Big bumps in the road to get smoothed over after council vote

Big bumps in the road to get smoothed over after council vote »Play Video
The Portland City Council approved spending $500,000 on Wednesday to repave streets. According to PBOT, it hopes to repave about 50 miles of local streets this summer, weather permitting.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to allow the city's transportation department to spend $500,000 to repave some local streets.

Repaving city streets was one priority that came out of a recent city audit.

In 2009, former Mayor Sam Adams and City Council adopted a resolution that ignored upkeep on smaller local streets in favor of the city’s larger more heavily traveled roads.

On Wednesday that policy was rescinded and new Mayor Charlie Hales acknowledged it's a step in the right direction.

"Having a commitment to the whole system, and then coming up with smart cost-effective solutions like this fog-sealing program is exactly what we need to be doing," he said during the City Council meeting.

Toby Widmer, the interim director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, helped sway the commissioners' decision with his presentation.

"And it has been tough to just – our only response has been to just fill potholes," he said. "At least this is a little proactive and moving in the right direction."

PBOT plans to start repaving work after July 1 when the new budget kicks in.

They already have a list in mind and will start with streets that are considered neighborhood greenways and those within a quarter mile of a public school.

One of the first projects to get started will be Southeast 87th Avenue near Harrison Park School.

Kathy Hensel and her family have lived there for many years. She's happy to have a smoother drive in her future and said it’s probably been over 20 years since the last time the road was repaved.

While good weather is critical to getting the work done, Widmer said they hope to get 50 miles of local streets repaved this summer.