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Volume 9, Issue 4
April 2011

This dirt path will be replaced by an asphalt walkway. None of the trees will have to be cut down.

Powers that Be
Washington County Minor Betterments Program
by Bruce Bartlett

In February 2011, I wrote about the voter-approved Urban Road Maintenance District (URMD) through which the Washington County Transportation Operations and Maintenance Division ("the Division") maintains local, neighborhood streets. Another small but increasingly significant function of the Division is the Minor Betterments Program (MBP). (Washington County provides a website,, which connects the viewer to all aspects of our county transportation system.)

Maintenance of larger roads (Collectors and Arterials) is funded primarily by the state gas tax which is distributed to the counties. Through the gas tax, the MBP was funded in the amount of $140K in 2009, and grew to $180K in 2010. However, in 2011 the MBP is estimated to almost double—to $350K—thanks to a 6¢-a-gallon increase in the Oregon gas tax (which now totals a modest 30¢ a gallon). The gas tax increase was mandated in HB2001, which passed with bipartisan support in the 2009-10 legislative session and was supported by the Associated Oregon Industries. (A complete description of transportation funding can be found at

The sidewalk on 143rd currently ends at the entrance to Terra Linda Elementary

An upcoming Minor Betterments project of interest to Cedar Mill residents is the completion of sidewalks along NW 143rd Ave. This project will construct a mix of asphalt pathway and concrete sidewalk along the east side of NW 143rd Avenue from NW Hunters Drive to NW West Union. In addition, a concrete sidewalk on NW Kaiser Road near NW Whistler Lane will be constructed. The project will be built for $118K, work is scheduled to be completed by June 201l.

Dave Schamp, manager of the Operations and Maintenance Division, informed us at the April 4, 2011 Washington County Public Affairs Forum that the MBP is "request-driven," that is, residents are invited to identify a road safety issue or to nominate a connectivity improvement. To report a road-related problem or request an improvement project, call 503-846-ROAD (7623), email the Division, or submit an online service request.

143rdEach year, the Department of Land Use and Transportation (DLUT) prepares a road maintenance work plan for approval by our Board of Commissioners. The plan identifies maintenance activities that preserve the public's investment in the county's transportation infrastructure, providing the highest level of service possible within the resources available. Roads in the major roadway system are the highest general maintenance priority.

The county would like to hear from the public by April 22 about the Draft 2011 Road Maintenance Work Program. Comments may be submitted using the online form, by email, or by calling the Division at 503-846-ROAD (846-7623). This is a real opportunity to advance active transportation in the area.

Andrew Singelakis, Director of the DLUT since March 2010, has elevated the importance of active transportation projects (pedestrian and bicycle) in the county as reflected in the county's Draft 2011 Work Program. The public review and comment on the Work Program is at



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