Support BikePortland

PBOT’s ‘Patch-a-thon’ promises pothole relief

Posted by on February 22nd, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Double-whammy. A pothole on N Willamette deposits gravel into the bike lane.
(Photo: @Dcay via Twitter)

As if the snow and ice and gravel wasn’t enough — now we are dealing with the scourge of potholes.

Potholes are nothing new, but this winter’s storm has created an alarming amount of new ones. They’re everywhere! Old ones are bigger and more treacherous, while new ones creep up where and when you’re not expecting them. For people using a car, a pothole can damage your wheels and rims. But for people on a bike the risk is greater. In addition to equipment damage, potholes can lead to crashes and injuries.

Today the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) announced what we hope will be a salve for our wounded streets: “Patch-a-thon” is the city’s new initiative that will aim to attack potholes with more maintenance crews. Here’s more from the official statement:

“Starting tomorrow, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will launch Patch-a-thon, a new initiative to fill the numerous potholes caused by this season’s many winter storms.

There is currently a backlog of more than 1,000 potholes that have been identified by residents and city crews. During Patch-a-thon, PBOT will dedicate extra crews and resources to address the current backlog. During normal operations, PBOT has two to three crews repairing potholes. During Patch-a-thon, this number will rise to 12 to 15 crews.

Advertisement

Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman will help kick off the effort by helping a crew fill a pothole on Thursday. The first two days of Patch-a-thon will be Thursday, Feb. 23 and Friday, Feb. 24. In the coming weeks, PBOT will hold a Patch-a-thon on those days when the weather permits effective and safe pothole repair. PBOT will continue Patch-a-thon until the winter pothole backlog has been cleared.

PBOT crews fill more than 8,000 potholes a year, working year round. The work is weather dependent and crews are sometimes diverted to emergencies such as landslides.”

They’ve also published a map that allows the public to track where potholes have been recorded. Check it out below:

If you want to report a pothole, send a detailed description and photos to PBOT dispatchers at pdxroads@portlandoregon.gov or use the PDX Reporter App. You can also call (503) 823-1700, PBOT’s 24-hour maintenance hotline.

PBOT will officially launch this effort tomorrow (2/23) with a media event on the NE Weidler – Broadway couplet near Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd at 9:00 am.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

30 Comments
  • Avatar
    Todd Boulanger February 22, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Yay!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Allan Rudwick February 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    an app for you phone that detects bumps while you’re driving and reports them might do a good job of collecting data for the city on these types of things. could run in the background

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    dan February 22, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    There’s a pothole on SE Harrison between 40th and 41st that looks like it’s turning into a sinkhole – there’s a torn up layer of asphalt, some cement, and then what looks like a void (!)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    John Lascurettes February 22, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    I don’t see any green dots on that interactive map! (red = reported; green = filled)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    rick February 22, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    SW Skyline Blvd is bad.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Caitlin D February 22, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    This is a great idea, and I love the interactive map! Glad to see the pothole at 34th and Salmon has already been reported; I’ve been meaning to report that one for a while.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    B. Carfree February 22, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    “Starting tomorrow, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will launch Patch-a-thon, a new initiative to fill the numerous potholes caused by this season’s many winter storms.”

    I rather think that the motor vehicles are the primary cause of the potholes, with the weather being a minor contributor. It’s too bad we are not allowed to ever assign any blame to motorists for any of the damage they do to our lives and the infrastructure we all pay for.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Spiffy February 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      I think the weather just loosens it up a little and the heavy vehicles then cause it to come apart… so it’s a factor of both things… even without vehicles the roads would be taken apart by nature eventually… like in the show Life After People…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Stephan February 23, 2017 at 4:24 pm

        No potholes on the SW waterfront because no cars drive there. So yes, these are damages caused by cars that we all have to pay for.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Adam H.
        Adam H. February 23, 2017 at 4:27 pm

        If only drivers would pay their fair share, am I right?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    John Lascurettes February 22, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Can someone help me figure out which agency to contact for bad road repairs?

    The PDX reporter is fantastic for reporting the potholes. But when I tried reporting bad road repairs from contractors doing sub-road work, I’ve tried a couple of the report types and they’ve either been rejected or closed without resolving.

    A perfect example of what I’m talking about is at the corner of SW Broadway at SW Oak in the bike lane. There was a trench dug there that crosses over, into, and parallels both bike lanes on Broadway on onto Oaks green lane. It was repaired in a, um, “lumpy” fashion and has spots that are patched well below grade. I turn right right there and it’s a really bumpy, messy ride to to do so. During freezing days, it’s an extra nail-biter.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Spiffy February 23, 2017 at 7:42 am

      you’d also want to report about half of the new ADA curb cut ramps since so many of them collect water and don’t drain… makes most of us have to walk way out into the street to go around the lakes…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        John Lascurettes February 23, 2017 at 11:04 am

        Yes, they did a horrible job with those that just got installed at SW Oak @ SW 9th. The curb work is nice, but the road patching to the curb is a horrible trip hazard there.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Bald One February 23, 2017 at 9:14 am

      I think it’s PBOT street maintenance. I have complained about poorly filled utility cuts in the past and have been directed, there.

      If there is one thing that’s certain, as soon as the city lays down new asphalt, someone will come along and cut a huge hole in it for utility work, frequently followed by a poor patch job. Older roads will have a nice accumulation of these cuts over the years. Unfortunately for us cyclists, many of these utility cuts occur in the bike lane or to the side, where cyclists generally ride.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Chris I February 23, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Rather than bow to the pressure to buy additional snow plows for freak events like the storm this year, I’d rather PBOT spend the money on pothole repair. Potholes happen every year.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Spiffy February 23, 2017 at 7:47 am

    for people using a car irresponsibly, a pothole can damage their wheels and rims…

    slow down if you can’t see a hole in the road in front of you…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Todd Hudson February 23, 2017 at 7:59 am

    So is ODOT not PBOT responsible for 82nd? The stretch between 84 and Sandy is not potholes, it’s a trench! You’d think it would calm traffic…nope. People just straddle the left-turn lane marker. ODOT will get around to it in probably 18 months or so….

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Spiffy February 23, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      since it’s Hwy 213 it’s ODOT…

      however, it’s possible they are paying the city to do the maintenance…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    A Grant February 23, 2017 at 8:55 am

    That said, in my neck of the woods, I’ve found that sometimes a well placed pothole can serve as a good traffic calming device…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Bald One February 23, 2017 at 9:18 am

    I rode N. Willamette yesterday, the inbound lane had an ENORMOUS hole towards the right of the car travel lane, and of course, all the cars were swerving around it using the bike lane as the detour. Very dangerous for a cyclist in the bike lane, as cars tend to get that tunnel vision just doing what the car in front of them did, not thinking of the biker already in that lane. The bike lane in that spot not only contained several bucket loads of gravel from that pothole, but also a bunch of hub cabs, broken car light lens, and other garbage that pothole spit out from the cars it ate.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Bald One February 23, 2017 at 9:20 am

    I see PBOT is having a media event around their routine maintenance work – kind of like when they do traffic enforcement: call the news channels, get the mayor or commissioner out there, have some photo-ops. This is how they get the job done!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Tom February 23, 2017 at 10:00 am

    It there an estimate of the total cost of the repairs needed due to the use of chains during the winter storms. It looks like in just a few days, chained vehicles did the equivalent of many years of regular wear to the roads. Would it seem reasonable then to add a tax to the purchase of chains in order to cover this cost. While many choose other means to get to work or worked from home during the storm, a minority of road users choose to do massive damage to the roadway. In other circumstances, anyone doing this level of damage to public property in such a short period of time would be heavily fined or thrown in jail.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      MaxD February 23, 2017 at 10:57 am

      I think Portland should sell a permit to use Chains or studded tires within City Limits. It would work like a snow park permit in that you could buy a day pass, a 3-day pass, a week pass or a year pass. THe revenue from it would go directly to road repair. The stickers could cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $25/day to $1000/year. Chains/studded tires should also be restricted to December 1 to April 1. There are taxis who put studded tires on minivans and other vehicles in November and leave them on til April, they should be contributing more to road repair. Also, if you choose to live in the West Hills, you need to pay more for the low-density /street mile and increased maintenance of those roads.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Spiffy February 23, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      they’ve only been reporting that the damage is mostly due to all the freeze thaw cycles we’ve had this year, which are more than we usually get…

      chains for a week shouldn’t do a lot of damage, especially since the roads still had a layer of packed snow on them…

      but should the cycle continue we may need to rethink our asphalt mix so it’s more resistant to the temp changes…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Liu
    John Liu February 23, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I don’t worry about chains, because they are so unpleasant to drive on that drivers only use them when they are actually needed. Studded snow tires, on the other hand, are used all winter, grinding furrows in our streets, even though most years they are only useful for a few days. I would like to see a significant tax on studded snow tires ($100/tire) but no additional tax on studless snow tires. I would not like to see a tax on chains because for many people who cannot afford a $600 set of dedicated snow tires and wheels, a $50 set of chains gives them the ability to drive when they really need to.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      MaxD February 23, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Good point, John.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Buzz February 23, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Pothole repair only goes so far, sometimes the patch is as bad for cyclists as the hole. Most of these roads really need to be repaved, and studded tires need to either pay their way or be eliminated.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Justin M February 24, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I have to say, these potholes have made me more eager to do my commutes by bike when feasible. Driving over them has been such a pain, and it’s so much easier to navigate them by bike.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar