City of Portland: in the dark

I live in Goose Hollow near the pedestrian/bike path that runs along the South side of HW 26. For months this path was in dire need or replacement as it had become littered with potholes, uneven areas, and stretches where it was nothing but glorified gravel. After six months of false starts and stalling, the city finally repaved it towards the end of August, and it was a welcomed and much needed improvement.

The one thing it needed then and still needs now is adequate lighting. From the HW 26 tunnel to the 405 interchange there was only three lights, and two of these are over the freeway and not really designed to light the path itself. In between those lights it was black as pitch, and certainly not what I would consider a safe place to be walking. Recently the third and center lamp burned out and stayed out for a couple of days and the city replaced it. Shortly after that it went out again…and stayed out for several weeks. Repeated e-mails to the city went unanswered. Granted I don’t use that path at night, but I was concerned for other people. You don’t know how many times I look down to see an individual, male or female, bopping along in pitch black listening to their iPod, presenting a prime target for theft or worse.

After several more e-mails, the building owner (who had joined me in my cause) received a response from the city telling him that replacement of the bulb was being postponed because the lamp was defective, and a sound-wall was being proposed for that stretch and the lamp would have to be moved or replaced anyway. Yep, the city won’t come out and replace the lamp until it cuts through a mountain of red tape and proposals to then plan and build a sound-wall that may or may not even come to fruition. I’d settle for continual replacement of the bulb every week until something is done, but you know that’s not going to happen. As much as I would love a sound-wall up between me and HW 26, I would rather that people have a safe path to walk on first.

In the meantime, myself and fellow residents of my building have been turning on what exterior lighting we have on our porches to try to brighten the area up, but what we really need is for the city to unclench, wise up, and replace the bulb (or I know it’s crazy talk, but the entire lamp) so that area is safer.

3 Comments so far

  1. pdxhst (unregistered) on November 9th, 2007 @ 1:31 am

    My wife and I lived in the college housing building there in Goose Hollow while we were both students at PSU. We used the path regularly to get to class, but at night she took the longer route over the Columbia St. overpass because the bike path simply wasn’t safe.

    Glad to see the more permanent residents in the area are doing what they can about the issue. Maybe PSU could help in getting the city’s attention, since a lot of students live in the Goose Hollow building and use the path.


  2. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on November 9th, 2007 @ 9:24 am

    As a girl who has been know to walk places after dark, that path (which I have seen) would freak me right the hell out. I would take the long way home like Mrs. PDXHST used to since it really doesn’t seem safe.

    It’s not like Goose Hollow is awash in crime or anything, but I also have to wonder a little at people who would walk alone at night with an iPod on in almost total darkness. I’m not going to go all Mad-Eye Moody CONSTANT VIGILANCE on you, but really, a lick of awareness can save you from a lot of suboptimal situations.


  3. tODD (unregistered) on November 9th, 2007 @ 12:35 pm

    Yeah, I used to rent a house that had the bike path right behind its backyard (nothing like falling asleep to the sound of airbrakes … or some idiot playing his bongos). It was sketchy enough then at night. I can’t imagine it will get better with a sound wall, which will only hide the path more.



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