Pendleton residents can’t help but notice the heavy equipment and workers busy tackling the long-overdue repair work to our crumbling city streets and the leaking water/sewer lines that have accelerated that deterioration. It’s a win for the city and residents alike, putting people to work and improving the city.

Curious and confused, questions from residents have began to surface, such as “Though I’m not complaining, I live on a dead-end street with very little traffic and was in pretty good condition. Why was it repaved when there are many other streets in far worse condition?” Just recently, another question arose: “Considering the whole scheme of things, why did Southwest Fourth and Fifth undergo a complete rebuild when they don’t seem that old? Was it really necessary to dig that deep? Did those streets fail prematurely?”

My initial thoughts were that leaky pipes caused the streets to crumble, but that was pure speculation on my part. Curiosity got the best of me, so I queried city hall. The question addressed the extensive excavation required, and was forwarded to Bob Patterson, our public works expert. I received a protracted description of the different gravel layers and sizes, fabric, and asphalt required because of the unexpected soft soil discovered that required additional excavation and fill. There was no mention of any sewer/water system problems.

Why were these two particular streets selected, versus say Southwest First or North Main? I asked, but that was never answered. What I’d learned previously from presentations by public works is that city planners use a computer program to select streets based on condition and, most importantly, cost. Fed-up residents living on Southwest Perkins out there in McKay approached the city council en masse to demand some action because of the deplorable condition of their street. They were told by Public Works that because of the parameters used in that computer program, their street would have never been selected for repair. You can probably thank those residents for the current emphasis on street repair work.

Computers are real time-savers, but I’ve never seen a computer yet that can spot a pothole and dispatch a repair crew. Heaven knows, we have plenty.

Rick Rohde


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