(April 8, 2015) – The Portland Bureau of Transportation this month is beginning to clear sidewalks of abandoned publication boxes as part of a larger program - shaped with input from local media outlets, neighborhoods and businesses - to improve maintenance of boxes in the public right of way.
The new rules, adopted by the City Council earlier this year, help clean up public sidewalks for better pedestrian access and the beauty of the public right-of-way, while maintaining availability of publications. These major changes are being implemented on city streets:
- Abandoned publication boxes: The new rules give Transportation Bureau staff the authority to remove empty boxes that have become a public nuisance. Crews will tag those boxes with a 30-day sticker, remove them after that time period, and recycle or dispose of them after 90 days, if not reclaimed. The public is encouraged to report abandoned boxes via firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-823-3467.
- Clean and tidy freestanding boxes: Publication boxes that are in operation must be clean, free of graffiti, in good working order and be placed in a way that doesn’t impede pedestrians. Media outlets will have until July 1 to adjust and comply with the new regulations.
- New, co-located publication boxes: Eleven co-located boxes are being added to Portland sidewalks, expanding a 2012 pilot program that introduced four such structures around Pioneer Courthouse Square.The co-located boxes can house multiple publications in a single metal box, saving valuable sidewalk space and offering an organized appearance to public space. Neighborhood associations and business districts may apply for a co-located publication box in their area to create a central area for dispersing several publications.
“Streets and sidewalks are shared community spaces that Portlanders love, but they must be maintained,” Transportation Director Leah Treat said. “This new program gives the public a new way to alert us when they see problem publication boxes and it empowers PBOT staff to help address problem areas more effectively. We are inspired by the pride Portlanders take in their public spaces and we are eager to support community initiatives.”
The program stems from months of discussions with PBOT staff, publication leaders and local neighborhood and business associations. Recommendations from a stakeholder committee led City Council to change City Code to address regulations for publication boxes in the right-of-way while still protecting the freedom of expression.
Portland City Council amended City Code 17.46 in January, expanding the code for publication boxes from the downtown mall to citywide. The new standards took effect in February. For additional information, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/publicationbox.
Co-located publication box locations in Downtown Portland:
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation