The Oregon Transportation Commission on Thursday allocated an additional $66.65 million to repair and revitalize 82nd Avenue within the Portland city limits in advance of its transfer of the road to Portland.
Over the years, ODOT, city officials, legislators and community stakeholders concluded that transferring ownership of the road from the state to the city was the best way to manage the key east Portland arterial. The city required updates to its current condition before they would accept the transfer.
Earlier this year, as part of a joint proposal from ODOT and the city to the Oregon Legislature, ODOT committed to provide $70 million to allow for the transfer. After making $3.35 million in safety improvements to 82nd Avenue this summer as part of ODOT’s pedestrian safety initiative, the commission’s action today completes that funding pledge.
In addition, the Legislature agreed to provide $80 million to fund many of the upgrades to the road. The city also agreed to invest an additional $35 million to complete the $185 million of corridor improvements.
“The 82nd Avenue corridor in the city was once an important state highway, but its design no longer reflects the needs of the community or the urban nature of 82nd today,” said Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Bob Van Brocklin. “The roadway is now the home of the growing Jade District and carries TriMet’s busiest bus route. It’s also become increasingly dangerous for users, tragically highlighted by the deaths of pedestrians that occurred on 82nd Avenue earlier this year.
“It’s time to redesign the road to reflect the community that has grown around it,” Van Brocklin said. “This funding and the transfer to Portland of 82nd Avenue inside the city limits will ensure that this diverse and growing community, that has historically seen underinvestment from all levels of government, will soon receive the urban boulevard they have asked for and deserve.”
Upon transfer, the city will begin a series of projects dedicated to transforming the roadway from the highway it is today, into an urban boulevard more consistent with the land uses envisioned by the city. Under the transfer agreement, the city will own and maintain the entire section of roadway from NE Killingsworth south to the city boundary at SE Clatsop Street, about seven miles.