Oregon city’s challenge reflects American infrastructure renewal crisis

On the surface, all appears idyllic in Gladstone, Oregon, a bedroom community 12 miles south of Portland.

But dig down only a few feet and a price tag of more than $50 million of repairs are waiting in the form of century-old systems for drinking water, storm water and sanitation.

For the past 30 years, this city has just been coasting rather than looking at long-term fixes,” City Councilor Pat McMahon said. “But the truth is, these systems run out and that’s right where we are right now.

Gladstone is hardly alone in turning a blind eye to critical infrastructure upgrades.

A survey by the American Society of Civil Engineers shows that Oregon’s combined water and wastewater needs exceed $4.48 billion.

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