After nearly eight months without service to one or both of the elevators that provide access to the Bob Stacey Overcrossing in southeast Portland, the transportation bureau announced last week that they’ve finally got them fixed. For good (hopefully).
The crossing, which provides a safe and convenient route for folks to avoid the at-grade crossing of four sets of light and heavy rail tracks at SE 12th and Milwaukie, opened in November 2020. But a combination of mechanical failure and vandalism left many people forced to either wait for long train crossings, try other, more dangerous routes, or hoist their bikes up several flights of stairs. The outage got so bad that the namesake of the bridge, former Metro Councilor Bob Stacey, told us back in February that it had become “a mark against us as a community.”
PBOT has blamed “unexpected motor failures” in both elevators and related supply chain issues for the lengthy delay.
Now they say they’ve implemented a new monitoring system to ensure the elevators are more reliable in the future. The system is a partnership with Portland General Electric who provides power to the motors. “While we do not expect to identify any further issues,” reads PBOT’s elevator status website, “if we do detect irregularities, we may need to remove the elevators out of service to avoid a complete motor failure.”
This isn’t the only location where PBOT and TriMet have struggled to keep elevators online. A similar crossing just down the tracks at Lafayette Street has a checkered past and the nearby Darlene Hooley Pedestrian Bridge in South Waterfront that provides access over I-5 is also notoriously unreliable.
Speaking of which, a notice from PBOT just under the message about the Bob Stacey elevators being back in service had this unfortunate news about the Hooley bridge elevators: “This elevator was taken out of service on April 4, 2022, due to a broken glass panel on the lower level door. Based on anticipated replacement glass delivery times, we expect this closure to last approximately 4-6 weeks.”