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Think Out Loud

How Did Portland's Roads Get So Bad?

Katie Tegtmeyer/Creative Commons

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick proposed a transportation user fee last week to help fix the city’s roads. The monthly cost would range from $4.75 to $11.56 for residential users, and businesses and governmental institutions would be charged varying rates based on building use and size.

The fee is meant to address an issue that the city auditor’s office has been highlighting for years. The most recent audits — from January and February 2013 — found 44 percent of Portland’s roads were in poor or very poor condition. But the audits have also found that the Bureau of Transportation lacks an overall strategy and that street maintenance hasn’t been a high priority for the city.

We’ll hear from the city auditor’s office about how Portland’s roads got so bad.


  • Drummond Kahn: Director of audit services in the elected Portland city auditor’s office
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