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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

More Contact Info

Traffic Signal Maintenance

Portland Transportation maintains, modifies and repairs traffic signals for approximately 1,100 traffic signal intersections to provide safe, reliable, and efficient operation of the signals for vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Police, inspectors, citizens, traffic engineers, TriMet, and other public agencies report traffic signal maintenance needs.

To report a malfunctioning traffic signal, please call our dispatch hotline at 503-823-1700.

Learn more:

Preventative Maintenance 

A large part of the work load is repair or replacement of traffic control equipment before it fails. The City conducts semi-annual inspections of controller and signal equipment, intersection hardware, and auxiliary equipment such as traffic detection loops.

All red and green lamps are now LED type lamps, which should require re-lamping about every 5 to 6 years. This change in lamps will save the City approximately 5.24 million KWH per year. The yellow lights are still incandescant, but should last up 10 years.


Modification & Upgrades 

Requests for modification and upgrading are generated from new legislation, advances in technology, and experience with installations.

Examples of modification and upgrades include:

  • development of new or remodeled intersections in conjunction with Bureau of Transportation Signal Division and contractors

  • installation of cabling and modem equipment for the Series-2000 Central Traffic Control Computers, which monitor the signal timing response to traffic at most intersections

  • installation of emergency vehicle detectors

  • replacement of pedestrian signals from a neon to solid state type modules, which are more reliable and energy efficient

  • Pedestrian Push Buttons upgrades with a more reliable and user friendly design that also meets ADA standards

Additional examples of modification and upgrades include:

  • replacement and relocation of degraded metal or wood poles

  • installation of tether lines to anchor the traffic signal heads and reduce rocking and swinging and keep signal heads properly aimed

  • conversion of left turn signals

  • replacement of brittle and aging plastic signal heads with aluminum diecast heads

  • replacement of illuminated signs with high visibility reflective signs to reduce span weight, save energy and reduce sign cabinet maintenance

  • installation of photo cells to control illuminated signs extending the life of fluorescent lamps resealing traffic detection loops if the loop wires haven't been damaged

  • meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements including:

    - relocation of junction boxes to accommodate wheelchair ramps

    - move or modify signal equipment and controllers to allow passage of the disabled. 

Response Repair 

Response times range from less than an hour to days. Maintenance work is often a specific response to call-in reports including:

  • lamp burnouts

  • controller malfunctions

  • detection failures

  • physical damage

  • traffic progression problems

  • off-hour responses to safety risks at intersections.   

Traffic Detection Loop Installation

Installation of metal detection loops has climbed from hundreds to thousands in the last 20 years. In addition to new installs, loops destroyed by sewer construction, street paving, and expansion of utility networks are continually being replaced, adding to the growing backlog.


Passive Pedestrian Project

A variety of signal sensors are being tested that will activate the pedestrian crossing signals only when there are poeple waiting to cross. These devices will increase pedestrian safety and conserve energy.


Other Work

Special events, seasonal changes, and extraordinary circumstances affect the workload in traffic signal maintenance. Examples are:

  • temporary or permanent relocation of signal equipment is required to assist contractors or City crews upgrading and modernizing the communications systems, gas and electrical distribution lines and the City's own sewer system

  • monitoring and moving traffic signal equipment to facilitate the passage of high loads such as a boat, large equipment, a house or apartment building

  • maintenance and installation of office and yard lighting, electrical distribution, and repairs to equipment using electric motors and controls at agency facilities

  • installation of sewer monitors for Bureau of Environmental Services.

Contact Us

To report a malfunctioning traffic signal, please call our dispatch hotline at 503-823-1700.  To have more specific traffic signal timing issues addressed, please contact one of the following engineers:




 Districts and Assignments


 Signal Engineer 




W Burnside

Nelson Chi

Lisa Okimoto





E Burnside

Stefan Bussey

Oliver Smith





Dan Spoelstra

Jesse Shrader

Julie Kentosh





Southwest (Street Lighting)

Southwest (Traffic Signals)


Lisa Elbert

Adam Moore




ITS Engineer


Willie Rotich 

Mark Haines




Data Communication Systems


Rob Jennings



Senior Engineer


Josh Crain

Charles Radosta




Division Manager 


Peter Koonce