82nd Avenue jurisdictional transfer
U.S. Congressman and former Portland city commissioner Earl Blumenauer took a walk on Southeast 82nd Avenue on Friday to highlight a $5 million federal investment into the beleaguered road. The visit came a week after Blumenauer and his colleagues in the House of Representatives voted 221 to 201 to pass the INVEST in America Act, a bill that would inject $715 billion into transportation infrastructure nationwide.
The $5 million earmarked for 82nd comes amid unprecedented momentum for the state highway (OR 213) to finally be transferred into local hands after years of advocacy from safe streets activists and elected officials who are fed up with the State of Oregon’s management style. After years of pushing for the transfer, two more deaths on the street back in April pushed the issue to the front-burner. State lawmakers then teamed up with the City of Portland and Oregon Department of Transportation to hammer out a “historic” agreement that would allow the transfer to take place — but only if all the parties cough up the requisite funds — totalling nearly $200 million — to bring the road up to a state of good repair. [Read more…]
It’s official: Legislature grants $80 million to 82nd Ave and kicks off transfer to City of Portland
With less than one week left in the 2021 Oregon legislative session there’s one big question Portlanders still don’t have an answer: Will lawmakers choose to spend $80 million to kickstart a long-awaited process that will transfer jurisdiction of 82nd Avenue from the State of Oregon to the City of Portland?
According to Representative Khanh Pham’s Chief of Staff Robin Ye, it could actually happen. Rep Pham was an advocate for 82nd Avenue long before being elected to the House in 2020 and has continued her leadership on the issue from Salem.
Asked for an update on the $80 million request first made back in May, Ye told us via email on Thursday that, “Last we heard it was ‘positive’ about 82nd Avenue and funding will be appropriated for the safety improvements.”
Since the request isn’t part of a legislative bill, it’s impossible for the public to closely track its progress. The money would come from nearly $800 million in federal rescue plan dollars given out by the Biden Administration.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation says they’ve reached an “historic agreement” with the Oregon Department of Transportation to transfer 82nd Avenue from state to city hands. The move comes amid increased urgency for action following the deaths of two people at the same intersection last April.
The plan calls for an $80 million commitment from the legislature to fix top safety and maintenance projects needs. ODOT would put in $70 million after that, followed by a $35 million commitment from PBOT. Once the state steps up for their share, PBOT and ODOT would sign an intergovernmental agreement to make the transfer official by January 2022.
How bad have things gotten at the Oregon Department of Transportation? How about a letter admonishing the agency signed by every major elected office holder in the Portland region?