A recent history of changes to the Road Fund that supports maintenance, planning and capital projects on Multnomah County roads:

March 2020: COVID-19 pandemic hits, ultimately causing a $2.9M drop in Multnomah County gas tax revenues as fewer people drive. Combined with $1.9M in capital project overruns, $300K spent on contingency and $200K in lost project revenue, the final gap in the Road Fund was $5.4M.

April 2020: Short-term hiring freeze for vacant positions and seasonal workers; underspent FY20 Maintenance supply budget by half (from $1M to $500K).

July 2020: Strategically aligned Transportation’s responsibilities with remaining resources, focusing on community values of safety and maintaining existing assets and infrastructure. Decision leads to changes in the capital project schedule to save $420K, and a reduction of FY21 Maintenance supply budget by half (from $1M to $500K). Budget is balanced to a five-year estimate of future revenues.

November 2020: Staff reduced by 18 positions to save $2.51M, resulting in scaling back of road maintenance services. Voters reject Metro’s regional Get Moving transportation bond.

January 2021: Allocated annual $220K State Transportation Block Grant, adding to $1.5M that has accrued. Work on fund-sharing agreement with local cities to free up all money as general Road Fund instead of being tied to separate use applications for specific projects. This would allow flexibility to use gas tax and state vehicle registration revenue where it is most needed.  

February 2021: 3-year Vehicle Registration Fee agreement with local cities for $3M annually. Allows for:

  • Safety fixes on SW 257th Dr in Troutdale

  • ADA improvements in east county (such as sidewalk ramps at intersections)

  • Rural culvert replacements to prevent flooding damage to public roads and private property

FY2022: Culture change continues at the Transportation Division to align staff and resources; maintenance of existing infrastructure; evaluating engineering program and project delivery systems to ensure coordination; fully integrating asset management into all work to support evidence-based decisions (the right fixes at the right time).