Commissioner Mingus Mapps Explains How Ice Creates Potholes

January’s severe winter storm did a number on city blacktop.

Commissioner Mingus Mapps. City of Portland Commissioner Mingus Mapps (Brian Burk)

Like WW, City Commissioner Mingus Mapps recently started paying more attention to potholes.

That’s not a coincidence. As Portland’s transportation commissioner, Mapps is championing Measure 26-245, a four-year renewal of the city’s 10-cent tax on a gallon of gasoline.

With that measure on the May ballot, it behooves Mapps to demonstrate the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s commitment to repairing the city’s comically pockmarked streets (which the gas tax is supposed to address). Last month, PBOT road crews patched 1,800 potholes, according to the bureau, and in some cases repaved entire streets.

This newspaper has been checking the bureau’s work, asking readers to submit photos of the city’s largest craters to our new Hole Patrol team, which will select the largest hole by the end of the month. (In several cases, PBOT crews have filled in the holes within days of us displaying them.)

Last week, WW invited Mapps to our office to discuss the gas-tax renewal. He quickly pointed out that the pothole-filling offensive wasn’t just an election-season gambit, but a response to January’s severe winter storm, which did a number on city blacktop. We asked him to explain the role ice plays in making potholes.

Watch his response here:

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