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Woodstock Blvd. repaving underway August 1

by: David F. Ashton Sean Daugherty, VP of the WCBA and owner of Pappaccino’s coffee shop, left, gives an energetic welcome to Ed Somers, a supervisor with Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PDOT) Street Maintenance Division, as the special Woodstock Boulevard paving meeting begins.

As August began, The City of Portland was repaving S.E. Woodstock Boulevard between S.E. 39th (Chavez) and S.E. 52nd, because its surface was beginning to fail.

More than a dozen people from the Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA) and Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA) learned about it at a special meeting on the afternoon of July 22.

At the meeting, held in the Woodstock Library's meeting room, Ed Somers - a supervisor from Portland Bureau of Transportation's (PDOT) Street Maintenance Division -- introduced himself and three crew members working on the project, which had originally been planned for late August.

The project entails grinding off about two inches of asphalt from the travel lanes. 'We'll use a large 7-foot-wide milling machine to take off the pavement, and then replace it with a new surface.'

Although it's more efficient to work on the project at night, Somers said that homes are too close to the road to permit night work.

'Work hour days are between 7 am and 5 pm,' Somers said. 'The work will slow down customers getting in and out. Even though the cross-section the street is fairly wide, there is no way to shift traffic and keep two lanes of traffic flowing around the work.'

To minimize impact on businesses, the traffic plan will permit one eastbound traffic lane at all times along Woodstock Blvd, by shifting it around construction work, he said. Westbound traffic will be diverted north to S.E. Steele Street. 'This means there will always be eastbound traffic allowed on Woodstock, and we'll keep the side streets and at least one business driveway open at all times.'

Additionally, the paving crew will post signs reminding that businesses are open during road construction.

Representatives of the Safeway store expressed concerns about how their large supply trucks would be able to access the store during construction.

'We're used to working with companies that need to get trucks in and out,' Somers said. 'We'll make accommodations for your trucks to have access; you can keep your regular delivery schedule. We'll have flaggers, and will get your trucks in and out.'

Business representatives were assured sidewalks would stay open. They also learned that before and after work hours, and on the weekends, S.E. Woodstock Boulevard would be open to normal traffic, and street parking would be allowed - as long as parked vehicles were gone by start of work the next day.

One attendee asked about noise and dust caused by the milling machine. A member of the paving crew explained that their current milling machine strips off a 7-foot-wide swath of pavement, and covers about 60 feet per hour. 'Repaving moves even more quickly,' Somers added.

About the schedule, which had originally been planned for August 22 through 29, a representative of Bike Gallery said the timing would hurt their largest sale event of the year. 'We've had a pretty slow season as it is,' he added.

Although the majority of the group at the meeting said they've have preferred that the paving would take place next January, Somers instead offered to move the repaving project up, as early as the first week in August.

After some discussion about shifting the start date, the consensus was that the project would start on Monday, August 1, weather permitting.

The best news, Woodstock property owner and former WCBA President Gene Dieringer commented, is that if crews don't find damage below the pavement, and if the weather is good, the project could be completed in as few as five days. However PDOT is allowing a total of ten days in case they discover other issues.