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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

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Building curb ramps, ensuring access


Before After

Regardless of how you travel, you’re a pedestrian at some point for nearly every trip you take. In Portland we have 2,504 miles of sidewalks and 37,782 corners.

For Portlanders with a physical disability, streets without a curb ramp present significant barriers to travel and make it challenging simply to cross the street. Curb ramps make it easier for others using the sidewalk, such as seniors, children, parents with strollers and people with shopping carts or rolling suitcases. Curb ramps add to a more pleasant pedestrian environment.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is committed to removing barriers to people with disabilities and making it easier for others to walk and roll along Portland’s sidewalks and street crossings. Rebuilding corners to provide curb ramps is one significant way the City provides access for people who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Crew building sidewalk with curb rampOn an annual basis, the Portland Bureau of Transportation targets constructing and fixing between 700 – 1000 corners to provide curb ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are three ways that PBOT selects intersections for curb ramp construction:

  • locations citywide based on prioritizing criteria. Learn more below.
  • at specific locations based on citizen request for accommodation by people with disabilities.
  • as a part of Capital Improvement Projects, such as sidewalk infill projects.

 As of 2012, 42% of Portland’s corners have one or more curb ramp.

PBOT’s Active Transportation Group prioritizes the curb ramps to be built citywide annually based on criteria developed by staff and stakeholders; and the PBOT Maintenance Operations Group builds the ramps.  Locations are prioritized based on:

  • requests from people who use mobility devices;
  • broken or hazardous existing curb ramps;
  • incidences of pedestrian crashes;
  • high level of pedestrian use;
  • concentrations of people with disabilities;
  • missing links to key destinations or within the Neighborhood Greenway network, including:
    • local and state government offices and facilities
    • places of public accommodation
    • places of worship
    • neighborhood greenways with pedestrian traffic
    • senior centers
    • business/commercial centers

Street corner with completed curb rampsThe list is also analyzed and adjusted to ensure that curb ramp construction occurs in areas with higher concentrations of people of color and other historically underserved populations. Finally, PBOT evaluates the list to see that curb ramps are built throughout the city. This list is presented for review by the Portland Commission on Disabilities, Accessibility in the Built Environment Sub-Committee.

PBOT builds most of these curb ramps during the fair weather months (May – October). Curb ramp projects for the 2013 paving season include:

  • East Portland Sidewalk Infill Projects
  • NE Going St/Alberta Court Neighborhood Greenway from N Vancouver to NE 47th Avenue;
  • SE 122nd Avenue from Powell to Marine Dr. (High Crash Corridor)
  • SE Clinton between SE 25th – 51st Avenues
  • SW Chestnut from Bertha – Vermont and vicinity
  • SW Columbia and SW Jefferson from SW 1st – 17th Avenues
  • W Burnside approximately from 1st – 23rd Avenues
  • University District (SW Broadway & Harrison, SW Broadway & Jackson and SW Park & Market)


Add a Comment



April 19, 2017 at 5:31 PM


I'm curious as to how long we should expect the curb construction to be going on at our intersection(s). I live on a corner lot and have had six curb ramps being constructed since early February. Days or weeks will go by without any city worker doing anything. We have not been able to park in front of our house since early February 2017 and it is now nearly May.

We never received any notice of this work being done, nor did we receive any information on how long to expect the work to continue or what hours they would be jackhammering. We came home one day to find a 10-year-old lavender bush torn out of our median strip by the city and nowhere to be found. No notice, no nothing. Just oops, sorry. It would have been nice if someone would've asked if we would like to keep it or transplant it- or leave it in our yard. The city has left cinderblocks laying in our yard, too.

The way our house is situated, we have to park our cars way down the street next to the Arleta school yard -- We have no idea if or when the city will be resuming work. It has been a three month pain in the butt because of the lack of communication and the time it's taking to finish a few curbs.

The best part was, a rundown drug-camper on its rims was towed by another truck (in the middle of the night) right smack in front of our house while there were no parking signs in front. it remained there for a month with numerous neighbors in the surrounding area having their garages broken into, things stolen off the porch, bicycles stolen and other break-ins. It was a homeless drug mobile with several drug addicts living in it. It smelled like urine, feces, alcohol & garbage . They left garbage everywhere. It took our entire community, including us contacting the Arleta middle school principal and faculty alerting them that children were walking past this drug mobile and hanging around it.

It took over a month to get the city to finally do anything about it - phone call after phone call to every imaginable department -neighborhood police, abandon auto, parking enforcement- calls from the school and at least 10 different neighbors. Eventually, it ended in an arrest only because a neighbor put a video camera up catching one of the bike thieves - the camper was finally towed---- the camper was stolen, had expired registration and had been sitting on all four rims -PLUS, It was in front of the Arleta middle school.

I'm suggesting the city communicate a bit more with the houses that will be affected by the curb ramp construction. It would be very much appreciated by the citizens.

I would like to know how long to expect that I can't park near my home. It's been three months now. How much longer should I expect this to continue?

(Corners of SE 63rd/ SE Raymond SE 64th/ SE Raymond St)

A sidewalk ramp that would REALLY make a difference is on Raymond Street at the 64th st alley. it appears it is being left as is. Why is the city leaving THIS particular sidewalk crossing? (SE Raymond, crossing over the 64th alley).

could you throw some concrete down on the alley edge --- it would help prevent all the dirt, rocks and mud running off into the street and down into the storm drain. I have been cleaning it up for 20 years now. I constantly sweep all the dust and dirt and mud that runs down and out on the street.

Having that repaired would make a huge difference and I can't imagine it would cost much money whatsoever since the crew is right there.

Thank you,
Krista and Alex


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