Funds earmarked to upgrade Outer SE Powell Blvd

Project won't begin until 2018

A section of SE Powell Blvd at 136th Avenue in Portland, July 6, 2015 (KOIN)
A section of SE Powell Blvd at 136th Avenue in Portland, July 6, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A total of $20 million may be coming to improve one of Portland’s dangerous stretches of road – Outer Southeast Powell Boulevard.

Lawmakers in Salem set aside $17 million to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians there, plus the City of Portland will add $3 million. The $17 million budget is expected to be passed in the legislature Monday and then would go to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature.

The money will be earmarked for the safety upgrades in a 14-block stretch — from 122nd to 136th — to widen the road, build crosswalks and sidewalks. A bike path with a buffer plus more signals and lighting are also included.

Donald Van Wormer and Brandon Rutherford know all about the day-to-day life along Outer Southeast Powell – and they’re not shy about sharing what they think should be done.

“There’s just not enough crosswalks in this section. There needs to be 5 or 6 islands for these people to cross through here,” Van Wormer said.

Rutherford said, “I’ve got pedestrians walking down against me when I’m biking this way, too.”

Oregon State Rep. Shemia Fagan, Oct. 17, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Oregon State Rep. Shemia Fagan, Oct. 17, 2014. (KOIN 6)

Southeast Powell and 122nd does have crosswalks, but it’s the single most dangerous intersection in the state with 37% more crashes than on similar ODOT roads.

Rep. Shemia Fagan made the case for funding the road improvements to state budget writers.

“In my short service as a legislator, I’ve already been at 2 candlelight vigils for pedestrians who died due to lack of a place to cross the street on Powell Boulevard,” Fagan said.

But the project won’t get underway until 2018 because land on both sides of the road must be purchased before the construction can begin.

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