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PORTLAND-As expected, the Portland City Council on Thursday approved a new monthly street maintenance fee, albeit much watered down from its initial appearance in February. The fee, a supplement to systems development fees, is an attempt to fill a $4.9-million hole in the transportation budget created by stagnant gasoline taxes and eternally degrading roads.

The fee was supposed to be based on standard trip generation models for particular types of development. But following complaints from the biggest trip generators — hotels, gas stations, big-box retailers and fast-food chains — a less costly version was approved Thursday afternoon.

The original fee would have ranged from $398 a month for 3,890-sf fast-food restaurant to $1,500 a month for the owner of a 500,000-sf office building, generating about $65 million over five years. The revised fees — about half as much for retailers, a 60% discount for hotels and an unknown reduction for office buildings — will raise an estimated $59.7 million over the same period.

The fee will help pay for maintaining heavily-used streets like the transit mall, paving gravel roads in residential communities and improving school crossings, among other things. Similar monthly fee systems already have been established in seven Oregon cities, including Tualatin, Wilsonville, Medford and Ashland.

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