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(Jan. 28, 2020) After extensive outreach with leading Portland community organizations, advocates and committees, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) released their project list today for a continuation of Fixing Our Streets, the street repair and traffic safety program funded by a 10-cent fuel tax and the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax. This will be presented to Portland City Council on Feb. 6 for referral to the May 2020 ballot. A renewal of the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax will also be presented to City Council, to ensure that businesses with heavy truck activity pay their fair share for street maintenance and safety as well.
At the most recent Fixing Our Streets Oversight Committee meeting, the committee voted unanimously to refer the list to council for inclusion on the May 2020 ballot. The proposed renewal and project list has already been endorsed by multiple groups, including Business for a Better Portland, Oregon Walks, 1000 Friends of Oregon, The Rosewood Initiative, The Street Trust, the Northwest District Association, Professional & Technical Employees Local 17, as well as the Portland’s Pedestrian and Bicycle advisory committees, among others.
Since its passage, the Fixing Our Streets program has paved or improved 40 lane miles of road, constructed 300 new ADA ramps, updated 58 intersections for safety, and built 53 Safe Routes to School projects that serve a combined 31 elementary schools, eight middle schools and 10 high schools in Portland. It has also provided significant funding for major streetscape projects such as the Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Project in the Gateway neighborhood and the Foster Streetscape Project in Southeast Portland.
View an interactive map of upcoming and completed Fixing Our Streets (2016-2020) projects at map.fixingourstreets.com.
The program has also made major investments in the prosperity of minority-owned and emerging small businesses. PBOT has far exceeded the city’s goal for participation by Oregon’s Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID)’s categories of disadvantaged, minority, women, emerging small business, or service-disabled veteran business enterprises. In the first three years of the Fixing Our Streets program, 40% of all contracting dollars were awarded to COBID-certified firms – double Portland’s citywide goal of 20% participation.
Building on the demonstrated success of the original Fixing Our Streets program, the bureau has developed a new list of $74.5 million in street repair and traffic safety projects and services. The list includes $25 million dedicated to paving, $5 million for new traffic signals, $4.5 million for sidewalks, and $4.5 million for street lighting, and millions more for better and safer access to schools, transit, and community services for Portland’s kids, seniors, and families. Spending from the program will continue to be overseen by the Fixing Our Streets Oversight Committee, which represents multiple communities with a stake in Portland’s streets and roads.
"As one of the co-chairs of the Fixing Our Streets Oversight Committee, I am excited to endorse a referral to voters for reauthorization,” said Ashton Simpson, Community Asset Planner at The Rosewood Initiative. “Fixing Our Streets is helping to address the long unfulfilled promises made to East Portland for safer streets. I am grateful for the strong leadership of Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and PBOT Director Chris Warner. I hope the voters approve the measure in May, because there is much more work to be done!"
Fixing Our Streets helps realize the safer, more mobile, and more sustainable Portland envisioned by the numerous plans and programs that direct PBOT’s work citywide, including: the Vision Zero Action Plan, PedPDX: Portland’s Citywide Pedestrian Master Plan, Safe Routes to School, and area plans like Southwest in Motion, Northwest in Motion.
The new Fixing Our Streets (2020-2024) project list builds on these plans and the extensive public input that informed them. It was also shaped by feedback from neighborhood stakeholders, transportation justice advocates, and business groups. The projects represent an expansion of what made the original Fixing Our Streets so successful: a relentless focus on repairs and improvements to make it easier and safer for all Portlanders to get where they need to go.
“Fixing Our Streets’ impact on Portland has been tremendous. We have invested millions in our Safe Routes to School network, repaired and repaved streets throughout the city, and expanded our walking and biking network with new sidewalks, neighborhood greenways, and protected bike lanes,” said PBOT Director Chris Warner. “Since its passage three and a half years ago, the bureau has worked internally to increase efficiencies, establish stronger project management protocols, and create better relationships with businesses and the greater Portland community. Fixing Our Streets has made us a more responsive bureau that is better equipped to take on new opportunities to further maintain and improve our city’s transportation system. We take the trust Portlanders have placed in us very seriously and are ready to deliver.”
“What’s clear is that these Fixing Our Streets improvements have created an appetite for more,” said Ashley Henry, Executive Director at Business for a Better Portland. “It’s obvious to anyone traveling through Portland that the street maintenance backlog is vast, and it’s devastating that we continue to set records for the number of Portlanders dying from traffic violence. We support the referral of a renewal of the gas tax as a dedicated funding source for maintenance and safety projects so that voters have the opportunity to extend the benefits of these investments to even more parts of the city.”
“Improving our active transportation infrastructure is a key part of addressing climate change, and of creating walkable, attractive, cohesive, and safe communities,” said Claire Vlach, Oregon Walks Plans and Projects Chair and Fixing Our Streets Oversight Committee Member. “We support Fixing Our Streets, and hope Portland will build upon the funding measure’s successes to create a permanent revenue stream for transportation in the future.”
“This program is essential to making our communities safer, livable and sustainable,” said the Northwest District Association in their letter of support.
The Fixing Our Streets 2020-2024 program is divided into three primary categories - smoother streets, safer streets, and community transportation services. It also includes dedicated funding for a year-round pothole crew, for street lighting on High Crash Network streets, and for reducing speeds on cut-through routes.
Community Transportation Services:
PBOT has heard again and again from neighborhoods and businesses that want us to be more responsive to routine maintenance requests like fixing potholes, repairing sections of failing road (base repair), and maintaining gravel streets.
PBOT has several proven tools to significantly improve street safety. Establishing a citywide program for basic street safety services allows PBOT to deliver these services more responsively and efficiently.
The original Fixing Our Streets proposal for street repair and safety was passed by voters in May 2016. It is projected to bring in more than $85 million – over $76 million from the fuel tax alone and an additional $8 million from the Heavy Vehicles Use Tax, passed by City Council concurrent with the 10-cent fuel tax approved by voters. The City will annually audit the Fixing Our Streets program. This audit will be shared with the oversight committee and the public. Spending from the program will be overseen by the Fixing Our Streets Oversight Committee representing the many communities with a stake in Portland's streets and roads.
View a detailed project list and learn more about Fixing Our Streets at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/fixingourstreets2020.