The city of Missoula claims it can fill potholes within 24 hours after they have been notified, and they can, but only some forms of notification appear to work.

Case in point, I took photographs of these potholes on Helena Avenue back on Thursday, April 24, the same day I submitted a pothole fixing request to the city via the online report a pothole service and the same day I wrote this story about how easy it is to get a pothole fixed in Missoula.

Photo courtesy of Jon King

Things weren't as easy as I was originally led to believe though. The pothole pictured above was actually one of the smaller hazards on the street, there were about five large tire-traps to avoid including the pothole my son is standing in in the picture below. I took this picture after waiting more than a week for the "24 hour" pothole repair service to fix the damage on Helena avenue.

Today, May 8, I can happily say that the potholes are filled, but as a radio host and reporter, I'm not sure my faith in the system is buoyed all that much.

The potholes were filled within an hour of a public conversation I had with Mayor John Engen on the Talk Back Show, in which I expressed concern over the city's management of basic duties, using my pothole saga as an example.

Another caller "Bill" expressed the same concern, saying it took the city "two or three months" to fix potholes near his home in the Linda Vista area. The mayor kindly invited the public to call him directly at 552-6001, and tell him where the potholes are so that he can send street crews can fix the problem.

Although my potholes are gone, I am left with a nagging question: why didn't the "report a pothole" system work in the first place? I'm happy the mayor is seizing the opportunity to fix the problem directly, but that isn't the ideal way for this system to run. There's a whole website and submission process tasked with pothole reporting that somehow got put on the back burner in at least two instances.

Sadly, I don't have time to monitor potholes across the city to see if this is a widespread problem or not. Maybe this was an isolated incident? Maybe it is common? Maybe my potholes got fixed because of the public nature of my job? I honestly have no idea. If you have pothole reporting and repair issues in your neighborhood let me know!

Photo courtesy of Jon King