August 13th, 2009 | by Katie Litvin News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

THE SQUEAKY WHEEL: What's Up With The Stairs on The Burnside Bridge?

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Annoyed by Portland's small but irritating mysteries? You know, stuff like why something has been broken since the earth cooled, or construction projects that have dragged on since before the automobile?

So are we. But we're going to do more than feel sorry for ourselves: we're going to complain loudly and frequently until something gets done. First up in this occasional series we're calling "The Squeaky Wheel": the stairs on the west end of the Burnside Bridge.

If you've recently tried to take the most efficient route from the Burnside Bridge to the Portland Saturday Market, you'll have noticed the stairs have been closed off for what seems like an eternity. A sign on the barricaded stairway says it will be closed until June 19. Hmm. Isn't it August?

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Kevin Brake, project manager for the Portland Development Commission, said despite the sign, the stairs won't be open until the end of September. He said he wasn't aware the sign on the stairs ever had an earlier date.

Brake says the renovations are part of a $14 million construction project improving Ankeny Plaza, Waterfront Park and Burnside. On the bridge, that involves putting in new lighting, painting under the bridge, updating the retail space under the bridge and installing permeable tread on the stairs to improve draining.

But we don't see much work going on down there. And it's hard to make sense of why these stairs need to be closed for more than three months, especially when Saturday Market is going full swing. Enough, we say! It's time to take down the sign, open the stairs and let the masses through.

Got another tip for something that's been bugging you? Send it to hstern@wweek.com.
 
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