East Portland Chamber hears transport issues; welcomes new officers

The East Portland Chamber of Commerce continues to be “the voice for business in East Portland” ‚Äì read this and you’ll see why you should attend ‚Ķ

Meet the 2007 officers for the chamber: Norm Rice, First Class Properties, treasurer; Greg Zuffrea, BC Graphics, president; Ken Turner, Eastport Plaza, VP; Jill Critchfield, Pacific HR, Secretary; Dan La Grande, La Grande Public Relations, board member; Rich Sorem, Stewart and Tunno Insurance, board member; Pam Olson, Farmer’s Insurance Agent, Ambassador chair; Jeff Bennett, Warren Allen, LLP, board member and advisory council; Monty Knittel, Adventist Health, board member. Not available for this photo was board member Tim Brunner, Axis Design.

At their November meetings, the East Portland Chamber of Commerce announced its new board members, heard about transportation issues from PDOT’s executive, and gave a donation to Kiwanis.

Making Portland move

Portland Office of Transportation’s Sue Keil runs down the budget numbers for roads and forecasts street building and repair activities at a “Good Morning East Portland” networking meeting in November.

What’s happening to our roads ‚Äì and why ‚Äì was the information brought to the chamber by Sue Keil from the Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT) on November 15.

Talking first about revenues, she said that funds supporting road maintenance, signals and streetlights come from gas tax and vehicle licenses, and are distributed by the state. Portland, Keil said, gets $197.7 Million in the 06/07 budget year. “The only growth has been from increased parking meter revenue.”

“Our budget isn’t growing,” Keil told the business people. “Revenue has slightly declined as a result of more fuel efficient cars. The tax is still fixed at $0.34 a gallon. However, the cost of cost of construction has increased substantially. And, health care costs have increased among our 750 employees.”

Of their budget, the PDOT executive said, about $50 Million that goes for general operations and activities.

“Transportation is the largest asset in the city ‚Äì it’s about $5 Billion worth of streets, sidewalls, curbs, signals and lights. The largest portion is pavement. And, the condition of a lot of our pavement is deteriorating.

The problem, Keil said, is a shortfall of $3,400,000 needed to keep pavement at its current condition. “To bring it up to the proper level would cost nearly $9.5 Million.”

Keil credited Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams ‚Äì the “traffic commissioner” ‚Äì for helping to structure requests for the city’s needs over the amount budgeted for maintenance.

This request for one-time general fund resources – a program to run through the end of 2008 – was detailed on a printout given to attendees.

Under the maintenance section, the request indicated $500,000 going for the Pothole Hotline repair pilot program.

Looking over the “Safety” budget items, we noticed that bicycle and pedestrian safety programs were budgeted at $900,000; yet vehicle safety improvements at “high crash intersections” was only $1,200,000.

We asked why, when vehicles pay for road improvements through fuel taxes, biker and walker safety issues were funded at nearly the same level.

Keil said that at budget meetings, the bicycle lobby attends in large numbers. If vehicle drivers and business people came to such meetings, she suggested, perhaps the budget allocation outcome might be different.

Chamber members help Kiwanis Camp

Kiwanis Mt. Hood Camp for Disabled Children and Adults director Todd Thayer is about to accept a check from Russellville Kiwanis president Jason Goodwill and East Portland Chamber Cabaret producer, Kevin Minkoff.

As you may recall, last year, members of the chamber performed two shows to raise funds for the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp.

At another meeting, Past Russellville Kiwanis Club President, Jason Goodwill, thanked all the participants in the $1000 fund raising effort.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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