Update: Oregon admits error in traffic engineer case

As reported in April, the state of Oregon fined Mats Järlström of Beaverton $500 for supposedly practicing engineering without a license after he sent a letter to state officials challenging traffic camera practices, including various calculations, and mentioning his background as an electrical engineer. Now the state has admitted that it erred and violated his constitutional rights, and refunded his fine. [Reese Counts, AutoBlog]


  • The State admits to a clear §1983 violation. I don’t think $500 dollars is quite going to cover it.

  • This is the problem with nonsense like this from bureaucrats. In the face of an obvious violation of the constitution, no one will lose their jobs.

  • Perhaps it would be simpler if no one had to lose their job, but that agencies were subject to the simple liability rules that any business would potentially suffer with a visit to small claims court.

    ‘Your honor, they acted contrary to Oregon law (see ruling from state of Oregon), which as both citizens and state employees charged with knowing the law should have known, and cost me time/money. I wish compensation in the amount of $x,xxx.’

    Your honor asks what I’m smoking? Well, that’s been legal in Oregon since 2015.

    • I wouldn’t have a problem with them being personally liable to a small claims court case. It would be enough to put a little sting in their pockets and not have taxpayers on the hook. It would provide any incentive for the gov bureaucrat to follow the law.

      • Great idea! The problem is that it’s very unlikely to occur and that’s the real problem. The employee knowingly oversteps their authority or intent of the law (here a free speech violation) and the tax payer foots the bill on a civil suit. As SPO points out, no one is likely to lose their job.