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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1331, Portland, OR 97204

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Media Relations

Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer


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 

Portland’s Balch Gulch Bridge Project Named to APWA 2015 Public Works Projects of the Year

The Balch Gulch Bridge at NW Thurman Street Rehabilitation Project was awarded the APWA Project of the Year in the Historical Restoration/Preservation category at a cost less than $5 million.

(September 3, 2015) - Congratulations to PBOT's Bridges and Structures Group on winning the American Public Works Association 2015 Public Works Project of the Year Award!

APWA Public Works Project of the Year Award 2015The Balch Gulch Bridge at NW Thurman Street Rehabilitation Project was awarded the APWA Project of the Year in the Historical Restoration/Preservation category at a cost less than $5 million. The bridge is 110 years old and is a noteworthy historic and engineering treasure, built during the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition and World’s Trade Fair as a gateway to Portland’s developing Willamette Heights neighborhood. It is Oregon’s oldest intact bridge, and is one of only few remaining of its type in the nation.

At the reopening celebration on October 10, 2014, Commissioner Novick said, “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."

The rehabilitation project exemplifies the integration of contemporary uses and systems for an out-of-date structure without compromising function or historic preservation. The decision to preserve the historic bridge was inspired not only by the public and government agencies, but also by the Bridges and Structures Group at Portland's Bureau of Transportation. The age of the bridge and its poor condition, its unique characteristics, and its special place in Portland history, as well as its eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, made the rehabilitation of the Balch Gulch Bridge the only viable option. Federal-aid funds were sought and obtained, and after a local agency match, the total project budget was approximately $4 million. 

Thurman Street bridge with trolleyBefore 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 fire trucks can now cross the bridge. By regaining the use of the NW Thurman Street Bridge, the response time for Portland Fire & Rescue Emergency Operations has improved in many areas of the the neighborhood by over 4 minutes!

The rehabilitation project of Balch Gulch Bridge installed a new decorative railing, modeled after the 1905 original.

Restoration and rehabilitation of the bridge began in April 2014 with the goals: to lift the weight restriction without replacing the historic trusses; rehabilitate the bridge’s deteriorated superstructure while maintaining and honoring the historic aesthetics of the bridge; restore the original appearance of the 1905 historic bridge handrail, but strengthen it to meet modern safety standards; design the modern steel floor beams to match the shape of the deteriorated historic riveted steel beams; replace the deteriorated wood deck and riveted steel beams, while shoring the historic trusses in place; and ensure that Macleay Park would remain open to the public during construction.

The completely restored and modernized Balch Gulch Bridge at NW Thurman Street was reopened to the public October 10, 2014 during a celebration hosted by Commissioner Steve Novick and the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Learn more about the restoration of this beautiful bridge on the NW Thurman Street Bridge Project webpage.

Photo of rehabilitated bridge by Felicity J. Mackay, Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Traffic Alert: NW Front Ave closed at NW Kittridge for emergency rail repairs

(Sept. 4, 2015) The Portland Bureau of Transportation has closed NW Front Avenue at NW Kittridge Avenue for emergency rail line repairs after a train car derailment this morning on a private spur that crosses NW Front Avenue. Detours will be in place until repairs can be completed by the spur owner, but it is not yet known how long the closure will last.

There was damage to the asphalt between the rail lines, so responsibility for repairs belongs to the spur owner.

PBOT's Maintenance Operations staff have set up hard closures of NW Front on both sides of the spur and will be putting out Variable Message Signs to notify the traveling public of the closures.

It has not been determined yet how long the road will need to be closed.

The public is advised to avoid the area if possible. PBOT has set up detours for motorists who may need to travel through the area:

South of NW Kittridge Ave on NW Front Ave:

Take NW Kittridge Ave to HWY 30 (NW Yeon Ave),

Turn Left onto HWY 30 (NW Yeon Ave)

Travel approximately 2 miles to NW 26th Drive

Turn Left on to NW 26th Drive

Take NW 26th Drive to NW Front Ave

Turn left or Right depending on your destination.

North of NW 26th Drive from NW Front Ave are

Take NW 26th Drive to HWY 30 (NW Yeon Ave)

Turn Right onto HWY 30 (NW Yeon Ave)

Take HWY 30 (NW Yeon Ave) to NW Kittridge Ave

Turn Right onto NW Kittridge Ave

Take Kittridge Ave to NW Front Ave

Turn Left onto Front Ave to your destination


Parking Enforcement Advisory: The Portland Bureau of Transportation Reminds Motorists about Entertainment District Parking Restrictions; Additional Signage to be Posted

Old Town Chinatown Delineator(September 4, 2015)  – In advance of the holiday weekend, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation reminds the traveling public about weekend night parking restrictions in the Entertainment District. The Entertainment District extends from NW Second Avenue to NW Fourth Avenue from Davis to Burnside. On Friday and Saturday evenings there is no parking between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., on district streets. Vehicles that park during these hours will be towed.

To help remind motorists about the parking restrictions, PBOT is installing delineators at parking spots throughout the district. The delineators are temporary signs that alert motorists to the parking restrictions in effect.  An example photo of such a delineator is attached to this advisory.


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: City Club of Portland affirms urgent need for a new funding source for transportation maintenance and safety

(Sept. 9, 2015) – The City Club of Portland today released a report, “Portland’s Streets: End the Funding Gridlock,” a detailed analysis of the City’s critical transportation maintenance and safety needs. The report calls for “an immediate source of funds to prevent streets from falling into further disrepair.”

Cities across the country face similar struggles in maintaining infrastructure, the report says. The federal government has not raised the gas tax in more than 20 years, even as construction costs have doubled, eroding the purchasing power of federal funds. The City’s general fund pays for many core City services such as police, fire and parks and there is not enough revenue to also pay for streets without significant cuts to those other priorities, the report says. Facing similar circumstances, other 22 Oregon cities and counties have enacted local gas taxes, 30 have implemented a transportation utility fee and two have done both. Portland has neither its own gas tax nor a transportation fee.

The report says:

  • “Portland is at the vanguard of this diversification of mobility and needs to adequately fund streets in order to maintain its position of leadership.”
  • “Portland needs money to fix its streets. The money must come from multiple sources because there is no plausible federal or state revenue stream large enough to fill Portland’s need, none of the potential local funding mechanisms alone can fill the hole, and there is not enough money in the general fund to cover all costs.”
  • “Preventing death and serious injury, particularly among our most vulnerable road users, is unquestionably a primary obligation of a city’s transportation system. Like road paving, safety improvements will need to be funded through a variety of sources, including any new transportation-specific revenue raised by the city.”

“We appreciate the City Club’s thorough look at transportation maintenance and safety needs,” said Maurice Henderson, Assistant Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “PBOT is committed to responsible asset management and working towards our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries. We look forward to the City Club’s discussion and vote on Friday, and we will continue to provide information on this important issue to the club, our colleagues in city government and community groups from across Portland.”

On Friday, City Engineer Steve Townsen will discuss maintenance and safety needs on a panel discussion hosted by the City Club at its Friday Forum. The event will be held at the Sentinel Hotel, 614 SW 11th Avenue. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.; program begins at 12:15 p.m.

Read the full report at the City Club of Portland’s web site:


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: Commissioner Novick, Mayor Hales and Commissioner Fish announce next generation bike share proposal for Portland

PORTLAND, OR (September 9, 2015) — Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Nick Fish announced an innovative bike share system for Portland. The proposed system will be operated by Motivate LLC, the nation’s leading bike share operator. Bicycles will be provided by Social Bicycles, a company on the cutting-edge of integrating new software and hardware technology into its products. The proposal will be considered by City Council on Wednesday, September 16th.

Together, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Motivate and Social Bicycles have designed one of smartest, large-scale bike share systems in the nation. This smart bike technology – which puts all communications and locking technology on the bike itself – will allow Portland’s system to operate with fewer docks and kiosks. This will save money and allow users to lock bicycles at many existing city bike corrals. The technology will also allow the City and Motivate to pilot an innovative approach to rebalancing bicycles that will reduce the reliance on rebalancing vehicles. This will help to make Portland’s bike share system one of the greenest in the nation. Overall, the system will make it substantially easier to find, reserve and park a bike.

The proposed initial system of 600 bikes is one of the most affordable bike sharing systems in the United States. The system also integrates principles of the High Road Standards that prioritizes accessibility to underserved communities and includes training and hiring opportunities for living-wage careers.

“This proposed contract is a great business decision for Portland,” said Commissioner Steve Novick. “We’re working with the leading bike share company in the country. As Motivate has proven in New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington DC, bike share systems provide a valuable transportation amenity for residents and tourists alike.”

“With this next generation bike share system, Portland has once again shown why we’re the country’s best city for bicycling,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “The proposed system will be one of the country’s most technologically sophisticated and environmentally sustainable. It’s a system that Portlanders can be proud of.”

“I have been a proud supporter of bike share since 2011,” said Commissioner Nick Fish. “It will provide another healthy and sustainable transportation choice. Congratulations to Steve and Leah on reaching this important milestone for Portland bike share.”

“Bringing bike share to Portland is one of my top priorities,” said Leah Treat, Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Bike share is a very effective way to raise the visibility of bicycling and to encourage new people, especially women, to try biking as a transportation option.”

“More choices to get around means less time in traffic and more access to opportunity,” said Metro Councilor Sam Chase. “I’m excited to see bike share become yet another great option for people in this region, particularly with this system’s commitment to affordability and equity.”

Motivate CEO Jay Walder said, “Portland is one of the best bike cities in the country, and we’re tremendously excited to be a part of expanding bicycling in a community with such a robust bike culture. We think that the City that has been on the cutting edge of bike innovation deserves one of the most innovative bike share system in the nation.” 

Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen Inc., Connie Ashbrook, championed the proposal by saying, “We’re excited about the employment opportunities that Portland’s bike share system will offer our graduates.  It will also provide our students and graduates an affordable, flexible transportation choice.” Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. is a non-profit that prepares low income women for high-wage, high-skilled construction careers.

The cost of the bicycles will be funded with $2 million in federal grants allocated through Metro’s regional flexible funds process. User revenues and anticipated sponsor support will pay for operating the system. No City money will be used for bike share operations.

City Council will consider the proposed bike share system in its morning session on Wednesday, September 16th.

About Bike Share: A bike share system makes public bicycles available to ride from one point to another for a small fee. Bike share systems operate in over 60 US cities, including New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Antonio, Indianapolis, Boise and Austin. 500 cities worldwide also have bike share systems. These systems have proved popular, safe and successful. They provide residents and visitors a convenient and fun transportation option for trips around the city. Bike share systems have proven effective in introducing bicycling to new groups of riders.

About Motivate: Motivate ( ) is a global leader in bike share. A full-service bike share operator and technology innovator, Motivate works to re-envision how people experience and move around cities.  Motivate currently manages all of the largest bike share systems in the United States and many of the largest systems in the world, including Bay Area Bike Share (CA), Citi Bike (NYC), Divvy (Chicago), CoGo Bike Share (Columbus, Ohio), Capital Bike Share (DC metro.), Hubway (Boston metro.), Pronto (Seattle), Bike Chattanooga (TN), Bike Share Toronto, and Melbourne Bike Share in Australia. Motivate’s newest system is Citi Bike Jersey City, NJ, that will be compatible with New York City’s Citi Bike program.

About Social Bicycles (SoBi): Social Bicycles (SoBi) is a transportation technology company based in Brooklyn, NY. The company produces a bicycle with an integrated GPS-enabled locking system that users can book via mobile app, website, or RFID access card. The company has deployed over 2,500 bikes across 18 projects in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Social Bicycles offers one global account, and users can access bikes in their expanding network of cities which includes Santa Monica, Orlando, Tampa, Phoenix, Boise, Topeka, Hamilton (Ontario), and Ottawa.

About PBOT: 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


John Brady, Portland Bureau of Transportation | 503-823-7375