Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

State Rep secures $3.6 million in state funding for East Portland sidewalks

Posted by on July 8th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

SE 136th Press Conference-7

State Rep. Shemia Fagan at a pres
s conference in April.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

State Representative Shemia Fagan has delivered $3.6 million in state capital funds to build sidewalks and crosswalks in East Portland.

At a press conference back in April, Rep. Fagan announced her intentions to pursue this funding, which she saw as her duty following the tragic death of five-year-old Morgan Maynard-Cook on February 28th. Not only did Rep. Fagan believe the state had a duty to build the sidewalks in light of the grief experienced by Maynard-Cook’s mother Connie Ruiz, she also did it to provide safer road conditions for the 2,000 students who attend schools in the area.

“All of these kids need a safe route to school,” she said at that press conference, “And these families are not just Portlanders, they are Oregonians and we owe them as well.”

Here’s an excerpt from a statement put out by Fagan’s office today:

“After being approached by Morgan’s family, Rep. Fagan, Representative Jeff Reardon (D-East Portland / Happy Valley), and Representative Jessica Vega Pederson (D-East Portland) formed and led the East Portland Caucus to pressure the Legislature to provide the $3.6 million needed to begin immediate construction of crosswalks and sidewalks on SE 136th Ave.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick, recently tapped to lead the City’s transportation bureau, worked with the East Portland Caucus to prioritize this joint effort.

“For too long East Portlanders have been told to ‘be patient,’” Rep. Fagan said. “But Morgan’s family, and every family, has a right to be very impatient when it comes to the safety of their children.” “I am proud to make East Portland a big winner in my first session in the Oregon House,” she added. “I was elected to fight for my district and I am proud to deliver something real.”

Construction has already begun for Phase I of the SE 136th sidewalks project funded by the Portland City Council. Phases II and III, funded today through House Bill 2322, will break ground this winter.

None of the projects slated for funding will be bicycle specific (Rep. Fagan has some interesting views about how bicycling is perceived by her constituents); but anything that improves safety on east Portland streets is a benefit to everyone that uses them.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Joe July 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm


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  • Champs July 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    East Portland knows better than to look for help from city hall—all of its officials live more than five miles away.

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    • davemess July 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      They/we tried with Jefferson……
      If only he hadn’t pushed that girl in college…….

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      • spare_wheel July 9, 2013 at 9:01 am

        or if he had just been a little more up front about poor youthful decisions from the beginning. i hope he runs again.

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  • 9watts July 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Sidewalks are derivative, just like bike specific infrastructure. Without the overwhelming presence of the car we wouldn’t need either.

    While I like sidewalks, I’m afraid that–as Paul in the ‘couve’s recent post in another thread suggested–you don’t have to be anywhere near cars or even sidewalks to be run over and killed. Playing in your front yard is also adequate.

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  • Dave July 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Hope it’s just a start–I’d consider sidewalks an end that justifies any means to snag the funding.

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  • Hart Noecker July 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I’m curious, where did Shamia think the money for the CRC freeway expansion she voted for would have come from?

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    • Todd Hudson July 9, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Just for once, I’d like to see you post something while not on your ridiculously high horse.

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  • shirtsoff July 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Awesome, awesome. I’ve been waiting my entire life for this day. Jonathon, you should do a follow up to this story in a year (or two?) and see how it has progressed since then in achieving its goals.

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  • i ride my bike July 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    This is fantastic news and everyone now agrees East Portland needs better infrastructure but always playing the East Portland victim card gets old even when it is finally getting the attention it deserves.

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    • davemess July 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      What card? It’s a fact that east portland has the lowest incomes in the city and the poorest infrastructure for any mode of transport (walk, bike, bus, and auto). They pay taxes, and they make a large percentage of the Portland and Multnomah county electorate.

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    • spare_wheel July 9, 2013 at 9:04 am

      imo, they do not play the victim card enough. twee and smug inner portland needs a major attitude adjustment.

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  • Tim July 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Why is public funding being used for these sidewalks? Are the sidewalks adjacent to public property like schools? Why isn’t the cost of the sidewalk paid by the property owners?

    I paid for the construction of the sidewalk in front of my house and the street for that matter, and I bet you paid for the ones in your neighborhood. Also, if your sidewalk needs repair the city will send you a polite notice telling you to repair the sidewalk or they will repair it and send you the bill. If your street does not have sidewalks or isn’t paved it is because you didn’t pay for it. You can form a PID and add paving and sidewalks, and be assessed for the cost.

    Neighborhood streets and sidewalks are built from the sale of lots, not with public funds. You pay for the street maintenance with higher property taxes and are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks.

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    • davemess July 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Because some people recognize that we have a really stupid law in regards to the “property-owner paid” sidewalks.

      “If your street does not have sidewalks or isn’t paved it is because you didn’t pay for it.” Or it means you were annexed into Portland recently and fed a bunch of lines about how your neighborhood would be greatly enhanced by being part of Portland.

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    • jeff July 8, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      hey “Tim” my S.E. PDX house was built in 1904 – wanna guess whether or not I paid for my sidewalk? Not everything and every place fits into your narrow definition of what should or should not be the responsibility of home owners. Have you paid for every sidewalk you’ve used?

      what does this have to do with sweeping a sidewalk, mowing a parking strip, or clearing snow?

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      • Todd Boulanger July 9, 2013 at 11:18 am

        Given the age of your house..another option there may have been plank “walkways” when your home was built since outside of the city centres and trolley car routes most sidewalks date from the period later in that decade…1903 tends to be the earliest date stamp on the oldest of the surviving sidewalks.

        This does bring up another issue…for areas with existing sidewalks…the majority of them are functionally obsolete (older than 50 years) and will need to be replaced soon…assuming there is a will and a way.

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      • davemess July 9, 2013 at 1:09 pm

        Another important point is that the vast majority of areas of Portland that still don’t have sidewalks/curbs/paved streets are in the poorer neighborhoods where the residents don’t have the money to pay for them themselves (even if they wanted to).

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  • Kevin Wagoner July 8, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    State Representative Shemia Fagan needs voted into a promotion.

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  • Steph Routh, Oregon Walks July 9, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Huge thanks to Rep. Shemia Fagan for her leadership, and also to Reps. Reardon and Vega Pederson for their support of better walking conditions. Incredible work.

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  • longgone July 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Now lets get her to steamroll this nice momentum, by welcoming cycling in her district, and kindly ask her to help bridge preconceptions for her constituents (which btw, she helps instill with strange comments) of “us vs.them” in regards to demographics, cycling stereotypes, and people who live less than five miles from “us”.

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  • Todd Boulanger July 9, 2013 at 11:22 am

    This funding might make for a great investment for a bond to fund sidewalks over the long term vs. a one year shot in the arm to address a handful of important marked crossings and sidewalk links.

    Additionally, the City Council should adopt an ord. that requires sidewalks (and curbs) to be built (and repaired) when a property is sold. That is until we have true transportation reform that treats ALL public infrastructure within the public rights of way as the same when it comes to construction and maintenance…since most road resurfacing funds come from property taxes.

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    • davemess July 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      So you want to burden people who already have lower than average house prices (due to no sidewalk/paved street, and less desirable neighborhoods) with more expenses to sell their houses? Talk about more of an invitation for people to abandon houses.

      I agree with the first part of your post, but the proposed ordinance seems like it would be REALLY regressive.

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  • GlowBoy July 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Tim makes a good point that existing sidewalks were paid for by the owners at the time, as are any repairs. In fact, I just had to pay the city a few hundred dollars earlier this year to fix a couple of minor trip hazards on my home’s sidewalks. I have a house that was built just after the turn of the century, and like Jeff I didn’t directly pay for the sidewalks (which were actually installed around 1910). But the thing is, I am paying for them, right now: my house cost me more as a result of its 100 year old sidewalks than if it were on a street without them, and that’s reflected in my monthly payments.

    That said, I think this is different than making adjacent property owners pay for sidewalk repairs: sidewalks are a basic public safety element that should be present on any street with a significant amount of traffic. I support the use of public money to bring them up that very minimal standard, without additionally burdening the nearby homeowners. (For the record, I do NOT support having the city pay to upgrade unpaved streets, which benefits drivers more than it benefits pedestrians, though i do support the city’s new proposal to streamline the code and reduce the cost).

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  • TOM July 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Go Shemia 🙂

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