Contact PBOT Maintenance Dispatch to report leaves in bike lanes

Bike lane on NE Multnomah.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It’s that time of the year once again when many miles of Portland bike lanes are rendered useless and/or dangerous because they are filled with leaves.

All over the city people who ride bikes face the choice of either rolling through mountains of slippery, hazard-concealing leaves or sharing the adjacent traffic lane with often impatient and rude car drivers. It’s a choice no one should have to make, but because the City of Portland is either unable or unwilling to keep the lanes clean (or a mix of both), it has become a reluctant annual tradition for many of us. As Portland builds more and more protected bike lanes that are even harder for street sweepers to access, I worry the issue will only get worse (as the Tweet from Shawne Martinez below can attest).

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In the meantime, I want to make sure everyone knows how to report problem spots.

If there’s a particularly bad location, you can report it to Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) 24/7 Emergency Maintenance Dispatch by calling (503) 823-1700 or via email at pdxroads@portlandoregon.gov.

We’ve heard many positive stories about the responsiveness to this and PBOT’s other traffic safety related hotlines over the years. You can find all the contact info to report other problems here.

How do the bike lanes look in your neighborhood?

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maxD
maxD
8 months ago

thanks! I reported the leaves on Interstate n’bound between Multnomah and Larrabee

Allan Rudwick
8 months ago

This is weak sauce, @PBOT. This happens every year, but we shouldn’t be stuck crashing in the same spots every year.

You know where the leaves are. They’re on the ground. Go out and deal with it.

maxD
maxD
8 months ago
Reply to  Allan Rudwick

Excellent point, Allan! Why is PBOT not tracking these comments and simply creating a maintenance schedule based on previous demand? Or to be equitable, why not just have a monthly, year-round sweeping schedule for all bike lanes/greenways?

Let's Active
Let's Active
8 months ago
Reply to  maxD

Totally agree. Was heading north on Williams a couple of weeks ago veering — along with others on bikes — into traffic to avoid the leaves in places. Who would have thought Williams would need some sweeping love lol?

soren
8 months ago

This is my bike commute and it’s awful. Irving and 16th are also often worse due to construction blockages with no detour, barriers, and a constant stream of parked vehicles in bike lanes.

I no longer report these issues because I’ve come to the regrettable conclusion that PBOT and our city government simply do not care about bike infrastructure.

Pedaling in PDX
Pedaling in PDX
8 months ago

Shame that we cannot clear the leaves and then effectively bill the city/ODOT/PBOT for completing work they neglect. I wonder if landscaping companies could recoup expenses, would they be willing to meet the demand?

Yex
Yex
8 months ago

I recently moved to Portland and it seems to be a city government more interested in virtue signaling than the actual work expected of a city government. I’ve reported several maintenance issues over the last year but have yet to see one get fixed.

Chris I
Chris I
8 months ago
Reply to  Yex

You are exactly correct. Welcome to Portland!

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were discussing on this very forum about the inequitable nature of a complaint driven system. Why should we leverage our privilege to get ahead of our rightful place in line?

PBOT’s foremost goal is addressing societal inequities. I am confident that an agency as dedicated to fairness as PBOT is will sweep the leaves in the most egalitarian manner possible, or perhaps not at all if fairness is not attainable. Let’s not attempt to subvert their efforts in this area.

Folks in East Portland are working two or even three jobs, and don’t have the same opportunity to lodge a complaint as the privileged readers of this forum do about something as relatively minor as “leaves on the ground.”

Caleb
Caleb
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I agree with not subverting PBOT’s efforts toward equity, but disagree with diminishing potential crashes by reducing this problem to “leaves on the ground”.

I don’t live in Portland, though. Where I live, lodging a complaint requires a couple minutes logging into a site, typing some stuff, and clicking the submit button, or simply making a phone call. That was no problem for me even when I worked three jobs, but I was also in my 20s and had access to a home computer and cell phone. Can you tell me more about those who you believe don’t have the time to lodge complaints? Are you perhaps thinking about people who only face relatively minor problems instead of potential injury?

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  Caleb

Sorry… It was satire triggered by the seeming incongruity of a post by the author last week and story today. Calling is quick and easy in Portland too.

Yex
Yex
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Watts,
That is sarcasm, right?

Betsy Reese
Betsy Reese
8 months ago

Has anyone else noted that we have fewer nuts on the ground this year? I always consider the leaf/nut combo as my most dangerous time of the year to bike. Hitting a nut with the front wheel on my long-tiller crank-forward bike risks overturning and crashing. This year, I feel like I’m not encountering as many nuts.

We have a big black walnut tree on our property that dropped all its nuts in miniature after the first heat dome this past summer. We normally are cleaning up bushels of walnuts from the street and sidewalk this time of year, and this year we have none.

I’m wondering what a no/low-nut year means to our ecosystem.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

I have. I too attribute it to the summer heat, based on nothing but wild speculation. I’ve posed the same question about the impact on the ecosystem, but have concluded that low-nut years must occur with some regularity, and that anything depending on them has a backup plan or they wouldn’t still be around. There is a ton of food available in the urban ecosystem, so I’m not too worried about the critters around here, and I’m still seeing the squirrels with nuts, so there are at least some available.

maxD
maxD
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Nut trees are notorious for having lean years and ‘mast’ years where they produce an overabundance! The heat did disrupt a lot of fruit and nut production and even some pollination. Our persimmon tree has aborting fruit since a few after the heat dome- this is partially a stress response to high heat/low humidity and partially due to the flowers being pollinated during that time.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  maxD

Interesting… The persimmon trees in my neighborhood are going gangbusters (at least the two trees I know about).

Julie H.
Julie H.
8 months ago

Heads up for N Rosa Parks riders: the city’s leaf day pick up is November 8 and once again mailings have not made it clear if people who live where there are curb side bike lanes are to sweep their leaves into the car lane or into the bike lane. If I recall from last year, most folks swept into the car lane, but there may be piles in the bike lane and/or spillover as the big sweeper gathers leaves.

H K HAMMEL
H K HAMMEL
8 months ago

The street sweeper passed my house several times today. LoL The street did not have much leaves in the first place.

TheCat
TheCat
8 months ago

Is reporting these with PDX Reporter effective?

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  TheCat

Seems to be as effective as reporting them any other way