By PDX People
PORTLAND, Ore – There’s no denying that Portland Oregon’s roads are in bad shape thanks to a particularly brutal winter which has brought months of snow and ice.
After the snow, has melted we’re left with the reminder of a hard winter in the form of hundreds of potholes across Portland that continue to tear up our vehicles and cause damages as the city struggles to catch up on repairing them.
With a backlog of potholes to fix many PDX people have been left frustrated and even considered doing something about the pothole problem themselves although most citizens rarely take action when it comes to issues like road repairs but that’s changed because a group of citizens called Portland Anarchist Road Care has stepped up and started fixing potholes themselves.
About Portland Anarchist Road Care
The group, working anonymously and with one wearing a mask in photos, only claims to have patched a handful of potholes on Southeast Salmon Street during an outing in late February. But an administrator of the Facebook page said the group is planning more actions. Part of the motivation, the group says on its Facebook page, is to squash perceptions that anarchists only break windows and block roads.
“As anarchists, we seek to bring about a society in which coercive hierarchies, such as government and capitalism … no longer exist,” a member of the group told The Oregonian/OregonLive in an email. “To be exceptionally clear, anarchists do not desire chaos, we desire freedom and equality.”
The group said it’s is now exploring alternatives to patching potholes, including mobilizing people to fix roads in their own neighborhoods and increasing pothole visibility, particularly around bike routes.
“By creating structures to serve the same purpose as state structures, such as our organization, we have the ability to show that government is not necessary for society to function, that we can have a truly free and liberated society,” the email said.
Residents of pockmarked cities occasionally take on pothole repairs in small acts of municipal disobedience, or to try to draw the city’s attention. There have been reports of people planting flowers in potholes, filling them with sprinkles or encircling them in lewd drawings in hopes they’ll draw a faster official response. Read more.
City Officials Discourage Anarchist Pothole Repair
Although many people in Portland Oregon support the anarchists repairing Portland’s huge backlog of potholes, the city has a dim view of the hard work of the anarchists and has taken to discourage their hard work.
According to Dylan Rivera, a spokesman for the Bureau of Transportation in Portland, anarchists who tackle the pothole repair themselves could face civil litigation for their efforts, although there’s nothing specific in the city laws that prohibit it, so it looks like we will continue to see the anarchists at work on city streets at least for now.
The anarchists continue to take the criticism of their work on potholes across the city in stride and recently posted this message online about what they think the word anarchy really means:
”Many of the critiques we have received from the left have said we should be tearing the streets up, rather than paving them,” PARC told HuffPost. “We find this view ableist, classist and antisocial. To us, anarchy is about building community and creating networks of solidarity and mutual aid.” – Huffpo
Good Thing Or Bad Thing?
Love them, or dislike them, Portland Anarchist Road Care is an example of what can happen when citizens band together to fix long-standing problems that the city hasn’t been able to resolve.
Yes, the anarchists have set a poor example in the past but when it comes to this act of “civil disobedience” but more people are paying attention to what they are doing especially in light of the fact that many major cities across the United States are unable to adequately budget for road care due to pensions and other financial problems.
Could we see more actions like this in the near future? It’s anyone’s guess, but the reality is that these “anarchists” are attempting to make a difference in Portland by solving problems, instead of contributing to the problem, and that is very commendable.
At the very least, Portland’s Anarchist Road Care is another example of keeping Portland weird and why we love living here.