Free Minds & Free Markets

Portland Anarchists Patching Up Potholes

A government official warns them they might be breaking the law.

Daniel Lobo / FlickrDaniel Lobo / FlickrA 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.

Photo Credit: Daniel Lobo / Flickr

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  • The Last American Hero||


  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Obviously they haven't formed a government yet

  • gaoxiaen||

    In Pittsburgh you can tell if someone's driving drunk because they don't swerve all over the road.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Wait until deer start driving semis with 60k lb. loads down those trails.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Voluntary action FTW!

  • colorblindkid||

    That pothole looks a lot like Texas.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    That was my first thought upon seeing it. I'm guessing that's why somebody took a picture of it.

  • Animal||

    You forgot the orphans.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Actually their ground up bones would likely work best.

  • B.P.||

    I think it's backwards Texas. Perhaps that's what Portland is.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I assume the labor is volunteer, but where do they get the money for the materials?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    They dig up patches of asphalt on the next street over.

  • ||

    I assume the labor is volunteer, but where do they get the money for the materials?

    Ironically enough, Ethiopia.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Pothole Vigilantes!!! (said in quivering progressive voice)

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Denying union labor will be the justification to stop the process.

  • Rhywun||

    As if those guys don't get a nice paycheck whether they actually do any work or not.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    They don't get the overtime.

  • Rhywun||

    Poor things.

  • Bongstar420||

    I'm sure that at least trumpski gets a cut.

    Its only right

  • Microaggressor||

    Simple solution: pay them to drill out the unauthorized patches, and replace them with nice, uniony, professional-feeling patches.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    And of course repairing the non union filled holes would be priority. Because they pose a "greater danger".

  • Diane Merriam||

    Following which they clean off their equipment with lots of kerosene right over the new patch, thus almost guaranteeing that they'll need be back to patch it again, quite soon.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "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."

    Funny how we're repeatedly told that without government, we wouldn't have our precious roadz, but I can say that somewhere right around 100% of the time, every local government claims it can't fix the roads due to lack of funding.

    So I guess I see it this way, if it weren't for government, we wouldn't have Homeless Camp Trash Pickup Coordinators, because we already don't have the roadz.

  • Brandybuck||

    One should note that they are filling in potholes and NOT building roadz. Without government we might still get potholes filled, but we will still need to scream ROADZ!!!!

  • Cynical Asshole||

    If we let private citizens do things for themselves, at a fraction of the price, that the government should do then people might get crazy ideas in their heads regarding the necessity of the government. Can't have that.

  • ||

    I would be very surprised if such an idea were to get any traction in the People's Republic of Portland.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    True, and I strongly suspect that the only reason why some residents of Portland might be willing to tolerate these asphalt vigilantes is that they're (I assume) not making any profit from fixing the potholes.

  • Wizard4169||

    Typical dogs in the manger, they don't do much, but dog help you if you try to do it yourself.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    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."

    I'm sure the cops can think of something to arrest them for. Disrupting traffic, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace... they'll figure something out. These miscreants are making the local government look bad: there's not greater crime than that...

    Except maybe selling loosies or tax evasion or anything else that denies the government revenue.

  • Ron||

    I an asphalt patch comes flying up and hurts one person the law suites will follow

  • Longtobefree||

    Attempted suicide by going into a road without authorization.
    That way we can keep them locked up for their own good without a pesky trial and all that evidence stuff.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Possible solution. Who ya gonna call? Wanky!

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm sorry. Wanksy!

  • ||

    One minute! One freakin' minute!

  • ||

    I seem to remember a story floating around about a guy that successfully got his city to fix a pothole by painting a cartoon dong on it Turns out offending public sensibilities gets results, who knew?

  • ||

    That was you!!??

  • But Enough About Me||

    Cartoon Dong was my nickname in college.

    Huh. Small world.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Not to be confused with exchange student Karthoum Dong.

  • ||

  • Ron||

    anarchist complaining about the lack of government care? maybe these anarchist don't know what anarchist means

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Or just making the point that the government sucks at getting shit done.

  • Bongstar420||

    Actually, it mostly makes the point that the rich are utterly useless.

    Or are all these people +millionaires?

    Where are the rich people doing work the improve the system as a whole? Getting tax cuts and paying prostitutes for golden showers?

  • Zeb||

    They seem to know better than a lot of self-described anarchists do, anyway.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Why Portland's roads are so bad: City Council ignores spending targets, funds other priorities

    The City Council has ignored its own spending guidelines for the past 27 years, redirecting nearly $200 million targeted for transportation projects to unrelated efforts, according to an analysis of city financial documents by The Oregonian/OregonLive.

    Instead of tending to Portland's crumbling roads, the City Council approved nearly dollar-for-dollar spending on arts programs, downtown beautification and school bailouts, among other so-called "special appropriations," the review found.

    As a result, Portland streets have plummeted into disrepair, with more than half now rated in poor or very poor condition. And because roads cost exponentially more to rebuild than maintain, officials missed a crucial window: Repair costs have spiraled from a relatively manageable $38 million in 1988 toward a staggering $1 billion.

  • DOOMco||

    sounds like boulder.

  • creech||

    Does the average Portland voter give a damn? There's probably not one large city in the U.S. that hasn't similarly redirected funds. But let's re-elect anyone on the ballot with a D after their name.

  • Brandybuck||

    Roadz don't vote, art patrons do.

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    the progtards will blame it on Trump, if they have not already.

  • Pussy-Grabber@SPCA||

    Sexless losers blaming the rich, famous guy with the attractive trophy wives and beauty pageants. Huh, never saw that coming.

  • Bongstar420||

    The poors always out breed the rich on a per capita basis.

    But, youre a genius who understands things better than most.

    Never saw that coming

  • Bongstar420||

    Well, no matter what, we need to cut taxes on the rich and remove the limitations on their wealth and power.

  • Threedoor||

    How many hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted on he Maxx? But it's too obvious to point out to Portland loonies that gas taxes spent on things that are not roads caused this problem.

  • I can't even||

    Is this an episode of Portlandia?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Do they use artisanal asphalt from locally sourced organic tar pits?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    "Our artisanal asphalt is 100% non-GMO and gluten-free."

  • Bongstar420||

    Hey, thats right wing stuff now.

    Start wearing it.

  • BTS11||

    If it's a city-maintained street, then folks should call us and have the "professionals" do it,

  • wareagle||

    You have to admit this is funny - the residents of this white liberaltopia who voted in the govt they are getting are now forced to take action themselves. I wonder how much self-awareness is involved, that perhaps govt ought not be spending public dollars on bullshit feel-good projects like art and should be concentrating on what seems like a municipal service.

  • BTS11||

    self-awareness i dont think they have such a thing

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yes, because every single person in an entire city thinks and votes exactly the same way. No exceptions.

  • Brandybuck||

    Ever been to Portland? They really do!

    Portland is also a patchwork of county "islands". Find someone who doesn't act like a Portlandia cast member, and you bet they're probably forced to live in Beaverton, Troutdale, or one of those Multnomah County islands.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I suppose i should tell my libertarian friends who live in Portland that they don't actually exist. Man, this is not gonna be a fun conversation to have.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    While we're on the subject, I hate to break it to you, but............. you're just a figment of Warty's imagination.

  • Threedoor||

    If they are women we already know they do not exist.

  • Pussy-Grabber@SPCA||

    You know what's really pathetic? People who saw an entertainment product labeled 'Portlandia' and actually watched it. That's a sure sign you have defective Canadian genes someone in your ancestry.

    I've seen more exciting ads for Sherman Williams paint stores, and I haven't ever bothered to go into one of those.

    See? My life choices beat the shit out of your life choices, take it's lunch money, then bang the chick it was too scared to talk to.

    Fuck you all.

  • Bongstar420||

    You should be the president and a billionaire!

  • Bongstar420||

    At least as much as what you might find in Mississippi, Kentucky, or Tennesee- the bastions of light that they are.

    Or maybe Somolia where they don't have much of a gubmint, the taxes are practically nill, and rich people can do what ever they want.

  • Voros McCracken||

    There is, of course, plenty of funding to fix every pothole in every major municipality in the country. But that funding is almost always directed elsewhere because, unlike potholes, those other projects have concentrated benefits to folks with connections.

    I don't really need to be a libertarian, I don't particularly enjoy having heterodox political opinions. But I'm forced to be because of dispersed costs and concentrated benefits. We simply can't allow our government to choose what it decides to spend money on. We have to force it to spend money on the things it's supposed to be doing. Don't have the slightest idea how that's gonna happen at this stage, but that doesn't make it any less right.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    This is why public employees need to be fitted with non-removable shock collars.

  • Dilligaf||

    "shock collars?" Ever seen The Running Man? And politicians are by definition public employees.

  • Bongstar420||

    More correctly, we can't allow rich people to steal the government any more nor can we allow non monetary based control greed steal any more either.

    But hey, this is what happens when we allow the concentration of wealth and a subjective basis of merit for your post in society.

  • Fred Zuccini||

    Only when they start ruining their $500 bicycle rims will things change.

  • RexGraine||

    "And the anarchists have started
    Filling potholes, collecting garbage,
    To prove we don't need government to do these things..."

    - Wingnut Dishwashers Union
    "Proudhon in Manhattan"

  • Bongstar420||

    We don't need money either. All that has to happen is for people to work

    They sound more like communists. Its not like its their property they have the exclusive right to exclude others from

  • 2whlrider||

    Had to chuckle at this story. It reminds me of the Robert De Niro scene in "Brazil" where he intercepts calls to central services and swoops in to fix HVAC problems:

  • Threedoor||

    I love that movie.

  • Hank Phillips||

    That was fiction? I thought it was a documentary. No WONDER they all spoke English!

  • aajax||

    Hard to believe that with modern technology, we still can't make roads that hold together. Planned obsolescence?

  • Longtobefree||

    The purpose of roads is to become filled with potholes so people will destroy their cars and have to use public transit, thereby justifying the massive subsidies.

  • qjkxbmwvz||

    Goddamned anarchists and their goddamned roads...

  • Bongstar420||

    The only problem with this is that they do this work so the rich can profit more

  • Dilligaf||

    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."

    Rest assured that at this very moment the city council and its legal team are all over this, like a starving geriatric badger on a beefsteak. By my math the city fixes aprox.153 potholes per week, so 900 potholes is somewhere north of 5.8 weeks worth of work the city has been saved. And in all likely hood these consist of just the most dangerous and obnoxious ones in the neighborhoods these Anarchists live in. Possibly these are areas that the city crew has neglected because of priorities. As in, we start fixing the potholes in the places that the people that sign our checks tell us to, first. There may even be an extremely high correlation between these places and the places that the well connected and important people frequent. Which even someone with no familiarity with Portland can very safely assume on general principles is not where the Anarchists live.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    They can compel people to go out and fix sidewalks that they "own" (but which are public property in every sense of the word), but if we extend that repair to the road it's illegal?

  • Bongstar420||

    Would the neighborhood association in a privitized town not compel upkeep?

    Somehow, I suspect they would be even more compelling than the big bad gubmint

  • Bongstar420||

    This is what happens when you cut taxes on the rich and allow anti-gubmint asshats to get government jobs.

  • Hank Phillips||

    That brand of anarchist terrorism was warned against on teevee in the 1950s. Grandpa in The Real McCoy's tried that anti-social sabotage of filling a pothole and was promptly arrested--just not by Deputy Barney Fife. Still, the moral propaganda message was loud and clear: Government monopolies goooood!

  • Mahesh Raju||

    So I guess I see it this way, if it weren't for government, we wouldn't have Homeless Camp Trash Pickup Coordinators, because we already don't have the roads. IMO for pc and Tubemate for pc

  • ShanePinckney||

    Thanks for the informative information.

    Nowadays, potholes have become a major problem, and it is responsible for high risk of accidents. Sealing the potholes with the asphalt will provide a safety of the vehicle and most of the time because of these potholes our vehicles also get damaged and affected. Recently, I had sealed potholes in my front of my home, by hiring the services of Long Island paving contractors who had repaired the potholes with asphalt materials which had helped my roads free from serious injury, disability or even death.


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