone had been hit by a vehicle along the highway near milepost 32.
OSP officials say Brenda Stader, 50, of Portland, was working to control traffic on the highway as PGE crews repaired lines damaged in this week’s fierce storms.
Police identified 41-year-old Joshua Rinard, of Sandy, as the driver of the PGE truck that backed into Stader while he was repositioning the vehicle. PGE was using flagger contracted through Northwest Traffic Control, OSP said.
Stader sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
IBEW Local 659, a chapter of the electrical workers’ union, confirmed Stader’s passing this week and said she had worked with Northwest Traffic Control for nearly 10 years.
“It is with great sadness that we report the loss of Brenda Stader, who was fatally injured in the line of duty keeping the work zone safe and secure in the aftermath of the recent rainstorm,” the union said on Facebook. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.”
A GoFundMe campaign, which appears to have been set up by union colleagues and friends, has been set up and raised more than $12,000 to help cover funeral expenses and support her family.
In one of the last posts to her infrequently used Twitter account, back in February 2020, Stader said, “Sometimes ya just feel invisible” — though there’s no indication she was talking about her job.
OSP was assisted by the Sandy Fire Department and Oregon Department of Transportation.