1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204
Under our streets run the electricity and communications services that power up our city and the water and waste that we wash down.Our streets are driven on, drilled through, swept off, and plowed over. They endure torrential rains and baking sun, snow storms, semi-trailers, tree falls, and traffic loads. Covering an urban services area of roughly 147 square miles, we rely on our streets and we need them to last long and operate well.
The physical replacement value of our transportation system exceeds $8 billion. But this cost does not include the value the system provides to our industries, businesses, and residents, nor the cost to them should it fail. This social and economic cost would undoubtedly be several billion dollars more. To continue to reliably provide this value, every element of the system—every mile of pavement, every streetlight, every pavement marking—must be maintained to continue to provide this critical backbone to our city.
Yet we are not keeping pace.
With the exception of our bridges, 45% of all assets are presently rated “poor” or “very poor” condition. We budget for a street’s birth, but not its whole life. We know routine maintenance and check-ups are infinitely more affordable than costly rehabilitations or replacement, but accumulated repair backlogs mean we too often miss the window of opportunity.
Though we add new assets to the system through dedication and development, we still have nearly 60 miles of unimproved existing streets. The challenge is substantial and is a priority often repeated in multiple citywide plans and strategies, and yet still remains a seemingly intractable problem. The actions identified here are specific and focused to continuously advance us in addressing this decades-long concern. It includes measures to develop and adopt lifecycle planning and budgeting strategies, and structures for improved coordination and broader participation in maintenance and repair.
We've identified five goals that will helps us preserve what we've build and operate it well: