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A fast fix for S.E. 17th in Sellwood

by: Eric Norberg, The quickly-scheduled repair of the northbound lanes of S.E. 17th on March 17th blocked the street completely in both directions for the afternoon. This view is from S.E. Umatilla Street, looking south.

Drivers northbound on S.E. 17th between Ochoco Street and Tacoma were noticing during the winter that holes had begun to sag in the pavement in many places. The exact cause of this widespread subsidence has not been reported, but the Portland Department of Transportation, after an inspection, decided that the surface must be repaired without delay.

Thus it was that on Saturday, March 17th, PDOT called in the heavy equipment and crew, blocked on S.E. 17th south of Tacoma Street, and spent the afternoon rebuilding the northbound lanes. Quite a few merchants along 17th were evidently caught by surprise, and one or two were vocal in their objections to what they considered an unannounced closure.

As it turned out, as a PDOT spokesman ruefully admitted to THE BEE a few days later, the repair was scheduled so fast that the normal merchant notice was made only late the previous afternoon, apparently after some of the businesses had closed for the day. In the future, he promised, better notice will be given.

That will happen when the crews and equipment return on a later weekend to do the same to the southbound lanes of 17th, south of Tacoma Street. 'It needs work too, just not quite as badly,' he said.