Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Almost 26 of Dallas' 55 miles of streets are considered in need of repair. Streets highlighted in red received below a 75 PCI (pavement condition index) rating in a recent survey of city streets.
July 02, 2012
DALLAS -- Of the 55 miles of streets the city of Dallas is responsible for maintaining, almost half of them need repair -- if not complete reconstruction.
With dwindling state gas tax funding -- which goes to maintaining streets -- the city is in no position to address them all. In fact, the fiscal year 2011-12 street paving projects accounted for only a handful of city blocks on Court, Academy and Church streets. A joint project with the Oregon Department of Transportation also paved a portion of Washington Street.
That was it -- less than a mile out of about 25 miles of streets needing maintenance. Those projects cost $190,000.
With $150,000 budgeted for overlays next year, the city may only add to its street maintenance backlog.
"It's just not getting any better," said Dallas Mayor Brian Dalton. "We thought the state and federal government would be sending more money, but it's nothing like what we need."
The city proposed a fee in 2009 to help maintain streets, but it was soundly defeated by voters in May 2010.
Since then, the city has prioritized roads with more commercial traffic or heavier use over neighborhood streets.
"The council has made a commitment to focus on arterials and collectors," Dalton said. "They are more important to the lifeblood of the community."
Now the city is looking at the problem again, this time with a citizens advisory committee searching for solutions.
Dalton requested the creation of the committee, which includes nine residents. He said the goal is twofold: examine options to funding street maintenance and draft a recommendation for the city council to consider to help pay for repairs and prioritize projects in the future.
The committee met for the first time June 27. Dalton said the meeting was an overview session explaining the funding situation and current condition of city streets.
"We didn't discuss any solutions at the first meeting," Dalton said, adding many on the committee were surprised by how serious the issue has become. "It was sobering I think."
Dalton said that while only advisory committee members would vote on options, input from other citizens is welcomed.
"The public is very much invited to attend and to speak," he said. "We want the public included, anyone who has an interest or has ideas."
Meetings are scheduled on the fourth Wednesday of each month and will be held in the Dallas City Council chambers at City Hall, 187 SE Court St.
"We are not going into this with a preconceived notion about what to do," Dalton said. "Creative minds are needed. As you can imagine, it is not an easy subject."
For more information: Dallas City Hall, 503-831-3502.