Mayor looks to outside money for sidewalk improvements

Mayor looks to outside money for sidewalk improvements »Play Video
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales hopes to use federal grants and other sources of money outside the city to help pay to install sidewalks on Portland streets that don't have them.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Mayor Charlie Hales said Wednesday that he has a solution to improve the city's sidewalks without putting a big dent in the budget.

One project in Northeast Portland already has money in the budget, but Hales believes there are federal street safety grants and other sources outside the city to help pay for future sidewalks and street repairs.

The city will install sidewalks along Northeast Prescott Street between 105th and 115th avenues. Most of that street doesn't have sidewalks on either side in that area.

There's a city park along that section of Prescott – plus bus stops. So the street draws a lot of foot traffic. The city's budget already contains the half-million to three-quarters of a million dollars to get those sidewalks put in.

"We've got to get on with building sidewalks in the many, many miles of city streets where they're not there yet," Hales said. "And so every chance we get, every tool we can use to start putting pieces of that in place, is something I'm very interested in doing."

The Council had to approve an emergency clause for this particular project to get bids out and get the project underway before the end of the city's fiscal year.