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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 15, 2011 10:52 AM. The previous post in this blog was New neighbors for Bud Clark. The next post in this blog is Democrats nationwide catching on to Wyden (R-N.Y.). Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

That's the way the infrastructure crumbles

We see that suddenly there's a shortage of money for street maintenance in Portland. When you raid millions of dollars of revenue for streetcars, bike sharrows, and bioswales, that tends to happen.

So what's to be done? Prioritize. Only streets with bike paths will get maintenance; all others are "insignificant" and will be left to rot:

PBOT Director Tom Miller wants to concentrate maintenance on what he calls Streets of Citywide Significance, which he defines as only those streets that carry automobiles, transit, freight trucks, bicycles and pedestrians on adjacent sidewalks.

"It’s a prioritization tool," says Miller, noting that exceptions could be made as needed.

According to a preliminary map prepared by PBOT, qualifying streets account for only about 600 miles of the 4,700 miles of streets. They would include Sandy and Martin Luther King, Jr. boulevards on the east side, and the portion of the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in Portland on the west side.

Heavily traveled Columbia Boulevard would not be included, however, because it primarily carries freight traffic.

Putting unqualified zealots and dupes in charge of things does have its consequences.

If the city really wanted to save some money in the transportation zone, they could lay off whoever they have sitting around producing this blog. It's basically a free advertising space for Zipcar and its ilk, and the new goofball rent-out-your-own-car program.

It never ceases to amaze us how the city transportation office spends so many millions of dollars trying to convince people not to own a car. If you have a life, you need a car. Apparently, Portland doesn't want you to have much of a life.

Oh, and don't miss the story that riding transit makes you skinnier and healthier. Yeah, take a look around you on the bus -- it's a regular health club.

Comments (37)

I'm surprised he didn't include skateboards in the criteria.

Great, another way to exclude fixing anything on the East side, we don't have sidewalks. We have bike lanes, but no sidewalks, so our streets aren't important? Really?

Why not use something more reasonable like put the counters out and count vehicles. The roads with the most traffic get maintenance priority. OF course, you should take road condition into account, as even a road with low traffic should get fixed before it becomes the good old "Oregon Trail".

Personally, I think this is all being driven by the city's hyper-aggressive "Climate Action Plan". The down economy provides many convenient excuses to try to fast-track it.

"Heavily traveled Columbia Boulevard would not be included, however, because it primarily carries freight traffic."

Yeah, screw freight! Screw commerce! It's not a priority. It's no wonder there's no money for fixing the roads. No business, no jobs, no tax revenue.

Apparently their priorities are un-equitably opposed to those streets that don't allow automobile, freight or truck travel.

They don't want you to have "a life." They want you to have "their life". But then it won't be cool anymore. So then they'll all move?

And this coming from a guy that supports most of their agenda! As a homeowner in this city, I do feel a bit like I'm out to dinner with a large group, and there are a few trust fund babies in the group that will run up the tab with expensive wine, but have to leave for a "meeting in San Francisco" when the bill comes. Lots of rich people know how to spend other people's money as well as those on welfare. And this applies to Rs as well as Ds (Ds are just more open - they make it part of their platform), that's why our political system is such a mess.

I wonder what it would really take to get this city to just cut out the extra crap and concentrate on boring core services. Would a full-blown Depression do it? Not sure that would be enough.

I notice the article includes some gnashing of teeth over trimming the "Sunday Parkways" budget. That program is a couple years old, but already it is untouchable as if it were created by Asa Lovejoy himself.

Hey City: when you don't have money for everything, do the basic things first.

Yeah, screw freight! Screw commerce! It's not a priority. It's no wonder there's no money for fixing the roads. No business, no jobs, no tax revenue.

No jobs = no reason to commute and no where to go = a happy, healthy active transportation centered society!

The worst of it all is that the emphasis is always on the front end -- fed money, bonds etc. to MAKE whatever it is -- umpty-ump transitory construction jobs created -- and nobody talks about how much it will cost to support and maintain whatever the new thing is. We're beginning to see the ramifications of this with the eastside streetcar and light rail. I haven't heard anyone talk about the expense involved in replacing or repairing bikes in the bikeshare program or whether the city is going to mandate helmet use and if so, how, and where liability will fall if someone is hurt operating a city-owned bike.

Really, Sandy Blvd would qualify? Not to give anyone any ideas, but it doesn't have bike lanes much of the way, it's too narrow for four lanes of traffic plus parking, and riding one's bike on Sandy would risk life and limb. Meanwhile, the neighborhood streets leading to Sandy are crumbling as we speak.

Say "rail" and there's no end in sight for money.

Say "bike" and there's no end in sight for money.

Say "road" and all of a sudden there's no money.

Now...of the three modes...WHICH ONE is taxed? WHICH ONE has a dedicated funding source for its maintenance? WHICH ONE pays its own way? WHICH ONE requires its users to pay taxes proportional to its use, in addition to registering the vehicle AND the operator?

Ok so what about the old adage, "don't get mad, get even"?
How can the majority of us get even?

"The majority of us" is the problem. We need to become unique.....Then maybe we can get "special" treatment.

Who cares about good roads for freight? We should make all those dirty trucks stay outside City Limits anyway.

Forwarding thinking people buy everything online and have it delivered by Carbon Neutral Angels, WonkaVision or bike freighter.

It's not like we're a distribution center for UPS, Fedex, and the Postal Service.
....Oh wait, my doorbell just rang: I'm expecting a package from Amazon.

Portland Native,

One way is that you can buy your gas in WA, that way the gas tax doesn't go to Portland to waste. (Gas is cheaper in WA anyhow.)

Of course that leaves less money for maintenance, but they aren't using it for that so why give them any money to waste?

Oh no! Don't cut support for the "popular" Sunday Parkways! Wait a minute -- $50 k of tax payer money is being spent on this nonsense?!?!

Where's that poster that always says how the Lents neighborhood is getting the short end of the stick? How much road maintenance with they see under this new plan?

I was at a business lunch with someone from Seattle a few months back and he said he'd been following the wacky transportation thinking going on around here and asked me what was going on, so I told him what I knew. Shortly after he laughed and said "someday all roads will end at the border entering Portland and visitors will be required to surrender their vehicle keys and switch to bicycles".

I laughed too, but only to be polite.

Portland Native is on the right track. There are WAY too many goofy programs, rules, plans, comprehensive plans, NGOs and Feds bearing booby-trapped gift$, the Church of Sustainability, Enviro/Eco-carpetbaggers, and people with control issues taking bits and pieces of our freedoms using our money to do it with. We need to shut this down. Can small or intermediate steps work? I don't think voting for a new mayor or council members will be good enough anymore. There are too many connections with too many groups and too much money involved that this invasive weed needs to be torched.

1. Amend the state constitution - no idea what such an amendment would look like though.
2. Starve the bloodsuckers of sustenance and hope we don't hurt ourselves too much in the process.
3. Protest, protest, protest.

If you have a life, you need a car.

You don't in good cities. Depending on where you choose to live you don't in Portland either. I could present myself and lots of people I know as anecdata. Couldn't say access to a car doesn't help sometimes. They can be useful tools. So what's wrong with car sharing? If you believe what you say shouldn't it allow more people to have lives for less money?

Do you really think that without a car in your driveway you wouldn't have a life? I wouldn't want to live somewhere where that was the case, I'm happy I grew up here. Different strokes for different folks, perhaps. If I moved into a house miles away from the places I like to be I don't feel like I'd have a life either.

Do you really think that without a car in your driveway you wouldn't have a life?

That's right. I would spend half my life screwing around with Tri-Met and Zipcar. No thanks.

Ok so what about the old adage, "don't get mad, get even"?
How can the majority of us get even?

1. Per above, buy gas ONLY in Vancouver.
2. Honk at any bikes violating the law - no lights - blowing stop signs - out of bike lane, etc.
3. Honk at any bus stopping in middle of traffic at a bubble curb.
4. Be slightly obnoxious to any PBOT people at meetings. Remind them of their wasting money on pressure groups. Remind them of the corruption in their department - accuse them of wasting money on light rail and streetcars. Make them ashamed to show their faces in public. If we express our feelings to enough low level types, word will filter up. BTW: Be sure to call them every time they lie!

Thanks
JK

Skeptical: If you have a life, you need a car.
You don't in good cities. Depending on where you choose to live you don't in Portland either.
JK: If you mean living within walking distance of everything, you are missing most of the benefits of a large urbanized area. There is no place that you can live within walking distance of stores that have a huge variety of food like Walmart and Winco and speciality stores like Frys, Best Buy. Cars allow you to get a better job because you can drive to more places in a given amount of time than you can transit or walk.

If you mean using transit, then you are asking other people to foot 80% of you transportation cost. (Transit costs about 4-5 time what driving costs.) You also don’t mind wasting massive amounts of time on transit.

Skeptical: So what's wrong with car sharing? If you believe what you say shouldn't it allow more people to have lives for less money?
JK: What’s right about it for people with lives? Car share to work? (Or double you commute time by using transit) Car share for several trips per day? Give me a break!

Skeptical: Do you really think that without a car in your driveway you wouldn't have a life?
JK: YES! Unless you enjoy wasting time on transit (or walking), sponging off the public by using transit, limiting your job choices.

Skeptical: If I moved into a house miles away from the places I like to be I don't feel like I'd have a life either.
JK: You mean if you moved to some place with less congestion, less pollution, better schools and lower crime, less government waste, less corrupted government? Naw, who’d want to do that!

Thanks
JK

"If I moved into a house miles away from the places I like to be I don't feel like I'd have a life either."

Living in central Portland is quickly becoming a luxury. Young people can squeeze into basements and extra rooms, but when they grow up, they better have the income to afford the central city. Or buy a car.

Lots and lots of people "have to move into a house miles away from the places they like." They're called the poor and marginalized.

Skeptical, I think someone has to be like you or I (that is, someone who either cannot afford a car or who chooses to use other forms of transportation) to appreciate that a perfectly decent life can be lived without one. And HAS to be in many cases. It's harder for someone with a family or someone who has chosen to live far from public transport or other alternatives to get along without the convenience of a car but it all comes down to a learned expectation of immediate gratification and personal entitlement - both very American attitudes that play well as long as infrastructure, economy and community sanction them. I guess what I'm saying is that there's nothing wrong with some people operating without cars, some people sharing and others puttering along by themselves in a Hummer dragging a yacht behind them. Don't be so hard on someone who is living lightly either by necessity or desire.

Isn't that pretty much the eastern half of Portland, the heavily armed half that "progressives" want to pretend doesn't exist?

Re: Lots and lots of people "have to move into a house miles away from the places they like." They're called the poor and marginalized.

What I said above.

Dear Sam Adams:

Please stop building random bubble curbs and pointless bike lanes in my neighborhood. We don't even have sidewalks on most streets and the only bicyclists we have are either tweakers or bottle bums.

Thank you.

That's right. I would spend half my life screwing around with Tri-Met and Zipcar. No thanks.

Depending on the trip, TriMet can be anywhere from better than driving to a huge pain in the ass. I'm interested in seeing it improve so more people get to use it the way I do. All I need to do is walk a couple blocks, hop on a bus that comes every 15-18 minutes most of the day, and 20 minutes later I'm at work. On the way there I can read, or get a short snooze in. Coworkers that like their ticky-tack ranch paradises in the burbs take just as long, usually longer to get to work.

ZipCar is pretty easy. Just yank out your phone, look for a car nearby that's available, make a few taps and then waltz over and hop in. It isn't economical for someone that's gotten themselves in a situation where they need to drive to work every single day (mostly because you're going to be paying hourly for that car to sit in your employers' parking lot), but for people who just need cars for trips out to the coast or up the gorge, the occasional furniture pickup, etc. it's cheap and convenient. No insurance to worry about, no water pumps crapping out and costing me a grand to to fix, it's pretty nice. My biggest complaint is I think they need more cars, as often the lower-priced ones are reserved if I want to use one on a whim, and they don't have enough spread out close to where people live outside the central city. I'm excited to see if the new (real) car sharing program kicks off, this might solve those problems.

NW, I don't think everyone should do things the way I do, or feel bad for not doing so. I just think quite a few people carefully engineer themselves into a life entirely dependent on automobiles and have a hard time seeing other ways of doing things as practical or natural, and feel under attack too easily. There's people acting like without their cars they're going to be waiting in soup lines and turn into a hermit.

(Funny thing is, I actually imagine some of these folks waxing about loading up at WalMart and driving everywhere as anti-social homebodies, so maybe it goes both ways.)

Skeptical: Depending on the trip, TriMet can be anywhere from better than driving to a huge pain in the ass.
JK: Better??? But it is very costly. OVER $1 per person per mile. A car is about 20-25 cents.

Skeptical: I'm interested in seeing it improve so more people get to use it the way I do. All I need to do is walk a couple blocks, hop on a bus that comes every 15-18 minutes most of the day, and 20 minutes later I'm at work.
JK: Waiting time avg: 9 min for a total trip time of 29 minutes. If you had a car tha would probably be 15 minute. That leaves ½ hr more per day that you could be doing something useful.

And who do yo propose pay for YOUR trips? Why don’t you pay your actual, full cost of about $10 every time you board a Trimet? You are sponging off of the taxpayers for the difference.

Skeptical: I just think quite a few people carefully engineer themselves into a life entirely dependent on automobiles
JK: No, they just don’t like wasting time (and for many trips, money) riding a slow, crime riddled system.

Skeptical: There's people acting like without their cars they're going to be waiting in soup lines and turn into a hermit.
JK: Many would be. Cars dramatically improve people’s standard of living because they can make better use of their time and they can find a better, higher paying job.

Skeptical: Funny thing is, I actually imagine some of these folks waxing about loading up at WalMart and driving everywhere as anti-social homebodies
JK: You have been reading too much anti-prosperairty propaganda. Do you, by any chance, work for government or a receiver government subsidies.

Thanks
JK

Waiting time avg: 9 min for a total trip time of 29 minutes.

I usually only wait a minute or two. The buses are GPS enabled and if you have the right tools you can save some time.

You have been reading too much anti-prosperairty propaganda. Do you, by any chance, work for government or a receiver government subsidies.

I work for myself and I buy all my own crap. I'm sure you could probably construe the lifestyle I live as being subsidized by policies you disagree with but it would be a stretch.

Just give the street maintenance responsibility to the county and get the city out of the way. That will eliminate one level of management.

Skeptic,

I COULD live downtown in the Harrison Towers. Right smack between my wife's work, and my work, within a few blocks. Great, eh?

I have two kids. Portland Public Schools is infinitely inferior to the suburban school districts (in fact, this is the primary reason we moved out of S.W. Portland and into Tigard). Furthermore, my son would have the longest commute of us having to go to a school three miles away.

My daughter would go to a chain day care center that costs twice what I currently pay now, for a locally owned, very well-respected day care center.

Right now my son's school is one block away from our house. He thus has a playground and a park to play at. Not in downtown Portland.

We have a variety of shops and restaurants. We have a number of grocery stores and even a Farmer's Market. In downtown Portland I would have access to...one Safeway. And Safeway is not cheap.

We have parks and off-street bike paths for the kids to ride on. Not in downtown Portland.

We don't have to worry about drug dealers, or gang bangers.

Our property taxes are lower. We have the freedom to grow a garden, or let the kids play in the yard. They can exercise outside. There are sidewalks and they can roam the neighborhood without fear of taxicabs and bicyclists (I was nearly hit by a taxi this morning just walking the five blocks from my bus stop to my building.) We don't have to shop for food every single day or every other day - we can stock up so we can spend more time relaxing at home.

Drawback: Because I take the bus, I lose about 90 minutes each day just in transport. If I drove, that would be cut in half. (We only own one car for the family.)

Our housing costs would increase in downtown Portland, yet we would have significantly smaller space. In fact the kids (a 7 year old boy and a 1 1/2 year old girl) would have to share a bedroom, and we'd still be paying about $300-400 more a month to live downtown.

We would have to deal with significantly increased noise and air pollution.

---

It's great if you can make it work downtown, but for us I've done the math and the research. I frankly don't have an additional $1500 a month just to save 15-20 minutes a day if that. I like having the freedom and flexibility of my own land, my own space...not having to deal with immediate neighbors. Believe me, I've lived in plenty of apartments and dorm rooms...I have no desire to go back to that standard of living. I've dealt with the property manager that is unresponsible; the neighbors that smoke pot, make noise at all hours of the day, and feel the need to stomp as they walk around. I've been there, done that...and am done with it.

I still have to put up with TriMet...hopefully not for too much longer, now that both my wife and I work downtown (she used to work in Beaverton so she always had the car).

Hey Erik,

I hope I didn't give the impression that I'm the city's citizen ambassador or something... I just like transit and cities and stuff! I don't think you're doing anything wrong. And I'll make a dig for you -- that Safeway you'd have access to kind of sucks. And it was just remodeled. Terrible selection and the state of their veggies is usually awful. Lines are often way too long wrapping down the aisles too.

For me, square footage isn't that big of a deal and I have no kids. The choice was so easy.

If I had kids I'd probably try to get a cute little bungalow thing in NE or SE close-by to things. FWIW I've got relatives in Tigard and the house across the street from them was recently busted as a pot-growing operation. If they see someone walking alone down the street at 11 pm, it's safe to assume they might not be up to good. They're nervous about being outdoors alone at night. I never feel that way where I live (not being an older lady might help). Again, all just anecdotes, take with salt.

Makes sense that freight traffic gets the shaft since I recall Tom Miller proclaiming (and I quote) "we hate freight" at the Eastside industrial council meeting this past spring when his bureau wanted to blockade the 12th Ave. overpass with mega-size bike lanes and bio-ditches. I guess when you live on a 150k/yr. government salary + benefits, increasing costs for everyday consumer goods and chasing out family-wage manufacturing jobs isn't that big of a deal.

I write with some measure of experience regarding the development company that is sometimes humorously referred to as a transit agency.

I live near the top of Tualatin mountain, near SW Taylor's Ferry Road. My workplace of 36 years was located at Sylvan, approximately five miles from home. Drive-time down the hill, through Garden Home and Raleigh Hills, and then up the hill to Sylvan: 10 minutes.

Using Tri-Met: 80 minutes. I've done it, so I know from experience how long it takes.

The choice: eight hours and 50 minutes devoted to work (counting travel time and a thirty-minute lunch break) vs. eleven hours and 20 minutes - or more - using the "service" afforded by The Agency.

Every day, five days a week. That is, at minimum, 13.3 additional hours per week, using Tri-Met. That's like working in excess of six days per week.

What does a rational person choose?

Even were I immortal, and thus had unlimited time to live on this world, I wouldn't squander it on "transit".

Goodie for you Skeptical, you have your life arraigned just like the Central Planners like.
And while that works for you why do you presume to decide it works for others ?
I could use TriMet to get to and from work, if I wanted to spend 3+ hours a day getting there and back...
So "rapid" transit doesn't work for me and I use a car.
How about all the Utopians stop trying to tell others how to live their lives and MYOB ?


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Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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