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Snowplow operator uproots 30 plastic bollards on the 28th Avenue overpass

Posted by on February 26th, 2018 at 4:18 pm

This photo was taken by reader Tanja Olson on Thursday, February 23rd.

Portland is still getting used to snowy winters — so too are the City’s snowplow operators.

On Thursday, a Portland Bureau of Transportation employee set the scooper on their plow a bit too wide and uprooted 30 plastic bollards that demarcate the bike lanes on the 28th Avenue overpass of I-84. The bollards were installed last summer and are part of the Twenties Bikeway route.

By Saturday only one bollard remained.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

With a bike rider for context.


Here’s a view from further away. Note how the destruction began right at the bridge deck.

It’s not as though these things are just glued to the ground willy-nilly.

Reader Tanja Olson shared that lead image above with us on Friday. Before confirming the snowplow assault with PBOT today, we weren’t sure exactly what uprooted all the bollards. So we had a bit of fun with our friends on Instagram and asked them for their ideas:

terry.d.m.bikes: I’m from Wisconsin originally, I know what it looks like. I’m sure the plow did it.

carmusmeathole: they were all laying down perfectly. i work around the corner. i figured a plow would have heard and swerved out of the way?

brandyschwandy: i blame fat bikes…

ogtothe503: Bigfoot.

nedholbrook: Thanks, Obama.

dangit.holly: crop circle aliens

rumpshaker71: Global Warming

All kidding aside, PBOT Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera told us today that it was indeed a snowplow operator. The incident was reported by the plow crew on Thursday and PBOT has already replaced 24 of the 30 bollards. They plan to install the final six tomorrow. “In the meantime,” Rivera added, “we took the opportunity to sweep the bike lane.”

Rivera also wanted to pass along this tip: “Whenever anyone sees damaged infrastructure on our streets or public right-of-way, the best thing to do is call our 24 hour dispatch hotline 503-823-1700, or use the web site.”

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

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j_fishBald OneAndrew KrepsshirtsoffHello, Kitty Recent comment authors
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Now add to this the annual discussion of when all the gravel PBOT used during the recent storms, and has now been deposited in bike lanes all over town, will be cleaned up?

John Liu
John Liu

Look at it this way, the streets get an unscheduled sweeping.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty

Confidential to PBOT… You’re trying too hard. The snow will melt on its own. Just let it go.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty

I should also add that if those bollards got knocked down, they were plowing the street into the bike lane.


Speaking of bollards: I noticed that TriMet has installed plastic bollards to PROTECT THE MAX at the intersection of SE Holgate and SE 17th Ave. These are on top of the concrete barrier and large painted buffer between the tracks and the car travel lanes. I can’t help but be struck at the difference we give to protect a large train (after one car v. train incident at that intersection) as opposed to the cyclists all leveraging this one piece of roadway. Yup, I’m feeling touchy since some paint failed to protect me from nearly being sideswiped by a vehicle Saturday while I was in the bike lane and they were making a weird illegal maneuver around a stalled car.

Ken S
Ken S

This is one more reason I’m not fond of bollard-protected bike lanes.
They get filled with debris, don’t actually prevent vehicles from driving over them, but they DO prevent people on bikes from taking the car lane to avoid hazards or pass other cyclists with enough space.
It’s safety theater.

Bike lanes need to either be sweepable parts of the road or fully removed, jersey barrier’d paths that actively keep out cars and road debris thrown off by cars.

Bald One
Bald One

So Rivera all but admitted that they have no way to sweep a protected bike lane? As far as those specialized narrow sweepers that we have heard about, I don’t think they are actually ever in use, if not completely abandoned by PBOT. City immediately needs to get an effective maintenance plan for this new bollard bike lane system they seem to be fond of at the moment.

What is the point of the gravel? They put it down and within minutes it is all pushed out to the sides serving no purpose and causing all sorts of issues for months, even years, for cyclists using the bike lane. What a damaging waste this practice is.

The practice of putting gravel down on streets in Portland (especially those with any bike lane or cycle-frequented shoulder) needs to STOP.


I’m relieved this was the work of a snow plow and not an intentional motorist as I had assumed. Is this a good place to ask about enforcement for parked cars in the bike lane? I take this route to work daily and frequently see cars parked on 28th on both the north and south sides of Sandy. I know it used to be parking but the bike lanes are highly visible. Could we get some no parking signs to reiterate please?