Portland to improve dangerous stretch of 82nd Ave; safety advocates welcome plans

Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 5:14 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The City of Portland is making what they call “critical fixes” to Southeast 82nd Avenue.

PBOT said these improvements are based on safety and maintenance needs. And people say these changes can’t happen soon enough.

Zachary Lauritzen of Oregon Walks and its 82nd Avenue Coalition points to 82nd Avenue’s history to understand its current safety concerns.

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“It used to be the big bypass on the east side of town. And so, it was straight, and it was wide, and it was meant to move people quickly,” Zachary Lauritzen, manager of 82nd Avenue Coalition at Oregon Walks, said.

But now, he said this area needs improvements to address everyone’s needs – not just cars.

“It changed from a high-speed corridor to a dangerous high-speed corridor to now, what we’re hoping is a community corridor,” Lauritzen said.

The City of Portland said those changes are in the works.

“We are so excited 82nd Avenue has been transferred to the City of Portland, so that a change can be made,” Lauritzen said. “The statistics play that out. It’s a dangerous place to be outside of a vehicle. And the truth is, inside of a vehicle.”

As part of the Critical Fixes: Major Maintenance Project, the Portland Bureau of Transportation said it will make what they call urgent improvements to a two-and-a-half mile stretch of 82nd Avenue. Two segments will be addressed - Northeast 82nd Avenue from Fremont Street to Schuyler Street and Southeast 82nd Avenue from Mill Street to Foster Road.

PBOT’s draft concepts include new or upgraded crossings, medians, trees, ADA ramps, street lights, sidewalk improvements, and more.

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People said they’re excited for the potential of the area.

“This is a start. There’s a whole bunch more that needs to be done,” Lauritzen said. “We think spaces are more economically vibrant if they’re places people can walk.”

The city is welcoming feedback as a part of their design drafting phase. Check out PBOT’s 82nd Avenue project on the city’s website to learn more.

PBOT said if all goes according to plan, construction is set to begin next year. And according to the project website, the $55 million project funding will come from the American Rescue Plan Act funds.