Leah, thanks a lot for coming out to SW on a cold day to survey some of the opportunities and challenges we face and discuss some ideas we have for solving them in a cost effective citizen supported manner.
We covered a number of issues, I will send you several follow notes on different subjects ups rather than lump them into one.
Vegetation Management in SW Portland
The Vegetation Management issue is of great importance in those parts of Portland with few or no sidewalks. Old Portland, built around a street car environment has sidewalks on most every street. As Portland began to develop under the influence of the automobile, the importance of sidewalks in the minds of the public, developers and city officials changed. Many streets, built to city standards, had no sidewalks. My street was built in 1928 on land annexed into Portland in 1880 or 1890’s. It was built to city standards existing at that time. No sidewalks, no curbs, but thankfully it did include street lights. As the City of Portland annexed large areas, the street system they acquired had few sidewalks on the arterials, and even fewer on the local streets. Here in SW 42% of our arterials have no sidewalks. That represents 45% of the arterials without sidewalks in the entire city.
The city has addressed the care and maintenance of vegetation on and adjacent to sidewalks in a reasonable manner as administered by the Bureau of Development Services. The city has totally ignored vegetation management on streets without sidewalks, a Bureau of Transportation responsibility. The following is a summary of the current state of vegetation management as noted in the unconfirmed documentation of a tour in 2012 with Tom Jensen the leader of the 3 man team charged with maintaining vegetation for the entire city.
See pictures of examples of poor sight distance and obstructed corners at
Action Requested: we request staff be assigned the task of setting up an organization and implementation strategy to address the large backlog of safety problems on our streets that have no sidewalks, my estimate over 100 miles in the city. This effort may involve new city rules to accomplish safe streets. We request informed citizens be involved in this effort. Consider joint reporting, possibly using the existing App PDX Reporter, of physical sidewalk problems and sidewalk vegetation management issues to make it easier for the public to engage the issue. Let staff decide which bureau is responsible for the requested action. Consider using something similar to the PDX REPORTER App.
6495 SW Burlingame Place
Portland, OR 97239
503 246 2088