Posted by Michael Andersen (Contributor) on January 27th, 2014 at 12:47 pm
conversation about transportation budgets.
(Photo: City of Portland.)
The City of Portland is getting ready to write its most important transportation wish list in years.
A trio of town halls next month — one east of Interstate 205, one in outer Southwest Portland and one in middle Southeast — will help determine which projects the city will publicly commit to when it proposes a new revenue plan to the public.
As we first reported last month, the city’s leading option is a per-household and per-business “street fee” that would probably come out to several dollars per month per household. City Transportation Budget Advisory Committee Member David Hampsten said this month that the city’s goal is to raise about $25 million a year to spend on street repairs, sidewalks, safer crossings, multi-use paths and other amenities.
Earlier this month, Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick convened an impressive 27-person committee expected to help select the projects, determine the fee structure and ultimately make the case to the public.
The city’s preliminary project lists so far have not included the word “bicycle,” though mixed-use paths such as the North Portland Greenway and various measures in the East Portland in Motion plan would certainly improve bike transportation.
Hales, Novick and city transportation staff will attend the three town halls “to discuss current unfunded transportation needs,” the city wrote on its website this weekend:
- Thursday, Feb. 20, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Sunnyside Environmental School, 3421 SE Salmon St.
- Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 to 8:30 at Immigrant & Refuge Community Organization (IRCO), 10301 NE Glisan St.
- Thursday, Feb. 27, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Highway
Mark Lear, who staffed the transportation bureau’s similar “Safe, Sound and Green” street fee effort in 2007, is returning as the city’s point person on this project. You can contact him at (503) 823-7604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 10 pm: City spokesman Dylan Rivera emails to emphasize that the city is approaching the process with an open mind and may well end up pursuing an option other than the street fee, or a higher or lower amount of money, based on public input.
“We have not decided on a specific amount or a specific collection method,” Rivera said. “It is true that there was a 2007 proposal that would have raised $25 million a year with a street fee. It’s also true that the City Auditor said we would need an additional $75 million a year over the next 10 years just to bring the pavement on our streets up to decent condition.”
Also, a clarification that is now added above: The city’s working target of $25 million, cited in this post and one earlier this month, comes from Portland Bureau of Transportation Budget Advisory Committee member David Hampsten of the East Portland Neighborhood Office, a longtime budget volunteer who’s been following the process closely.