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ODOT, TriMet team up for new fence on I-205 path at Gateway

Posted by on February 25th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

The new fence will help separate the path on the
left from the transit center on the right.

ODOT, TriMet and the Portland Police Bureau Transit Police Division have teamed up on a project that will install a new fence along the I-205 multi-use path at the Gateway Transit Center.

According to ODOT, the six-foot high, 600 feet long fence will be installed within the existing planter strip up against the backside of the curb just west of the TriMet bus stop and adjacent to the I-205 path. The primary reason for the project is to improve safety and to prevent conflicts between I-205 path users and transit users who often use the path while waiting for buses and MAX rides.

The fence will be chain link with black plastic coating. Upon hearing the news, a community leader was concerned that the appearance of the fence might discourage people from being in the area. “That is not our intent,” ODOT Community Affairs specialist Shelli Romero said. “We think we can install something that will do the job we need it to do for safety and not look unattractive and still encourage users to use the path, transit center and shopping center.”

TriMet’s plan drawings.
Download PDF

The fence and new gates are expected to be installed by the end of next month. Romero says people who ride on the I-205 path will find that the new fence keeps transit users off the path. “But we are also hopeful that there will be a reduction in the amount of trash and cigarettes where people currently throw into the planter strip.”

If you have questions about the project, direct them to Shelli Romero with ODOT Community Affairs at (503) 731-8231 or email shelli.romero@odot.state.or.us or Clay Thompson at TriMet at (503) 962-6438 or ThompsoC@trimet.org.

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  • Jordan February 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Great news. I had to dodge several people smoking and generally hanging out on the path yesterday.

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  • bike me February 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Great place for some anti smoking campaign art project.

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  • Spiffy February 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    now we’ll have to put up with people smoking within breathing distance of the MAX platforms…

    I didn’t mind the smokers on the path much, they usually kept out of the way when bicycles cake through… and the smoke was only brief in passing…

    where are all the displaced smokers going to go now that they don’t have a planter strip?

    this is misguided and treats the symptoms rather than the cause… they should have put the fence against the path and put some benches and ashtrays in the planter strip… now they’ve just moved the problem somewhere that people aren’t expecting it…

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    • Chris I February 26, 2013 at 7:15 am

      Would it be okay for the smokers to loiter in the middle of the street on Glisan, or 102nd? Why is it okay for them to loiter on a pathway designed for walking and cycling? This fence needs to happen. Nearly every time I ride through this area, I have to avoid people, and the littering is unacceptable. If Trimet wants to accomodate smokers (they don’t have to), they can designate the area at the NW corner of the TC as a “smoking zone” and provide trash cans for the butts.

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    • Craig February 26, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Oh Spiffy. Do you seriously have a bleeding lung for Portland’s smoking population?

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  • are February 25, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    “not look unattractive.” setting a rather high bar, aren’t we. but black plastic chain link should do it.

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  • Nat February 25, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Good news indeed – both on keeping people out of the path and keeping smokers from hanging out in the planter area.

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  • Todd Hudson February 25, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    I prefer to avoid biking near Gateway TC altogether.

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    • A.K. February 25, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Some of us go through there on our way to work!

      It’s far from ideal, but I’ve come to “like” the 205 path as a “decent” N/S connection.

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  • Alan 1.0 February 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I hope they’ll improve the signage while they’re at it. First time I got off MAX at Gateway with my bike I wasn’t able to find the connection to the MUP. Signs or maps [b]in the transit station[/b] should point to the bike route. The present sign at the gate to the MUP is fine, but hardly helpful if you’ve already found your way there. Looking at bike routes on maps.google, the only bike route is in the center of the station and it does not connect to the path (and the new fence will physically block that route). The connections at both ends of the station aren’t mapped at all.

    A 6-foot fence? Meh. 3-4 feet would do it and not feel quite so zoo-like. I hope it’s set back at least a foot from the edge of the path, unlike the one on the other side between the freeway. It’s pushed right up to the edge of the path, and trying to squeeze in close to it risks catching bar ends, bags, elbows, etc. in the mesh. Black is going to be hard enough to see at night without at least a little buffer.

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    • Jason McHuff February 26, 2013 at 4:14 am

      Yes, why does the fence need to be 6 feet high and act as a wall, and not 3-4 feet just being a divider?

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 26, 2013 at 8:29 am


        ODOT says the six-foot height is needed to prevent people from easily hopping over it.

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        • Chris I February 26, 2013 at 10:00 am

          Given what I have observed there, I don’t think anyone has the motivation to “hop” over a 4ft fence. I would be amazed if anyone did this.

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      • q`Tzal February 26, 2013 at 1:16 pm

        If the fence is over shoulder height then people have to resort to conscious intent to litter over the fence.
        It won’t stop every litter bug but littering is generally an act of laziness so if there is no room to loiter there shouldn’t be anyone there to litter on either side of the fence.

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  • rolinon February 25, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    A couple of years ago, I think it was, when Friends of Trees planted shrubs and trees along the present fence, they told me how many buckets of cigarette butts they had to remove before planting. I forget the number now but it was shocking and disgusting.

    Smokers don’t seem to realize or care that cigarette filters are not biodegradable. I say this as a former smoker and offender of tossing spent butts wherever. I am immensely regretful of my offenses now. People may have a right to smoke, but not to litter.

    I ride past Gateway TC 5 days a week and it is rare that I do not have to weave my way through loitering smokers who don’t seem to see or hear me when I announce my approach. I welcome any effort to reduce the loitering and littering, even a small decrease would help. I agree with @bike me – a great place for some teaching art work. Maybe something along the lines of: Tobacco moguls are the 1% – don’t support them!

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  • dwainedibbly February 25, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Will someone who is biking to the transit center to catch a bus be able to get from the path to the TC (or vice versa)? I can’t really tell from the plans.

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    • Alan 1.0 February 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      The plans show the south MUP entrance with a note, “ODOT to install 6′ tall slide gate.” Whether that means it will be locked closed, openable by bike/peds, or closeable in special circumstances I am not certain.

      The north entrance has that hand-drawn cloud around it, with notes referring to a new “walkway” (their term, donno how riding rates), thermoplastic stripes, curb ramps, pipe barrier, and “stop here” sign, all pointing to what appears to be a new MUP access path.

      It looks to me as though that new north entrance may become the only access to the MUP…safer for through traffic (fewer intersections) but less convenient for TC users…not sure how that will play out.

      Part of the problem I mentioned about about even finding the path entrances is that they are both accessed by riding on bus-only driveways. Designating actual bike/ped access is a good step, and even better if they fully seperate it from buses. Signage to the north access way is even more important if they eliminate an entrance at the south end of the TC.

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      • Mike February 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm

        I am really against a “slide gate” at the south end, especially if it is locked. The south entrance would be the better connection to the massive Park & Ride surface lot just to the south of there, and also a more direct connection to NE Pacific Street. I really don’t see why they would want only one entrance to the MUP trail, and to put it at the northern end of the transit center connecting across the MAX platforms doesn’t seem the best idea, either. It would be interesting to know if they plan on locking that gate. And, if not, why have a gate there at all? Just leave it open for trail users accessing the MUP from Pacific??

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  • Dennis Hogan February 25, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I ride that corridor often and the inconvenience of slowing down for the smokers is minor to me – it seems like a 6′ fence will be visually more disconcerting. I’d rather they add some receptacles and signs about not littering.

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    • davemess February 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      I think people are forgetting that Gateway TC is at the top of a hill (as far as the 205 path is concerned) it is uphill to it from either direction, so you’re never really “flying” on that section of path.

      That said, I think this is an awesome idea and designates the path for what it is. A “road” for pedestrians and cyclists.

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  • Doug K February 25, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Yes, a 6′ fence is way too high. I think 3′ would discourage people from walking and loitering there. No buses stop on that side of the roadway anyway. And a gate??? Why is there any obstacle like that restricting access to the path? I can’t see the gate on the drawing (but I couldn’t get the pdf to load either). Is it really an access for emergency vehicles to be able to drive down the path? Surely they don’t expect cyclists and walkers to slide a 6′ high gate. How about a person in a wheelchair (it is for pedestrians too)? A blind person? Come on guys.

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  • Clifford Mclean February 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Its good to keeping smokers out of the planter area.

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  • Oregon Mamacita February 26, 2013 at 8:18 am

    More moral superiority from the young privileged males who are bike commuters. ” I agree with @bike me – a great place for some teaching art work. Maybe something along the lines of: Tobacco moguls are the 1% – don’t support them!”
    Yes- fence off the bikers from the working class smokers, and then lecture the working class. Bike commuter=church lady. Wag those fingers.

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    • rain bike February 26, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Not to mention the need to have a stake in determining the proper height and color of the fence. Sheesh…

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    • Chainwhipped February 26, 2013 at 10:50 pm

      Okay, Dear. We’re going to need you to show how all bike commuters are ALL both of these things:

      I’ve sat and watched at Salmon and 21st during rush hour. Most of the bikes that pass by are pretty beaten. I’m trying to see the privilege there.

      I’m also struggling to understand how bikes turn women into men . . .

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      • El Biciclero February 28, 2013 at 11:00 am

        ” We’re going to need you to show how all bike commuters are ALL both of these things:

        …Don’t forget C) Young…

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  • televod February 26, 2013 at 10:18 am

    This is a needed improvement. I’m happy to share the MUP with anyone, smoker or not, as long as they’re not lying across the and blocking access for others. Too many times I’ve come across folks sitting cross-legged, playing hacky sack,etc in the middle of the path. I understand that it’s preferable for them to do this stuff in a spot where they won’t get a ticket for smoking, but as someone trying to simply pass through, it’s a hazard. Many of the folks milling about aren’t expecting bike traffic and as a result I’ve had a couple close calls, even at low speed (I’m rarely hauling ass through there anyhow due to the hills and poor sightlines of the path’s underpasses). I also hope this will also decrease the amount of broken glass on the path just before / after the TC.

    Ultimately I have a lot of sympathy for the loiterers, but it’s long been a minor issue for those using the path for anything else. Glad they’re addressing it. I agree that a tall barrier is necessary to make sure folks respect it– think of the divider they put in place at the 82nd / MAX overpass to keep folks from crossing mid-block. Too small an obstacle and we won’t solve anything. Though I do hope that they keep some kind of access to the TC; it would be silly not to include that.

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  • Brian February 26, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Seems like a huge waste of money to me. Doesn’t Tri-Met already operate with a deficit? I have ridden through there at least 100 times, and have never had an issue getting by the people who smoke. I almost always get a nod or “hello” when I approach doing the same.

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    • My Magic Hat February 26, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Actually, a few hundred payroll hours saved from being wasted on frequent trash pickup, and TriMet will likely save money.

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      • Brian February 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm

        Not likely. The trash will just be tossed somewhere else. I fail to see the logic in using a fence to prevent littering.

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  • q`Tzal February 26, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Go ahead and use a black plastic dipped chain link fence.
    But as part of an ongoing art project let approved groups weave in those long strips of brightly colored plastic we usually see as a thoughtless monochrome field.
    Geometric patterns, mosaic chaos or even coordinated images: change it up every month or so and even graffiti can be kept at bay.

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  • resopmok February 27, 2013 at 7:01 am

    The only real problem caused by those people on the path is the littering. A few strategically placed butt and garbage cans would probably go a long way to help eliminate that problem. People standing around on a MUP is something those of us who ride them have to deal with everywhere, not just at Gateway. When we share public spaces, we must remember that they are there for everyone to use regardless of their intended design and learn to cope with it as such. This is just life, and we can avoid stressing ourselves out over petty issues by recognizing their pettiness and treating them with likewise importance to ourselves.

    Just remember how many drivers feel like you’re in their way on the roads (when you’re not), and how we wish they would change their attitude and not feel that way. Don’t stoop to that level yourself, if you’re better than that.

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    • kevin February 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      I bike through there frequently and generally I can maneuver around the people standing in the middle of the path but have to ride right through their smoke clouds. Putting trash cans there will make no difference because these people would not walk 10 ft out of their way to throw away a candy bar wrapper let alone a cigarette but. The idea that Portland is such a clean city is a load of BS.

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  • Jeff February 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Sucks that I won’t get to play “smoker slalom” anymore.

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  • rolinon February 27, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    @Oregon Mamacita – You got a couple of things right – I am male and I am young (64 years young). I have lived most all of those years struggling a notch or two above the poverty line, but I am privileged to be able to ride my bike in this country where we can all be free to do as we please within the law. I do have a problem with fellow freedom-lovers when they blow their smoke in my face or block my way in the middle of the path or carelessly throw those toxic cigarette butts wherever they feel. As a former smoker and current coronary artery disease patient, I strive to avoid any tobacco smoke at all.

    I also know that preaching logic to addicts is futile and fences like laws are only as good as those who respect them.

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  • Oregon Mamacita February 28, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Rolimon, there are issues the bike commuters don’t want to face, and one of those issues is the unintended consequences of forcing biking on people who live and believe differently. Furthermore, while the alternative transportation folks tend to talk out of both sides of their mouth re: transportation choice. Yes- we’re pro-choice- Yes- we favor strategies to discourage choices we don’t care for.

    The science is ridiculously on the side of climate change. But the
    science is not clear on whether alternative transportation is as helpful as claimed.

    You bike without moral superiority, and I salute you.

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    • El Biciclero February 28, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Who’s “forcing” biking on people who live and believe differently? What about forcing driving (or smoking) on people who live and believe differently? Putting up a fence seems to have nothing to do with the (false) perception that somehow the “bike community” is attempting to yank the cars out from under folks and somehow “force” them to ride a bike. Even if someone loses their privilege or ability to drive, they can still bum rides (carpool), take a cab, walk, ride the bus or other public transport…not having or using a car doesn’t automatically mean you are “forced” to ride a bike. If you are talking about “forcing” biking on folks in the sense of forcing them to accept the presence of cyclists in the transportation system, well then I guess that’s true, in the same way that cyclists are “forced” to accept the presence of cars and pedestrians.

      Regarding discouraging driving and encouraging alternatives, there is more than climate change that might create a desire by local governments to do that. Roads are expensive, and nothing destroys them like cars and trucks. Space is expensive, and very few things make worse use of space than parking cars and SUVs. Healthcare, emergency services, and funerals are expensive, and driving motor vehicles contributes significantly to requiring those services. Giving streets completely over to fast motor vehicle travel turns them into dirty, ugly, hostile places where few people want to stop and see what a neighborhood might have to offer. Air isn’t the only thing polluted by motor vehicle use, and “climate” isn’t the only thing affected by the air pollution caused by overuse of cars. Even if overuse of private motor vehicles could be shown not to contribute one bit to global climate change, it would still be worth finding out how we could minimize it by making alternatives just as attractive (or more so) than driving.

      I can’t have any moral superiority, since I drive a car, too–but I can recognize the destructiveness of doing so and undertake driving with the due care and attention it requires. I can attempt to minimize my driving and not complain when aspects of the true cost of driving start to have an impact on me as a driver.

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  • Oregon Mamacita February 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

    By ridiculously I mean that almost all the scientists around the world agree that there appears to be man-made climate change, and weather records support their claims. The evidence that we need some response to climate change is overwhelming

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  • Oregon Mamacita March 1, 2013 at 8:39 am

    El Bicylero, if I understand you correctly, you are for transportation choices, but then you say the car choice is immoral and that cars wreck everything so that choice should be discouraged.

    In other words, I can have choices, but from your menu.

    The scary thing about a voter who thinks they have the perfect moral high ground on an issue is that there is a tendency to shift to an “ends justifies the means.” strategy.

    You wrote a long post because I hit a nerve. There are some unintended consequences to your policies.

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    • Chainwhipped March 2, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Okay, Lady. Search this whole comment section and the only mentions of morality and climate change come from you and any reasoned response to you.

      If we can only have choices from his “Menu”, I’ll take it since his menu includes walking, driving, public trans., driving, AND bicycles, where you seem to wish you could dis-invent bikes altogether.

      The 205 path is a public throughway. People loiter in the middle of this throughway constantly with no consideration for anyone who uses it to actually get through. Hence the fence.

      Nothing to do with belief systems, climate change, “privilege”, or any other nonsense you’ll attach to things you don’t like that don’t affect you in any way, shape or form.

      Keep your prejudice-driven attacks coming, though. It lets us all know what to expect when you finally hit a pedestrian or biker and it has to go to court because you were more “moral” than the “privileged” 14-year-old on his way home from school.

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    • El Biciclero March 2, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      I don’t think you understand me correctly. I made no statement of whether driving was “moral” or not, those are the words you’re putting in people’s mouths because apparently they have hit a nerve. Do you disagree that cars and trucks damage roads more than any other normal use? Do you disagree that cars and their drivers are responsible for over 30,000 deaths and millions of injuries every year? Do you disagree that a large number of emergency responses are to motor vehicle crashes? Do you disagree that real estate downtown is expensive? All I’m saying is that governments might have reasons other than climate change to attempt to limit driving. That was in response to your assumption that bicycling proponents would cite climate change as the sole–or at least major–reason to discourage driving and promote alternatives. I don’t think I even described any “policies”, and I claimed no moral high ground, as I am a driver–I’d be hypocritical to tell someone not to drive while I’m tooling around in my car. I don’t know what you think my “menu” of choices would be, but it sounds like yours consists of “driving”. Maybe we should think about the unintended consequences of designing a transportation system that favors cars and driving to the exclusion of all else. I just hope your hostility to transportation cyclists doesn’t “force” you to adopt an “end justifies the means” strategy for clearing them off of the roads. That would be scary.

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  • Oregon Mamacita March 3, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I love cycling, and I walk, bike and drive with care. There are political aspects to cycling in PDX, and some vocal cyclists are not intellectually honest about that. Folks like 9 Watts talk about cars as immoral (and he is open about that)l. My points evoke discomfort because I bring up some uncomfortable issues. As we address our problems, we need to acknowledge and address
    unintended consequences of policies we favor.

    You may want to pretend that I drive a Hummer, but I don’t. I love my Bridgestone- sometimes my bike feels like a part of me.

    So- go forth and be more intellectually honest with yourselves.

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    • My Magic Hat March 3, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Yes, surely you “love cycling”. Kind of the way I “love” weird uncle Larry. He’s never hurt anyone or gone out of his way to make everyone else happy, but he sure seems to think he should be allowed as big a slice of Thanksgiving Turkey as my abusive uncle Chet, who KILLS 35,000 PEOPLE PER YEAR.

      If you were any kind of cyclist at all, you’d never try to question the “moral superiority” of any self-propelled transportation.

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    • El Biciclero March 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      All right. Now you’re going to have to just give examples of the “unintended consequences” to which you are alluding, and how folks here are being “intellectually dishonest”.

      It sounds like your “unintended consequences” involve backlash of some sort against cyclists or cycling advocates, and your notion of “intellectual dishonesty” is that cyclists and cycling advocates are blind to the fact that some people hate cyclists for a wide range of reasons, most of which are irrational, which causes said backlash.

      Well, the law of unintended consequences is applicable universally, regardless of which actions or policies are involved, so that is a weak point to make. If you think cycling advocates don’t realize that backlash is real, you are just wrong. So help us understand why your argument isn’t weak and wrong.

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  • Mark April 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    So I see the fence has a locking gate, that would lock out access to the trimet station. Does that mean we can’t get access via the bike trail to go thru the Trimet station area, heading East? One Trimet person told us it’s open, “during the day.” Does that mean it’s closed at night, no access to the Trimet station and back?

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