New street plan gets city out of a rut

Now Mayor Sam Adams is pushing a new bare-bones approach — dubbed “Out of the Mud” — to improve Portland’s substandard residential streets.

Adams’ notion is to let Portlanders pay for a modest, 16-foot-wide slab of asphalt to replace the dirt in front of their home, plus gravel for parking, and skip the sidewalks, curbs, landscaped parking strip and storm drainage system.

So far, Out of the Mud is winning support, even if it’s sometimes lukewarm, from neighborhood leaders, homebuilders and advocates for pedestrians and people with disabilities. Most appear to agree with the assessment by Christine Leon, who is spearheading the project for the Portland Bureau of Transportation: “Doing something is better than nothing.”