Kulongoski promises state aid for 82nd Ave., at FuBonn appearance

Oregon’s Governor didn’t stay long – but find out what he, Sam Adams, and Oregon Senator Rick Metsger had to say …

FuBonn Grocery’s Jenny Liu meets Governor Ted Kulongoski, as does FuBonn Shopping Center’s manager Michael Liu; they’re joined by Portland City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Two weeks ago, Governor Ted Kulongoski made a brief stop in outer East Portland to pitch the concept of developing a strategic statewide transportation plan.

The appearance was held on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, in front of the FuBonn Shopping Center.

The center’s manager, Michael Liu, warmed up the crowd before introducing the Governor, telling how the neighborhood has changed since FuBonn was opened in 2008. “Since our arrival, the avenue has been transformed into the 82nd Avenue of Roses, highlighted every year by a parade for the community. With additional funding and support from the state, the sky is the limit.”

Governor Ted Kulongoski says he’ll work to get state-level funding to help improve 82nd Avenue of Roses, which is actually a state highway.

Kulongoski speaks
Governor Ted Kulongoski complimented the developers of FuBonn, transforming the former PCC campus into a shopping center. He also acknowledged Portland City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams.

“My own Department of Transportation is collaborating with the City of Portland to increase safety for all the users along 82nd Avenue of Roses. We’re showcasing how, by working together, we can provide safer streets for our communities across the state.”

Kulongoski said Oregon citizens need a sound and safe transportation infrastructure, regardless of whether one drives, uses public transit, rides a bike, or walks. “We need a safe and sound infrastructure for our economy, so commerce and goods can more effectively and efficiently move from point of distribution to destinations such as this beautiful shopping center.”

Noting that the avenue is a city arterial street as well as a state highway – crossing through many neighborhoods, including the Madison South, Montavilla, Foster Powell, and Lents neighborhoods – Kulongoski said that Portland’s Office of Transportation has made him aware of the high crash areas along 82nd Avenue.

“Now that we’ve identified the need, it’s even more important that we continue to work together to leverage local, state, and federal funds to turn these plans into projects, and expedite improvements along the 82nd Avenue corridor,” Kulongoski concluded.

Mayor-elect and Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams tells why safety improvements are needed to cut down on the number of accidents along 82nd Avenue.

Adams cites crash statistics
Mayor-elect and Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams then stepped up to the podium and thanked the governor for taking note of the need for roadway improvement.

“We’re here to announce the culmination of a new partnership between the Portland Office of Transportation, the Oregon Department of Transportation, neighborhood groups, and the business people who have invested along this corridor,” Adams began.

“In 2007,” he continued, “29 Portlanders were killed on streets and highways, more than were murdered. It’s a gruesome but important comparison. The national safety Council estimates the cost of transportation fatalities and injuries in the City of Portland over the past decade has been $3.9 million, to the economy. In addition, congestion caused by crashes accounts for up to 40% of the congestion.”
Adams added that during the past decade, 1,360 drivers, 40 pedestrians, and 98 bicyclists were injured along 82nd Avenue. “We want to see safety improvements, but we need resources to fulfill the vision. We have cobbled together some money to fulfill that safety improvement plan, but it’s not enough.”

Oregon State Senator Rick Metsger says he hopes the federal government will reauthorize the Federal Transportation Act.

State senator hopes for federal funding
The Chair of Senate Transportation Committee, Rick Metsger, arose to tell the assemblage that he hopes for help from the federal government.

“In the next year, the Congress is going to work on reauthorizing the Federal Transportation Act – generally a six-year authorization. The fact is, over the last number of years, we have failed as a country to invest in the infrastructure of our own country. But now, with the new Congress, and leadership coming right here from our own community, I believe we have an opportunity to look at major reinvestment in our own communities across this country, and that includes the city of Portland, in transportation infrastructure to benefit our citizens.”

Visit pleases local concerned citizens
Ken Turner, President of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association, commented, “This visit highlights the cooperation among governmental agencies, neighborhoods, and business districts.”

Pointing out that 82nd Avenue of Roses is indeed a state highway, Turner said he’s glad that ODOT is taking an active role in making the thoroughfare safer. “This is a case of one positive step leading to another positive step.”

Also present was Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs, who said he saw the Governor’s visit as a positive indication for outer East Portland.

“The Governor is the most powerful man in Oregon,” Crebs said. “By Kulongoski coming here, it brings a lot of energy to the 82nd Avenue safety project. This brings people hope that good things are coming to 82nd Avenue.”

Jenny Liu, manager of the FuBonn Supermarket, afterwards told us that she was pleased that the Governor and Portland’s Mayor-elect came to visit. “It brings a lot of goodwill to our area, and it will help to improve 82nd Avenue of Roses.”

Ted Kulongoski learns from Sam Adams about the improvements that have already been made along 82nd Avenue.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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