As we'd long suspected he would, Mayor Charlie Hales this morning gathered in Southeast Portland with a host of local dignitaries to announce the city will have the money to fund a sidewalk on SE 136th, after all.

The project had been a hot topic—and among the few sources of political strife in the mayor's early tenure—since Toby Widmer, interim director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, proposed in February using the $1.2 million slated for the sidewalk on road maintenance. Active transportation types and East Portland advocates took immediate umbrage, and the matter wasn't helped when a five-year-old girl was run down while crossing 136th, blocks away from the planned walkway, in early March.

Letters and petitions quickly found their way to the mayor's desk.

Blogtown didn't attend this morning's avail, but we're told (via a press release) Hales applauded Widmer's controversial proposal.

“I asked Toby to be creative,” Hales said, according to the release. “Long before we discuss any new funding, we want to make sure we were being as creative as possible with every dollar we have now. Toby did exactly what I asked of him.”

The sidewalk—a little more than a half-mile—should be started this fall, according to the mayor's office.

For more on this—and other pressing matters that have occupied Hales' attentions since he took office— be sure to pick up a copy of today's Mercury, sizzling off of the presses any time now. Or check the website later today. Or do both.