"Readers will like this!" according to Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.
Eudaly has been in charge of Portland's Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) for exactly one week, which means she's been swimming through meetings to get oriented with a department that boasts an annual budget of around $550 million and nearly 1,000 employees. But the slog of getting up to speed comes with some gems: Like two small PBOT updates she promises Mercury readers will definitely like.
First, PBOT's getting rid of leaf collection fees! That means you'll no longer be stuck with a bill for not cleaning up leaves that fall in front of your property (if you own property, lol). According to Eudaly, that was one of the biggest complaints she's heard from people about PBOT policies—and it has been for a while. Remember when leaf fees became a central debate of Portland's 2011 mayoral race? The fees, which range from $15 to 65, were meant to offset the city cost of clearing soggy leaves out of clogged storm drains. But, as it turns out, it's more costly for city employees to check that people who opt out of the fees are actually sweeping up leaves on their own. Back to square one—with less fees!
Surprise number two: PBOT's installing a bike corral at Portland City Hall! A single on-street parking spot outside of city hall will be replaced with a row of bike racks (called a corral) for between 12 and 24 bikes. The street will be adorned with a stencil of a bicycle gear with heart in the middle and the critical mass logo. Eudaly says its a tribute to the bike activists who turned Portland into the bike-friendly city it is today. Portland currently has 149 bike corrals spread across the city, but only a few lonely poles to lock your bike up to outside city hall. Suck it, cars!