Sinkholes popping up in Portland, closing roads

SE Milwaukie Avenue at Reedway reopened just after 3 p.m. Friday

PBOT crews repair a sinkhole at SE Milwaukie and Reedway, Apr. 22, 2016 (PBOT/TWITTER)
PBOT crews repair a sinkhole at SE Milwaukie and Reedway, Apr. 22, 2016 (PBOT/TWITTER)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Crews with the Portland Bureau of Transportation responded to several sinkholes in the past week, including one on Friday morning that was discovered at NE 16th and Prescott which closed the intersection for part of the day.

A hole in the road also closed part of N. Interstate Avenue near the Broadway Bridge for part of Friday. Crews discovered the hole earlier in the morning while they were repairing damage to the storm water system.

Crews also worked to repair a sinkhole at SE Milwaukie Avenue and SE Reedway.

Dylan Rivera, the spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, told KOIN 6 News the city averages “a few hundred sinkholes” each year.

“It could be a construction issue, could be a worn out pipe,” Rivera said.

PBOT crews and the city of Portland are investigating the cause of both sinkholes and Rivera said the wet winter with record rain in December, combined with the record-breaking heat earlier this week also contributed to the problem. The source could be anything from leaky pipes, heavy rainfall or soil disruption from utility companies installing fiber lines.

“There are a lot of causes for these small cavities in the street. Fortunately in the Portland area we don’t have that massive geological movement that’s happening in Florida and places like that. With massive sinkholes that could fit a house,” Rivera said.

He said Portland gets a few hundred small cavities each year, a minor number when compared to potholes. So far this year, the city has patched more than 7,600 potholes.

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