Homeowners criticize Portland's proposed street fee

Homeowners criticize Portland's proposed street fee »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. --  “Is it going to get to the point where I have to decide food versus medication?” said Portland home owner Rodney Marshall.

That's why Marshall came to Portland’s street fee proposal meeting for homeowners. Marshall is on a fixed income and disabled. Fighting the proposed street fee is a matter of survival.

“Work needs to be done,” Marshall said. “There's no doubt about it. Our infrastructure's falling apart. But they need to be accountable for the way they spend their money.”

That's at the core for most of the more than 100 homeowners who came to the fee meeting Wednesday night. They aren't sure the city is watching other spending closely.

“Why don't you tell the people here about your 40-million dollar hotel that you want to build?” said one speaker.

“The street fee is in actuality a tax. Therefore, by all means, it should go before the voters,” said another speaker.

Despite the anger, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales says doing nothing is not an option.

“People are frustrated and unhappy about the idea of a new tax,” said Hales. “I understand that completely. I'm frustrated and unhappy that we're in this situation too. But the only thing I like less than a new tax is passing on our streets to our kids in worse condition than we got them.”

That's one thing the mayor and Rodney Marshall agree on.

The question of how to pay for work everyone agrees needs to be done still remains.

“I just hope to be heard. Either way, I can't complain. I've made my thoughts known. That's what's nice about this society. It's a great country we live in. I just don't want to see it go down the toilet,” said Marshall.