A week from today three politicians will come together to learn more about transportation issues facing east Portland. And there’s a lot to talk about.
On August 3rd, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, State Representative Janelle Bynum and Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega-Pederson will be joined by staff from the Oregon Department of Transportation, TriMet, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and other organizations for a Public Forum on Transportation.
The event was spurred in part by a flurry of legislative and planning activity on two of east Portland’s most infamous and important arterials: Powell and Division. The passage of a new statewide transportation law earlier this month included $110 million in funding for outer SE Powell Boulevard and a mandate to transfer its management from the state to the city. Advocates with the East Portland Action Plan have already started organizing to make sure these funds are spent in accordance with the Outer Powell Conceptual Design Plan which calls for creation of an “urban main street” with separated bikeways throughout.
And then there’s Division Street. TriMet’s Division Transit project aims to bring faster and more frequent bus service to the stree. Division is also the focus of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s marquee Vision Zero effort: the Outer Division Safety Project. The passage of House Bill 2017 also included a payroll tax that will raise $1.2 billion for public transit — of which TriMet says they’ll use $35-40 million per year for a low-income fare and expanded bus service.
Other topics likely to come up at the forum include: a push for dedicated bus lanes, the City of Portland’s war on speeding, the unsafe riding conditions on the I-205 bike path, Blumenauer’s rosy view of the new bike tax, status of the long-awaited Foster Streetscape Project, and more.
And swirling around the discussions is likely to be the sad reality that east Portland arterials continue to hurt and kill a higher proportion of people than any other part of our city.
In an email to constituents, Congressman Blumenauer was pessimistic about getting help from the Trump administration. “While it remains to be seen if this Congress can draft federal infrastructure legislation that would earn my support, I’m going to continue fighting to make sure that the federal government is a good partner with local communities,” he wrote. “As we consider future investments and priorities, let us remember that it is entirely within our capacity to make our communities safer, healthier, and more economically secure while we struggle with the challenges of this century for the economy, energy, social equity, and climate.”
Public Forum on Transportation
Thursday, August 3rd from 6:00 – 7:15 pm
Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization Community Center Gym (10301 NE Glisan St.)
-> Event listing
-> Please RSVP to attend.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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More talk. No action. But then we’ve gotten so used to this on the east side.