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Progress ahead: What the federal spending bill means for Gresham

January 5, 2023

The recent passing of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act includes funding for community-initiated projects across the country. Specifically, the City of Gresham will receive $3.179 million for the 181st Safety Improvements Project. 

“These improvements will not only increase safety but will benefit many of the businesses along this corridor,” said Mayor Travis Stovall. “We are grateful for the support of our Oregon legislators and the efforts to improve the well-being of our community.” 

With this funding, Gresham will make crucial improvements to the 181st Avenue corridor to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles alike along this busy trafficked area that experiences a high rate of accidents. This project will also further equitable infrastructure development in one of Gresham’s most diverse neighborhoods.   

“I fought for this funding to reduce severe accidents and save lives,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer. “These are critical safety improvements at one of the busiest intersections in Gresham. This junction connects people to neighborhoods, schools, parks, jobs, and local small businesses. Improving pedestrian safety will make our community more livable for years to come.” 

Improvements include: 

  • Modifying or upgrading curb ramps, sidewalks and driveways to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Relocating utility poles out of the sidewalk to provide adequate space for ADA clearance.
  • Upgrading all pedestrian push-buttons at the traffic signal at Stark Street and 181st Avenue for improved accessibility.
  • Adding and expanding streetlights to both sides of this arterial to enhance attention to pedestrians.
  • Restriping the roadway to add a buffered bike lane, installed on both sides of 181st Avenue, to give additional separation between bicycles and motor vehicles.   

“This investment in safety improvements along 181st Avenue represents the best of the Oregon Way, namely that Gresham residents and officials worked together to determine their local quality-of-life solutions to local challenges,” Senator Ron Wyden said. “I’m glad to have teamed up with them and Senator Merkley to produce these tangible and significant results that will keep people safe and generate jobs that strengthen the economy.” 

The Safety Improvements Project will bring intentional design improvements to a high-population area and most importantly, provide critical infrastructure to reduce severe injury and fatal crashes along a major arterial. Additionally, with the increased access to walking, biking and transit, we anticipate these improvements will also bring a reduction in emissions.  

"I am thrilled for this investment in Gresham's 181st Avenue project, which will help the city grow and thrive,” said Senator Jeff Merkley, who helped drive inclusion of the 181st Safety Improvements Project as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I worked hard to secure funding for this project in the government funding bill, which will make Gresham’s extremely busy 181st Avenue corridor safer and more accessible for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles – a huge win for locals, visitors, and businesses alike!”

The City of Gresham thanks U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden for their hard work and support in making Gresham safer and more accessible for our residents. Without this funding, the 181st Safety Improvements Project would not be possible.