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PBOT completes its first three-year cycle of the Gravel Street Service

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Thanks to Fixing Our Streets, crews will return to work in Southeast Portland this coming winter
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(April 22, 2021) Gravel streets? Serviced. This month, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Maintenance Operations crews completed grading and graveling the final residential gravel street as part of the bureau’s Gravel Street Service first three-year cycle.

Portland has over 50 miles of gravel streets which are not maintained by the city. As a result, those streets were in bad shape, with large potholes and ruts. Until the launch of the Gravel Streets Service in 2018, PBOT did not have many options to help residents who were unhappy with the condition of their roads. Thanks to the new program, however, PBOT can offer a cost-effective solution for making these gravel roads better. Even better, the service is FREE for residents.

Before and after: SE Ash Street between SE 73rd and 74th streets was graded and graveled in November 2019. Photos by PBOT.
Before and after: SE Ash Street between SE 73rd and 74th streets was graded and graveled in November 2019. Photos by PBOT.

Transportation crews typically worked on a three-year cycle, working from November through March and tackling different sections of the city each year. Crews filled in ruts and potholes, then graded and graveled the street, leaving residents with a much smoother surface and making it easier for folks to get around their neighborhood and access where they live.

Over 5000 Portland residences are located alongside gravel streets. In the last three years, PBOT has served over 50 miles of gravel roads in across Portland, using a total of 43,584 tons of gravel in the process. Thanks to voters in May 2020 who resoundingly supported a renewal of Portland’s 10-cent per gallon gas tax-funded program, Fixing Our Streets, crews will continue the three-phase cycle starting in Winter 2021-2022. The continuation of the program ensures that these gravel streets will remain maneuverable for travelers thanks to the tri-annual maintenance.

Before and after: NE Roselawn between SE 73rd and 74th streets was graded and graveled in February 2020. Photos by PBOT.
Before and after: NE Roselawn between SE 73rd and 74th streets was graded and graveled in February 2020. Photos by PBOT.

“This street, when I first moved here, half of it was just two ruts. There has never been any city maintenance on this street. I have personally taken care of the potholes,” said Gary Baldwin, who has lived on SW Boundary Street for the last 39 years. “PBOT has done a great job of notifying us that they were coming into the area. When they began, I was really excited that it was actually going to happen.”

“Thanks to the Gravel Street Service, we have been able to improve mobility for thousands of residents across Portland,” said Transportation Director Chris Warner. “Over the past three years we have heard time and again from residents how much they appreciate this new program and, thanks to the dedicated funding from Fixing Our Streets, we are thrilled to be able to continue this service for the next three years.”

Transportation crews will be back in Southeast Portland this November 2021 for the restart of the three-year cycle. Learn more about the Gravel Street Service at https://www.portland.gov/transportation/maintenance/portland-gravel-street-service.