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Commissioner Steve Novick

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Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

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View More Charlie Hales' plans for Portland's paving problems: 100 miles repaired in year

June 6, 2013 | Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is attacking the city's paving problems with a yearlong project starting next month.
City workers will grind, pave, fill or seal at least 100 miles of roads that need maintenance but have not fallen into a state of disrepair. Rather than reconstructing stretches of roads, an expensive endeavor, Hales has decided to fulfill his campaign promise to repair Portland streets by focusing first on prevention.

"Once a street falls into a complete state of disrepair it can be 10 times more expensive to fix that than if you were to do preventative maintenance," said Dylan Rivera, spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Transportation. "It's cheaper in the long run to do preventative maintenance."

Transportation workers will repair both heavily traveled roads, like Northwest Skyline Boulevard, and residential streets that are not used by through traffic, such as Northeast 64th Avenue. Although crews will work on roads in all quadrants of the city, many of the projects are clustered in Northeast Portland.

A total of $11.3 million was approved in the budget this next fiscal year for the maintenance. That compares with $9.8 million spent in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Some of the work is overdue, Rivera said. "Portland has not maintained residential streets since 2009," he said.

An investigation published by The Oregonian last year showed that the Transportation Bureau, led by then-Mayor Sam Adams from 2005 to 2012, kept road maintenance spending flat even though discretionary funding rose. And he funneled the money that was spent to high-traffic arterials and other projects such as the Sellwood Bridge, deferring maintenance on lesser-used roads.

Critics blasted him for focusing on potholes, which auditors say is equivalent to filling cavities in rotten teeth.

An independent city audit released in February found that over a third of Portland's 5,000 miles of roads are in poor or worse condition. To fix them, Portland would have to spend READ FULL ARTICLE