Amid street fee controversy, street sweeping to be cut back

Amid street fee controversy, street sweeping to be cut back »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. -- While city leaders in Portland are pushing for street fees, KATU’s On Your Side Investigators found out a key street service, street sweeping, is being cut back starting July 1.

Portland’s Bureau of Transportation is cutting residential street sweeping from two to three times a year down to once or twice annually. Street sweeping on main streets, or thoroughfares, will continue at its normal rate of four to six times a year.

The transportation bureau says it pays most of the costs for street sweeping out of its own budget, but it also relies on a contribution from the Bureau of Environmental Services. That agency is cutting its contribution in half from about $350,000 last year to about $180,000 this coming fiscal year, which begins next Tuesday.

Residents KATU spoke with in Portland had mixed feelings about possibly paying a street fee while seeing a key service reduced.

“If you're paying more money it feels like there should be more services as far as street cleaning," said Phil Juarez.

"That's just kinda how you run things," said Eli Gorman. “’You kinda have to do cutting and fundraising at the same time."

The Bureau of Environmental Services says the mayor asked them to cut their budget by 2.5 percent and that street sweeping doesn't do enough for water quality, one of the agency's main priorities.

If the street fee is passed by the City Council in November, most single family homes will have to pay $6 a month starting in July of next year. That will eventually rise to $12 a month over three years.