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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Pothole + Sinkhole Repair

Potholes

 Click to view the Portland Patch-a-thon Pothole Map


- What is Patch-a-thon?

- How to report a pothole

- Response times

- The life of a pothole

- Is it a pothole?

 

What is Patch-a-thon?

The number of potholes on City streets increased tremendously after the harsh winter storms of 2016, creating a backlog of more than 1,000 reported cases for the Portland Bureau of Transportation's Maintenance Operations team. To address the backlog, PBOT launched the Patch-a-thon program in February 2017.

The Patch-a-thon program is a non-conventional solution developed to repair potholes reported by concerned community members. The program allows the City to dedicate more resources for pot hole repairs. In addition, it allows the City to assign 12 to 15 maintenance crews at a time to carry out repairs on City streets. This approach is remarkably different from what takes place during normal operations when maintenance supervisors assign two to three crews to repair and fill potholes.

Since February, PBOT has devoted extra resources and crews to increase the number of pothole repairs. In addition, PBOT have also brought on private contractors to increase the City's pothole repair capacity. These two measures have resulted in an increase in the number of repaired potholes. Since March 2017, PBOT has repaired 9800 potholes.

To track Patch-a-thon's progress, please view PBOT's  interactive pothole map

Portlanders are encouraged to report potholes by sending a detailed description and photos to PBOT dispatchers by email pdxroads@portlandoregon.gov or by using the PDX Reporter App. They can also call 503-823-1700, PBOT's 24 hour maintenance line.

 

Report a pothole

To report a pothole, call our maintenance hotline at 503-823-1700, email pdxroads@portlandoregon.gov or use the PDXReporter smartphone app. 

Portland-maintained streets only

PBOT maintains over 4,700 miles of public city streets. Private streets and undeveloped streets within the city limits are maintained by property owners. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) also maintains streets within the city limits that are state highways.

To report potholes in jurisdictions outside Portland, please use the following contact information:

 

Response Times

Within 5 business days of a service request for a pothole, staff will validate the reported location, investigate the road defect, forward data to the appropriate group, and prepare paving slips for crews to repair the pothole. Within approximately a month of a service request, street paving crews will make pothole repairs. PBOT crews fill more than 8,000 potholes a year, working year round. The work is weather dependent and crews are sometimes diverted to emergencies such as landslides.

Response process

The pothole reports entered in the City’s TrackIT service request program are checked daily. Upon receiving a valid report, staff determine that the street is a Portland-maintained street. If the location is not a Portland-maintained street, staff forward the service request to the appropriate jurisdiction. Staff sort valid reports by geographic area. 

A supervisor travels to each location, investigates the reported road defect, and prepares a paving slip for each verified location. Repairs are prioritized and organized by geographic area of the city to maximize efficiency. A two-person crew repairs potholes on residential streets. A five-person crew repairs potholes on arterials and major city traffic streets, where traffic control is needed for safety. A crew dispatched to a reported location will typically repair two or three more potholes on the same street. 

 

The life of a pothole

Description Illustration

Rainwater sinks through cracks in old or weakened asphalt. The water saturates the road’s aggregate base - the mixture of rock, gravel, and sand that makes up the asphalt’s roadbed and supports the road. 

 step 1

Vehicles passing over the road force fine particles of the roadbed up and out of cracks in the asphalt (called pumping). Loss of fine particles from the aggregate base results in voids. 

 step 2

These voids cause the aggregate base and the asphalt layer above it to sink. As the asphalt sinks into these eroded portions of the roadbed, it eventually cracks under the continued impact of vehicle tires. Chunks come loose.

 step 3

Holes may be patched with cold patch or hot patch material, depending on weather or other conditions.

 step 4

Is it a pothole?

Other types of road defects may appear as a pothole but are caused by different factors and may require different repair methods.  You may also call 503-823-1700 for these road defects.

A sinkhole is a hole that reaches past the base of the roadway. Sinkholes are generally larger and deeper than potholes. They are usually caused by a source of water under the pavement, such as a broken pipe. The water causes the soil to wash away, creating a void under the pavement, and eventually the pavement gives away. When sinkholes are big, they can be hazardous to drivers and pedestrians. 

Delaminations are formed when the upper asphalt concrete layer becomes detached and breaks apart from the underlying layer. Delaminations, or delams, can appear as very shallow potholes. They are typically not as deep as potholes or sinkholes. 

Trenches or utility cuts are a rectangular excavation in the roadway. These cuts are made by utilities and plumbers to reach underground lines. The contractors are responsible for filling the ditch and paving it temporarily, and notifying the City upon completion of their work. The City will make a permanent repair to the roadway.