Southeast Portland road being rebuilt. But why?

Southeast Portland road being rebuilt. But why? »Play Video
The city of Portland is rebuilding this road after heavy trucks used it during a construction project.

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Southeast Portland road that was built up to accommodate heavy trucks is being torn up and rebuilt.

But is there a good reason why?

What is known is that the cost to taxpayers is in the six figures.

At least one resident says he finds the construction “annoying.”

Gerald Hillebrand says he misses the view that he pays an extra $15 a month in rent to have.

“I haven’t seen a deer in a year and a half,” he says. “All it is, is noise and dirt.”

His mobile home backs up to an access road leading up to the Powell Butte Reservoir. The Portland Water Bureau is rebuilding the road at a cost of $210,000. It’s part of the $120 million underground reservoir project.

The road was rebuilt and reinforced once in 2009. The water bureau says that was done to accommodate thousands of heavy truck trips up to the reservoir construction site. Now that the project is winding down that same road is being rebuilt and reinforced.

But why? The portion of the road that KATU could see didn’t seem to be worn out. Hillebrand didn’t think it was too bad, either. Even one of the heavy truck drivers told KATU that he thought the road was fine.

Jaymee Cuti, a spokesperson with the Portland Water Bureau responded to KATU’s questions by email saying, “With the heavy traffic from the project, we knew we would damage the road. We committed to the public and through a land use process that we would repave/rebuild the road.”

“To me, it’s a big waste of money,” said Hillebrand.

He’s also upset the Portland Water Bureau spent nearly $600,000 on a visitor center and $450,000 on a caretaker home on the site.

“If it’s unnecessary, why are they doing it?” Hillebrand said.

So for now, Hillebrand will have to wait until construction stops this summer before he can enjoy his view again. In the meantime, it’s a $210,000 do-over, and you paid for it.

Have a "You Paid For It" story idea? Email it to Steve Dunn at steved@katu.com.