PDX Reporter is a website and mobile web app that helps Portlanders report concerns to the appropriate city agency. Much like the Oregon Metro RID map, this tool seeks to make reporting concerns convenient and efficient. On the site, people can report various sidewalk-related problems, graffiti, road obstructions, and potholes.
PDX Reporter started as a native phone app but later changed to a web app to streamline maintenance and reduce the time between updates. Much of its functionality still targets mobile app performance. However, the desktop website scales up to fit any sized screen. The site is tagged as “Beta” and is not an all-in-one tool. Some reporting sections redirect users to other resources or encourage users to go to another reporting tool for faster service.
Instead of replacing all the forms used by various bureaus, the site acts as the portal for many city services. This approach saves residents time looking for the proper place to report issues. Portland has a labyrinth of websites that make finding the appropriate resource difficult. PDX Reporter is an admirable attempt to cut through the confusion and take people to the form they need.
Notifying the city about issues can make public spaces more livable and safe. Without reports from residents, City staff cannot prioritize troubled areas and are less efficient in resolving issues. People using this service should exercise good judgment in deciding what to report. Any information included within the body of a PDX Reporter report is subject to public records laws. Although users have to create a free portlandoregon.gov website login to use this service, information used to create an account on portlandoregon.gov is kept confidential.
Portlanders are far from having a streamlined method for interacting with City services. However, Portland continually deploys technology to alleviate the frustrations of navigating disparate bureau procedures. Although this tool has existed for years, many people don’t know it exists or forget about it when they need to file a report. You might no need PDX Reporter today, but bookmarking pdxreporter.org can save you time and frustration in the future.
Work is underway at the Fred Meyer parking lot at 6615 NE Glisan Street. Crews are creating four EV charging stations located near the eastern entrance along NE Glisan Street. Removal of eleven standard parking spaces and one planter island will make way for four EV charging spots. Workers will also create a new fenced equipment island to support charging infrastructure.
Designers submitted permit applications for the charging station at the beginning of the year. However, their permit 21-002507 was approved just last week. As part of this project, landscapers will plant additional shrubbery to conceal the equipment area. The new island is near equal in size to the four EV parking spaces. Fencing around the utility zone will use 8 foot high Trex fencing.
An excavator worked most of Tuesday on preparing the area for the substantial electrical work that will take place. Charging station dispensers stand to the side of the vehicle instead of at the front of the parking spot. This positioning allows for two side-by-side hookups facing opposite directions, concentrating the user-accessible equipment into two clusters. PGE will connect to the charging station via an underground electrical conduit feeding a 750 KVA transformer.
Electrify America manages these new charging spots and bills customers between $0.31 per kWh to $0.43 per kWh. The spaces are reserved for people charging their vehicles. Ten minutes after charging completes, an idle fee of $0.40 per minute is added to the customer’s bill. EV charging maps already show the EV charges at Fred Meyer as “Coming Soon,” indicating that this project will complete quickly.
The addition of EV charges in the area is encouraging for those who own an electric vehicle and nearby businesses that will welcome customers killing time during their charging session. Look for the parking lot at Fred Meyer to be a bit congested as work continues. However, based on current progress, the disruptions should clear up within a few weeks.
UPDATE – Corrected link to electrifyamerica.com July 6th, 2021.
Thanks to an increased budget in the upcoming fiscal year, Oregon Metro will expand the RID Patrol program to three times its current size. The RID Patrol program serves Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties with dumpsite cleaning services. The program was overwhelmed during the pandemic and has failed to catch up with the current demand. The program expansion is a substantial boost to their capacity with the potential to make a difference in the region-wide trash problem.
The existing two cleanup crews will expand to six teams sometime after the new budget goes into effect on July 1st. Increased funding will cover additional vehicles, staff, and administrative support for the expanded teams. RID Patrol serves the community in multiple ways. Beyond cleaning dumped items across the region, positions in the program often go to people who have seen challenges finding employment. “These additional crews will be staffed by those who traditionally have barriers to employment. Through this program, we are supporting justice outcomes and uplifting our community for those who traditionally have difficulty finding stable and good jobs,” explained Kimberlee Ables, Public Information Officer with Metro.
Adding the new crews will not have immediate results. The RID Patrol program is facing a substantial backlog of illegal dumpsites. A complete listing of reported sites is available online and shows the Herculean task Metro staff need to address. Ables estimates it will be over a year before crews handle the current demand for cleanups. “In prior years, we have maintained a three-day response time and anticipate it will take 12 to 18 months to get back to that level of service.”
Within this round of funding, Metro allocated money to continue a Metro bag program for campsites and providing garbage service to the houseless community. With these efforts, Metro is perusing programs that will provide relief to everyone living in the region. Other programs will have to address the root cause of dumping and litter, but this expansion should improve livability throughout the Metro region.
Crews are busy at work transforming the former Glisan Street Chase Bank into an OnPoint Community Credit Union. Located inside the Fred Meyer Grocery store at 6615 NE Glisan Street, the bank space has remained vacant since last December. Freshly painted signage and new teller stations indicate that banking services will soon return to this location.
The swapping of financial institutions is part of the largest branch expansion in OnPoint’s history. The Credit Union agreed in November of 2020 to open twenty new branches located within Fred Meyer stores across Oregon and Southwest Washington. A month later, Cory Freeman became Vice President and Regional Manager of the in-store branches. During that announcement, the Glisan Street Fred Meyer was identified as one of those twenty new locations.
The opening of OnPoint is a welcomed change to a recent trend that is reducing banking options in the Montavilla area. Chase Bank, US Bank, and Riverview have all closed or plan to close their nearby branches. Convenient banking is essential to small businesses dealing in cash. This new location may entice local businesses to move their accounts over to OnPoint. Look for the Credit Union to open in the next few months.
This month, Portland Street Response (PSR) expanded its boundaries beyond the Lents neighborhood. Starting April 1st, PSR teams will offer a non-police response to a larger area that includes the eastern half of Montavilla. With the expanded service area comes a broader service scope that now includes public spaces inside buildings.
The PSR program officially launched in late February with a new approach to specific emergency calls. The program diverts non-violent calls involving people experiencing houselessness or behavioral and mental health issues to specialists equipped to resolve those situations. At launch, the program only addressed incidents occurring outdoors and did not have staff enter buildings. The recent changes permit the teams to enter publicly accessible spaces such as a business, store, or a public lobby. PSR is not responding to calls within a private residence.
Initially, the PSR program used Portland Fire & Rescue’s boundary system called Fire Management Areas (FMA) to assign calls to their team members. Within a month, it became apparent that they missed calls outside the FMA that PSR had the capacity to address. As a test, PSR will switch to using the Portland Police Bureau’s police district areas to determine their response zone. That change has lead to the increased service area that now includes Montavilla from 82nd Ave to I205.
Dispatchers determine what calls are assigned to fire, police, and PSR staff. Requests for assistance with any situation should continue routing through 911 or the non-emergency number at 503-823-3333. However, if you live in the expanded service area, there is a possibility that PSR could handle your call. A potential PSR response will encourage some residents to reporting situations that they may not have before. Many concerns don’t require a police response but instead, need trained specialists to de-escalate a situation.
People interested in following the PSR team’s progress can use a newly created dashboard to view aggregate metrics regarding calls and a heat-map of activity. Expect to see more PSR dispatches in Montavilla soon.
Freezing rain, snow, and ice have shut down most of Portland this holiday weekend. Saturday saw near-empty streets and completely halted TriMet routes. However, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crew are out today clearing roads, and TriMet is back to limited service.
To inform travelers about street clearing and de-icing efforts, PBOT created a live map of their activities. It displays the location of plows, salt trucks, and deicer vehicles on a map of Portland. The map also indicates what roads are a priority to treat or clear. This information will help drivers plan a trip that uses those priority roads. Knowing the last time a plow truck came through will help people select the safest travel window to venture out. Regardless of PBOT efforts, only drive if you have to, as the treated roads are not entirely safe.
Trimet Buses are moving along their snow routes, although a bit slower than usual. The winter weather enabled TriMet to use one of its newest addition to some Montavilla bus stops. The 13-inch ePaper display installed at select bus shelters informed riders of Saturday’s suspension of service. Now they are displaying updated schedules. If you plan to use TriMet to get where you are going, it is best to visit their website for the most accurate information about schedules and routes. Not too many bus shelters have ePaper digital displays yet.
The weather will warm by mid-week, melting the snow before too long. Many residents ventured out and enjoyed the winter weather, but not everyone appreciated the disruption. If possible, show some extra support to local businesses that had to close for the storm. They will need to make up for lost days of revenue during an already lean time.
This Sunday, Montavilla Farmer’s Market opens for the first day of their new winter schedule. This expanded season marks the start of year-round availability for the Market. Previous winters only offered customers four stock-up events between November and February.
Beginning on November 8th, the Market will open the second and fourth Sunday of the month. This twice-monthly schedule will run November through April, with a special Holiday Market on December 20th. The Market will be closed for the holidays on December 27th. Market hours are 10:00 AM through 2:00 PM.
The winter market is located at its regular space in Montavilla town, 7700 SE Stark Street. Moving to a year-round schedule demonstrates the successes experienced by the Farmer’s Market and offers constancy to their patrons. Winter vendors include:
The BIKETOWN bike-share program expanded into Montavilla this month, for the first time making bikes available for riders to rent in the area. With the program’s expansion, Portland is replacing the older bikes that first arrived in 2016. The new bicycles are all new pedal-assist electric bikes. These bikes will help average riders make the long trip downtown and back without an excessive amount of effort.
Previous to this expansion of the program, residents would only see the orange BIKETOWN bikes in Montavilla when someone had taken them out of their designated area. Now they can be seen all over the neighborhood, with a concentration around the Portland Community College campus.
The BIKETOWN website and the new BIKETOWN app (iPhone/Android) shows available bike locations near you. Additionally, thanks to a partnership with the ride-hailing app Lyft, riders can now rent e-bikes through the Lyft app. In addition to Lyft, the program sponsors are Nike, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and Kaiser Permanente.
BIKETOWN begins rolling out the expanded service this month, starting with 500 of the new e-bikes. That fleet will grow the to 1,500 e-bikes over the coming weeks. The 1,000 older BIKETOWN bicycles from 2016 are being removed from service as the new e-bikes become available.
The expanded coverage and new pedal-assist electric bikes come at a cost. The program is increasing its fares at all levels, leading some to question the choice of going all-electric. Regardless of its long term pricing effects, this is a growth opportunity for Montavilla’s transportation options.
We live in a bike-friendly city, and BIKETOWN continues to make that mode of transportation more accessible to all rider. The next few weeks will have summer-like weather, making now a great time to try out the new bikes.
Last night the Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) held the first in a series of online business owner meetups. METBA has held many in person meetups, however this is the first time taking it online. What has traditionally been a social gathering, these meetups have taken on a more serious tone. All the subjects for these events, are around keeping your business sustainable in the midst of a pandemic.
Over ten Montavilla business owners attended the May 26th Zoom event. The topic was focused on paying rent and working with your landlord during the shutdown. Many participants shared their own experiences, and sought advice from others.
During the evenings conversation, the group identified the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as needing its own hour of conversation. It is probable that PPP will become the topic of week 4.
There are still three more events scheduled. If you are a Montavilla or East Tabor business owner, you are encouraged to participate. Pleaser register to join one, or all, of the remaining meetups. Participation is free and open to all businesse owners. Meetups are Tuesdays from 7-8pm.
WEEK 1: May 26th – Landlord communications (already occured) WEEK 2: June 2nd – Re-opening your business safely – current guidelines WEEK 3: June 9th – Networking during COVID – Supporting one another’s biz WEEK 4: June 16th – Topic TBA (Proposed: Paycheck Protection Program)
Everyone knows that the remainder of 2020 will be challenging to business owners all over the world. By banding together, our local businesses have much better chance of surviving this economic challenge.
We have all seen piles of trash dumped on the street or sidewalk in our neighborhood. Perhaps it has been in front of your house or business. This can be frustrating and a blight on the public areas. Fortunately Portland cares about it as much as we do and they have a way of reporting these trash dumps online.
Metro RID Patrol is the service that wants to hear about the abandoned trash. They can be contacted at 503-234-3000 or online. Some good citizens will clean up small items around the neighborhood, and we all thank you, but know that some items are too big and too dangerous. If there is a stockpile of needles or other sharp items, Metro RID Patrol is your safest option.
Metro RID Patrol’s dashboard is another great data visualization tool that Portlanders have at their disposal. There you can see the average crew response time and the tonnage of waste collected. It can be easy to think that we can not keep up on the trash being spread around our streets, but if we report it, we stand a good chance of keeping clean.
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