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Anarchists take to Portland's streets, to fix them

Photo from the Portland Anarchist Road Care Facebook group

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Even anarchists enjoy smooth roads.

A group billing itself Portland Anarchist Road Care has taken to the streets, not to promote disorder but to repair the potholes that emerged during the city's brutal winter.

The group has a Facebook page that shows masked workers repairing five potholes in southeast Portland.

In a message posted to the site, the anarchists say state neglect has caused the streets to fall into disrepair and it's up to residents to fix them. The group says it also wants to correct the perception that anarchists are only interested in breaking windows and blocking traffic.

"We believe in community oriented direct action," the group says on Facebook. "We believe the state cares more about funding a militarized police force to suppress free speech than caring for and repairing the roads."

Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman John Brady says the agency understands people are frustrated with the potholes, but discourages them from taking matters into their own hands. He said it's unsafe to go into traffic and important to get the potholes filled correctly.

"It's a multistep process," he said. "It's not just a matter of pouring some asphalt into a hole and leaving it at that."

The city known for its gloomy, yet tame weather is emerging from a winter that featured ice storms, snowstorms and an extended period of freezing temperatures. That left Portland's already bumpy roads in worse shape than usual.

The city has greatly expanded its pothole crew to deal with the problem, Brady said. Crews filled 900 holes during a break in the weather last weekend, he said.

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