Legislature secures funding for East Portland sidewalks
MONDAY, JULY 8, 2013 – The Oregon Legislature today secured $3.6 million for sidewalks and crosswalks on Southeast 136th Avenue in Portland. The funding had been a top priority for State Rep. Shemia Fagan and several other area lawmakers.
The Oregon Legislature is expected to finish its business and call the 2013 session to an end later today.
“The goal is safety for all residents, regardless of the mode of transportation they prefer,” said City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the Bureau of Transportation. “Sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, paving, bike lanes – they all come down to safety. Today’s news from Salem means the Legislature and the city are working hand-in-glove on this issue.”
The issue became galvanized on Feb. 28 when 5-year-old Morgan Maynard-Cook of Portland was struck by a car and killed while crossing a stretch of Sutheast 136th.
“For too long, East Portlanders have been told to ‘be patient,’” Rep. Fagan said today. “But Morgan’s family, and every family, has a right to be very impatient when it comes to the safety of their children. I am proud to make East Portland a big winner in my first session in the Oregon House.”
Mayor Charlie Hales praised the lawmakers for their action. “When the city needed partners on this sidewalk project, Rep. Fagan was right there. So were Sens. Monroe, Dingfelder and Thomsen, and Reps. Reardon, Keny-Guyer and Vega Pedersen,” he said. “We often say safety is the northern star that guides our decisions. Our legislators obviously live by that code, too.”
Sen. Thomsen spoke about the project on the Senate Floor today, calling it one of his top priorities for the 2013 session.
The first of three phases of a city project to create sidewalks on Southeast 136th Avenue between Powell and Holgate boulevards will get under way this fall or winter. The city budgeted the project at $1.2 million.
The Legislature’s action today will prove to be a huge boon for the project, Hales and Novick said.