Has there ever been as much road work going on in Portland as there is right now? I have to drive through, literally, five separate construction zones on my way to work. Is there a point where the city might step in and say enough is enough? —Kristin
Honestly, Kristin, your letter gives the impression that the central city is overrun with rogue construction gangs, ripping up the streets at random in a crank-fueled orgy of wanton destruction. (Granted, simply driving through the neighborhood also gives that impression, but whatever.)
However, you couldn't be more wrong. First of all, everyone knows that oxy is the new meth. Second, this crank-fueled orgy of wanton destruction is anything but random. Strictly speaking, it's the city that's doing it, so asking them to "step in" is a bit like asking Heinz to put a stop to beans.
"The Portland Streetcar Loop project…comprises the majority of construction activity in the central city area," says the Portland Bureau of Transportation's Dan Anderson, who also mentioned the Burnside/Couch couplet, the Oak Basin sewer project, and the repaving of Hawthorne and Madison. "These projects are either completed or in the final stages," he assured me. Of course, I'm told that the war in Afghanistan is also in its "final stages," so make of that what you will.
Incidentally, you can sift through the ashes of your doomed commute at keepportlandmoving.org, which has updates on all publicly funded traffic mayhem. You can't say you weren't warned.
Anderson declined to state (possibly because I didn't ask him) whether this roadwork carpet-bombing was part of a plan to make us all hate driving so much we'll line up to take the streetcar when it's finally ready, but knowing these tricksy public servants, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.