Mayor Charlie Hales wasn’t messing around when he said that Portland city streets are a “crisis.” Now, they’ll be a bit dirtier as well.
KATU reports the city of Portland is cutting back the number of times it will clean Portland streets each year. Starting July 1, the city will reduce the number of cleanings of neighborhood and side streets—down to one or two times, compared to two to three times currently.
Most of the money comes out of the Bureau of Transportation’s budget, but the Bureau of Environmental Services, which also pays for the cleaning, is cutting its spending on the program by half. KATU reports BES had to cut its overall budget by 2.5 percent, and that “street sweeping doesn't do enough for water quality, one of the agency's main priorities.”
Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick are pushing a street fee that would raise as much as $50 million a year from property owners and businesses to pay for road maintenance. Hales and Novick say the city no longer has enough money to keep up its maintenance backlog. Check out WW’s latest analysis of their financial claims.