Maintaining Portland’s Streets: Defining the Problem

This week we’re going to spend some time looking at Sam Adams’ effort to find a funding source for his “Save Money – Save Lives” effort to maintain our streets while making them safer at the same time. Today we’ll look at the problem statement with slides taken from Sam’s neighborhood presentation.


Portland’s transportation system – that’s the local streets and bridges, not freeways or Willamette River bridges – are a signficant asset owned by the citizens.

Continued after the break…




Here’s how the backlog of maintenance breaks out. “Structures” in this case means bridges and overpasses, many of which you might not even notice as you drive over them, but there are a lot (157) of them.


Portland is not the only government with this problem. The County and State also have signficant maintenance backlogs.



We didn’t get here instantly, it took two decades of failing to increase the gas tax to keep pace with inflation to get here. And once again, in this session the Legislature DID NOT pass a gas tax increase.





Contrary to what you may hear on talk radio, Oregon has the lowest combined automobile tax burden in the West.

Tomorrow we’ll look at busting some of the myths about transportation funding.

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