Portland city leaders halt street fee vote as state gov't talks - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland city leaders halt street fee vote as state gov't talks solutions

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A little more than a week after announcing the Portland street fee would go before voters in May, Mayor Charlie Hales said Thursday the city would hit the pause button on efforts to pay for city street maintenance and safety.

As a result, it appears unlikely the street fee will be on the May ballot; the deadline for the city to submit paperwork for the May election was 5 p.m. Thursday.

The reason for the change in thinking, city officials said, is because Gov. John Kitzhaber and Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek assured Hales that "a statewide transportation package is a top priority for them this legislative session."

“Because they recognize the importance of efforts to fund transportation infrastructure, they will hear the needs of local governments and ensure they are part of state transportation conversations as they work to give communities the tools to build and maintain critical infrastructure,” Hales said.

Portland city staff have held more than 14 months of hearings to craft a proposal to help pay for Portland's crumbling streets and growing list of safety issues.

Despite all that discussion, Hales said not a single option proved to be a popular solution.

Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick said officials have been counting on state and federal governments to "step up" and help address the city's needs. He said the city is pleased to hear the Legislature is interested in discussing transportation funding.

The Oregon Legislature is set to convene in February.

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