City vote: $8M to east-side improvements

9-18-13-eastside streets
Many of the streets on Portland's east side lack sidewalks, crosswalks and other safety features as seen in this street view Sept. 18, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — “People in east Portland will tell you they feel like the city has really neglected East Portland for years and years,” said Portland Commissioner Steve Novick, “and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, July 9, 2013 (KOIN 6 News, file)
Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, July 9, 2013. (KOIN 6 News, file)

Today the Portland City Council voted to ask for $8 million in state funds to start putting in sidewalks, crosswalks and remove overgrown vegetation that’s creating hazards for east-side pedestrians.

“East Portland has a lot of areas where there are no sidewalks,” Novick said, “where crossing the street is dangerous.”

One major area of concern is at SE 108th Avenue and Washington Street. There is no light at the cross walk, and it’s near Floyd Light Middle School. There also have been serious injury crashes involving pedestrians here.

Some of the improvements will be at SE Stark and 155th, where the intersection connects to Glenfair School, and NE Glisan Street and 151st Avenue — connecting to Parklane Park just south of Stark Street.

The East Portland in Motion Project would also build sidewalks, heading north to south, along with more sidewalks and crossings on Powell Boulevard east of Interstate 205. But the money isn’t expected until 2016.

Still city leaders called this is a big step in the right direction.

“It was an exciting day,” said one. “We’re pleased. We feel confident that we’re going to get this money approved — and that will make it easier for some people in east Portland to get to school, to get to the bus, to walk around without endangering themselves.”

If the funding comes through, it will become part of a much more comprehensive east-side transportation plan — totaling almost $50 million. Most of the money comes from grants.

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