Portland might wait 5 years on paving projects

Credit: GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Teeth-rattling potholes are born after a hard freeze or heavy rain. This one is on southbound Dexter Avenue North, near Crockett Street.

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by KGW.com Staff and Tim Gordon

Bio | Email | Follow: @TimGordonKGW

kgw.com

Posted on January 5, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 6 at 3:09 PM

PORTLAND - Portland's Bureau of Transportation says it can't afford to do some big repaving projects.

Southwest 4th Avenue was scheduled to be repaved. That project is on hold, along with others the bureau hoped to contract out over the next five years.

Potholes riddle SW Oak St. through downtown Portland. The street was targeted for a big repaving makeover but now fixing the cracks and patches will have to wait.

"Of all infrastructure, the transportation infrastructure is visible above ground, so its really noticeable,"  PBOT's Cheryl Kuck said.

Deferring the work is not what they want to do, but what they must do, given a $16 million budget gap, according to Kuck.

While financial commitments will be kept for projects like a new Sellwood Bridge and light rail to Milwaukie, major streets won't get an outside contractor to give them new life.

"It's very uncomfortable to ride over in a bus, cars too. It's very hard on the vehicles and bodies," Southwest Portland resident Damon Walker said.

The first four projects not being postponed are on SW Oak, SW Harrison, NE 122nd Avenue, and SE Bybee.

It will save $4.4 million a year.

"It's the heart of the city and you've got a lot of visitors coming in and going down there, and you can't hide the roads, everyone sees them," Walker said.

The bureau's budget proposal, which will include an undetermined number of job cuts, must be on the mayor's desk by the end of the month.

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