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City of Bend patch crews respond to road hazards after pothole season hits early this winter

(Update: Adding video, comments from the city, auto repair shop)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) --  The recent round of winter weather, with snow, ice and then the melt-off has led to a rise in calls to the city about potholes. "Pothole season" came early this year -- the City of Bend says it typically starts in the spring. 

The early start to winter kick-started the freeze-thaw cycles that can make more potholes emerge earlier in the season.

"This rapid thaw with the recent snow came early, and freezing over last night, we'll probably see more delamination of layers of asphalt," city Streets and Operations Division Manager Charles Swann said Wednesday.

Since the thaw finally melted much of the recent snow around Bend, Swann said there were about 40 calls Wednesday morning to report new or worsening potholes. 

Drivers who don't see them first often feel them.

Bend resident David Hite said: "They've really developed in large numbers in the last few days. One pothole after another, and they're all about yay deep. "

The president of Davis and Clark Auto Repairs explained how potholes can affect your car. 

"We've seen a lot of popped tires, bent wheels and alignment severely out of spec," Joseph Filben said.

Swann added, "We take those pothole or service requests, and with those performance measures, we have those temporarily fixed or permanent-temporary fixed."

There are two methods to temporarily fix a pothole. One is by a cold-patch, which is cold asphalt that fills the void temporarily, and the other is a mini asphalt recycler -- a  longer-lasting, but still temporary fix.  

"If the public can then report those when they see them -- or hit them, unfortunately -- they can report those," Swann said.

Streets and Operations tries to meet that 48-hour timeline from the time they get a call.

"As far as priority goes, location -- obviously, schools, commerce and heavy-traffic areas, we try to get to first," Swann said.   

Filben said, "We've seen about three or four (damaged) wheels in the last three or so weeks from pothole damage." 

The city of Bend posted a note on its Facebook page on Tuesday, saying, "Crews will be out responding to downed branches and filling potholes throughout the day. If you see a problem around town today, please fill out a service request form at"

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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