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Second phase of Portland's lighting improvement plan underway, lighting one district at a time

The city is currently working on its second phase of bringing more lighting to sidewalks and storefronts in several districts.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Mayor Ted Wheeler's citywide lighting plan began its second phase on Wednesday, bringing more lighting to the sidewalks and storefronts of businesses in Portland.

"Improved lighting on sidewalks and storefronts increases visibility to help improve safety and deter crime while making business districts more inviting," Wheeler said.

The lighting plan is an extension of last year's emergency effort to improve and clean up the city post-pandemic.

Phase 1 of the lighting project focused on other business districts, including those along Northeast Sandy Boulevard. Several trees in Kelley Plaza on Northeast 42nd Avenue and Sandy Boulevard are now wrapped in LED lights.

"I hope the lights offer safety and protection for passersby walking down," said Gabe Taylor, general manager of the Laughing Planet Café near Kelley Plaza. "You definitely want to be able to see what's going on out there and it really was a dark patch out there before."

According to the city's plan, lights will eventually adorn 71 trees along Sandy Boulevard.

Further east on Southeast 82nd Avenue, the Jade District is part of Phase 2 of the city's lighting plan. Installation is now in progress and will eventually illuminate 142 trees in and around Southeast 82nd Avenue near Division Street.

People who work in the neighborhood said they could use the extra light.

"Homeless issues and crime and robberies — lots of things going on around this area," said Felix Xiao, who works at King's Bakery. He said most businesses, including the bakery, used to stay open late but now close before 6 p.m. because of winter darkness and concern over crime.

"I think that's a good idea to put the lights on the trees, it helps people, you know," Xiao said. "Especially right now in the winter, you can't see what's in front of you when you're walking on the street."

Phase 3 of the lighting plan includes the Lloyd and Central Eastside Districts, just to name a few. 

Business districts interested in participating in the lighting plan can email the city's Public Environment Management Office at pemo@portlandoregon.gov.

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