The potholes strike back

Story and photo by Collin Berend

The plague of Clackamas Community College’s roads have returned once again: potholes.

Across the campus roads, potholes would appear here and there. For a road as old as it is, that is to be expected, but what about the maintenance?

Due to the winter weather and age of the roads, the college streets have taken a beating this past year. According to Bob Cochran, dean of campus services, freezing snow and thawing can affect the road’s structure.

“Many of the campus roads and parking lots are old and failing,” said Cochran. “The thin layers of asphalt are very susceptible to failing when the pavement freezes and thaws.”

Per Cochran, campus services has worked with a local pavement contractor to patch the worst areas on campus. Cochran pointed out that these were indeed temporary fixes and that they had to wait for a dry day, and when the freezing was over, to fi ll or patch the holes on campus.

The repairs were made temporary, because much of the roads will be replaced as part of the bond work. The bond money approved by Clackamas County voters in 2014 is to expand and improve the college. An example is the Barlow parking lot, which has the worst pot holes. The bond project for the new Industrial Technical Center that will be constructed in the summer, includes the removal and repaving of the Douglas Loop road and parking lot.

“This summer, the pavement will be removed and new pavement will be installed as part of the ITC/Barlow Parking Lot work,” said Cochran.

The college will have the Barlow ITC built over summer with the Barlow parking lot and that section of the Douglas Loop road removed and repaved. The same will follow in spring 2018 for the DeJardin addition and the new transit center.

Cochran’s hope is that after the summer construction of the ITC building, the Barlow parking lot will be finished. Including the spring plan for the transit center and DeJardin hall addition, the DeJardin parking lot will also be repaved, removing the old for the new. After these two, the Douglas Loop at the DeJardin and Barlow parking structures will be repaved.

However, this would mean that everywhere else, such as the Niemeyer Center area, will not be repaved.

“Those projects will address the majority of the pot holing we currently experience on campus,” said Cochran.

While that may be the case, some voice their concerns in areas that will not be focused on, like clackamas student. Mary Lee, who drives and uses the shuttle.

“I drive maybe two days a week and ride the shuttle the other three and it’s extremely jolty on the bus,” said Lee. “I sure hope that they can find time during the summer when it’s not so busy to pave that and do a better fix. Especially the entrance, but also around the Douglas Loop, by the YMCA and Niemeyer.”

Regarding the big potholes, such as the one that existed at the main entrance, Lee spoke about how dangerous it was by forcing drivers to go around it, into the opposite lane and whipping around the corner.

Kehau Aipolani, another student who sometimes drives and uses the bus, said she occasionally has to maneuver around the potholes.

“After they were filled, I haven’t noticed that much as I don’t go that way much anymore,” said Aipolani about the large pothole that existed at the main entrance. “The big one was my main concern, because my car’s pretty low. So any kind of bump you can feel as big as the pothole was.”

Aipolani added, “I say fi ll it again, but in a more stable way that you don’t have to keep filling it.”

With the term halfway over, it won’t be long until the road by the Barlow building will be fixed, but for the Douglas Loop and parking lot by the main entrance and DeJardin, the wait will be until next spring. So be sure to watch out for those potholes as they can appear when you least expect it.

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Autumn Berend

Autumn Berend is the Editor-in-Chief for The Clackamas Print. Her focus is primarily news reports and briefs. She is the author of the inactive column "The Paradoxical" and author of the on-going column "The Angry Tranny".