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Funds could fill neighborhood’s sidewalk gap

Some East Portland residents might call ODOT’s new safety improvements along outer east Powell Boulevard less than half a loaf, perhaps a few slices at best.

But the state has agreed to spend an additional $3 million in 2018 for new sidewalks along Powell, says David Hampsten, a transportation activist from the Hazelwood neighborhood.

And the Oregon Legislature came through in the eleventh-hour of its 2013 session with an additional $5 million for future sidewalk and related improvements on Powell. Hampsten predicts that will be used to leverage more federal funds to make a bigger dent on that endeavor. “You need to build up enough money to do a proper project,” he says.

The Legislature also granted another $3.6 million to add sidewalks on Southeast 136th Avenue. That will supplement $1.2 million being spent by the city, in part a response to community outcry after the recent tragic death of 5-year-old Morgan Maynard-Cook while walking along 136th. Combined with the new state money, that should allow enough to put a sidewalk on one side of 136th between Division and Foster, Hampsten says.