The Halsey-Weidler work group faces a new obstacle in its months-long drive to install trashcans and benches along the corridor from Northeast 102nd to 112th Avenues.
The group is requesting an encroachment permit from the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Encroachment Advisory Review Committee that would allow placement of some of the cans and benches on sidewalks that are part of the public right-of-way.
Tom Badrick, a member of the work group, delivered applications, signed by business owners, to PBOT staffers in late June requesting the permit for the four trashcans and four benches that will be located in public areas next to businesses. The review team meets July 3 to decide whether to approve their request. Architectural drawings and photos of the proposed locations were submitted with the applications.
PBOT usually requires street furniture be placed in what it calls a “furniture zone,” which is near the edge of the street.
“Nobody’s going to want benches and trashcans right on the edge of the street,” Badrick said, echoing local business owners’ concerns. “If you put a trashcan right next to the curb and somebody opens their car door, your trashcan’s going to get dented very quickly.”
The permit would allow the items to be placed on the back of the sidewalk, away from the street’s edge. A Portland Development Commission grant, awarded to the work group in February, provides $20,000 to install the cans and benches through its Community Livability Grant Program, a competitive program available throughout the Gateway Regional Center URA. In the next few weeks, the work group must also locate homes for one more trashcan and one bench. The group hopes to find locations for those items away from public sidewalks, thus avoiding the city review process. Two businesses have already committed to hosting trashcans that will not be on public property. “I can work really hard finding spots that are not in the public right-of-way,” Badrick said. “The fewer that are on the sidewalks, the easier it is to get approval.”
He plans to target businesses with large asphalt parking lots on private property where cans and benches could reside. Such locations must also be aesthetically appealing yet practical for passers-by. “You don’t want one and then another one 20 feet down the street,” Badrick said, adding that studies show the public will carry their empty bottles for a certain distance, but not a long way, in search of a trashcan. “You want to spread these out.”
The work group voted on companies this spring to manufacture the street furniture. Sea Reach, a company located in Sheridan, Oregon, will design and build the benches, while Landscape Forms, a company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, will manufacture the trashcans. The group cannot order the items until it signs a final contract with PDC, following approval from the review team. If the team rejects the proposed locations, it has the option of suggesting alternative spots. “One of the reasons I’m going to submit early is so they have time to look through it before the meeting and say, ‘You know, this isn’t really going to fly,’” Badrick said.
That will give him a chance to revise the applications before the review meeting. The work group hopes Sea Reach can fit the seven benches into its design schedule in the next few weeks, he said. “This is important, not just for the grant timeline, but for the community to get stuff out this summer,” he said. “A bench in November just is not nearly as exciting and effective as a bench in the summer.”
If trashcans are placed earlier than benches due to Sea Reach’s design schedule, the group will still be pleased. “As long as something hits the ground,” Badrick said. “Our biggest issue on Halsey and Weidler right now is not that there aren’t enough places to sit. It’s why we have trash and litter all over the place.”
Although partly reduced by monthly clean-up services from the county’s alternative services crew (individuals sentenced to community service for petty crime offenses), the corridor’s trash still needs daily maintenance. If the permit process goes well, the new cans will be installed by early August, he said.
Businesses applying for the permit include Riverview Community Bank, for two cans and two benches; McGillacuddy’s Bar and Grill, for one can and one bench; and Portland Adventist Community Services, for one bench and one can.
For more information, contact Tom Badrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.