Guest Post: Transportation, East Portland, and Our Future
By Steph Routh, Chloe Eudaly Endorser and East Portland resident
The street that I grew up on in East Portland was not technically part of Portland for the first several years of my life. It remains without sidewalks and boasts a gravel road as the nearest intersection. While there were certainly promises of newly annexed sections of Portland getting all the amenities of a growing city, the service I remember most was sewer hook-up, because it was voice-raisingly expensive (I was young, but I still had ears!) and involved a deep ditch that Dad dug himself.
A lot of people in East Portland have become used to—and cynical about—unkept promises. But under Chloe Eudaly’s leadership, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has delivered on its promises through its Fixing Our Streets program and ensures more for East Portland in the next four years.
I am excited to vote for Chloe Eudaly, who is delivering for East Portland.
The Fixing Our Streets program has been made possible by Portland voters through a recently renewed 10-cent gas tax. By the end of 2020, Fixing Our Streets will have funded the full repaving of 40 lane miles, fixed over 400 sections of failing road, connected miles of sidewalks, and delivered another 170 safety improvements. PBOT is just getting started. With four years of kept promises under its belt and project selection guided by safety, pavement condition, equity, and cost effectiveness, we have a lot to look forward to. Over half of Fixing Our Streets projects will be in East Portland in the next four years.
Let me say that again for the people in the back. Over half of Fixing Our Streets projects will be in East Portland in the next four years. Improving crossing at dangerous intersections. Lighting streets along major corridors. Grading gravel roads. Rebuilding failed sections of road using a process called “grind and pave”. Pothole repair. One super unsexy yet transformative part of the program is called “slurry seal.” Slurry seal is an inexpensive protective coat for roads that are in decent shape to extend their usable life. This allows the city to focus on the axle-sucking roads without letting good roads go bad in the meantime.
Let’s pause for a second. That last paragraph was pretty nerdy, wasn’t it? You don’t often hear people talking about specific road treatments in a candidate endorsement. That’s one more thing I like about Chloe Eudaly as Commissioner—not only does she have strong vision and values, but she also gets into the details, because they matter. Four years ago when she owned an independent bookshop, I’d guess that Eudaly might have been hard-pressed to describe the difference between a collector and an arterial. She now speaks traffic engineer fluently. She’s not afraid to ask questions and get into the weeds. As voters, we often hear soaring goals that never quite make it to ground level. Chloe Eudaly is a woman of both purpose and action.
The Fixing Our Streets program that Chloe Eudaly has championed isn’t filled with glitzy projects with ribbon cuttings. These are projects that are humbly going to make people’s everyday lives better in East Portland and beyond. It’s about damn time.
Chloe Eudaly has a vision to improve the lives of all Portlanders. I’m voting for her and hope you do, too.
(some parts reproduced from Steph's April 28 2020 editorial in BikePortland: https://bikeportland.org/2020/04/28/guest-opinion-we-need-measure-26-209-to-fix-our-streets-especially-in-east-portland-314029)