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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow City council hosts town hall regarding street repairs

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City council hosts town hall regarding street repairs

Most in ‘fair to poor’ condition

JOSEPH — The Joseph City Council took its street repair needs to the people in a town hall meeting. A report from Anderson Perry Associates of La Grande said the majority of the streets are “fair to poor.”

Brad Baird, Anderson Perry & Associates president, gave a similar presentation at the town hall as he had at the city council’s regularly scheduled January meeting. 

“The city receives gas tax from the state for street repair, but it’s not enough to catch up or stay even with repairs,” he said.

The Anderson Perry report listed 48 percent of the streets in good to very good condition and 52 percent fair to poor.

Baird said when streets really deteriorate it is hard to get them back up to standards. To reconstruct all the streets with new base and asphalt would cost approximately $4.2 million. To reconstruct the primary streets with new base and asphalt and to pave secondary streets with chip seal would cost $2.4 million and to only use chip seal as needed would cost $1.8 million.

The city receives $60,000 a year in gas tax revenue, which is just enough to cover basic street maintenance costs, said Mayor Dennis Sands.

Baird said the Oregon Department of Transportation set aside $1 million for small cities, but each city might only receive $25,000 apiece. 

“There is limited federal funding for city street repairs. Federal money goes to states to fix highways,” Baird said.

Sands said last year the city spent $15,000 per block to repave four blocks. 

Baird said a newly paved street could last 15 to 25 years if it is regularly maintained. 

Sands said the city’s streets are maintained by the city’s work crew, but the county helped pave the few blocks the city could fix last summer. In addition, the state in the late summer repaved Highway 82 that runs through Joseph’s downtown.

Sands said the city council will vote at its next meeting whether or not to put it to a vote in the May election.

“We are so far behind we can’t get ahead,” Ryan Hook, the city’s public works manager, said. “Even on gravel streets, if we bring in more gravel it builds up on the sides of the streets and spreads on to people’s properties.”

Sands said the council would decide whether to put the city’s street needs to a vote in the May election. Two options the council is considering is to add the street fee to water bills, as La Grande does, or to assess it on a per $1,000 basis on property taxes.

“Do what we can,” Joseph resident Marty Hamilton said. “Many of our residents are retired and can ill afford $25 to $40 extra a month. I think we need to make-do and fill our own potholes and put up with what we have.”

Contact Katy Nesbitt at 541-786-4235 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Katy on Twitter @lgoNesbitt.

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