Yesterday (July 6th) at 2:52 pm, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler emailed his three City Council colleagues and every city bureau director with a clear message:
“Effectively immediately, we are directing all City Bureaus to suspend all operations until further notice related to the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project. This includes attending meetings, providing technical support or responding to project emails. Any resumption of City staff services will be at the direction of the Portland City Council.”
Six hours later Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crews began drilling into the pavement on North Flint Avenue.
They were doing work for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) specifically for the I-5 Rose Quarter project It’s not clear if PBOT was doing work for the Rose Quarter project or not. An ODOT construction notice said crews would do work in this same area, at this same date, and at this same time. If the work was related to the Rose Quarter project it would be in direct violation of the stoppage order issued by Mayor Wheeler.
According to local property owner Betsy Reese, there were about 10 employees, 10 trucks, and other heavy equipment at the site. Reese said they were there from just before 9:00 pm to 9:40 pm. The work is scheduled to take place again tonight (7/7).
The work stoppage order from Mayor Wheeler came after Albina Vision Trust withdrew support for the project on June 30th. Wheeler is following the lead of PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who unequivocally opposes the project.
We’ve asked PBOT and Commissioner Eudaly to respond and will update this story when we hear back.
UPDATE, 1:07 pm: PBOT says the work was unrelated to the I-5 project:
“Last night our swing paving crew was on N Flint making a fix to the road in response to a complaint received by a concerned cyclist as part of our ongoing, regular maintenance work. Since N Flint is very busy during the day, our crews opted to do this work in the evening to cause less disturbance to commuters. The work had absolutely nothing to do with the I-5 project.”
UPDATE, 2:09 pm: It appears that it might have just been a big coincidence that PBOT crews were in this same general area working on pavement on the same date and time as ODOT was scheduled to work. I am still hoping to confirm with ODOT. In the meantime, I’ve edited the headline and the story and I regret any confusion this post has caused.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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