By Midge Pierce
Traffic calming along the Thorburn curves between SE 60th and Gilham will likely get underway soon thanks to an unusual public-private partnership.
Neighbors along the circuitous stretch plus businesses at 60th Ave. raised more than $30,000 – enough for the City to purchase and install a series of critical speed bumps known as pillows along the accident-prone route. The stretch is frequented by heavy truck traffic coming off I-205, speeding and erratic driving.
Portland Bureau of Transportation has approved the bumps as a priority improvement moving forward with installation this fall and possibly as early as September.
Once the bumps are installed, the City will collect more data to determine needed pedestrian improvements such as crosswalks and walkways. The effort follows the lowering of speed limits to 25 mph along SE Stark St. which feeds into Thorburn at Mt. Tabor.
For years, residents have appealed to the City to fix the problem of vehicles using the stretch as a raceway, taking turns too fast and plowing into their properties. The neighborhood’s willingness to self-fund the improvements sealed the deal.
Sixty-four households and the businesses at SE 60th contributed to the fundraising. The money raised was funneled through SE Uplift.
Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association board member Paul Leistner helped steer residents through PBOT processes. He gives Thorburn activist Debra Monzon credit for working with the City in a collaborative way to accomplish goals.
Monzon acknowledges the funding jumps Thorburn ahead of other City street projects. “The City has a lot of priorities out there. It’s hard to get heard. Hopefully, this deal will free up money for neighborhoods that can not afford to self-fund fixes.”
Monzon offers profuse thanks to PBOT, the NA, neighbors and businesses for their contributions, and can now laugh about a critical lesson learned:
“Earlier efforts were not in vain,” she said. “Expect to be turned down three times before being successful.”