Rep. Andrea Salinas joined state, local, and transportation officials earlier this month for a short walk along Hall Boulevard to continue discussing the road’s future while taking a close-up look at its many hazards.
It was the second outing in under a year aimed at ensuring officials prioritize ongoing efforts to secure monies needed to modernize the neglected stretch of State Route 141 and facilitate its long-discussed transfer from the Oregon Department of Transportation to the city of Tigard.
The road, which is riddled with dangerous sidewalk gaps and lacks safe crossings and lighting, needs about $40 million in repairs to ready it for transfer to Tigard, and an additional $20 million to transform it into “the kind of road that is safe for all users,” Mayor Heidi Lueb said.
Lueb, State Senator Aaron Woods, and State Representative Ben Bowman, along with city and ODOT representatives suited up in bright hazard vests to trek roundtrip with Salinas from the parking lot of a vacant building at SW Oak Street to SW Locust Street as afternoon traffic speed by.
“It is incredibly dangerous,” Salinas said. “We’ve already had one death here in the last year. It is not safe for kids to travel down this corridor. It’s not safe for cyclists and it honestly does not even feel safe for drivers.”
The 40-mile-an-hour road was designed as a north-south highway running through a sparsely populated area and hasn’t evolved to meet the needs of a rapidly growing community that now uses it daily for short commutes to school, childcare and shopping.
“I drive this every day. My daughter goes to school around here,” Lueb said. “I saw a runner this morning who had to run in the bike lane because there’s no sidewalk and it felt incredibly unsafe.”
Teachers from the school wear the same type of neon high visibility vests to get to and from their cars that officials wore on the walk, and Lueb regularly sees someone riding a motorized wheelchair in the bike lane where there is no sidewalk.
“The one thing we don’t want to happen is for a child to be killed on this road or to get hurt,” Woods said. “That’s what’s always in the back of my mind.”
ODOT secured $4 million in federal funding last year to install rapid flashing beacons at the pedestrian crossing of SW Spruce Street and SW Hemlock Street in 2025. The two-year design process will include sidewalk repair, lighting, and wheelchair-accessible curb ramps.
“The good news is we have those funds in hand,” said Rain Windsheimer, ODOT regional manager. “We are making progress. I feel good about that. But as you can see there’s a lot more work to do.”
But piecemeal fixes aren’t enough.
Transforming Hall Blvd to safely accommodate the bike and pedestrians now sharing the road with no viable alternative routes will take a lump sum.
Bowman and Woods introduced a funding bill in the current session that Bowman said builds on the efforts of previous representatives, and Salinas said she’ll continue to search for federal money.
“We’re closer than we’ve been before to getting this transfer done so the city of Tigard is willing to take this over, willing to pay the ongoing maintenance costs,” Bowman said. “The state just needs to find the money, potentially in partnership with our federal partners to make the transfer happen.”
Salinas said she’ll continue to search for federal funding that can be directed to the effort, and she’s hopeful that increased visibility will help to expedite the process.
“Up until this point, it has been a long process, but this is a brand new district. The 6th congressional district is new for a reason because we’ve seen such growth here in this region,” Salinas said of the potential for securing more funding for the fixes. “This is a regional concern.”
Turning up the public pressure could also speed things along.
“If people are affected by Hall Boulevard and the state of disrepair that the road is in, if you’ve got kids in daycare across the street, write to our offices and let us know,” Bowman said. “We will use that information to push our colleagues and force this issue to be at the forefront.”