PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A historic transfer of a state highway to a city street in Portland is taking place on Wednesday.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is giving ownership of 82nd Ave., a seven-mile-long, high crash corridor, over to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT).
Residents have long advocated for the city to take over this state-managed road, also known as a Hwy. 213.
“We think it’s wonderful, I think it’s wonderful. I think I speak for the neighbors here. Everyone was talking about it and what a difference it should make,” said Todd Henderson, who lives near 82nd Ave.
Henderson, who helps clean up the surrounding area with Adopt One Block, is one of many area residents that want to make the crash corridor safer.
“It’s a dangerous road. They need to reduce the speeds. They need to do a better job of regulating over here, and I think they will,” Henderson said.
According to PBOT, in the last 15 years, there’s been around 20 deaths on 82nd Ave., including last year when two pedestrians were killed in the same month while trying to cross the street.
“And that really was, I think, the moment where the community said enough is enough. We need to make some changes here,” said PBOT Communications Director Hannah Schafer.
PBOT says the city is splitting up the improvements into two phases. The first phase will use $80 million to repair pavement, install better lighting and add pedestrian crossings, plus new sidewalk ramps.
The second phase will use more than $100 million to make additional improvements based on community input.
“In general, (we’re) trying to make 82nd Ave. more functional for the people who live, work and use that street on a day-to-day basis,” Schafer said.
“You’re going to see the same kind of thing that happened on Foster Rd. When the city took control of that road; there was a lot of protests, a lot of people were not happy about that, but what a difference, as a pedestrian and a cyclist. I think it will make a difference in the long run,” Henderson added.