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News Release: City’s largest energy efficiency project hits major milestones: More than 20,000 street lights converted to LEDs; monthly savings surpass $100,000

 Photo by Felicity J. Mackay/Portland Bureau of Transportation.

(July 23, 2015) –  Commissioner Steve Novick today announced that the Portland Bureau of Transportation had surpassed two major milestones in the city’s largest ever energy efficiency project:  More than 20,000 city street lights have been converted to modern LED lights, and savings from the program have now topped $100,000 per month. Those monthly savings will continue to grow as more lights are converted.

The benefits don’t stop there. Commissioner Novick and Transportation Bureau Director Leah Treat also accepted a ceremonial check of $817,490 from Energy Trust of Oregon, which provides incentives and discounted pricing to government, businesses and residents to convert lights to energy-saving LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, a relatively new technology that has quickly taken hold in the energy marketplace. The check represents the incentives for the 20,000 LED streetlights installed to date.  

LEDs“The city is benefiting in so many ways from energy-saving LEDs. Whether you’re a resident or a business owner, you can too,” said Commissioner Novick at a news conference in North Portland’s Peninsula Park, where crews were changing lights along the surrounding streets. “We are saving money, we are saving energy and we are cutting down on climate disrupting carbon pollution. Plus, each neighborhood will benefit from street lights that last four times longer and provide reliable light for people’s safe travels on our streets and sidewalks.“

The new LED street lights use half the energy of the high-pressure sodium bulbs they replace and are expected to last up to 20 years. They also prevent about 10,500 tons of carbon pollution each year.   

“We’re pleased to be working with the City to make a change that has such great benefits – both in cost and energy savings and in the safety and livability of neighborhoods,” said Margie Harris, executive director, Energy Trust. “We’ve seen a dramatic surge in both homes and businesses making the switch to LED lighting. Last year, 68 percent of our record high lighting savings in existing buildings came from LEDs, including indoor fixtures, street lighting, exterior fixtures and lamps.” 

The news conference marked the halfway point in the city’s conversion process. PBOT crews began changing 45,000 of the City’s 55,000 street lights to LEDs a year ago, a process that is expected to be complete by the end of 2016. As of this week, 22,676 street lights have been switched.

Portland City Council unanimously passed an ordinance in December 2012 to authorize the conversion, dedicating $18.5 million to the project from a general obligation bond. Once the project is complete, the City can expect to save $1.5 million a year in maintenance and energy costs. At that rate, the project will pay for itself in eight years. At the direction of City Council, future years’ savings will be used as a sustainable revenue stream for street light maintenance, purchasing green energy, and to finance the next round of upgrades about 20 years from now.  

The $1.5 million annual savings is a conservative estimate and actual savings may be higher, said PBOT Director Leah Treat. “I am pleased that the savings may exceed our projections.  I am also pleased by how the new street lights deliver benefits to each neighborhood, to our city as a whole and to our efforts to address climate change. We are making a difference street by street and light by light.” 

People can track the progress of the project via an interactive map at Green dots show lights that have been installed; red indicates lights that will be converted. The map also allows the public to send in questions and feedback on each street light. 

The new LED street lights are easily identifiable: they cast a crisp light similar to moonlight, unlike the yellow-tinged light from high-pressure sodium bulbs. They provide the same coverage to illuminate city streets as the old fixtures while also projecting more light downward to lower light pollution and make it easier for people to star gaze. 

Many other cities are making the switch to save both money and energy, including Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle as well asPortland’s nearby neighbors Gresham, Lake Oswego, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Clackamas County and Milwaukie.

The final environmental benefit? The City is recycling the old high pressure sodium fixtures and bulbs.  

Photo by Felicity J. Mackay/Portland Bureau of Transportation 


The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and  

Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable power. Our services, cash incentives and energy solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save $1.9 billion on energy bills. Our work helps keep energy costs as low as possible, creates jobs and builds a sustainable energy future. Learn more at www.energytrust.org1.866.368.7878.

Traffic Advisory: Street improvements on NE Grand Avenue to close lanes from NE Lloyd Boulevard to NE Holladay Street, July 24-Aug. 1

(July 22, 2015)  – The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public that street improvements will require lane closures on NE Grand Avenue from NE Lloyd Boulevard to NE Holladay Street starting Friday, July 24, through Saturday, Aug. 1, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each work day.

The lane closures will allow crews to pave .92 lane miles of NE Grand Avenue.

Streets with ground down surfaces are open for travel. Lane closures are only in effect during project hours. Access will be maintained for businesses, residents and TriMet service during the project.

The traveling public is advised to expect delays while repairs are being made. We ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all lane closures and directions by reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible.

This work is weather-dependent and the schedule may change.


The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.

News Release: Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways to be held July 26; includes bi-lingual bike fair at Portland’s new Khunamokwst Park

(July 21, 2015) – The City of Portland Sunday Parkways presented by Kaiser Permanente rolls into Northeast Portland this Sunday, June 26, opening eight miles of streets to traffic-free bicycling, walking, rolling and other fun activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The route loops along streets with neighborhood greenways markings and low speed limits for everyone to bike, stroll, roll, skate and play on traffic-free streets.  The Sunday Parkways route also will connect Northeast Portland Parks – Fernhill, Woodlawn, Alberta- and Portland’s newly added Kʰunamokwst Park (pronounced KAHN-ah-mockst).

Sunday Parkways is a series of five free community events opening the city's largest public space – its streets – for people to walk, bike, and roll and discover active transportation.  The event series, held in a different neighborhood once a month from May to September, is hugely popular; total attendance topped 108,000 last year.

By holding traffic-free Sunday Parkways on routes that include neighborhood greenways and connects parks, PBOT hopes to introduce people of all backgrounds to get out and get active every day.

The Northeast Portland event also features a Bilingual Bike Fair, presented in partnership with Andando en Bicicletas en Cully (ABC) Group, to provide bike helmet safety and bike repair advice in both English and Spanish, and to encourage more Hispanic families to join the event.  The Bike Fair will be held at - Khunamokwst Park also from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  All are welcome.

Luica Llanos Pino, a member of the ABC Group said the group was inspired by their partnership with the Community Cycling Center’s bicycling program to come together to promote physical activity, community bonding and address social isolation for residents living in predominantly immigrant communities in Portland.

The event’s detailed Sunday Parkways route map  shows the route as well as bus and light rail options to help area residents get to Sunday Parkways via bike and transit. A schedule and listing of event highlights are available on the Sunday Parkways Northeast Portland brochure.

For maps and more information, visit or call 503-823-7599. Follow us on Facebook at PortlandSundayParkways and on Twitter @SundayParkways.

Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways provided by the generous support from the following sponsors:

 sunday parkways sponsors


The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and


News Release: Citing safety and economic development benefits, Commissioner Novick welcomes back Naito Pilot Project during Oregon Brewers Festival

(July 17, 2015) – Commissioner Steve Novick and community partners today announced the Naito Pilot Project, a temporary safety solution that will create a pleasant route for people to get to and enjoy the Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) at Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of several major summer events in Portland’s waterfront park. The festival attracts some 85,000 visitors, with more than 30 percent coming from out of state. But to reach the festival, visitors and tourists are too often forced to walk in a bike lane, or bike in a travel lane with high-speed vehicle traffic.

“The safety of residents and visitors is our top priority,” said Novick, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “That’s particularly true for events and festivals along the waterfront. We want everyone to have a great time, be safe and enjoy some of Oregon’s finest beer!”

Starting Tuesday, July 21 at 6pm and lasting through Monday, July 27 at 6pm, the four-lane SW Naito Parkway will have three travel lanes, plus a lane of open space for the public to walk and bike safely to the festival. The pilot project will open nearly a mile of street, 15 feet wide, to public use, from SW Salmon Street to SW Ankeny. The Brewers Festival has in the past used parts of SW Naito for loading.

The pilot project will be similar to an opening of Naito conducted during the Rose Festival in June. To help keep visitors safe, Better Block PDX, a local group devoted to creating temporary public space, worked with PBOT to create the project. Better Block volunteers will build safety barriers and pedestrian lanes, monitor traffic, and count people walking and bicycling along the waterfront.

Unlike the Naito pilot project in June, people on bicycle will be able to travel in both directions of the public space. During the weekend, the northern end of the project will begin at SW Ash Street in order to facilitate Saturday Market activities.

“Better Block is excited to continue the conversation about public space on our downtown waterfront that was started by Gov Tom McCall,” said Ryan Hashagen, a volunteer with the group. “The legacy of Gov. McCall and Waterfront Park has proven so successful and is often at peak capacity, Better Block PDX is happy to partner with Oregon Brewers Festival to create a safe space for all Oregonians to enjoy our downtown Waterfront.”

Transportation Director Leah Treat said PBOT is collaborating with the festival and Better Block on their request to create safer public access to the waterfront. “We are eager to help create a safe, enjoyable experience for the thousands of people walking and biking to this great event,” she said.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Portland, Better Block PDX, Oregon Walks, and Portland State University to create a safe space for our patrons as they come to the waterfront to enjoy some of the best tasting beer in the world,” said Art Larrance, director of the Oregon Brewers Festival.

Portland State University engineering students designed traffic control measures for the project, which were reviewed by PBOT staff. “For a university that strives every day to heed the motto, 'Let Knowledge Serve The City,' there is no clearer sign of success than a student project being brought to life in the heart of our city," said Wim Wiewel, president of PSU.

An economic analysis conducted by Eastern Oregon University during last year’s festival found:

  • Women accounted for nearly half (44%) of OBF attendees.
  • Nearly half (42%) of the attendees utilized public transit to reach the festival.
  • 41% of OBF patrons were attending the festival for the first time.
  • The largest demographic of attendees are 21-29 year olds (29%) followed by those over the age of 50 (25%).
  • 290 jobs were created as a direct result of the economic impact of the Oregon Brew Festival.


Have your say about the Naito Pilot Project:

Twitter: #BetterNaito

Email comments:

Web site:

Facebook: Portland Bureau of Transportation

Leave a message by phone: 503-823-4321


Better Block PDX has obtained funding for this project from Clif Bar.


The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.

News Release: Director Treat announces PBOT surpasses Back to Basics goal to preserve 100 miles of streets

Back to Basics map

(click image to view full-size PDF)

(July 14, 2015) Transportation Director Leah Treat announced today that the Portland Bureau of Transportation surpassed its goal of preserving 100 lane miles of City streets during the budget year that ended June 30.

The 103 miles preserved in fiscal year 2014-15 equals the total miles treated in the prior year, but represents more than double the lane miles of streets preserved in 2012-13.

Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick set the goal of 100 miles of street preservation two years ago and have continued their advocacy for more transportation investment.

“Basic maintenance is a smart investment because it saves money in the long run,” said Novick, who oversees PBOT. “If we spend a little money now to keep roads in good condition, more costly road rebuilds can be prevented and delayed. The Mayor and I set the 100 miles of preservation goal, and I’m glad the transportation bureau is making it an annual tradition to surpass that goal, even with limited resources.”

Treat said that PBOT has its sights set on a third year of preserving 100 miles of streets in fiscal year 2015-16, which started July 1.

“This is no longer an aspirational goal. This is business as usual for the City of Portland,” Treat said. “Portland Progress, the two-year workplan that PBOT adopted in February, makes it clear that street preservation is fundamental to our mission as the steward of the City’s transportation system. Our asset managers pick the right projects to preserve the system. And our maintenance crews work hard and always search for new techniques to get the job done.”

Mayor Hales and Commissioner Novick continue to make maintenance a high priority. They successfully advocated for a budget for 2015-16 includes the largest General Fund investment in transportation in 30 years. The Council approved $20 million more for basic transportation investments, for a total $29 million from the city’s General Fund.

PBOT uses a variety of treatments that help prevent potholes from occurring and save money. A fog seal preventive sealant costs at least $8,500 a lane mile. If PBOT waits for that same street to fall into poor condition, it could cost at least $1 million to $2 million to rebuild.

Crews preserved the 103 lane miles using a variety of street preservation techniques. In 2014-15, PBOT completed a total of 56 lane miles of grinding and repaving the street surface -- work that is mainly conducted on high-traffic streets. Crews treated 44 lane miles with fog seal, a technique used mainly on low-traffic neighborhood streets. On 3 lane miles, workers completed base repairs, in which they dig up, repair and repave badly damaged areas of streets.

A lane mile is one mile of street that is 12-feet wide. In 2015-16, PBOT expects to apply more crack sealing to arterial streets, as a way to extend the life of those streets and avoid more costly rebuilds and repaving projects. At a news conference on North Argyle Street, crews demonstrated how it works.

For every $15 million we invest in preventive maintenance, PBOT estimates the City can avoid at least $50 million a year in future costs.

“We make the most of limited resources by doing the right work, at the right place, at the right time,” Treat said.


The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.