A concrete wall and fence that’s been blocking travel lanes in downtown Portland for about two weeks is still up, and the City of Portland is tallying fines it intends to collect from the federal government for putting it there.
The Trump administration erected the fence to protect the U.S. Courthouse, but they never received a permit from the Portland Bureau of Transportation to do so. The fence partially blocks a lane of traffic on SW 3rd Avenue and fully blocks a traffic lane on SW Main. Both blockages create safety hazards for road users.
BikePortland was first to report on the fence on July 22nd, before the Portland Bureau of Transportation had weighed in on the matter. A day after we questioned why PBOT wasn’t defending their traffic lanes and sidewalks outside the U.S. Courthouse on SW 3rd and Main, they issued a statement calling for the fence to be removed and sent a cease and desist letter to the regional director of the U.S. General Services Administration signed by the City Attorney.
While I was away last week, PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly shared an update. “Typically, we would send a maintenance crew or contractor to remove such an obstruction, but I will not send workers into harm’s way,” she wrote on July 28th. “As of yesterday, the federal government owes us $192,000 and counting. We intend to collect.”
The fence hasn’t gone anywhere and the current fine stands at $542,000 as of 3:00 pm today (Tuesday, August 4th). According to Eudaly’s office the fine will continue to accrue until the fence is removed. “The federal government is aware of the fine, and the City Attorney’s Office has been in contact with DHS regarding the fence,” Eudaly’s communications director Margaux Weeke shared with us today. “However, the City has not received any formal response to our Cease and Desist demand sent on July 23rd.”
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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