State Representative Shemia Fagan has delivered $3.6 million in state capital funds to build sidewalks and crosswalks in East Portland.
At a press conference back in April, Rep. Fagan announced her intentions to pursue this funding, which she saw as her duty following the tragic death of five-year-old Morgan Maynard-Cook on February 28th. Not only did Rep. Fagan believe the state had a duty to build the sidewalks in light of the grief experienced by Maynard-Cook’s mother Connie Ruiz, she also did it to provide safer road conditions for the 2,000 students who attend schools in the area.
“All of these kids need a safe route to school,” she said at that press conference, “And these families are not just Portlanders, they are Oregonians and we owe them as well.”
Here’s an excerpt from a statement put out by Fagan’s office today:
“After being approached by Morgan’s family, Rep. Fagan, Representative Jeff Reardon (D-East Portland / Happy Valley), and Representative Jessica Vega Pederson (D-East Portland) formed and led the East Portland Caucus to pressure the Legislature to provide the $3.6 million needed to begin immediate construction of crosswalks and sidewalks on SE 136th Ave.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick, recently tapped to lead the City’s transportation bureau, worked with the East Portland Caucus to prioritize this joint effort.
“For too long East Portlanders have been told to ‘be patient,’” Rep. Fagan said. “But Morgan’s family, and every family, has a right to be very impatient when it comes to the safety of their children.” “I am proud to make East Portland a big winner in my first session in the Oregon House,” she added. “I was elected to fight for my district and I am proud to deliver something real.”
Construction has already begun for Phase I of the SE 136th sidewalks project funded by the Portland City Council. Phases II and III, funded today through House Bill 2322, will break ground this winter.
None of the projects slated for funding will be bicycle specific (Rep. Fagan has some interesting views about how bicycling is perceived by her constituents); but anything that improves safety on east Portland streets is a benefit to everyone that uses them.