Portland Speeds Up Light Pole Replacement Project

Photo: Ford, Brad

Last month, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) announced that 243 light poles across 12 city parks would be removed due to potentially hazardous structural anchoring issues. While Culture and Livability Commissioner Dan Ryan initially approved the plan designed by PP&R, he had reservations about the time lag between the removal and the replacement of the lights. Commissioner Ryan listened to public concerns and began to strategize with the PP&R team on a balanced safety strategy.  

"I understand the importance of lighting in our parks and am committed to finding a solution to address the public's valid concerns. I have spent the past several weeks in impacted parks talking with neighbors. I share their concerns." said Commissioner Ryan. 

To ensure the replacement of the light poles as quickly as possible, Commissioner Ryan will present an emergency ordinance on April 5 to City Council that will allow the Parks Bureau to purchase all replacement light poles simultaneously.  

The new plan will have a phased light pole removal approach and a coordinated replacement timeline to reduce the time that parks will have fewer light poles.  

After procurement, the fabrication and delivery of new light poles will take six months. Light poles removed at Irving Park, Mt. Scott Park, Sellwood Park, and Sellwood Riverfront Park will be replaced by PP&R once the new light poles are available. In the four parks where light poles were removed, the City will explore temporary lighting, similar to what the public has seen in Lownsdale and Chapman parks. Once the light poles are replaced in those four parks, the bureau will communicate the planning for removal and quick replacement of light poles in other affected parks.  

Metro has agreed to approve PP&R’s request for $2 million of Metro's parks and nature bond, local share resources for the project. PP&R and Commissioner Ryan have also worked to have $2 million of potential federal earmarks available for the project as well. This funding will allow the bureau to purchase all the replacement light poles right away.  

Now, with newly secured funding, all 12 parks will receive replacement light poles as quickly as possible. The funding effort is an example of different government agencies working together to solve a problem that affects multiple jurisdictions.  

"We took extraordinary measures to partner with other jurisdictions to address an extraordinary project. I'm proud of PP&R and my team and grateful to our partners, so a project that would usually take a City bureau years to fix will now take months." 

Source: Portland Parks & Recreation

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