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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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Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer


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News Blog: Portlanders on budget committee bring invaluable perspective to PBOT

College student learning about transportation bureau finds lofty ideas trickling down to "concrete" projects

By Thomas Barr

(Feb. 1, 2018) I recently participated in a career shadow program organized by Reed College. The program provided me with the opportunity to spend a full week at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), experience first-hand what it is like to work inside the Portland City government, and introduce myself to PBOT staff with diverse interests, backgrounds and skills.

Thomas Barr, Reed College student 2018

On Thursday, Jan. 4, I attended the PBOT Bureau and Budget Advisory Committee (BBAC) budget workshop meeting. BBAC includes staff and community members who represent various geographic locations, interests, constituencies, and voices. The group informs PBOT’s annual budget and reviews several projects and programs. In addition, the group constantly thinks about the Portland’s future, considering the pragmatism of transportation networks in the city and how it aligns with grassroots small projects and long-term goals.

Meeting discussion varied from the high-tech far-flung future of Smart Cities to current day concerns about blue collar workers' living wages, and everything in between.

My favorite thing about the Transportation Bureau is how the essence of an idea trickles down into “concrete” projects. I think it’s beautiful to see the transformation of philosophical ideas, the slow, big-worded speech with descriptive gesticulations, conversations about fundamental rights and equity, into road diverters and traffic signals.

But when the City has more than one project demanding attention, how does it decide which takes priority? PBOT has been using a number of criteria including equity and readiness to prioritize projects. At the budget workshop meeting, committee members supported PBOT's efforts to consider equity. What is more, the group also emphasized the need for PBOT’s budget to highlight return on investment and potential losses. For example, deterioration of pavement occurs exponentially, so an early response will save time and money. PBOT Director Leah Treat was engaged throughout the committee's discussion, and said of paving strategies, “One dollar today could save you ten dollars in the future.”

One of the highlight of the budget workshop meeting occurred when committee members expressed a desire for greater collaboration between PBOT and other City bureaus for instance the Bureau of Environmental Services can work closely with PBOT to fund the street sweeping program, Street sweeping improves road safety while protecting sewer systems from excess pollution. BBAC members see engagement with other organizations to be an area for improvement.

Learn more about PBOT's Bureau and Budget Advisory Committee

The BBAC's letter to the City Council, and a minority report, were posted as part of PBOT's Recommended Budget for 2018-19 on the City Budget Office web site on Monday Jan. 29


The perspectives that members of BBAC provide are invaluable to the decision-making process in Portland government. These members of the Portland community have contexts and connections in their respective neighborhoods and a diverse set of priorities. It is incredibly important for city government groups to include voices of members who care and have diverse contexts. Conversely, it is vital for Portland community members to engage and voice their thoughts and opinions, to bring both big thinking and grounded perspective to city government in Portland.

My favorite thing about the Transportation Bureau is how the essence of an idea trickles down into “concrete” projects. I think it’s beautiful to see the transformation of philosophical ideas, the slow, big-worded speech with descriptive gesticulations, conversations about fundamental rights and equity, into road diverters and traffic signals. What seems basic on the individual level is part of a grand picture of what Portland ought to be, and BBAC members bring perspectives, goals, and ideas from across the board to our attention.

Thomas Barr is a sophomore studying philosophy at Reed College in Southeast Portland. He recently spent a week at PBOT, learning about communication and transportation planning.

News Blog: SW Naito Parkway open house opens eyes to Portland's enthusiasm for cleaner transportation

By Ryan Kim 

(Feb. 2, 2018) As I spent a week learning about transportation planning, I wasn't sure how many people would be interested in learning about a new bike lane downtown. I come from Los Angeles, a city well-known for its numerous highways and traffic, but not its bike-friendly roads. A career shadow program organized by Reed College and the Portland Bureau of Transportation showed me just how passionate Portlanders are about having clean, green transportation options.

On the evening of Jan. 10, Portland residents gathered at PSU’s Center for Executive and Professional Education, to see PBOT’s first unveiling of the plan to renovate SW Naito Parkway. The event was held at night, deep inside a large building. Despite the voluntary nature of the event, a surprisingly large amount of people came! More than 130 signed in, in writing, at the entrance. Recent college graduates, retirees, people who live downtown, and Southeast and Northwest Portland – all crowded into the Open House.

Ryan Kim, Reed College student 2018

SW Naito Parkway is a scenic corridor needing improvement. Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the Willamette River provide a spectacular view. However, currently, there are problems of safety, traffic congestion, and cracking pavement.  

During peak hours, vehicle traffic builds up all the way from Hawthorne Bridge Ramp to sometimes as far as Harrison Street. However, traffic is not the only concern. People utilizing other modes of transportation are also placed in dangerous situations. For example, the lack of bicycle facilities requires people riding to weave through pedestrians in Waterfront Park and to navigate a steep, narrow sidewalk to access the Hawthorne Bridge. 

The official plan consists of creating new, safer facilities for both bikes and pedestrians. It would build a 12-foot two-way bikeway and a 8-foot wide sidewalk, both separated from car traffic by a curb lined with trees. It also attempts to improve traffic efficiency through the use of new traffic signals. A new traffic signal on the bridge ramp would ease traffic through, removing a blockade that often stops rush-hour traffic on SW Naito. This would cut time spent stuck in traffic. The project is planned to begin construction at the end of 2018, and will take about nine months to complete.

Once I walked through the door, it felt as though I was in a modern art museum. To my left was a video simulation of cars, represented as small dots, flowing on SW Naito and onto the bridge.  To my right was a 3D video of a virtual flyover, in the futuristic perspective what looked like a low-flying drone.

SW Naito Open House Jan 2018

Photo by Christopher Sun, Portland Bureau of Transportation.

The Open House event revealed these plans to the public to increase awareness, to gain an idea of public opinion, and to receive input on possible improvements. 

Once I walked through the door, it felt as though I was in a modern art museum. To my left was a video simulation of cars, represented as small dots, flowing on SW Naito and onto the bridge.  To my right was a 3D video of a virtual flyover, in the futuristic perspective what looked like a low-flying drone. Further back and to my left, were posters with white borders and an artistic quality in each. In the middle was an expanded, 20-foot long aerial photo of the street with the planned improvements marked all over it. People were encouraged to write down their specific concerns and praises on sticky notes, placing them in the right spot on the map. 

The general view of the public seemed to be positive. As expected, people who ride bicycles were extremely enthusiastic, leaving multiple suggestions and staying longer at the Open House to talk to fellow bikers and to learn more of the project.  However, it appeared that pedestrians and drivers were also generally supportive of the project.  

One concern of a driver was losing a lane under the bridge in an already crowded route, but, they also felt that the improvements in efficiency would eliminate this problem. Pedestrians were also supportive of the project, but they were still somewhat unclear as to exactly how much safety would be improved. 

The plan is still in its 60 percent stage, but the big, yet diverse turnout to the Open House reaffirms the communal spirit of Portland. Furthermore, the general, positive view of inclusive transportation accommodations reaffirms Portland's support for cleaner forms of transportation. Hopefully, the project will be completed as soon as possible, and improve traffic and allow thousands of people to bike and walk along a new, safer route.

Learn more about upcoming safety and pavement improvements on SW Naito Parkway (I-405 to Jefferson)

The Central City, which includes the downtown area, is expected to triple in population and grow jobs by 40 percent by 2035. Learn about Central City in Motion, Portland’s plan for strategic investments in our streets to create a smart, 21st century transportation system

SW Naito Traffic Model Video Clip Fixing Our Streets

VIDEO: Click on the image to see the traffic model, showing how long it takes cars to enter the Hawthorne Bridge with a stop sign, versus how more frequently cars get through with a planned traffic signal. This was shown at the open house and is available on PBOT's YouTube channel.


Ryan Kim is a sophomore studying economics at Reed College in Southeast Portland. He recently spent a week at PBOT, learning about communication and transportation planning. Naito Parkway was named after Bill Naito, a pioneer of downtown revitalization who graduated from Reed with a degree in economics in 1949 and later served on the Board of Trustees.

News Release: Director Treat helps change first speed limit sign from 25 mph to 20 mph, making neighborhoods safer

sign switching

Transportation Director Leah Treat and Portland Police Bureau Captain Michael Crebs help PBOT crews switch out the first speed limit sign at SE 168th and Stark. Photo by Hannah Schafer, Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Vision Zero Portland logo

(Feb. 6, 2018) The Portland Bureau of Transportation began to implement a new 20 mph speed limit change on Tuesday, as crews posted the first of about 2,000 signs that will cover nearly 70 percent of city streets.

The speed reduction will make streets safer, and help the City achieve Vision Zero, the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries. In 2017, 45 people were killed in traffic crashes in Portland, nearly double the number of people killed in homicides.

"It is unacceptable for anyone to be killed by traffic violence," PBOT Director Leah Treat said. "Today we are poised to take a significant step forward in making our neighborhoods safer and more livable. Five miles an hour may not sound like much, but when it comes to reducing the severity of crashes it makes a big difference. By reducing speeds from 25 to 20, we can make it nearly two times more likely that a person will survive a crash."

The change was approved by the Portland City Council Jan. 17, after the state legislature gave the City the authority to reduce speed limits by 5 mph on residential streets.

To call attention to the change, Treat and Portland Police Bureau Captain Michael Crebs spoke at a news conference on Tuesday and helped a PBOT sign crew install the first 20 mph sign to replace a 25 mph sign. The sign is located on SE 168th Avenue, just south of SE Stark St.

The new residential speed limit takes effect citywide April 1. As signs are installed in coming weeks, people driving should follow the speed limit as it is posted on each street. The new 20 mph signs will be installed first in East Portland and then in North Portland, which have the highest rates of traffic fatalities. The residential speed limit change is just one aspect of the City's Vision Zero program, which focuses safety improvements, education and enforcement efforts on busy streets where most traffic fatalities occur.  

The Vision Zero Action Plan identifies 30 streets on the High Crash Network, where safety improvements are prioritized. Roads on the list represent only 8 percent of city streets, but account for 57 percent of deadly crashes.

This year, PBOT will make safety improvements on 17 streets on the High Crash Network, including Outer Glisan, NE Halsey and outer SE Division St. PBOT's Vision Zero web site has a map of the 17 streets where improvements are planned to start construction this year.

In the coming weeks, PBOT will install speed safety cameras on NE Marine Drive. In three other corridors where cameras were installed, top-end speeding was cut by more than half.

Learn more about Portland's Vision Zero Program, the effort by the City and regional partners to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2025


 20 is plenty

20 is plenty for Portland's residential streets. Photo by Hannah Schafer, Portland Bureau of Transportation.

News Release: PBOT and Design Week Portland partner for a special Park(ing) Day on April 14

Portlanders are invited to transform parking spaces throughout the city into temporary art and design spaces.

Park(ing) Day 2017

For their 2017 Park(ing) Day parklet, Owen Jones + Partners collaborated with P:ear -- a neighborhood nonprofit mentoring program for homeless youth - on a "Friends" style coffee lounge to promote P:ear's barista training program and P:ear's one year anniversary. Photo by Nico Lim, Portland Bureau of Transportation.

(Feb. 15, 2017) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Design Week Portland invite the community to submit their ideas for a special only-in-Portland Park(ing) Day.  Held on the first day of Design Week Portland, April 14, the Portland-only Park(ing) Day will create opportunities for Portlanders, artists and activists to reinvent public spaces as mini-parklets around the city. The goal of the program is to inspire creative placemaking and to highlight different uses of our streets, sidewalks and alleys.

Coinciding with the launch of the new season of PBOT’s Portland in the Streets programming, this special Park(ing) Day will take place on at Custom Blocks located in the heart of the Central Eastside. The PBOT and Design Week Portland partnership represents a merging of the respective missions of the Portland in the Streets Program and Design Week Portland: To promote creative and innovative design approaches that have significant cultural and social impacts on everyday life.

The bureau invites Portland residents and members of the Portland design community to submit their Park(ing) Day installation proposals to transform and enliven 8‘ x 20’ parking spaces throughout Portland into temporary art and design spaces. Applications, guidelines and requirements can be found at

“Design is essential to the work we do at PBOT- for safety, efficiency and for fun,” said Transportation Director Leah Treat. “Transforming our public right of way into creative and fun parklets for Park(ing) Day is a wonderful reminder to us all that streets are, first and foremost, for people. We are thrilled to have the support of Portland’s incredible design community to help us in our mission.”

"Collaboration and diverse perspectives yield greater innovation and better design,” says Tsilli Pines, the festival’s director. “This design challenge issued by PBOT, as part of Design Week Portland, is a great example of the impact design can have on the future our city.” 

The City of Portland has held Park(ing) Day since 2006. The program is part of the bureau’s Portland in the Streets initiative which encourages people to get creative and re-imagine their streets, parking spaces, plazas, and alleys as places to enjoy and engage the surrounding community. Other Portland in the Streets programs include block partiescommunity eventsstreet seats and a community grant program. Portland will celebrate Park(ing) Day twice this year – on April 14 as part of Design Week Portland and on the internationally recognized day on September 21, 2018.

Winter Weather Travel Advisory: Presidents' Day may get off to an icy, slick start and PBOT urges Portlanders to use caution when traveling

Winter weather and slick road conditions possible starting Sunday, February 18th and continuing into Presidents' Day holiday

(February 17, 2018) The National Weather Service has notified the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) of the potential for winter weather and slick road conditions starting Sunday, February 18th and continuing at least through Monday morning. The traveling public should exercise caution on Portland roadways, particularly at high elevations. Overnight freezing is a possibility which will make for icy conditions for Monday morning's commute.

PBOT crews will be patrolling Portland streets to monitor conditions and treat roads as needed starting Sunday and continuing during the Presidents' Day holiday.

The forecasts are changing and variable. The public is advised to monitor the weather at their homes and at their travel destinations as road conditions could vary throughout the city.

The City of Portland’s Snow and Ice Plan discourages private vehicle use and encourages public transit use instead. Plan ahead for your public transit commute by calling 503-238-RIDE (7433), visiting for bus and MAX light rail schedules and alerts or for streetcar schedules and alerts. In snow and ice, plan for bus delays of 20 to 30 minutes. Know where your transit stops are before venturing out. PBOT provides tips for winter travel for people walking, biking or driving. Learn more at:

Check for breaking news and information on major service disruptions. Visit to learn more about how PBOT responds to snow and ice events in Portland.