From the press room: Set up my new computer
One of the most useful sites is our media access to the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency call log. CRESA’s media log, which is delayed by about 15 minutes, provides us with the time of the 911 call, the type of incident, the address and the agency responding. It’s not enough for a story, but it checks an address and gives us an indication of who to check.
To find out more about people, a few years ago we purchased the Washington Voters Database from the Secretary of State’s office. Politicians love to buy this, this is how you get on mailing lists during election season. We do not provide public access to our list, which gives us the names of registered voters, their addresses and their dates of birth. But we can use the data to spell check an unusual name, like Herrera Beutler. I sometimes use odysseyportal.courts.wa.gov/odyportal to tell if anyone has a criminal record in Washington.
Another site that I use frequently is the Clark County Property Records, which you can find on the county’s website (or follow the link for the digital version of this column). Enter an address and you can get a bunch of information about a property, including neighborhood name, owner’s name, estimated value, and even a photo. This is very useful when a fire breaks out; you can see what kind of property is in danger.
There are several ways we can check for traffic accidents. For those performing on state highways, the Washington State Department of Transportation has an active Twitter account and a website, also available as an app, that shows live traffic cameras and conditions. This week, for example, we captured a WSDOT webcam image of a crash near the ilani casino for our website. Clark County also has a traffic webcam system on its web page.
The last item on my breaking news bookmarks is FlashAlert, a press release distribution service used by local police, fire departments, and other government agencies. It can be found at www.flashalertportland.net.