A city of Portland project to create sidewalks on Southeast 136th Avenue between Powell and Holgate boulevards will get under way this fall.
The project is budgeted at $1.2 million. It will stretch for about half-a-mile along 136th Avenue.
This winter, an audit of the city’s street maintenance program pointed to an historic lack of funding for street paving. In response, Mayor Charlie Hales asked Toby Widmer, interim director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, to find creative ways to increase funds for pavement projects within the bureau’s existing budget.
One of the options outlined by Widmer would have diverted funding for the 136th Avenue sidewalk project to paving. Mayor Hales and city commissioners now have rejected that option.
“I asked Toby to be creative,” Hales said. “Long before we discuss any new funding, we want to make sure we were being as creative as possible with every dollar we have now. Toby did exactly what I asked of him.”
Hales said public safety remains the No. 1 factor for street maintenance programs. Paving, sidewalks, crosswalks and signage are all safety issues.
City Commissioner Steve Novick, along with Hales and Widmer, spoke to members of the media Wednesday morning at Gates Park, at 136th and Holgate, discussing the sidewalk project.
Members of the Oregon Legislature representing East Portland also were on hand, including Sens. Jackie Dingfelder, D-Portland; and Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River, and Reps. Shemia Fagan, D-Clackamas; Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland; Jeff Reardon, D-Portland; and Jessica Vega Pederson, D-Portland.