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Did Portland city leaders fix their sidewalks, as promised? We checked

As PBOT hands out violations to homeowners, it appears the commissioner and director of PBOT are violating the policy they require others to follow.

Chris Willis

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Portland’s sidewalk repair policy is again under scrutiny. 

The policy is complaint-based and the Portland Bureau of Transportation uses a half-inch "gap, dip or lip" to decide if a homeowner’s sidewalk is a code violation. If so, PBOT gives homeowners the option of fixing it, hiring a private contractor to repair it, or using city contractors to do the work, often at a much higher cost.

But as PBOT hands out violations to homeowners that cost thousands of dollars, it appears the commissioner and director of PBOT are violating the policy they require other Portlanders to follow.

KGW first brought you the story of Portlander Kyle Bell back in March. He said his sidewalks were fine. No half-inch gaps, dips or lips. But PBOT received a complaint about his neighbor’s sidewalks and looked at his, too. 

Credit: KGW
Kyle Bell's sidewalk before repair work

PBOT determined they were a hazard, and billed him close to $5,000 to fix them. Kyle said he couldn’t believe it. 

“They're not genuinely concerned about sidewalks. I think it’s more about getting the money," Bell said.

He said his sidewalks were old, but in good shape. 

“Was it hazardous? Absolutely not!" Bell said.