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Portland to repair 50 miles of unimproved roads

The new service will fill in ruts and potholes and smooth each street’s surface.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is repairing unimproved streets across the city as part of the city’s new Portland Gravel Streets Service.

The objective of the service is to "provide grading and graveling of unimproved gravel streets in Portland," according to a news release from PBOT. The new service will fill in ruts and potholes and smooth each street’s surface.

Portland has more than 50 miles of unimproved roads across the city. For years, residents living on these streets have asked the city to do something about it.

"We're addressing a real need for Portland," said Chloe Eudaly, transportation commissioner for Portland.

The announcement marks an about-face from what the city has said in the past. In 2015, Portland city leaders told homeowners living on the city’s unimproved roads that they should pool their money and pay to fix the roads themselves.

RELATED: Portland to homeowners: Fix your own unimproved street (2015 article)

But PBOT interim director Chris Warner said the city has heard the pleas of its concerned residents.

"Portlanders, we heard you. For years, you have asked us to improve these gravel streets," Warner said. "Thanks to your advocacy, we now have this service."

Chelsea Powers, board chair for the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association, said the new service is a good first step. She said her association looks forward to working with the city to move the project forward.

"This essential maintenance of severely neglected, unimproved roads is a significant first step from the City of Portland to improve infrastructure on our historically underserved and diverse neighborhood," she said.

The work will be completed each year from November through February. The cycle of repairs will repeat itself every three years.

PBOT has already improved more than six dozen road segments since the program began in November of last year.

Here’s a look at the schedule:

  • 2018-19: Streets in Southeast Portland south of Southeast Division will be repaired
  • 2019-20: Streets in the rest of Southeast Portland and all of North and Northeast Portland will be repaired
  • 2020-21: Streets in Southwest and Northwest Portland will be repaired