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Mayor Hales: Portland transportation leaders pause street fund vote as legislature crafts transportation bill

Office of Mayor Charlie Hales City of Portland



PORTLAND, OR – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick today temporarily halted the paperwork necessary to take an advisory vote to the May ballot, regarding options to pay for city street maintenance and safety.

“Today, I am announcing a pause in our local efforts to fund our streets and safety projects within the City of Portland,” Mayor Hales said. “Over the past week, I have had conversations with Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and with Gov. John Kitzhaber. They have each assured me that a statewide transportation package is a top priority for them this legislative session.”

The Legislature is set to convene in February. The deadline for Portland to submit paperwork for the May election was 5 p.m. today.

“Because they recognize the importance of efforts to fund transportation infrastructure, they will hear the needs of local governments and ensure they are part of state transportation conversations as they work to give communities the tools to build and maintain critical infrastructure,” Hales said.

“We are pleased to know that the Legislature is very interested in a transportation funding discussion this year,” Commissioner Novick said. “We have said all along that the street fund we have proposed will not address all our needs, and that we are counting on the state and federal governments to step up.”

The city has conducted more than 14 months of hearings to craft a proposal to pay for street maintenance and safety.

“During the passionate conversations we have had in Portland regarding transportation funding, many options were discussed, none of which prove to be popular,” Hales said. 2

“Some options were put forward by Portlanders that we do not have the authority to enact. As your mayor, I will go to Salem to seek that authority.”

Hales said he also will enlist the aid of mayors throughout Oregon to push for more authority for cities. “Together, we can represent the needs of cities, all of which will benefit from new options to fund infrastructure at a time when the existing options don’t satisfy our communities,” he said.

“The completion of this work comes when all three levels of government have acted; when Congress, the Legislature and the Portland City Council have all authorized new revenues to pay for streets and roads,” Hales said. “This cooperation between the State of Oregon and local governments gives us, as Oregonians, the best way forward toward that objective.”

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