Yesterday, Portland City Council voted unanimously to adopt 82nd Avenue into the City’s network of streets. This jurisdictional transfer moves seven miles of State Highway 213, from NE Killingsworth Street to SE Clatsop Street, into the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) control. Additionally, the ordinance accepts $80 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for necessary improvements on 82nd Avenue.
Yesterday’s vote completes years of community initiatives and governmental negotiations regarding the future of this neglected highway. Years of differed maintenance and insufficient investment by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) left the roadway in poor condition, even as the north to south connector became the busiest street in the City.
TriMet’s number 72 bus line on 82nd Avenue boasts the highest ridership of any route in the public transit system. More than 20,000 vehicle trips occur per day on the road. Due to the deteriorating conditions and traffic volume, 82nd Avenue experiences some of the highest crash rates in Portland. Over the next few years, PBOT intends to use the initial funding to improve safety for pedestrians and drivers alike.
Already identified projects for 82nd Avenue will begin soon, now that this legislative milestone has passed. PBOT will deliver new lighting, safer pedestrian crossings, pavement repair, and sidewalk accessibility upgrades. In some cases, large sections of the road surface will need reconstruction. Most of the curbside lanes of the highway lack a concrete base layer. The original construction of OR213 supported just one travel lane in each direction with a shared center turning lane. Engineers designed the outer edges of the road for parking, not the heavy demands of traffic.
Projects funded by yesterday’s approved ordinance only represent the beginning of upgrades expected in the area. Around 2026, ODOT will deliver a second payment to Portland, totaling $70 million. Along with the City’s pledged $35 million, this second $105 million wave of investment will enact more safety and livability improvement along 82nd Avenue. Community and business engagement around those future projects will ramp up over the next few years.
The City of Portland created a website for residents and business owners to track the new Building a Better 82nd initiative. Look for opportunities to contribute to the planning of 82nd Avenue through online and in-person community forums, focus groups, and surveys. PBOT will also partner with existing community organizations to guide future projects and coordinate with the people affected by the coming changes to the streetscape.
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