Portland Anarchists Patching Up Potholes
A government official warns them they might be breaking the law.
A group of masked anarchists have taken to the streets of Portland, Oregon. But they're not out breaking windows or burning cars—instead, they're patching up potholes. The Portland Anarchist Road Care (PARC) group has tasked itself with addressing problems with the city streets that have plagued the community since winter, KGW reported.
"The city of Portland has shown gross negligence in its inadequate preventative care through this winter's storms, and through its slow repair of potholes as weather has improved," claims the group's Facebook page. "Daily, this negligence is an active danger to cyclists and causes damage to people's automobiles, and an increased risk of collision and bodily injury."
"Portland Anarchist Road Care aims to mobilize crews throughout our city, in our neighborhoods, to patch our streets, build community, and continue to find solutions to community problems outside of the state," the page also says.
In a recent outing, PARC repaired five potholes. Members assured the community that they will continue filling holes as long as they are able, according to the KGW report. But not everyone is thrilled with the group's service.
Especially peeved is the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). "If it's a city-maintained street, then folks should call us and have the professionals do it," bureau spokesman Dylan Rivera told OregonLive. "It's generally not safe for folks to be out in the street doing an unauthorized repair like this." The PBOT claims the city repaired 900 potholes during a recent patch-a-thon event, KGW reported; the city claims it fills up to 8,000 potholes every year.
OregonLive notes that Rivera couldn't say whether there's an ordinance against residents patching up potholes themselves, but he believed the action "might be illegal."
Portland isn't the only place where people taken it upon themselves to repair potholes in their neighborhoods. In Hamtramck, Michigan, a group that dubbed itself the Hamtramck Guerrilla Road Crew has been operating since 2015, reports USAToday. "Everyone who lives in or has been through Hamtramck recently knows how much help our roads need," the group's Facebook page reads. "The city is doing what they can with the major roads but unfortunately does not have funding to fix a lot of the pot holes in the residential streets."
A 2016 report by TRIP, a national transportation research group, found that 20 percent of major roads in the United States are in poor condition, costing around $523 per motorist (or around $112 billion total) per year in vehicle wear and tear. The report also claims that investment in roads and bridges nationwide would need to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion a year to adequately cover operation and maintenance costs.