Portland's 'fishy' sidewalk issue: 300 sidewalk repair reports filed by one man

Portland's 'fishy' sidewalk issue: 300 sidewalk repair reports filed by one man


by Kyle Iboshi, KGW Staff


Posted on May 20, 2014 at 5:52 AM

Updated Sunday, May 25 at 4:57 PM

PORTLAND -- Northeast Portland's Irvington Neighborhood looks like a work zone. Up and down the streets, construction crews are busy fixing patches of sidewalk.

"It didn't seem like they were that bad," said neighbor Bob Workmeister.

"We've never had an issue about the sidewalks," said neighbor Jo Foraker.

Curiously, by far the majority of the complaints the City of Portland received about sidewalk conditions in NE came from one person - 300 reports, to be exact.

In Portland, the city's sidewalks are actually owned by residential property owners. The city is demanding hundreds of neighbors make repairs to sidewalks that have been deemed "hazardous."

Notified homeowners have 60 days to make the necessary fixes to the pavement in front of their houses.

Contractors are standing by and anxious to bid on the projects.

"Something is fishy. Something is fishy," said neighbor Workmeister.

A public records request filed by KGW revealed that most of the complaints in Northeast Portland came from the same name, Dan Wallace. In just the month of April, a Dan Wallace filed more than 300 complaints with the city about bad sidewalks. That's far more than anyone else.

City of Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesperson Diane Dulken said she doesn't know who Dan Wallace is and she isn't concerned about the number of times that one individual has filed complaints.

"That's not a question we ask," Dulken said. "We look at the safety of the sidewalks and whether that condition poses a hazard to the public."

KGW contacted Dan Wallace by email. He wouldn't explain who he was. He would only say "I'm just doing what the city should be doing." It's not clear if he's a concerned citizen or a contractor looking to drum up work, as many neighbors suspect.

Neighbors didn't ask for the sidewalk repairs. Most don't think they need it. But apparently, Dan Wallace does.

And so the city is forcing hundreds of homeowners to pay for sidewalk repairs that one man requested.

Contact Commissioner Steve Novick, in charge of the Transportation bureau.