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Mark Robinson - Science of Potholes

'Pothole vigilantes' seek to smooth out Portland's roads

Thursday, March 16, 2017, 10:48 - A small group of self-proclaimed anarchists are seeking to make Portland, Oregon’s roads smooth again.

Photos shared on the group’s Facebook page, Portland Anarchist Road Care, show two men, one masked and anonymous, pouring asphalt into the city’s Sunnyside neighborhood which became littered with potholes after a harsh winter.

“I appreciate the effort,” said Eric Hollstein. “Brilliant example of mutual aid done right! Good work comrades!” commented Shayne G O'Neill

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The group said they are also planning to increase visibility on potholes they can't patch.

However, Dylan Rivera, a spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), urged them to stop, saying their cold patching of the potholes could be dangerous if not done properly. 

“It’s not safe for them because there is traffic on the streets and they can potentially put themselves at risk and the public at risk if the repair isn’t done properly,” Rivera told KGW

One Facebook user, who says he has been in the asphalt industry for 18 years, had concerns of his own, stating the anarchists’ method would only be a temporary fix. 

“We are aware that coldpatch is not a permanent solution,” replied Portland Anarchist Road Care. “We are working within a harm reduction model right now. We don't have the money or equipment [to] do more permanent repairs, but we are doing what we can in the mean time. We would love your advice though. Are there any in between solutions of cold patch and hot asphalt? Are there any ways to make cold patches stronger?”

Rivera says leave the patchwork to professionals. The bureau went as far as listing a job opening for a full-time asphalt raker

An abnormally wet winter peppered Portland’s streets with potholes this year. That weather pattern is also what has kept crews off site because work can only be done when it is dry. 

While there is still a long way to go, city workers have managed to fix more than 900 potholes. Residents can track their progress on an interactive map, here

In the meantime, the anarchist group said they plan to continue to fill in potholes as long as they have the time and resources.

WATCH BELOW: A woman driving on Highway 3 in Northern Canada filmed two black wolves running alongside her on the road.

Sources: Storyful, KGW, Portland Anarchist Road Care

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