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East County road projects get funding

Metro approves improvements in Gresham, Fairview

Metro officials unanimously approved funding for three Gresham projects and one in Fairview as part of a $45 million package for regional transportation improvements.

After three rounds of cuts, the Metro Council on Thursday, March 15, voted 6-0 to approve funding for 32 projects across Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, including four East Multnomah County projects. One Metro councilor was absent.

Funding for local projects includes:

• $1 million to rebuild a railroad undercrossing at Northeast 223rd Avenue and Sandy Boulevard in Fairview. The money fully funds the project.

• $887,000 for a nearly $1 million project on Northeast Hood Avenue between Northeast Division Street and East Powell Boulevard. The money will pay for a sidewalk on the east side of Hood, a planter strip with trees and streetlights separating the sidewalk from the travel lane, and rebuilding the intersection of Fourth and Hood to allow for ADA access, crosswalks and curb extensions.

• $600,000 for a $4 million to $5 million project on Southeast 190th Drive between the intersection of Southwest Highland and Southwest Pleasant View drives and Southwest 30th Street in Gresham's Pleasant Valley area. The money will pay for bike lanes, sidewalks, swales, a 16-foot swale/median, four 11-foot travel lanes and a new signal for the three-way intersection.

• $300,000 for a $4.5 million project on East Burnside Road between Northeast 181st Avenue and Southeast Stark Street in the Rockwood Town Center. The money will pay for two 11-foot travel lanes, bike and parking lanes, extra-wide sidewalks, a 4-foot strip of pavers between the sidewalks and bike lane and urban improvements to the light rail corridor with features such as pavers. Gresham plans to use urban renewal dollars to pay for the remaining costs.

The East County projects were among 66 from Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties to apply as part of the 2008 Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program, a biennial program for federally funded transportation projects in the Portland metro region. Such funds are used for highways, bike and pedestrian paths, roads, trail planning, street improvements, even bus shelters.

Competition for Metro transportation funding is fierce. Total cost of all projects on the original list totaled about $132 million, but only $45.4 million was available.

The approved funds won't be budgeted until this fall.