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  • 22 Jul 2014

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Neighborhood street repairs on City Council agenda

Preventive maintenance and road repairs could resume on neighborhood streets under a policy shift the City Council will consider on Wednesday.

The council will consider repealing a resolution it adopted in 2009 that stopped such work on neighborhood streets and directed the Portland Bureau of Transportation to concentrate its funds on repaving arterial and collector roads.

The resolution accelerated the deterioration of neighborhood streets, according to a February report by the Office of the City Auditor. It recommended rescinding the 2009 resolution and taking other steps to improve the condition of neighborhood streets.

“We could no longer neglect neighborhood streets where the majority of Portlanders live,” says Mayor Charlie Hales, who was elected last year on a "back to basics" platform. “The new policy means paving and road work will be designed to deliver the highest value on all Portland streets, on both neighborhood streets and more heavily used arterials.”

If approved, the new policy applies to the two-thirds of Portland’s street system that is classified as local and paved, the lower-trafficked streets where the majority of Portlanders live. Under the new policy, the bureau will prioritize repairing streets that are within one-quarter mile of a school as well as streets that are classified as neighborhood greenways.

The council must still find and authorize the funds for such work in the next annual budget that takes effect on July 1.

The bureau estimates it will repair about 50 miles of local streets this year, in addition to maintaining the more heavily trafficked arterials and collector streets. Hales has said he wants the bureau to repair 100 miles of neighborhood streets next year.

All repair work will prioritize preventive maintenance and restoration of streets in fair condition over rebuilding heavily deteriorated streets. Rebuilding heavily deteriorated roads costs ten times as much as renovating streets in fair or better condition and preventing their deterioration, the bureau has determined under its Pavement Management System.