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State of Oregon finalizes funding list for Safe Routes to School projects

Posted by on January 17th, 2019 at 7:51 am

(Image: ODOT)

The State of Oregon has finalized its first batch of Safe Routes to School projects funded through the $5.3 billion transportation package passed by legislators in 2017.

Region 1 (which covers all of Portland) will receive $3.39 million for four projects that will make it easier and safer for kids to walk and bike to class. ODOT awarded nearly $16 million for 24 projects statewide. Demand for these funds far outstripped supply as the agency received a total of 112 project applications requesting a total of $85 million.

Projects within a one-mile radius of schools are eligible for funding and schools where children come from low-income households were prioritized. Projects also scored high if they demonstrated an acute safety need, had “shovel-ready” status, and if they would benefit elementary and middle schools.

Here’s the list of Region 1 projects (view the full list here):

Multnomah County: Crossing enhancements for Reynolds Middle School – $90,957

Clackamas County: Sidewalks, ramps, rapid flashing beacons, and pedestrian refuge islands for Whitcomb Elementary School – $148,470

City of Portland: Sidewalks for Alder Elementary School – $2,000,000

City of Milwaukie: Sidewalks, enhanced crossings, crossing beacons, and bike lanes for Linwood Elementary School – $1,152,330

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All the project sponsors will be required to raise matching funds. As written, the law requires a 40% match; but sponsors can have that reduced to 20% if their project meets certain criteria. All the Region 1 projects qualify for the 20% match reduction (the City of Milwaukie has not requested the reduction). (Note: This matching funds issue has been a sticking point for Safe Routes advocates and the current legislative session includes Senate Bill 561, which seeks to decrease the match amount for all projects.)

This is the first allocation for ODOT’s Safe Routes to School Competitive Grant Program (PDF) and it covers the 2019-2020 cycle. The funds will double to $30 million for the next two-year cycle in 2021.

The full list is expected to be approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission at their meeting in Salem today (1/17).

Portland will add this project to its own, $8 million list of Safe Routes to School projects announced back in June.

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

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  • Michael Whitesel
    Michael Whitesel January 17, 2019 at 8:57 am

    Why does it cost $2,000,000 for sidewalks for one school? It seems a more judicious use of funds would allow more projects to be completed.

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    • paikiala January 18, 2019 at 9:40 am

      6′ Sidewalk and curb, one side, cost about $350 per foot. Add to that the storm water management. You might get 4,000 feet of improvement. Half that length if doing both sides of the road (centerline length).

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  • johnny burrell January 17, 2019 at 9:31 am

    What about the need at Tubman Middle School?

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    • paikiala January 18, 2019 at 9:31 am

      Have you visited Alder? 174th Avenue?

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  • David Hampsten January 17, 2019 at 10:03 am

    I noticed that Alder Elementary is also part of the Reynolds School District. Assuming they rebuild part of 174th, any idea how much of the $2 million will be spent to fix streets and sidewalks in nearby Gresham?

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    • paikiala January 18, 2019 at 9:33 am

      Portland boundaries for $100, none. 174th is in Portland and Portland doesn’t build sidewalk outside of Portland.

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  • 9watts January 17, 2019 at 10:23 am

    First vehicle stopped at the cross walk in the picture above has a Washington plate. Hm.

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    • David Hampsten January 17, 2019 at 11:26 am

      Yeah, and you can see the frustrated irate looks of all the Oregon drivers behind, eager to get where they want to go faster.

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      • paikiala January 18, 2019 at 9:56 am

        There are no visible plates on the vehicles behind the first one in the photo.
        A signal controller box is in place on the power pole, so the drivers are more likely waiting at a red light.

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    • Brian January 17, 2019 at 11:51 am

      Why is that noteworthy?

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      • 9watts January 17, 2019 at 12:01 pm

        The picture makes it appear to be a quiet, narrow side street, and having out of state vehicles clogging things up during pickup/drop off, above and beyond locals, who may or may not themselves have urgent business-that-must-be-motorized right then seemed surprising.

        Sort of like the umpteen thousand households who—it was determined later—just had to run their electric clothes dryers during the peak hours of thise July afternoons in 2001 when California experienced its electricity crisis…. When the ambient conditions which made for peak demand (chiefly AC usage) also would have handily dried those very same clothes without any utility supplied fuels, if you get my drift.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 18, 2019 at 12:54 am

          He probably passing through, enroute to California. Why else would a WA driver be clogging things up in Portland?

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        • paikiala January 18, 2019 at 10:02 am

          The picture does no such thing. You’re describing your imagination.
          All I see is one half of a street, one direction of travel, and an unknown number of cars waiting. It has a bus stop, so is a transit route, few of them are quiet streets. I see a median island, overgrown a bit implying 1990s or earlier installation (color of curbing, landscaping and multiple overlays have reduced the island curb height), so an enhanced crossing, also implying a busier street. Then there is what looks like an older signal control box on the power pole. Not a typical quiet street.

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    • Toby Keith January 17, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      And you find this surprising? A city this size bordering our neighbor state and we should be surprised to find Washington drivers? What are you suggesting?

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  • Tom January 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    City of Portland: Sidewalks for Alder Elementary . Sidewalks are usually less than 250k per mile. Are they building 8 miles of sidewalk?

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  • David Hampsten January 17, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    When we were in the middle of the EPIM process in 2012, we got several cost estimates for a 6-foot wide concrete sidewalk:
    – If you are DIY and mixing the concrete yourself, the cost is about $50K/mile on one side of the street.
    – If you hire a contractor to do it, with permits it’s about $125K/mile on one side.
    – If you are the City of Gresham, it’s about $250K/mile on one side, curb or no curb.
    – If you are the City of Portland (PBOT), it’s about $650K/mile on one side with a curb.
    – If you are ODOT, it’s about $1.2 million/mile on one side with a curb already there.
    – If you are City of Portland (PBOT) and there is no curb, it’s about $7 million/mile to put in a curb, sewers, ramps, and a proper sidewalk.

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    • David Hampsten January 17, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      Sorry, this was supposed to be nested with Tom’s question up above.

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    • 9watts January 17, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      Aren’t you glad you asked?

      Impressive, David. Thank you!

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 18, 2019 at 12:56 am

      Hell, I’ll do it for $9M. And I’ll throw in a curb.

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    • paikiala January 18, 2019 at 10:04 am

      With or without curb and storm water management? 6-year old cost estimates are not worth much now with the high demand for construction.

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  • soren January 17, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Region 1 has ~54% of Oregon’s population but gets ~22% of safe route to schools funding this cycle.

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    • David Hampsten January 17, 2019 at 1:40 pm

      Soren, what I’ve learned talking with DOT staff here in North Carolina, the feds require an initial 50/50 split between the larger urban districts and the smaller more rural districts. Rural districts are usually poorer (lower average income, lower property values = much lower government income for rural districts), they are much more dependent upon state and federal largess, and so they are given disproportionately greater opportunity to get these funds. However, what usually happens is that local governments still cannot come up with the 20% match, so the money allocated to them is then offered to the more urban districts at a later time. (If those urban districts don’t have enough match, which happens a lot, then it goes to the state DOT for highway or rest stop projects; if they too are broke, then the remainder goes back to the Feds.)

      In reality, after several false starts, Portland metro will probably end up with more than the 22%, though maybe not the 54% they deserve.

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    • Me January 17, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      Where is region 1 and are they traditionally underserved/ underfunded/ receive less bike/ ped infrastructure?

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      • soren January 17, 2019 at 4:23 pm

        Large parts of region 1 are traditionally underserved/underfunded/receive less bike/ped infrastructure.

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      • David Hampsten January 17, 2019 at 5:43 pm

        ODOT Region 1 is four counties: Hood River, Multnomah, Washington, & Clackamas.

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  • horseheel3 January 17, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    The url to the pdf of the award list is title 2019-2020, but the pdf file itself has a date of 1.17.18

    Where did this document come from? If I try to google for Safe routes to school awards the SRTS website says they’ll make awards later this spring.

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  • horseheel3 January 17, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    ah, i see, it’s real, that’s just a typo.


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  • joan January 17, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    So Alder Elementary School and Reynolds Middle School are in the Reynolds District, and Whitcomb Elementary and Linwood Elementary are in the North Clackamas District. So ODOT isn’t funding anything in Portland Public Schools, the largest district in Oregon.

    Is that because Portland schools will be covered through the Portland SRTS project? Did the city not apply for any schools in Portland for state funding?

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    • paikiala January 18, 2019 at 10:10 am

      Portland applies for projects for all schools within it’s boundaries, regardless of district.

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      • joan January 18, 2019 at 11:04 am

        Right, but did they only apply for schools outside of PPS?

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        • David Hampsten January 18, 2019 at 12:41 pm

          I’m not sure, but I seem to remember a Brentwood-Darlington project, well within PPS, which has obviously not been approved. I think there was also one in David Douglas, which you are no doubt aware is the only public school district entirely within the Portland city urban service district (PPS is partly in Beaverton, barely). But yeah, Reynolds is the poorest district and Alder is the poorest of the poor.

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  • Stephen January 18, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Am I reading this wrong, or did Washington county really get zilch? I have a real need in my neighborhood for safe routes to school – no bike lanes, no sidewalks until halfway to school, drainage ditches on either side of the narrow roads, so I was really looking forward to funding here.

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    • Dan A January 22, 2019 at 8:22 am

      Hi Stephen,

      You’ll want to contact your school’s SRTS coordinator. Which school are you referring to?

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  • Babygorilla January 18, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    Toby Keith
    And you find this surprising? A city this size bordering our neighbor state and we should be surprised to find Washington drivers? What are you suggesting?Recommended 5

    The comment could be suggesting that it is a sign of bad system wide planning if interstate travelers somehow find themselves in zones which conflict with school children traveling to or from neighborhood schools instead of utilizing larger or arterial streets.

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    • 9watts January 18, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Thank you, Babygorilla. You said it more clearly than I seem to have.

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