East Portland is a pretty big place, yet is essentially ignored by the city, as they're very busy planning more light rail and streetcar lines while handing out sweet deals to their developer buddies. Many of their roads remain unpaved, and until the 1980s, when they were annexed, most of the homes had septic systems. One of the carrots Porkland offered residents was sewers; another was paved roads and sidewalks.
The city delivered on the sewer system promise, but they'd kind of forgot to mention that when the lines were in place, residents would be required to pay thousands of dollars to decommission their septic systems - which were now not permitted - and more to connect to the sewer lines. As for the sidewalks and paved roads - forget it. Never mind that 41% of fatal wrecks occur in east Portland; there are developers to pay off and rail lines to run.
And so, a lot of their roads still look like N.E. Couch, above. Interestingly, the city adopts diametrically opposite stances when it comes to these streets: on the one hand, bringing them up to standards is the responsibility of the residents; on the other, when residents take it upon themselves to fill in some of the holes, the city demands that they remove the fill from "the city's street". Besides, those aren't potholes, they're wetlands; lots of mallards can be found paddling around following some good rains.
In general, the taxes that residents pay don't return to east Portland; they're peed away on "bioswales" and bike boxes in areas closer to the downtown core. So it isn't surprising that there's a growing movement for the area to secede from the city, and with 40% of the city's population living there, they may well be able to pull it off.
Part of the problem in east Portland is demographic, and another part is developmental: from 82nd Ave. westward, the city is largely white, while east Portland is the most ethnically diverse area in the city. And for all their lip service about "inclusion" and "diversity", the vast majority of funding goes into areas west of 82nd Avenue. Funny how that works out.
But things are different on the developmental side as well: most areas of the city, such as Laurelhurst, Ladd's Addition, Multnomah Village, and others were independent, more or less planned communities that were built by developers who connected their communities to downtown Portland by building streetcar lines (the auto not having been developed yet). These streetcars, unlike our "modern" ones, actually moved along at speeds faster than a walking pace, and so they afforded a quick commute from home to work and back. When the streetcars went away, the tracks were simply paved over, and the city and communities were connected by a network of roads. As infill occurred, the communities were eventually annexed into Portland.
That wasn't the case in east Portland, where development didn't begin to occur until after WWII; east of 82nd was nothing but farm and forest. When development began there, it was anything but planned. Developers did build roads, but they were tar and gravel, and since the area was unincorporated, there was no agency prepared to maintain the tar and gravel, which needs to be renewed at least every couple of years. Thus, by the time Portland annexed the area, many of the roads were completely shot. Portland promised to fix them, but surprisingly, they just never quite got around to it in most cases. Other things became more important, and those other things were all located west of 82nd.
They even close the east police precinct offices on weekends.