February 9th, 2010 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall

State of the City Follow-Up: Adams To Delay Funding For Sellwood Bridge To Build Sidewalks

Sam Adams State of the City

Among the many announcements from Mayor Sam Adams in his "State of the City" address last week was one related to sidewalks.

Specifically, Adams announced last Friday he was going to devote $16 million to building new sidewalks in parts of the city that still lack them. "If I'm talking innovation and greater resilience through transportation, I gotta talk about sidewalks," Adams said in his prepared remarks. "You may remember that the state Legislature passed a modest increase in the gas tax last year. I want to put $16 million into sidewalk development in East Portland, North/NE Portland, and SW Portland – the areas of town annexed into the city that have never had sidewalks."

Adams offered few other details about the plan during his speech. But WW has learned from two sources that Adams wants to pay for the new sidewalks by using money the city had planned to give Multnomah County to help rebuild the dilapidated Sellwood Bridge. County Chairman Ted Wheeler in a 2009 letter to City Council called the bridge "the county's most urgent transportation priority." Reached this afternoon, Wheeler said he had not heard of the city's plan to fund sidewalk development by delaying its $8 million-a-year bridge contribution to the county for two years.

Adams' spokesman Roy Kaufmann has not responded to requests for comment about the funding proposal. But, in what is either a sign of the times or a cosmic joke, Adams did respond to a tweet from WW asking for information on the sidewalk project's timeline. In that tweet, the mayor said Portland would spread the $16 million in sidewalk funding over two years.
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