PBOT issues Special Event Permit for 2017 Portland Marathon

2017 Portland Marathon map courtesy PBOT

The Portland Bureau of Transportation approved a Special Event Permit for the 2017 Portland Marathon Wednesday.

The city of Portland and Portland Marathon organizers have been going back and forth for months on a new route that would not require more than 33 police officers.

City officials also said they were withholding the permit because of a lack of communication between organizers and city staff. PBOT said event organizers did not contact the Police Bureau, Portland Fire and Rescue or PBOT to discuss the event plans for more than six months.

"It's really been unfortunate that the marathon has delayed planning for this year's event, and not been responsive, much less collaborative with the city," said Dylan Rivera, a spokesman for PBOT. "Again, this plan should have been gotten to us in the spring. It is beyond the 11th hour."

The Portland Marathon is scheduled for Oct. 8.

Diane Lechner, the director of the Portland Marathon Clinic, says despite the unknown, they kept training and kept the faith that it would happen.

"I don't think we could imagine a Portland October without a marathon; the alternative was unthinkable," said Lechner.

Other runners are more skeptical about how this late planning will affect future events.

"In the long run I think it hurts the Portland Marathon and the image of the city of Portland," said triathlete Roger Herndon.

Recently, event organizers decided where their aid stations would be located on the route.

They also obtained a noise variance for music and submitted applications for parking removal and other measures needed to clear space for the start and finish area.

“City bureaus went above and beyond what we ever do for special events to make it possible for the marathon to be held on the scheduled date,” said Rivera in a press release.

PBOT says it will continue to monitor the marathon’s compliance to the permit to make sure they’re following proper safety procedures.

In October of 2016, the Portland Police Bureau sent a letter informing race organizers it could not accept their 2017 event request because it was the same route they used in 2016. That route required 80 police officers, far above the current limitation of 33 officers.

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