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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

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

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View More Street maintenance fee should be decided by voters, not council: Editorial Agenda 2014

April 8, 2014 | On Thursday, Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick will release poll results showing how Portlanders feel about paying a new monthly fee to fix streets and sidewalks. The results will be telling, because a limited release of findings from the same poll already shows Portlanders feel strongly that their streets are badly in need of maintenance. How the tab gets paid is the question.

No matter what the polling shows, however, a new monthly fee for city services should be decided by voters. A fee passed by the council would be open to collection challenges and derision, however rational the argument about the city's core infrastructure needs. A ballot vote to approve an $8- to $12-a-month assessment for street maintenance would, by contrast, brand the spending as necessary and properly within the mission of the city's Bureau of Transportation. Also undecided is how much money businesses, compared to residents, would pay.

Nobody wants crumbling streets. Portland has about 5,000 miles of roads, and they carry a replacement value of roughly $5 billion -- a breathtakingly valuable asset that not only facilitates the movement of citizens but supports public safety and drives the economy. Novick, meanwhile, is correct in arguing that READ FULL ARTICLE