Novick: Plowing would cost $70M, not $300M

Novick: Plowing would cost $70M, not $300M

Novick: Plowing would cost $70M, not $300M

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by Jeff Thompson, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 11 at 3:58 PM

PORTLAND -- Portland Commissioner Steve Novick clarified Tuesday that the resources to plow every street in Portland would cost $70 million, not $300 million as he said in a press conference Monday.

"I wanted a number, so I pushed some very tired people to come up with a back-of-the-envelope calculation," Novick explained in a statement.

He said the cost associated with plowing 518 miles of Portland streets during the storm would be about $35 million a year, and the hasty calculation assumed plowing the city's other 4,500 miles would cost about nine times as much.

Related: Cleanup continues after snow, ice storms

"We messed up," Novick said. "We ignored the fact that the 518 miles of transit streets are, basically, bigger streets than the residential streets. We should have been thinking in terms of ‘lane miles,’ not ‘street miles.’"

The revised rough estimate, $70 million per year to have plowing resources on hand throughout the year, is "still a lot of money, but not $300 million," he said.

"This is my own, personal fault, because I was the one who pushed for an estimate and I was the one who used it without triple-checking," he said.

Novick added that he would love to have another $70 million in the city's budget to take care of street maintenance and then tackle the "every-five-years snow events."

More: Portland asks Santa for cash for road repairs

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