City auditor takes up Portland Heights ADA ramp saga

Corner of SW Montgomery Drive and Roswell Ave on July 20th, 2022, the day after the new ramp was demolished.

Readers might remember a couple of posts BikePortland published about a year and a half ago about a hapless ADA ramp in Portland Heights which had to be built four times (and torn out three) before it was finally able to pass inspection.

Well, it turns out that a neighborhood curmudgeon reported the fiasco to the city auditor’s Fraud Hotline. The auditor investigated, and indeed found that several ADA ramp installations were “inefficient and wasteful.” The auditor’s report came out a couple of weeks ago.

I’d like to revisit that episode, not just because the city auditor backed up BikePortland reporting, and not because KOIN’s Brandon Thompson put me on TV (and gave a shoutout to BikePortland reporting in his written article). That was all nice.

No, what’s really important about the saga is what it says about how our city government is currently organized, and what the city reorganization ushered in by charter reform is hoping to fix. Namely, the City of Portland employs a lot of hard-working, conscientious people who struggle to work within a dysfunctional organizational structure.

I can think of no better example of the resulting inefficiencies than this ramp imbroglio.

This is going to be another of my wonky dives into the details of how the city is run, but I’m someone who wants to understand why things are the way they are, and I think there is some light at the end of this tunnel.

The recap

As part of the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Goose Hollow Sewer Repair Project, the city was required to upgrade affected streets with ADA ramps. As the auditor’s report describes, BES was responsible for the overall project, with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) providing “design, inspection, and other services” concerning the ramps. BES hired a contractor, and sub-contractor, to do the ramp construction. What could possibly go wrong?

The auditor’s report

Here’s a bit from the auditor’s report:

Audit cover

In October 2021, Transportation determined the contractor did not follow the design, but Environmental Service paid the contractor anyway because they later determined that even if the curbs had been installed as the plan directed them to do, they would not have met Americans with Disability Act requirements. Better coordination with Transportation could have prevented concrete being poured using a non-compliant plan.

According to photos from a local newsletter, an earlier concrete pour took place in June 2021, and those ramps were removed in July 2021. The Environmental Services work log did not cover that period of time because the contract manager for the project changed.

After several months of inactivity, and two more designs, Transportation determined curb ramps installed in June 2022 were also not poured per design. Environmental Services said that the contractor tried to make field adjustments and design revisions in collaboration with Transportation, but the ramps still did not pass inspection for Americans with Disability Act requirements.

The final curb installation we received records for was in July 2022, and Transportation determined those curb ramps were installed correctly in August 2022.

Basically, the report describes what we used to refer to as “spaghetti code,” a tangle of missed communications and unclear responsibilities.

The audit is a very readable five-pages long, and concludes, “when bureaus do not adhere to what they say is standard practice, they should do so with greater transparency, so that their reasons for not doing so are clear to policy makers and the public.”

Source: City Auditor’s Office

The BES response to the auditor’s report is detailed and worth reading. Regarding a recommendation for “closer oversight,” BES replied,

Environmental Services agrees with this recommendation and is working on process improvements with PBOT as there are projects in process with ADA ramps. As curb ramps are a PBOT asset, PBOT staff are better equipped and trained to oversee the design, construction, inspection, and acceptance of curb ramps and determine their ADA compliance. BES is actively engaging and coordinating with PBOT to develop improved processes for design, construction, and inspection of ADA ramps on BES projects. When finalized, these improved processes will be implemented for ADA ramps on BES construction projects in the future.

Interestingly, KOIN reported that KC Jones with the auditors office told them, “during the transition, we’ve flagged this for the transition team as the sort of relationship that the city needs to kind of get better at.”

City reorganization

CAO Michael Jordan presents to City Council

KC Jones’s “transition” refers to the reorganization of city government away from our current “commission” system, in which each member of the city council has a portfolio of bureaus to lead, to a more standard model in which the mayor heads the executive branch and implements city policy with the help of a city manager.

Two weeks ago, the City Council voted in favor of the new organizational chart. The nearly five-hour meeting began with a presentation by Shoshanah Oppenheim, the Strategic Projects and Opportunities Team Manager, the City Organization project manager Becky Tillson and Chief Administrative Officer Michael Jordan.

Jordan, who was for many years the head of BES, concisely summed up the pitfalls of the commissioner system. His comments were a spot-on description of what went wrong with the ADA ramps. Here is what he said:

I think we are all subject to thinking about organizational structure in a vertical way. Certain groups report to certain bureaus which report to certain executives which report to the mayor, ultimately. And we think about the organization in a very vertical way.

I think this reconstruction of the way we think about ourselves offers us an opportunity to look horizontally, across the organization. And to think about the city as a complete enterprise and how we allocate our human resources, how we think about the delivery of services, particularly within the city, to support the direct service delivery of our bureaus.

It provides us with that opportunity which we, quite frankly, lack today. It is very challenging for us to think horizontally across the organization. And I think this new structure gives us the opportunity, not only to think horizontally, but also to give clarity of accountability, and transparency about how we do business and what decisions get made, and where they get made in the organization.

The wastefulness of the ADA ramps installation is a perfect example of how challenging it is for the city “to think horizontally across the organization.” Imagine how challenging it is being the neighbor watching this unfold and trying to figure out who in the city to call.

Jordan knows the problems as someone who was running a bureau. He gets it.

I know the problems as someone involved in my neighborhood. When a neighbor can’t figure out who to call, they call their neighborhood association. This kind of between-bureaus problem happens often enough, I call it inter-bureau, interstitial purgatory—that sad space you find yourself in, caught between bureaus, acting as a human conduit for silos which don’t have one another’s phone numbers.

It’s one of the reasons I voted for charter reform, and I’m cautiously optimistic that soon our city will be running more efficiently.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero is on the board of SWTrails PDX, and was the chair of her neighborhood association's transportation committee. A proud graduate of the PBOT/PSU transportation class, she got interested in local transportation issues because of service cuts to her bus, the 51. Lisa has lived in Portland for 23 years and can be reached at lisacaballero853@gmail.com.

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Watts
Watts
6 months ago

the reorganization of city government away from our current “commission” system, in which each member of the city council has a portfolio of bureaus to lead

…into a system where each of five appointed administrators have a portfolio of bureaus to lead.

This isn’t going to fix any of the issues described in the article.

I’m am also not sure I really understand what the problem is. If any bureau hires a contractor to install a curb ramp, it is up to that contractor to ensure it meets code. If the contractor builds something that is not up to code, it is on them to redo the work. If the contract did not specify the ramp needed to meet code, then there is a failure at the contracting bureau for either writing a deficient contract, designing something that does not meet code, or accepting substandard work.

Charter reform isn’t going to touch any of those issues.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago

I’m not sure where I got it wrong.

the contractor did not follow the design, but Environmental Service paid the contractor anyway

The design was bad, the install was bad. Everyone screwed up.

curb ramps installed in June 2022 were also not poured per design. 

Contractor screwed up, didn’t follow the design.

Where is the part where charter reform is going to fix the problem?

Watts
Watts
6 months ago

You listed five bureaus. Under the adopted org chart, BES, Water, and PBOT will be in one silo, BDS in another, Fire in a third. And this is exactly the structure we have today, which produced the situation the story is about.

Using your goat path example, if you want to get in contact with the water bureau to express concern over a project going on today, you can call your elected official (Mapps) who has direct responsibility for the bureau. In the future, you can call the mayor (maybe also Mapps), who then needs to work down through two layers of managers before getting to the bureau.

Will that really be an improvement?

cc_rider
cc_rider
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

IDK Watts, when I “appointed” an expert to fix my plumbing problem, it worked out pretty well.

I agree with you that charter reform wont, by itself, fix problems with CoP. CoP needs a culling in management. The folks leading the city are the people who thrived in a broken and dysfunctional organization and wouldn’t be able to hold a job if the organization was well run.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Silo managers aren’t going to be plumbing experts, and if the actual plumbers need to talk between silos, it won’t be a lot different than today.

The problem is not that Mapps and Rubio were elected and not hired, the problem is silos. We have silos today, and we’re going to have silos after charter reform. It’s not like hired administrators (who would never be involved with something tiny like a curb ramp install) are somehow immune from politics, empire building, and protecting “their” people at the expense of others, or any of the other issues that leads to disfunction at PBOT (and other large organizations).

But it sounds like you generally agree with me on this topic.

cc_rider
cc_rider
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

e have silos today, and we’re going to have silos after charter reform.

It might not get better, but there is a significantly better chance it will. Competent professionals running the government are going to have a better shot at breaking down silos than randos who had enough support to get elected but don’t have any experience.

Public agencies in Oregon haven’t hit rock bottom. For orgs like CoP or MultCo, the people who created the mess are still in charge and they don’t want to admit they have a problem. An elected politician was never going to move the needle on improving these broken organizations.

I think you use words like “appoint” instead of “hired” intentionally to make moving to a system of having the government run by professionals sound a lot scarier than it is.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

having the government run by professionals sound a lot scarier than it is.

I don’t think it’s scary at all. I don’t think it’s going to be worse in an administrative sense (even if it is harder for citizens to have voice and influence).

So no, not trying to make people afraid. I’m not afraid. But I also don’t think the word “appoint” is inaccurate.

cc_rider
cc_rider
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

It doesn’t need to be inaccurate to be loaded. When you got your current job, did you tell people you were “appointed” to your position? When Kevin down the block gets his first job, is he going to tell people he was “appointed” to it?

You’re using “appointed” because you want it to emphasize your perceived lack of control over civil servants. Most people just use the word “hired” because its the normal way of describing getting interviewed and hired to a position. At the end of the day, these scary “apointees” are just called employees and they have all the same rules and accountability as the rest of the employees of the City.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

At the end of the day, these scary “apointees” are just called employees and they have all the same rules and accountability as the rest of the employees of the City.

Not true — they can only be fired by the mayor (or the council if they find “cause”); the city manager is in most regards a political appointee with very few of the accountability rules that govern other city employees.

cct
cct
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Contractor gets a lot of blame cast upon it by city staff in audit, but the city’s silos and ‘we can’t be wrong’ staff are the real issue. Why would a contractor try “to make field adjustments and design revisions in collaboration with Transportation” if the initial design was correct?

IIRC, contractor saw first design wouldn’t work, said so, but said they’d try to make it work. Second one the design was wrong; they said so, were told ‘pour as rendered.’ Third was apparently out-of-spec due to a pour error or a ramp approach angle issue; forget which, but the second would be another design error. Fourth, engineers left their office, measured everything again, lots of people watching pour. Had the city listened to the contractor and neighbors saying the initial design was wrong (ramp would have been 4″ below street!), or BES talked to PBOT for a consult, this would have been over the first time. Had engineers simply used GoogleEarth to view the site instead of JUST reading project-area surveys, they might have realized approach angles wouldn’t work. Everyone stayed in their silo until a big stink was raised. My suspicion is that the contractor was paid each time because city staff knew they had f$cked up, It isn’t clear if the SUBcontractor got paid.

Jordan’s idea is that horizontal thinking leads to PBOT and BES working together from get-go, instead of after a problem. I have more than once asked PBOT about a project their trucks are on, and they had no idea about it… Water or BES was using PBOT crews to do work but only Maintenenace knew what was up. Sometimes that work interfered with a PBOT goal of ped/bike safety. I have had a staffer at bureau X tell me their supervisor hated their counterpart at bureau Y, and deliberately scheduled work to cause them problems. I could go on. If ANY of this is fixed by it, charter reform is a step forward. The bureaus have been walled gardens for too long.

By the way, two blocks from the work in the audit, another ramp had to have not just the curb and ramps redone, but the whole intersection torn out! Again, because someone never bothered to view the area immediately adjacent to the project.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  cct

Why would a contractor try “to make field adjustments and design revisions in collaboration with Transportation” if the initial design was correct?

Your post explained that there was lots of error in this process. It was not lack of horizontal cooperation, it was that people were somehow not able to design or build to code. The contractor was paid for the first and last of the builds, not the middle two, which were their fault.

PBOT doesn’t need to be involved in the design at all; they write the code, and anyone building stuff has to follow it (whether in another bureau, at a different agency, or outside of government). If the code is poorly written, that’s on PBOT. If the BES designers are simply unable to follow it, they should get someone who can. The rest of the construction world manages to make this arrangement work, building things to code every day.

Jordan has his own agenda of course; the more difficult and important his job, the better for his future professional prospects. And if the silos don’t actually come down, that’s an implementation problem that someone else can be blamed for.

That said, he’s not wrong — horizontal thinking is good, absolutely, but I’m not seeing how it would have addressed this particular situation. Nor am I seeing how the silos will come down when the new charter is enacted.

I have had a staffer at bureau X tell me their supervisor hated their counterpart at bureau Y, and deliberately scheduled work to cause them problems. 

I am quite sure this sort of pettiness would never happen in an organization with a central unelected administrator at the top.

cct
cct
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

BES doesn’t design the work, PBOT does. BES has PBOT engineers do the design. Multiple design errors were pointed out along the way by various employees and ignored, regardless of contractor errors.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  cct

BES and PBOT are already in the same “silo”. What’s going to change with charter reform?

cct
cct
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

They have not always been, and that contributes to issues involving ‘not my department.’ Culture will need to change. Or we could say screw it and leave things as they are because they are working so well! Why TRY to improve; it only leads to heartbreak…

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  cct

Even within PBOT, which has always had a single professional manager, there are silos and a lack of cross-functioning.

I totally agree that we need to change the “not my department” culture, but replacing the top leaders of the outermost silos isn’t going to do that. The changes we need to do that probably can’t be enacted through the city charter. (And they probably can’t happen while everyone is working from home, but that’s a different topic.)

People have pinned their every hope and dream for fixing the city on having a city manager, and they’re going to be disappointed.

cct
cct
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I pinned my hopes on a mix of districted and at-large commissioners, like Austin. Didn’t get it, but wasn’t about to keep what we had. Agree a city manager can be bad situation, and other cities strike a better balance of powers. Not convinced about ranked-choice, but hopeful.

As far as continuing to hit ourselves in the head like current, i chose to put down the hammer and pick up a shovel.

cct
cct
6 months ago
Reply to  cct

Woke up at 4 am and thought “oh crap; ambiguity…”

Yes, Watts and Dave, you may interpret that as ‘now hitting my head with shovel.’

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  cct

ambiguity

I interpreted it as “we’re in a hole; time to stop bashing my head and get digging”.

stephan
stephan
6 months ago

Thank you for this reporting! I would recommend “Recoding America” by Jennifer Pahlka. The book describes how common this type of disfunction is, and how to potentially overcome it.

stephan
stephan
6 months ago

Lisa, do you know by any chance why Portland implements these ADA ramps instead of raising the street from one curbside to another, to create continuous sidewalks? I would think it is ADA compatible, and might be easier to install than these ramps. Here is the video by Not Just Bikes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OfBpQgLXUc

Todd/Boulanger
6 months ago
Reply to  stephan

stephan: the design + construction of ADA ramps in a retrofit situation can be challenging even before you introduce topography and very limited right of way (likely no wider than the sidewalk). The topography of the slope also introduces rainfall runoff and making sure that the design does not redirect the stormwater to flood any adjoining properties.

Now having said that, you are right …raised intersections in flat areas can solve this issue…they – the civil / contract designers working with paving – should have stepped back and considered other design options…like adding a storm garden or other feature to fix both issues…but sadly things like that is often outside of the “scope schedule and budget” of most paving projects…like ADA ramps, sidewalk infill and bike lanes used to be.

Nick
Nick
6 months ago
Reply to  stephan

Those would be awesome, I feel like more than 50% of the ramps in Portland are often flooded/wet/dirty because they’re the low point and not designed well.

James
James
6 months ago
Reply to  Nick

You have to keep in mind ADA ramp designs go down to the hundredth of an inch, contractors cannot pour concrete to a hundredth of an inch so it’s really easy to turn a barely compliant ramp into a non compliant one. The designers involved in this stuff on the BES and PBOT side do their due diligence in spite of what other commenters are saying here. A design is only going to be as good as the survey and often cannot be built as shown regardless

X
X
6 months ago
Reply to  James

It’s a good idea to keep in mind the limitations of concrete finishing and the actual technique that workers will use.

The concrete side path across the Burnside bridge was hand finished at a right angle to the line of travel, resulting in the waviness you encounter as you ride across. It’s a deviation that would never be approved on a motor vehicle route.

Chris I
Chris I
6 months ago
Reply to  stephan

How is rebuilding the entire intersection, rather than just the 4 corner sidewalks easier? Maybe in extreme cases like this one, but it would be significantly more expensive and impactful in nearly all cases.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, as the raised intersection approach is so much better, but we shouldn’t lie to ourselves about the comparative costs.

Bill
Bill
6 months ago

The problem with ADA Ramps is the federal law sets maximum grades, and engineers typically, will spec the same maximum grade. However, other construction standards allow a 1/4″ plus or minus in any grade elevation. Bassically, that is as close as is humanly possible on a construction site. If the top of the ramp is 1/4″ high, and the bottom of the ramp is 1/4″ low, the concrete pour is within specified tolerance. However, the slope between the two points is too steep meet ADA requirements.

Frank
Frank
6 months ago
Reply to  Bill

It’s absolutely this. When I lived in Sellwood during the PWB mains project they had the contractor redo several ramps. It was the same story. Looked totally fine, but you’d see the PBOT inspector out there measuring and failing for barely anything being wrong. Contract just ended up making the ramps even shallower, which then cause a round of repaving to get the water flow to work. Felt like they were chasing perfection for a month after the main paving was wrapped up.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Bill

Yes, the slope tolerances are almost impossible to achieve.

Plus, it gets even crazier when ADA requirements are part of a project involving other codes (not an issue in this case but common otherwise). As one example (unless it’s been changed) the building code’s MINIMUM slope for drainage of things like exterior walkways is greater than the ADA’S MAXIMUM. It’s literally impossible to meet both.

I’d guess most accessible things (curb ramps, handrails, parking spaces, etc.) wouldn’t pass a thorough inspection. Inspectors, designers, and contractors often don’t know the codes very well. But even when they all do, it’s still very difficult to build curb ramps on non-flat sites that meet code.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago

I agree PBOT does generally know how to build ADA ramps, and the report is probably right about what the big problem was in this instance.

I’m just saying, first, it’s really difficult to build ADA-compliant slopes in the field even when everyone’s competent. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were lots of non-compliant slopes on the good examples you mentioned. You can’t tell by looking if a slope is 1 in 51 vs. 1 in 47, and when the planes have to warp to meet a sloped sidewalk at the top or street at the bottom, it’s difficult even to measure.

And second, lots of people involved in ADA work really don’t know the code very well. And even people that do can easily miss things, because the code changes, and isn’t easy to follow either. The biggest problem I see is people who design and inspect things not thinking about how someone who needs an accessible thing would actually use it. Again, not the main issue in this case, but it’s a reason why so much “accessible” infrastructure doesn’t meet code and/or doesn’t really work very well. And it’s a problem that isn’t solved by better coordination between bureaus.

Amit Zinman
6 months ago

I remember trying to figure out what the borders of South Portland were and having a hard time uncovering how decisions were made and what they were.
That said, I am worried that what just happened with PBOT will replicate itself to all of the city’s operations. I’m afraid that a so-so Politician will appoint an underqualified city manager that they can push around with zero accountability.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago

The sad thing is that bureaus seem so able to screw up coordination and communication within their own bureaus. They do it really well without needing other bureaus’ involvement.

PBOT with Broadway and NE 33rd are two recent examples.

Priscilla P
Priscilla P
6 months ago

Lisa, your hope for better governance in Portland is nearly universal amongst the Portland electorate. However we decided to endorse a system where the mayor has no vote and no veto power and a massive increase of costly commissioners. I’m predicting more dysfunction not less. Time will tell. I hope you’re right, but I fear you’re not,

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 months ago
Reply to  Priscilla P

I currently live in a city with a weak mayor, a weak city council, and a strong bureaucracy run by a city manager who finds himself without the powers he thought he was given to hire and fire people. Most Americans who live in cities have similar stories about the dysfunction of their local government.

I always enjoy the political naivety of BP commenters and moderators who buy into this “change of government form” as a panacea for all their social ills. It gives me a certain warm fuzzy feeling, that uppity Portland has fallen to new lows in local governance, that they somehow think that their already murky local government is actually going to become both more efficient AND transparent, when in fact throughout history just the opposite happens when they change over to a city-manager form of government. Weakening the powers of the mayor, adding districts and more representation is a good thing, and had the city done just that and stopped there, I’d say Portland’s government would gradually get better – not perfect – but better than where it is now.

But no, the city voters then took a huge extra step and unfortunately added a city manager, an unelected mayor who will more or less try to do what the current mayor is unable to do, control the various conflicting agencies and personalities who run them (or don’t run them). And to top it off, the current city council undid the voters acts by giving back a lot of powers to the current mayor to run things as he sees fit after the next election.

As usual, Portland’s voter’s worst enemy is themselves.

Karstan
6 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

It gives me a certain warm fuzzy feeling, that uppity Portland has fallen to new lows

Wow, ouch, David. We voted for the plan that the volunteer team of diverse experts presented. Is it so terrible that we hope that it can fix some of our ills?

What did we ever do to you?

Priscilla P
Priscilla P
6 months ago
Reply to  Karstan

? Diverse? Experts? Did you ever look at the members of our charter commission? It was the opposite of a diverse representation of Portlanders. Most were young, inexperienced and only 2 had an in depth knowledge of Portland’s government. 2 of the more experienced members resigned in protest over the withholding of critical public polling information.
https://www.portlandtribune.com/news/withheld-poll-question-prompts-charter-commission-resignation/article_9d4e8e87-9002-5180-a7bf-8a7b62ef9cbc.html

Karstan
6 months ago
Reply to  Priscilla P

I’m well familiar with the commission and the event referenced in the article. I disagree strongly with your characterization of both and stand by my statement.

Cyclekrieg
6 months ago

Every time I read one of the articles about how things are designed in Portland I end up asking myself the same question: Does anyone there know how to use the tools they are given?

First a few points:

  1. ADA as law is great. The execution of that law is lousy. (Saying as someone who has blind father & several blind family members.) Especially in outdoor spaces. Sidewalks and ramps are tied to the roads or other items adjacent to them. If the slopes or elevations of that adjacent infrastructure are non-compliant, the ability to create compliant ramps will be way harder.
  2. The fact the contractor was doing some back-of-napkin design work (“make field adjustments and design revisions”) & that there were at least 6 (!) designs/redesigns listed in the audit report tell me either this was not surveyed well to begin with and/or the design was not being checked in house before going out. CADD, especially Civil 3D (which they should be using) lets the user both control the elevation/slope and check elevations/view items in 3D, so why didn’t they?
  3. Record keeping seems to be lacking in Portland government. If I couldn’t search my emails or other materials for information on directions to field staff or contractors or they didn’t exist, I would be fired.
Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
6 months ago

I’m out of the game now, but during my time at the Swan Island TMA, we aggressively brought together several bureaus on various projects…BES, PBOT, BPS, and Parks,mostly. Metro and TriMet were in there too! We held quarterly meetings with reps from these bureaus and agencies for which we generated the agenda’s. If need be, we went higher up the chains of command, even to the Commissioner in charge and/or the Mayor, to get all the players on the same page. Ironically, it worked because Swan Island TMA ran the show, cracked the whip and got city folks and other agencies to get things done. What a concept…citizens or their ngos in charge! Hmmm. How will the new structure work in this regard?

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
6 months ago

Is there any chance that the ADA regulations are so nit-picky that they are almost impossible to conform to? I say this, living in my second city (Eugene and Bend) where ADA regulations have mandated ramps on hundreds of corners that will never, I mean never, see a disabled person. I’m talking 10% grades or out in the suburbs where you never see a wheelchair or blind person. I walk and ride my bike around both cities and have never seen any disabled person using these ramps. And, that is literally tens of thousands of observations. They cost both cities in the many millions of dollars. And, no I am not unsympathetic with the disabled, being the former Head Coach of the U.S. Para Olympic Cycling Team. And this is in a time where Bend and other cities are in their fourth year of allowing pushouts for bars and restaurants, that impede ped and wheelchair traffic.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
6 months ago

I think this happens (at least in Bend and Eugene, it did), because the disabled communities sued the cities, and won, and the settlements included blanket installation of ramps throughout the cities. If the cities had played nice from the start, they surely would have reached a more rational accommodation.