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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

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Traffic Alert: PBOT to reopen southbound Milwaukie Ave by 4pm as repairs of sinkhole continue; expect northbound closure again Thursday

Update: April 20, 2016 3:31 PM

After hours of excavation and repairs to damaged sewer lines, the Portland Bureau of Transportation plans to reopen the southbound lane of SE Milwaukie Avenue at SE Reedway Street by 4 p.m., in time for the evening commute.

The northbound lane remains closed at SE Ramona Street. Travelers are encouraged to avoid the area between SE McLoughlin Boulevard and SE Bybee Boulevard. Northbound traffic is detoured to eastbound SE Yukon St to northbound SE 17th Avenue and west on SW Ellis Street to return to SE Milwaukie.

Northbound is expected to be reopened later this evening. Look for updates at PBOT's Twitter account at

The northbound lane will be closed again on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for restoration of the underground utilities and investigation of more underground cavities. SE Milwaukie may be closed again Friday or next week for repaving of the road surface.

IMAGES: For links to video and photos of the cavity and PBOT crews working to fix it, see PBTO's YouTube Channel at and PBOT's Twitter feed at

YouTube videos available:




Media availability: PBOT PIO is en route to speak with the media at SE Milwaukie Avenue and SE Reedway Street at 4:30 p.m.

A cavity of about 2 feet in diameter was reported on Tuesday afternoon, believed to be about 4 feet by 6 feet underground as well. PBOT crews secured the area with a steel plate. Upon further inspection, crews found evidence of a larger underground cavity undermining the street surface and closed the road to gain better access at 8 a.m. today.

Excavating through about 2 feet of material, including antiquated streetcar tracks, cobblestones and asfault, revealed an underground cavity about 6 feet deep, 12 feet wide and 17 feet long. Crews are investigating more underground cavities to the south of that area.

The traveling public is advised to use alternate routes if possible, expect delays and use caution when traveling in the area.

Underground cavities can be caused by sewer or water line leaks, damage caused by construction crews, the result of underground streams or weather events. Small cavities in city streets may be a sign of a larger underground problem. The public is advised to call PBOT's 24 hour dispatch to report sinkholes or other roadway hazards at 503-823-1700.


(April 20, 2016) -- The Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public that an inspection of a cavity in the roadway will require a full closure of SE Milwaukie Avenue at Reedway Street today at 8 a.m.

Both northbound and southbound lanes will be closed at 8 a.m. There is no estimate for how long the closure will be required.

The traveling public is advised to use alternate routes if possible, expect delays and use caution when traveling in the area.

We will post an update as we learn more about the cause of the road damage and timing of the road closure.


The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City's transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.