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Portland Bureau of Transportation

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Phone: 503-823-5185

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Media Relations

Dylan Rivera

Diane Dulken

For breaking news from Portland Bureau of Transportation see our Twitter feed: @PBOTinfo. 

For breaking news on overall service disruptions in the Portland-Vancouver metro area, go to @publicalerts or see 

News Advisory: Annual Portland Aerial Tram evacuation exercise set for Sunday, Oct. 26

The annual evacuation exercise for the Portland Aerial Tram is set for Sunday morning, Oct. 26, 2014.

Trained professionals of the Portland Fire & Rescue Technical Rescue Team will lead the exercise. The exercise also includes representatives from the City of Portland, whose Bureau of Transportation owns the tram;  Oregon Health & Science University, which operates it along with Doppelmayr USA.

 Using ropes and harnesses, the team will lower the passengers 100 feet to the top floor of the OHSU Casey Eye Institute’s parking garage.  The training allows crews to practice an aerial rescue of tram passengers in the event the tram is stopped for an extended period of time with passengers on board.

 If members of the public contact you with questions about the training, please inform them that this is a scheduled training exercise and not a real emergency. The exercise has been conducted annually since the Portland Aerial Tram opened on Jan. 7, 2007.  There has never been a real emergency. 

The exercise is designed as a last resort safety precaution for the more than 5,000 daily commuters and tourists who ride the tram. The Portland Aerial Tram is one of only two used for urban transit in the U.S.

 WHEN:                       9 a.m. Sunday, Oct.26, 2014 - The exercise should be completed by noon.

 WHERE:                    The training will take place above the OHSU Casey Eye Institute parking garage. At that location a small number of exercise participants will be evacuated from the tram and lowered via ropes and harnesses down to the top of the parking structure. Local news crews are encouraged to cover the training, but we ask that you do so from the ground and refrain from entering the Casey Eye Institute parking lot so as not to interfere with the exercise.

 SPECTATORS:          The Portland Aerial Tram is closed on Sundays during the fall and winter. As a result, the training exercise will not interfere with regular operations. For those interested in observing, please do so from nearby locations and refrain from entering the Casey Eye Institute parking lot. 


The Portland Aerial Tram is owned by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation and operated by OHSU.  It opened to the public on Jan. 27, 2007. The cabins, named Walt and Jean, travel 3,300 linear feet between the South Waterfront terminal adjacent to the OHSU Center for Health & Healing, and the upper terminal at the Kohler Pavilion on OHSU's main campus. Traveling at 22 miles per hour, the tram cabins rise 500 feet for the three-minute trip over I-5, the Lair Hill neighborhood and the Southwest Terwilliger Parkway. Visit . Find the tram on Twitter @PortlandTram  and Facebook at

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News Advisory: City Commissioners Kick Off OpenFest! on Oct. 24 To Celebrate Successful Division Streetscape Project

This Friday, October 24 at 10 a.m., Portland City Commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick will help celebrate the completion of the Division Streetscape Project’s major improvements with local neighbors and business owners at SE 31st and Division.

Who:               City Commissioners Steve Novick and Nick Fish 

When:             Friday, October 24, 10 a.m.

Where:            SE 31st Avenue and Division Street

What:              Kick off of OpenFest!, a neighborhood and business community celebration of the successful completion of the Division Streetscape Project’s major infrastructure and safety improvements.

 Division Street neighbors and businesses are marking the end of the Division Streetscape Project with OpenFest!, a day-long celebration of the Division Street re-opening. The celebration will include special offers from businesses and live music, and will continue until 9 p.m.

 The $6.4-million Division Streetscape Project began in May 2013 and has successfully replaced 4,900 feet of sewer pipes and repaved and reconstructed about two miles of SE Division Street from SE 11th to SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard. 

 “When we invest in green streets, we save our ratepayers money,” said City Commissioner Nick Fish. “By replacing pipes and planting trees, Portland manages its stormwater in a cost-effective manner while increasing the livability of our neighborhoods.”

 “This has been a community led project from the beginning and we appreciate everyone’s patience throughout construction,” said Commissioner Novick. “Thanks to coordination between PBOT, BES and community partners, Division is a bustling destination main street that is safer, more accessible and fully open for business.” 

The streetscape project was conceived in 2001, when neighborhood and business owners formed the Division Vision group to explore ways to make Division a street that better serves both residents and businesses. That effort led to the 2005 Division Green Street/Main Street Plan.

 Project Highlights Include: 

  • Replacing 4,900 feet of sewer pipes and 32 sewer access structures that were in poor condition; 
  • Adding 50 new curb extensions, 140  ADA-accessible corner ramps, new crosswalks and streetlights, and improving signalization to increase safety, access and visibility for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists; 
  • Planting 150 street trees and constructing 68 green street planters to manage stormwater runoff; and
  • Repaving and reconstructing 2 miles of SE Division  from SE 11th Avenue to SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

 Environmental Services and the Portland Bureau of Transportation worked together to improve the Division Street transportation corridor, repair and replace older sewers, add green infrastructure to manage stormwater and make sewers work more efficiently, and improve watershed health. More information about the Division Streetscape Project is available at and the Division/Clinton Business Association has posted OpenFest! information at



Media contacts:

Linc Mann, Environmental Services, 503-823-5328,

Diane Dulken, Bureau of Transportation, 503-823-5552,


News Advisory: City advises residents to pickup leaves, keep streets and storm drains clear and safe

(October 21, 2014) –   It’s time to bring out the rakes.  With heavy rain and gusty winds predicted for late tonight and early Wednesday, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is asking Portlanders to keep streets and storm drains clear of fallen leaves.

Portland’s urban forest brings great beauty and benefits – from clean air and water to increased property values and free shade. But with trees come leaves – and when they fall in an urban environment, it's necessary to clean them up. 

From now through mid-December, removing leaves from our streets is critical because letting them stay on the street can clog storm drains, flood intersections and make streets slippery. The City has 58,000 storm drains and asks the public to help in keeping them clear.  

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is offering these storm tips:

 Simply sweep leaves up and  place them in your yard debris roll cart for easy pickup.

  • Please do not sweep leaves  into the street- that creates a hazard for travelers as leaves get smashed and create a slick surface
  • If a storm drain floods and clearing the surface doesn’t work, call the Transportation Bureau’s dispatch line 24/7 at 503-823-1700. We will send a crew to clear the storm  drain.
  • For residents near Fanno Creek and Johnson Creek, the Transportation Bureau has stocked two locations with sand and bags for winter weather.  Those locations are at Gabriel Park andLents Park and are self-service.
  • The City’s Leaf Day Pickup      Service, which offers a one or two day pickup service in neighborhoods   with a heavy concentration of street trees, begins November 2 and runs through December 17. The Leaf Day schedule and additional information may be  found at

More information on storm drains may be found at:


Diane Dulken, Portland Bureau of Transportation

503-823-5552, c: 503-577-8236


TRAFFIC ADVISORY Retaining wall repair to close section of NW Germantown Road Oct. 18-19 weekend and possibly the following weekend

 (October 17, 2014)  – The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public that the repair of a retaining wall on NW Germantown Road requires the road’s closure between Lilac Road and Harbor Boulevard this weekend, Saturday, October 18 and Sunday, October 19 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. 

The public is advised to expect delays, travel cautiously, observe the closure and directions by flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible.

 Local access will be provided.  Travelers wishing to reach NW Skyline Boulevard or Highway 30should use alternate routes such as NW Newberry Road or NW Cornell Road.

 This work is weather-dependent, and the schedule may change.  Additional work may need to be performed the following weekend and this advisory will be updated accordingly.



News Release: Portland celebrates historic restoration of NW Thurman Street Bridge that improves emergency access

Fire truck response times cut by 4 minutes

(Oct. 17, 2014) Commissioner Steve Novick and the Portland Bureau of Transportation celebrated the reopening of the NW Thurman Street Bridge, the oldest bridge in Oregon, in a ceremony today at Lower Macleay Park in Northwest Portland.

The six-month rehabilitation project strengthened the bridge and restored historic features for the structure, which was built in 1905, in time for the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition, a fair that preceded a remarkable era of growth in Portland.

“Not only does the Thurman Street Bridge have a great historic legacy, it is a hallmark of the surrounding neighborhood. Through well-coordinated collaboration of multiple City bureaus and government agencies, we were able to preserve the historic character of the bridge while modernizing it to meet today’s needs,” said Commissioner Novick, who oversees the Transportation Bureau. “Local residents have been incredibly patient as crews worked, and we’re all very excited to know that the bridge will stand tall for many more years to come.”

The bridge is a gateway to Forest Park and a crucial route for Northwest Portland residents, said Phil Selinger, board member of Northwest District Association, the neighborhood association for the area.

“It was a challenging project, but to the Willamette Heights community this is their portal, one of only a few ways to get to the neighborhood,” Selinger said. “The City did an excellent job of finding the funds, researching the history, and giving back to the neighborhood something that is so much nicer than we had before.”

Before the rehabilitation, City engineers placed restrictions intended to slow the bridge’s deterioration. Fire trucks were prohibited from using it, so Portland Fire & Rescue emergency responders had to use a longer route to enter the neighborhood.

With the rehabilitation complete, the weight restriction has been lifted and a fire truck crossed the bridge today for the first time in about 20 years.

“We are excited about the completion of this rehabilitation and modernization project!” said Portland Fire & Rescue Emergency Operations Division Chief Jim Forquer who is in charge of Emergency Operations for PF&R. “Regaining the use of the NW Thurman Street Bridge will improve our response times into many of these areas by over 4 minutes and during a critical medical event or fire, every second counts.”

The old wooden deck was subject to seasonal moisture-induced shrinkage and expansion, which contributed to cracks and potholes on the road surface. The new deck is made of steel girders, steel deck panels, concrete infill and an asphalt surface that should be more durable.

The Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association named it Project of the Year for 2014 for Historic Restoration/Preservation projects under $5 million. The award, announced Thursday night at a conference in Pendleton, named the City of Portland and contractor Cascade Bridge LLC of Vancouver, Wash.

NW Thurman Street Bridge at Macleay Park is also known at the Balch Gulch Bridge, named for Danford Balch, an early settler of the area that later became Northwest Portland.

In 1905, the bridge was lined with a beautiful pedestrian railing. However, in 1955, it was replaced with a green chain link fence. The rehabilitation project installed a new decorative railing, modeled after the original.

“One of the great parts of the current rehabilitation project was recreating the historic ornamental-style railing and adding a bit of style with the pine cone end post caps befitting the location at the entrance to Forest Park,” said Robert Hadlow, historian for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Funding for the $3.79 million project came from the Federal Highway Administration's Highway Bridge Program and PBOT’s general transportation revenue, which is comprised of state gas tax and local parking revenue. The federal contribution totals $3.4 million and the City's local match totals $390,000.

The bridge was closed for construction April 1 and reopened on Friday, Oct. 10.

David O'Longaigh, the City Bridge Engineer, thanked TriMet for providing shuttle service during the construction period and thanked the Bureau of Environmental Services and Portland Water Bureau for their cooperation.

See the project web site for more information and see PBOT’s Flickr account for images from today’s celebration.

Photos by Felicity J. Mackay/Portland Bureau of Transportation