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Portland Bureau of Transportation

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City Council on May 29 to consider paving policy shift that restores maintenance for local streets

(PORTLAND,Ore.) – Preventive maintenance and road repair would resume on neighborhood streets under a policy shift the Portland City Council will consider on Wednesday.

The Council will consider a resolution authorizing the Portland Bureau of Transportation to resume paving and maintenance work on city owned and maintained local streets. It would rescind a 2009 resolution (No. 36672) that stopped local streets work and instead directed the bureau to focus its limited dollars exclusively on repaving arterial and collector roads.

“We could no longer neglect neighborhood streets where the majority of Portlanders live,” said Mayor Charlie Hales, “The new policy means paving and road work will be designed to deliver the highest value on all Portland streets, on both neighborhood streets and more heavily used arterials.”

The new policy affects the two-thirds ofPortland’s street system that is classified as local and paved, the lower-trafficked streets where the majority of Portlanders live. Under the new policy, the bureau will prioritize repairing streets that are within one-quarter mile of a school as well as streets that are classified as neighborhood greenways.

The bureau estimates it will repair about 50 miles of local streets this year, in addition to maintaining the more heavily trafficked arterials and collector streets.

All repair work will prioritize preventive maintenance and restoration of streets in fair condition over rebuilding heavily deteriorated streets, a more cost effective approach than focusing on roads that have deteriorated to the point where they need to be completely rebuilt. Rebuilding heavily deteriorated roads costs ten times as much as renovating streets in fair or better condition and preventing their deterioration, the bureau has determined under its Pavement Management System.

The new policy follows the recommendations in a February report by the Office of the City Auditor: Street Pavement: Condition shows need for better stewardship, which recommended rescinding the 2009 resolution, as well as taking other steps that the bureau is implementing.

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