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Coalition of legislators scores $17 million to rebuild 14 blocks of Outer Powell

Posted by on July 7th, 2015 at 9:52 am

SE 136th Press Conference-7

State Rep. Shemia Fagan has stepped
up for safer streets in east Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s not the $25 million that would have been wrapped inside last month’s ill-fated bipartisan transportation bill, but Powell Boulevard is lined up for a long-awaited improvement.

The state-run road is lined up to get $17 million to add sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly crossings and bike lane upgrades — which, as we reported last month, could come in the form of protected bike lanes. Another $3 million pledged by the City of Portland Friday would bring the project’s funding to $20 million for the blocks between SE 122nd and 136th avenues.

The rebuild “will break ground in 2018,” according to Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-Clackamas) a second-term legislator in a swing district who has been a dogged champion for better walking and biking in the area.

Joining Fagan in support for this funding was a chorus of other local legislators, including Rep. Jessica Vega Pederson (D-East Portland), Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), Sen. Rod Monroe (D-East Portland), Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-NE Portland), Rep. Jeff Reardon (D-Happy Valley/East Portland), and Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland).


A rendering of a recommended design for Outer Powell.
Today, the street lacks complete sidewalks.
(Source: Outer Powell Conceptual Design Plan)

As reported by Willamette Week, the upgrade will include one of the most dangerous intersections in the state: SE Powell and 122nd, the site of 220 reported injuries between 2004 and 2013, four of them of people biking. (Willamette Week said state officials call it the single most dangerous intersection in Oregon, but it’s not clear how they were counting; several intersections had more injuries in the decade.)



Four “key elements” of a protected intersection.

Powell and 122nd also happens to be one of two intersections that were used by Portland resident Nick Falbo as a model for a groundbreaking video that itemized the characteristics of a “protected intersection” that could prevent most bike-car turning conflicts. That concept has since led to working models being approved in Austin, Davis, Salt Lake City and Boston. Last month, one member of the advisory committee for the state’s Outer Powell project told us she thought the design would be possible there.

In a comment on BikePortland last month, the Oregon Department of Transportation project manager for Powell said the current process “will not preclude” raised bike lanes as part of the plan.

Meanwhile the planning process that’ll determine how this and future money will be spent on Powell continues. The next meeting of the “decision committee” for Outer Powell is set for the fall. On Saturday, Aug. 1, project staff will lead a bike ride for people who use Powell to talk about possibilities for improving the street.

You can also submit a site-specific or general comment on the project website.

outer powell comment map

Correction 7/7: An earlier version of this post listed the wrong date for the next meeting of the Outer Powell decision committee.

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Steve BVTRCTodd HudsonMike Masondavemess Recent comment authors
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$1.2M/block just to contain cars a little more than they are now!
Talk about defensive expenditures.
I wonder what percentage of these funds come from car-related fees and taxes and what percentage is from other sources?


I don’t see the point of this project if they will not also be fixing the parts further East and West. East of 136th there’s “bike lanes” that also double as highway shoulders, sidewalks, on street parking, garbage collections, etc.

At best, we will get a very short, minor improvement on existing bike lanes, whereas people driving will have a wider surface, that allows for plenty of speed and pedestrian-killing-ability.

And what’s up with the setback? You could put entire houses on those setbacks. They don’t belong in an urban environment.

Evan Manvel
Evan Manvel

Big news!

Reminder: thank your legislators (esp. Rep. Fagan) today! E-mail, call, tweet, as you please…

Has anyone else noticed this trend in the comments this week?

On the post about speed cameras – “Yeah, yeah, but what about neighborhood greenways?” Next post, Clinton – “Yeah, yeah, but what about East Portland?” Next post, East Portland. Awesome.

Adam Herstein
Adam Herstein

This was the comment I submitted:

Thanks for your efforts in servicing funding to improve safety for one of Oregon’s most dangerous roads. I am urging the project planners to install fully-separated protected bike lanes and protected intersections (see: These treatments are proven to be safe and are the gold standard for bike infrastructure. Simply painting a wider buffer is not sufficient for safety. No one should die or be injured on our streets. Thank you for your consideration.


Not usually a big fan of red light cams but 122 at Powell would be a no brainer. Stand there for a few min on any given day and you would see a shocking abuse of the law. That goes for all the lights on 122. These east county mega intersections are horrible.

Dwaine Dibbly
Dwaine Dibbly

Isn’t TriMet looking at Bus Rapid Transit on Powell? How will that project affect this one (and vice-versa)?


$1.2M per block for another isolated segment.

Finally, I realize that 8-80 isn’t an age range, it’s a percentage. There’s a good solution out there, and we’ll put in anywhere between 8% to 80% of the effort necessary to make it happen.

Vision zero, zero vision.