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Friday, April 6, 2012

The Pothole Hotline: Actually Works

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I had never used Portland's Pothole Hotline (503-823-BUMP) before Tuesday. There are so many potholes on the streets that I cynically assumed it was an act of bureaucratic futility. After all, if a pothole bothered me, surely many before me had already made the call and the repair order was simply languishing at the end of a very long list.

Well, there has been a huge, deep pothole in front of my bus stop near home for as long as I started taking the bus on the regular/the Merc office moved downtown. When it rains hard, this pothole would become a deep, wide lake of road water. It was perfectly positioned so that if a car was riding close enough to the curb to hit it—about one in every 10 vehicles—it would perfectly aim its Seaworld-worthy splash of dirty water all over the people huddled in the bus shelter trying to escape the pissing rain all around them on their way to work, school, or other appointments to which it is not optimal to arrive drenched in mud.

If you recall, Tuesday morning was one such pissing-rainy occasion. I had forgotten my umbrella (no time to go back! Buses don't wait!) and decided to take my chances on the pothole's spray, along with three or four other people. We'd all cringe, turn our faces, and try, ineffectively, to back up into the wall of the shelter every time it sprayed us (if I ever find anyone who admits they did this on purpose I might kick them in the crotch). Then one fucker of an SUV came by fast and unloaded the mother of all sprays. I got hit the worst, literally dripping from head to toe. It was so absurdly awful that everyone just cracked up, and I impulsively whipped out my phone right there and called the damn pothole hotline, figuring if it was all I could do, I may as well do it. Of course I got a recording, which of course stated that there was a backlog of repairs, confirming my suspicions that this call wasn't going to do a goddamn thing.

I was somewhat surprised to receive a voicemail the very next day from a real live human saying they were responding to my complaint, and then downright PROUD when I saw this giant cement cap over the gaping hole this morning:

That smooth blob bordered by the edge of the curb and those cracks used to be all hole.
  • That smooth blob bordered by the edge of the curb and those cracks used to be all hole.

So, two things: 1) If a pothole is bothering you, don't hesitate to call the hotline, because it actually works, and quickly. 2) I'm pretty sure they should name the bus stop after me, or maybe erect a statue.

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