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In radio interview, Portland Mayor rebuts critics of I-5 Rose Quarter project

Posted by on September 15th, 2017 at 11:10 am


(Photo: Jason Bernert/OPB)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler made his support for the I-5 Rose Quarter project very clear during a radio interview yesterday. He also pushed back rather strongly against the significant grassroots opposition to the project.

As a guest on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud show, Wheeler answered several questions about the project from host Geoff Norcross. The interview came just a few hours before Wheeler would hear more testimony on the project at yesterday’s City Council public hearing on the Central City 2035 Plan. (Also notable at the hearing was that Wheeler invited seven people to testify in favor of the project, including Governor Kate Brown’s top transportation policy advisor Karmen Fore and State Representative Susan McClain.)

Here’s a recap of the short interview:

Norcross reminded Wheeler that one of the arguments against the project is that widening the freeway (plans call for a new travel lane and shoulder in each direction between I-84 and I-405) would simply induce more demand by “making it more attractive for people to drive”. “Are you concerned about that?” Norcross asked.

Wheeler’s response:

“I don’t dispute that significantly increasing traffic lanes does very little to arrest congestion. But I want to talk about what this project actually is. This has been a top priority for the governor, legislative leaders, the region and the city since at least 2012. So they’re all in. The narrative that’s out there right now that this is somehow a mega-project is sort of ridiculous. What we’re realy talking about here is a quarter of a mile, two auxiliary lanes through the Rose Quarter to make the merge safer. And about half of the funds being allocated are going towards bike, pedestrian, and transit improvements.

One of the parts of this that nobody talks about, that frankly is the most interesting to me, is capping I-5 and reconnecting the street grid for the historic Albina community. And that of course is mostly a bicycle and pedestrian play.

So I think this is being mischaracterized somewhat when people say, ‘Oh this is just a freeway expansion and it’s never going to meet its goals of congestion reduction.’ This is far from just focusing on just congestion reduction, this is an opportunity to restore one of our most historic — and not coincidentally — African American neighborhoods in this community. There’s a big opportunity here that goes to bikes, to peds, to transit and to community.”

The host then brought up Portland’s history of opposing freeway projects, namely the Mt. Hood Freeway. He also brought up how the I-5 project tore through north Portland neighborhoods when it was built.

Wheeler’s response:

“This is just the opposite of the Mt. Hood Freeway. This is one-quarter of a mile. It actually restores the very neighborhood that was the most impacted by the development of I-5 and that’s the historic African American Albina community. And that’s why people who have testified on this — who have testified overwhelmingly in favor of this — tend to be people from communities of color who understand that history.”


Plans presented at the project open house this week. Pink lanes are “auxiliary lanes and shoulders” according to ODOT.

The host then brought up the question of congestion pricing.

“I’m 100 percent supportive of congestion pricing. I’m also supportive of the kind of transit improvements that this project could herald. If we are really serious about reducing congestion, the name of the game is getting people out of single-occupancy vehicles and encouraging active transportation or public transt as attractive alternatives. But to make them attractive alternatives you have to have the infrastructure in place that makes it work. This project does that and that’s why the governor, the legislature, Metro and the city council have strongly supported this proposal.”

“So you’re sure it will happen?” Norcross asked.

“This certainly doesn’t come to the Portland city council as a surprise. It has been in the works for many years. It has been well-vetted through many layers of government.”

“Were you surprised by the opposition?”

“No I wasn’t. Because the way the the opposition is characterizing the project simply as a freeway expansion is not the full story. If somebody came to me and said, ‘Hey Ted, do you want to spend half a billion on a freeway expansion?’ I’d say ‘No’ and ‘Hell no!’ But that’s not what this is. This is about reconnecting a community. It’s about bike, it’s about ped, it’s about transit, it’s about safety.”

Based on this interview and the fact that he invited seven people to testify in support of the project at the city council hearing yesterday, Mayor Wheeler has left no question where he stands on this project.

It’s worth noting a few things from his statements:

➤ He didn’t mention that the project will also add new shoulders (a.k.a. “breakdown lanes”) in both directions.

➤ Cost estimates for the various elements of this project are not yet known. Everyone is saying it’s 50/50 freeway/local streets but that’s an assumption.

➤ He says calling this a mega-project is “ridiculous”, yet at an estimated $450 million it’s $90 million more than the statutory definition of a mega-project as defined in Oregon law as per House Bill 2017, Section 121 (1) (on page 108).

➤ It’s unclear how two relatively small lids over the freeway will “reconnect the street grid for the historic Albina community”. ODOT has only described them as having vegetation and a former Portland Parks Bureau director said last week they’re likely to be “more of a liability than an amenity”. At City Council yesterday, one of Wheeler’s invited guests, Portland architect Matthew Arnold, testified that, “In my opinion those lids should be much larger if you really want to promote that kind of continuous urbanism.”

➤ He referred to the two freeway lids as, “mostly a bicycle and pedestrian play”. That use of the word “play” sounds like an ackowledgment that they were included in the project purely as a way to curry favor with active transportation advocates. Merriam Webster defines that use of the word as a “a move or series of moves calculated to arouse friendly feelings.”

➤ The mayor’s reference to people of color testifying “overwhelmingly in favor” of the project raises concerns. At the September 7th public hearing only four people (out of about 17 total) testified in favor of the project. Two of them were ODOT staffers (Shelli Romero and Andrew Plambeck), one was an invited Portland Planning Commissioner (Andre Baugh), and only one was an independent citizen (Terry Dublinski-Milton, who is white). Asked to clarify the mayor’s statement, his office said, “[At the September 7th hearing] handful of people of color testified and the majority of folks testified in support of the project which was in stark contrast to the people who testified in opposition. The evidence is in the recording of the council session.” (UPDATE: I’ve watched the hearing twice and stand by my assertions. It’s unclear to me how the mayor and his office can make a statement that doesn’t appear to mesh with the facts.)*

UPDATE, 3:30 pm on 9/18: The Mayor’s office has responded to my repeated requests for a clarification about this statement:

“The Mayor made a limited claim on Think Out Loud – based on his recollection of the hearing – that while there were not a lot of people testifying in favor of the plan during the first hearing, of those who did testify in favor, a majority were people of color. That’s all he said.”

➤ His claim that the project as been “well-vetted through many layers of government” is suspect. The freeway widening plan was one part of the larger N/NE Quadrant Plan and it has never been scrutinized by Portland City Council. That fact is the sole reason why Portland Planning Commissioner Chris Smith tried to get the commission to strip the project from the Transportation System Plan back in March (and he was just two votes shy of doing that).

In other I-5 Rose Quarter project news, three supporters of the No More Freeway Expansions group penned an editorial that was published on The Oregonian’s website last night: Portland leaders have a choice: increased congestion or courageous leadership.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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128 Comments
  • Buzz September 15, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Map above confirms that N Flint Street bridge is proposed to be removed as part of this project; as far as I’m concerned, that’s a deal-killer right there.

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    • Doug Klotz September 15, 2017 at 11:34 am

      The new bridge from Hancock, intersecting with Vancouver, and to Dixon, is supposed to serve as the replacement for Flint. It would mean traveling on Vancouver and Williams to go north of Dixon, rather than on Flint.

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      • Buzz September 16, 2017 at 10:16 am

        Maybe, but I’m not buying that at all; this change will substantially increase out of direction travel for cyclists, forces them onto busier streets, and I’m pretty sure the new route will be topographically more challenging than N Flint.

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  • Doug Klotz September 15, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I served on the NE Quadrant advisory committee that worked on this project. The reason the lids are being built is that they can serve as temporary bypass routes during the construction, as well as support the streets over the freeway lanes. We found that out when committee members asked to make the lids larger. Anything beyond what you see would be and “extra”, and more than they actually need to construct the project. They’re not being done to enhance sidewalks or bike routes.

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    • Chris I September 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      This makes sense, looking at the diagram above. ODOT doesn’t care about actually capping this freeway. These “lids” are for logistics. Why not connect the two lids and create an actual park north of Weidler between Williams and Vancouver? I think the mayor should demand this feature if we are going to support this project. Connectivity-wise, this project is a wash. Losing the Flint overpass negates the new east-west connection north of Weidler.

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      • Wells September 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

        The separation of surface traffic – between I-5 exit south headed east on Weidler and Broadway traffic headed to the relocated I-5 entrance south – is a major improvement probably necessary for any redevelopment of the barren parking lots and to gain any sense of pleasant walking. The pedestrian bridge on the Green Loop likewise improves pedestrian and bicycling access, as does removing Flint to add the new east/west crossing. The new I-5 “auxiliary lanes” should not be considered ‘widening’.

        As for the proposed ‘caps’, the renderings are insufficient detail, which suggests they haven’t been fully studied. Better renderings all round are needed.

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    • wsbob September 15, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Doug…couple questions:

      How many square feet total for the two lids? Did anyone ask for an alternative plan for a single, larger lid, and how much that would cost?

      Lids or covers over freeways can help to reclaim land lost to freeway construction, if the covers have enough square foot of area to do something constructive with. In that sense, Wheeler could be correct in that the covers may be of help some towards restoring the NE neighborhood that was sacrificed to the development of the Rose quarter for the Memorial Coliseum, parking lots, the newer sports stadium and the Convention Center.

      People that don’t like the project as is, might try putting some pressure on for bigger, better covers over the freeway in exchange for possibly reducing opposition to the project.

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  • one September 15, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Oh, Ted. ***portion of comment deleted for inappropriate insults***
    How about if you get behind the 2030 Bicycle Master Plan like you get behind this ridiculous mega project?

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44597

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    • One September 15, 2017 at 11:52 am

      My apologies for the inappropriate comments. It won’t happen again.

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  • Kittens September 15, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Can we call this what it is? Blackwashing.

    This project will -at best- have a tangential connection to restoring the neighborhood which was lost. It ain’t comin back Ted! People have moved on. You can’t rebuild overnight something that took decades to grow and expect it to be authentic.

    If he really wanted to have a positive impact on communities of color he would start first and foremost directing money to affordable housing. Inclusive zoning. Pushing a higher minimum wage. This helps ALL colors including black as they are over represented at that end.

    This is just good old fashioned pork which will be mostly funneled to the already overheated construction industry.

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    • maccoinnich September 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      It’s a totally bizarre statement. If the city wants to correct past injustices around construction of I-5 / Memorial Coliseum (and it should want to!) it can do that with or without this project. They are not directly correlated.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty September 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm

        The notion that this — or any other — project could somehow correct pass injustices is illogical. Any injustice was done to people, not to a place; restoring the place will not somehow repair the damage done to those most affected, especially if they have built their lives elsewhere.

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        • Middle of the road guy September 18, 2017 at 3:52 pm

          But it makes progressives feel better.

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    • joan September 15, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      If he really wants to make amends with Albina’s historic African American community, he should start by having conversations with them. They’re still here, just not all in Albina anymore.

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    • wsbob September 15, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      “…This is just good old fashioned pork which will be mostly funneled to the already overheated construction industry.” kittens

      Pork? Not really. Fact is, this project is primarily a refinement of I-5 past the Rose Quarter to help sustain the interstate highway’s ability to continue function as well as can be, as an interstate highway. Portland’s gradual buildup of the RQ, and the accompanying increase in use of I-5 for in-city travel, I would suspect has gradually diminished the ability of I-5 to do what it’s supposed to do.

      That’s the situation I think the exits and the additional lanes over the quarter mile of the project are designed to help deal with: get that in-city traffic off the freeway a little more smoothly, so as to maybe reduce some of the stop and go traffic during rush hour.

      Things that constitute ‘pork’, as that bit of political slang alludes to, I think tends to be money for unrelated unessential items cities or the nation don’t really have a dire need for…which elected officials are able to sometimes swing deals for in exchange for support of projects they otherwise might not support. The nation and the city of Portland kind of has a dire need to keep the interstate highway through town, working as well as it reasonably can. Portland has some obligation to do its part in helping that to happen.

      Wheeler could make stronger, his claim that the project amenities will help to connect the community, if he were to ask for better, bigger covers over the freeways. Covers big enough to create park space, maybe some decent landscaping, or something else.

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      • Kittens September 16, 2017 at 1:31 am

        Good point. maybe not a great example of pork. But it is:
        1, non-essential.
        2, bloated.
        3, overwhelmingly federal dollars.
        4, going to be packaged as part of much larger spending bill.
        5, has a narrow constituency in favor (trucking and construction).

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        • wsbob September 19, 2017 at 10:46 am

          “Good point. maybe not a great example of pork. But it is:
          1, non-essential.
          2, bloated.
          3, overwhelmingly federal dollars.
          4, going to be packaged as part of much larger spending bill.
          5, has a narrow constituency in favor (trucking and construction)” kittens

          What are your reasons for your thinking on those points? If you think the project is non-essential, what’s your alternative idea for meeting transportation needs through this area?

          You say ‘bloated’? I’m not sure why. Aside from the high dollar figure, which includes street elements other than the addition of shoulders to I-5, the actual physical footprint of the shoulders to be added, do not take up a great amount of land area.

          Sure…a big part of the money for the project is federal dollars, which it should…because it involves an interstate highway, which is among the key transportation components of the entire U.S., rather than just Portland, Multnomah County, and the state of Oregon.

          Are the people of Portland and Oregon, generally supportive of this project, just a relatively small number of voters from those areas? It’s possible I suppose, but I’m doubtful. I’m kind of guessing of course, but it seems to me that most people in Portland, the state and beyond, readily recognize that the interstate highway through Portland has to be configured so that it do what an interstate highway is designed to do: enable travel across the state and from state to state.

          The increasingly higher level of activity at the Rose Quarter and Downtown, together with the city’s and the region’s growing population, likely is reducing the ability of this section of I-5 to perform at least minimally as it needs to. Actually, this project’s provisions may be more beneficial to the RQ and the city, than it is to ‘through city’ or ‘out of city to city’ users of I-5. The RQ is this big economic dynamo that over decades, city leaders have gradually been building to be bigger and bigger.

          Portland has got to do something to handle in-city traffic using I-5 to go back and forth between NW, SW, SE, N and NE Portland…and the Rose Quarter. If not the addition of access and exit shoulders to I-5 and improvements to area surface streets…what alternative that can be viable for the city’s needs?

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  • joan September 15, 2017 at 11:46 am

    There is little more infuriating than white people using equity to advance their own interests unrelated to equity. The suggestion that this project is coming out a concern to do right by the displaced African American community in historic Albina is galling.

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    • maccoinnich September 15, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Exactly

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    • shannon September 16, 2017 at 10:07 am

      I found this talking point – no doubt concocted on the marketing side – particularly egregious. That the mayor is running with it as a key argument in favor of the project is insulting on multiple levels, and significantly undermines my generally positive feelings toward him as a person. This talking point is deliberately unscrupulous and beneath you, Ted.

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    • Mr. Know It All September 21, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      I’d say the fact that “equity” was thought of by anyone, anywhere, of any color, with respect to this project is galling. It’s a highway improvement project – period. It has nothing to do with anyone’s color.

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      • Dan A September 22, 2017 at 11:34 am

        Isn’t it great to be privileged enough to not care about equity?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty September 22, 2017 at 2:44 pm

          That’s not what he said — he said this project is a highway project, is not about equity, and to present it as such is “galling”. Which is pretty much what we’re all saying.

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          • Dan A September 22, 2017 at 3:39 pm

            I can see what he said, it’s right above my post. He’s suggesting that there’s no link between highway projects and race, and that it’s “galling” that anyone would consider equity with regards to this project because it’s a highway project and nothing more. I think history has shown us that highway projects often DO have a negative affect with regards to equity.

            Mr. Know It All prefers to pretend that race is no longer relevant in our country. You may remember his comments here:

            https://bikeportland.org/2017/08/25/every-day-she-chalks-black-lives-matter-in-a-bike-lane-and-every-day-it-gets-washed-off-240138#comment-6823406

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty September 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm

              I’m not defending his comments in general, only pointing out that this one seems mischaracterized.

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              • Dan A September 22, 2017 at 6:53 pm

                Understood, and I disagree with that interpretation.

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  • Sigma September 15, 2017 at 11:53 am

    He is right that comparisons to the mt hood freeway are absurd. That was a miles-long new road that took hundreds (thousands?) of homes and businesses. I don’t think this project even needs any new permanent right of way. Opponents who keep making this comparison risk creating a sort of Godwin’s law; no one outside the bubble will take their arguments seriously if the sky-is-falling rhetoric doesn’t match reality.

    Serious question: of all the studies that prove induced demand, how many were done in an area with an urban growth boundary as tightly controlled as ours?

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    • eawriste September 15, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      What is your hypothesis? What methodological changes to previous studies would you make? I am confused why the UGB would be relevant to the current convergence of evidence re induced demand.

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      • Sigma September 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm

        Because there is a direct correlation with land use. More road capacity =more greenfield sprawl. But with the ugb that’s really not possible here. Studies done in Georgia or Texas might not be as relevant as people think

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        • eawriste September 15, 2017 at 12:44 pm

          You did read the below comment by Chris re Clark County I presume? In effect, there is no UGB north of Portland. I do not see your point.

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          • Sigma September 15, 2017 at 1:37 pm

            You should read my response to the comment you referenced.

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            • Stephan September 15, 2017 at 6:53 pm

              There is a good study by economists looking at highway widening and induced demand:https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.101.6.2616 One of the main channels is people moving to the area, so yes, land use does influence this. I am not sure people have look at that kind of heterogeneity explicitly though.

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              • Stephan September 15, 2017 at 6:57 pm

                I also think that using studies looking at large highway widening here is misplaced. I do not support this project but I think that this just offers an easy way to criticize people opposed to this project. It is much more save to say that this will not solve city-wide congestion and to do that, we would need to spent 20 times as my check and engage in serious road widening.

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        • Bald One September 19, 2017 at 11:08 am

          UGB is starting to slowly become obsolete, unfortunately. It only currently saves farmlands in Washington County and in SE metro/Happy Valley/Clackamas area. The areas to the North as mentioned are not part of UGB, and South is getting leap-frogged out of relevance, as Salem slowly merges with Portland. Sure, it will continue to keep some farms in place in a few areas, and possibly control sprawl in some ways, but I think the sun has mostly set on the UGB. Portland definitely has some unique aspects, due to the geography (rivers, mountains) and the UGB, which impact traffic in many ways, and it is fair to say that it is hard to compare with a freeway-belted, flat, circular metro area like PHX, ATL, DAL, MSP, etc.

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    • Chris September 15, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      “Serious question: of all the studies that prove induced demand, how many were done in an area with an urban growth boundary as tightly controlled as ours?”

      I don’t know the answer to this, but it is worth noting that Clark County does not have a tightly controlled UGB, and suburban Clark County commuters are a significant cause of the congestion we currently see on I-5.

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      • Sigma September 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

        WA has a growth management program not too dissimilar from Oregon. It’s not as tight, you are correct, but there are checks in place to unmitigated sprawl, even in the regional “safety valve.” Given that, I think it’s more of a mode split question than a land use one, and I wonder if there has been research into the effect a very minor freeway operational improvement is expected to have.

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        • Alex Reedin September 15, 2017 at 1:06 pm

          “Data from the US Census shows that, between 2000 and 2010, Clark County allowed far more ‘rural sprawl’ than did Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties in Oregon. To be sure, the Oregon side of the region added lots of new people and new houses—but only a smattering of that growth took place outside urban growth boundaries. In contrast, one in ten new houses in Clark County over the decade was constructed outside urban growth areas.”

          http://www.sightline.org/2012/07/18/new-report-rural-sprawl-in-metropolitan-portland/

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          • Sigma September 15, 2017 at 1:39 pm

            Fair enough. But how many developers do you think are firing up the bulldozers to take out some farms in Battle Ground because of a quarter-mile auxiliary lane in downtown Portland?

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            • Chris September 15, 2017 at 3:22 pm

              It’s about the principle. Even if you can’t attribute a new subdivision to this project, it’s still bad policy that encourages sprawl.

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              • Sigma September 16, 2017 at 10:14 am

                But Chris, the whole premise of my question is whether that orthodoxy applies in this case. If you say yes, fine, but I ask what are you basing that conclusion on? Induced demand is something that happens when there is a major capacity expansion (think the non-stop widening of the DC Beltway) or when a new road is built (think the Sunrise Corridor: spurring job growth and industrial development in Clackamas County was a major goal of that project).

                But will a minor operational improvement on a .25 mile stretch of highway, that has little to no impact on the overall system capacity, induce new sprawl 20 miles away? I’m highly skeptical. I’m asking if there are any academic or engineering studies related to induced demand or development impacts that have the same variables we are dealing with here. So far no one has provided anything.

                What happened when ODOT extended the 84/205 merge lane a few years ago? Did any new subdivisions get built? What about safety impacts related to the longer weave area? Surely ODOT has data to support this kind of investment. That’s what people should focus on.

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              • soren September 16, 2017 at 4:03 pm

                “a minor operational improvement on a .25 mile stretch of highway’

                way to sell a $450 million mega project!

                \/s

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          • Sigma September 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm

            I also want to highlight that the data you provided shows that only 10% of housing in Clark County occurred outside there UGB. In my opinion that validates my point that there are checks in place to prevent unmitigated sprawl.

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    • nuovorecord September 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      Frankly, I’m kinda surprised that of the three large projects in HB 2017, activists chose this one to target. In terms of cycling improvements, the I-5 project actually the best of the bunch. Why isn’t there any scrutiny being given to the I-205 and 217 widenings? Those are much more impactful in terms of lane miles, and I haven’t seen where ODOT is giving any consideration to the needs of cyclists in those projects.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

        some ideas why there’s more opposition to this one.

        1) this is in the central city of Portland.. a city with considerable and proud legacy for promoting infrastructure that does not making driving single-occupancy vehicles easier and more efficient.
        2) grassroots activism takes a lot of time and money and effort. there’s only so much people can fight against at any one time.

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        • J_R September 15, 2017 at 1:59 pm

          Wait. Wait. It seems that we’ve been reading about inequity associated with East Portland. The argument seems to be that there are too many big roads in East Portland and not enough bicycle/pedestrian facilities. Maybe inflicting a wider I-5 in central Portland would help the inequity. After all, we stuck it to East Portland with the I-205 project forty years ago, now it’s time to stick it to the Rose Quarter, right?

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        • nuovorecord September 15, 2017 at 3:40 pm

          Your response seems to indicate that the opposition is more about posturing and “sending a message” than it is about actual merit-based reasons.

          If this was about resurrecting the Westside Bypass, I’d be right there with a torch and pitchfork in opposition. But Rose Quarter is small potatoes, in the grand scheme of things. If the project is killed, the legislature isn’t going to reallocate those funds to bicycle projects, so I don’t know what you think opposing RQ will accomplish.

          2017 had something for everyone, including more funding for cycling. That’s why The Street Trust supported it and the Legislature passed it. No one was trying to pass a cycling and transit only bill, because it would have been be DOA. But hey, let’s not stop trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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          • eawriste September 15, 2017 at 5:02 pm

            My objection to this project, as with any project, is based on research and sound financial review. I don’t object to highway/road projects a priori. This project, however, has objectives that do not stand up to the most basic scrutiny. It will have a negligible effect on safety as evidenced by the crash data map, and no lasting effect on congestion relief.

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        • Lazy Spinner September 16, 2017 at 8:46 am

          Don’t forget to add that any 205 project impacts unfashionable and blue collar East Portland and work on 217 is a Beaverton problem so, “proper” Portland activists could not care less about anything not directly tied to their close in lifestyle.

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          • soren September 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm

            the HB2017 *funded* 205 expansion is not in portland. please try again!

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            • nuovorecord September 18, 2017 at 8:50 am

              Someone’s been sleeping on the job.

              ODOT is adding aux lanes to I-205 between Johnson Ck. Blvd and the Glenn Jackson Bridge. In Portland (and Maywood Park). Funded by HB 2017. With nary a peep of protest.

              http://glennjacksontojohnsoncreek.i205construction.org/

              Project #8 on this list and map: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Documents/HB2017_ProjectsMap.pdf

              From ODOT’s FAQ sheet: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Documents/HB2017-FAQ.pdf

              “The I-205 corridor bottleneck project will build an auxiliary lane on northbound I-205 from Powell Boulevard to the I-84 west interchange. The new auxiliary lane will separate slower traffic movements from through traffic on the freeway and provide more room for traffic to merge onto I-205. This will reduce the frequency of crashes by nearly 30%, which will reduce congestion and provide more reliable travel times.”

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              • soren September 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm

                there is zero specific funding/bonding in HB2017 for this project as you can see for yourself here:

                https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2017

                it is nonsense to compare a mega-project that is specifically-funded via a HB2017 mega-bond to one of ODOT’s generic highway fund projects.

                PS: i opposed this project in written testimony twice. (i always opposed highway projects in the TSP — always).

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              • soren September 18, 2017 at 1:22 pm

                to illustrate the disingenuousness of your comparison:

                “mega-project” 15 on your list is a $750,000 pedestrian improvement on OR 214

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              • nuovorecord September 18, 2017 at 2:18 pm

                @Soren: The 205 Aux lane is relevant to HB2017, as completion of that project is a contingency of HB2017.

                “Tammy Baney, who chairs the Oregon Transportation Commission said the project is key to “increasing capacity” on I-205, one of the most-used traffic corridors in Oregon.

                “We’ve had a backlog of projects that have needed to get funded,” said Baney, who is also an elected Deschutes County commissioner.

                Finishing the I-205 project on time is key to unlocking new gas tax revenues under the massive, $5.3 billion transportation funding plan approved by lawmakers this year.”

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              • soren September 18, 2017 at 4:23 pm

                “We’ve had a backlog of projects that have needed to get funded”

                still a backlogged smaller project that costs 3% of the I5/rose-quarter mega-project.

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              • Terry D-M September 18, 2017 at 11:00 pm

                Soren, this is not about cost. This is about an argument the “no more freeways” is making that the Rose Quarter project is bad because of INDUCED DEMAND and carbon consumption. The 84 extra slip lane was not protested, and the 205 projects 84 to Powell will have a lot more negative impacts on these two issues than the Rose Quarter expansion will. The 205 projects will just fill right up with more SOV commuters spewing carbon. This working class Neighborhood gets nothing but pollution out of it.

                The Rose Quarter expansion is only 1/4 lane expansion, a lot less of it than the projects above. The high density development, reconnected street grid, and protected Bikeways will induce enough climate friendly growth long term that this end result must be taken into account. This is earmarked money from Salem in both cases.

                There is no legal way to move the $450 million into other projects. As you know I’m in favor because of long term viability of removing the I 5 eastbank freeway later on…..either pre or post earthquake….. and we all agree that congestion pricing should be instituted first, but until I see serious protesting on the Division on ramp to 205 to this added slip lane, i find the arguments being made against to be Political propaganda just as bad as Salem selling this as congestion relief.

                It is neither congestion relief or a freeway mega expansion project. It is fixing small section of a historical mistake and creating a modern Neighborhood in the process. We just need to make sure the highways are priced.

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              • nuovorecord September 19, 2017 at 8:33 am

                Very well said, Terry!

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            • soren September 20, 2017 at 8:53 am

              Terry, For me it most definitely is about cost (as well as climate change and equity). Spending $450 million of the people’s money on largely unnecessary infrastructure that primarily benefits well off people (and their corporations) is something that I will always oppose.

              If this project is sunk we *will* have opportunity to bond for more sustainable and equitable transportation projects. IMO,the ongoing global tragedy of commons and ever increasing inequality is in the process of killing business as usual.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty September 20, 2017 at 9:44 am

                I understand saying this project is a waste of money, but how does it primarily benefit the wealthy and corporate?

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      • MaxD September 16, 2017 at 7:07 am

        Great point! The 205 project will take out hundreds, maybe thousands of trees. It is only funded through design and will need a new vote to pay for it. I hope the word gets out to activists to attend the open houses and contact their reps

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        • soren September 16, 2017 at 4:02 pm

          i gave this some consideration and decided that, as a portland resident, any testimony i might give in west lynn, wilsonville, oregon city etc would be counterproductive.

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      • Gary B September 20, 2017 at 11:13 am

        I’m going to speculate here. As to the new 205 aux lanes (construction starting months from now)–yes, they are in Portland, despite Soren’s assertions in regard to other portions of that proposed project only funded for study. However, it does not appear to require buy-in from the City. Because of the impacts on Portland ROW, the RQ project needs their support, even though ultimately no new ROW is required. I’m guessing the 205 aux lanes will be constructed entirely within state jurisdiction (not just the final project, but during construction as well). So it doesn’t seem there is any opportunity for Portland, through it’s city council, to object.

        As for 217–obviously that isn’t a Portland matter.

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        • soren September 20, 2017 at 11:31 pm

          i made no assertions. i simply assumed that when people referred to the 205 project they were referring to the far larger project that was not entirely under ODOT jurisdiction.

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    • Chris I September 15, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      The construction of two large freeways (I-5 and I-205) combined with basically no limits on development north of the river has mostly negated any effects of the UGB in the Portland Metro. There are no tax benefits to living up there and working down here. It is all about land value. I-5 and I-205 induced nearly all of the development we now see north of the river.

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      • J_R September 15, 2017 at 2:20 pm

        There are huge tax benefits to living north of the river even if you work in Oregon. Yes, you do have to pay income tax on your Oregon wages, but you do not have to pay income tax on interest income, other unearned income, social security income (yes, you can collect social security while working) and retirement income (like PERS). In addition, you can do lots of shopping in Oregon. For example, check the Home Depot stores at Janzen Beach and Airport Way, you’ll find half the license plates are from Washington. Property is less expensive so property taxes are lower. Because Clark County has grown, schools tend to be much newer than those in Portland, which translates into lower property taxes to support schools. There are huge financial reasons to live in Washington.

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        • Chris I September 15, 2017 at 2:58 pm

          Most people have fairly minimal investment income during their working years. As you get closer to retirement and/or retire, I totally agree. The tax burden is significantly lower, and large ticket items (with the exception of vehicles) can be purchased in Oregon. I live and work in NE Portland, so I am painfully aware of the Clark County folks and their spending/driving habits.

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        • Todd Hudson September 15, 2017 at 3:47 pm

          The education benefit is a big inducer to live up there. PPS is a pretty troubled school system.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty September 15, 2017 at 4:02 pm

            PPS is what you make of it. By some metrics it does poorly, but if you are the kind of parent who is proactive enough to move where the schools are good, your children will do fine at PPS.

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            • J_R September 15, 2017 at 4:16 pm

              I wish this were true. The entire emphasis of PPS is to increase the graduation rate. Kids who exceed standards are basically ignored. We have managed after great effort to find opportunities for our children to take advanced classes, but PPS put obstacles in our way at every stage. If the child does not fit the program, do not expect any help from PPS. There have been lawsuits filed against PPS for failing to do what is required for TAG identified students. I still vote in favor of every bond and funding issue on the ballot.

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            • TravelJill September 15, 2017 at 11:39 pm

              My neighborhood has parents who are ‘proactive’ enough to commute to charter schools (I’m going to assume you know we can’t all move and that it wouldn’t solve things if we could). That commuting creates the exact problems that cause things like freeway congestion- more road miles for something that in theory should be close to home. There ultimately should not be night and day experiences in PPS- one person should not be raving about the organic garden while another has ‘rubber pizza’ (an example from my Facebook feed). As for TAG… for all the good things we hear about Access- having a 99% standard is going to leave out an awful lot of kids.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty September 16, 2017 at 1:02 am

                The organic garden example you used is interesting; I live near Abernethy, which had, for a time, an organic garden and kitchen that made fantastic food for the kids. Most other schools served the standard fare, and eventually, PPS found a way to kill the program.

                I understand the desire to minimize the have/have not factor, but at the same time we need to provide room for motivated communities to improve their schools in ways that respond to local needs. That ability to improve local conditions is what keeps more families in PPS.

                It’s a dilemma. In the end, I tend to come down in favor of allowing the local community to improve things in their schools, even though it adds an element of inequity compared to schools in communities not so-motivated (or able).

                As for Access, well, it’s hard to have a school for high-performing kids if you let everyone in. And that school is far more accessible to those who live in the neighborhood that surrounds it, another potential equity challenge.

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  • bikeninja September 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I also find it a bit ridiculous that since Ted , ODOT and PBOT seems to consider this project a sure thing with only token resistance in the way they have decided to spend the money to resurface the Flint Bridge ( working going on right now). It seems like a waste of money to resurface the pavement on a bridge that you intend to tear down in the near future. I wonder how much bike lane improvement could have been done with the money being spent to resurface the doomed bridge ( according to the powers that be).

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    • John Lascurettes September 15, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Especially after they did a fog seal only a year or two ago on the overpass (didn’t they?).

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      • Art fuldodger September 15, 2017 at 3:35 pm

        Groundbreaking for this project is 5 years out, at best.

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  • benschon September 15, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Huh? Ted says people of color have testified “overwhelmingly” in favor of the freeway proposal. I counted one–Andre Baugh, who is a planning commissioner Ted invited to testify. Is there any evidence for other advocacy from the black community.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 15, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      I can’t find it either benschon.

      Wheeler has made a false statement. That’s excusable in some contexts because it was live radio… But in this case his office is making the same statement. I’ve asked them again to clarify where they got their information about the hearing and will hopefully have a response to share.

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  • benschon September 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Look out for the ODOT bait and switch. As soon as cost overruns happen, which they will, bike/ped amenities will be cut. Since those are also the “reconnecting community” elements, what’s left will be a freeway expansion and nothing more.

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  • Eric Leifsdad September 15, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Working with ODOT is never an opportunity, it’s a ticket to a boondoggle.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    For the record, here’s what happened at the September 7th City Council hearing. I’ve watched it twice now.

    – 13 people testified against the project.
    – 4 people testified in support of it.
    – Of those 4, only one person was an independent citizen and that person was white.

    Can someone who was at the hearing or listened to it online explain to me how the Mayor’s office can say that, “a handful of people of color testified and the majority of folks testified in support of the project which was in stark contrast to the people who testified in opposition. The evidence is in the recording of the council session.” ?

    At this point it appears that the Mayor and his staff are willfully bending the truth in order to advance their agenda. Happy to find out otherwise.

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    • Oy September 15, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Mayor Wheeler is a lying racist who sends his police force to attack journalists and legal observers. He needs to go.

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    • Babygorilla September 15, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      The recorded interview (in the hosts question, the explicit answer or the context of the discussed topic) did not indicate that the Mayor was limiting his statement about people testifying support for the project to the testimony before city council in a single hearing last week. I personally took it as a dovetail to the statement that this has been a state, region and city priority since at least 2012, so you’d need to look at more than a single city council hearing to assess the validity of that statement.

      The spokesperson’s response to your inquiry is disappointing as either uninformed or deliberately misleading if you and they were just speaking about the single city council meeting last week.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 15, 2017 at 2:32 pm

        Babygorilla,

        I hear you, but that doesn’t hold up. He knows the context here. And even if he claimed he was referring to testimony from five years ago (which would be a stretch imo)… It’s dishonest to characterize that testimony as being on this specific freeway project. That’s because the testimony in 2012 was on the N/NE Quadrant Plan, which had a much larger scope and was a planning process, not an infrastructure project. Big difference.

        And the fact that his staff refers specifically to 9/7 hearing, twice, is troubling.

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        • Babygorilla September 15, 2017 at 3:32 pm

          You claimed that the Mayor made a false statement because only 4 people out of 17 testified on Sept. 7 in support of the project. But nothing in the interview indicates that the Mayor was speaking about a single public hearing held last week in referring to “overwhelming” testimony in support from people of color. I don’t know if there has been other testimony since this project has been in the works since 2012 so I can’t assess whether this is a true statement, but at the same time, it can’t be labeled a false statement just based on the Sept. 7 hearing alone.

          The statement from his office, if it is specifically relates or refers to the Sept. 7 hearing, is concerning as the hearing video will speak for itself. So, scandal in the “coverup” rather than in the original statement from the Mayor and seems to warrant correction or clarification.

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          • David Hampsten September 17, 2017 at 1:59 am

            “Official” testimony can also be written. It may be that some people testifying only did it in written form, rather than oral in front of the City Council (most people are terrified of public speaking, so written, including emails, is a much easier option.) I’d check with the city clerk to get copies of written testimony, including emails.

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        • Momo September 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

          Jonathan, you claim in your article and again in this comment that the project was somehow hidden inside the N/NE Quadrant Plan and not really scrutinized by City Council or the public. But that’s not true. I was actually a companion document to N/NE Quadrant called the I-5 Broadway Weidler Facility Plan. It was adopted concurrently with N/NE Quadrant, but was a separate document, and received a ton of attention at the time, arguably more than the Quadrant Plan itself. Your own archives will reveal that there was quite a bit of controversy at the time, public discussion, etc. In the end, the advisory committee voted in favor and so did the PSC and City Council. It was not hidden away in a massive document the way you imply.

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    • Beeblebrox September 15, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      He may have been referring to written testimony, which still counts as testimony.

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  • Tom Hardy September 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    The Flint bridge and the caps will be the first to go. The ramp from the steel bridge will be resurrected. Any caps will be covered by parking garages for the Rose Quarter. these at an extra $150million in tax money. The project will double in cost and time because of fake cost overruns for equipment storage on site.

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  • rick September 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Fight back.

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  • PowerTed@gmail.com September 15, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Wow, Ted actually did something right for a change. Music to my ears while I was “driving” yesterday.

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  • Tom Hardy September 15, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    The caps for esthetic reasons will be the first to go because the trucks will need the extra overhead clearance for oversized loads at the interchange of I-5 and I-84. of course the parking structures will be built high enough to have their supports above street level.

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  • rachel b September 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Great reporting and a great public service, Jonathan. Thank you.

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    • Stephan September 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      One thing to add perhaps is that he apparently asked city staffers to draw plans about removing I-5 in east central Portland. His support of this project strikes me as quite contradictory to that.

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  • Bike Curious September 15, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Terry gets a lot of sunshine, he is a dark shade of tope.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson September 15, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    “Freeway Lids” as in lipstick on a pig! Now I am missing Charlie and Sam!

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  • Phil Richman September 15, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Anecdotally I went for a ride with a friend of mine yesterday who happens to use ridesharing services a lot in Portland. He claims he asks most drivers where they live and 1/2 of them say Clark County. I work downtown and we have a lot of ridesharing cars circling around and in traffic.

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  • rh September 15, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Portlandia….where the Car is the King. It was great until about 4 years ago.

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  • JeffS September 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I’m still trying to figure out why Ted, or anyone else, thinks the race of an opinion holder is relevant in any way.

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  • Tired avenger September 15, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    If they upgrade this section now, they might decide later that some other section is also woefully incapable of rejuvenating the local neighborhood.

    I’m very skeptical of this scheme since it only presents more surface area for cars to use.

    I’d like to see some sort of aggressive move get people out of their cars. Congestion pricing, higher gas prices or clean up the buses – and teach bus drivers not to drive like Paul Walker. What ever it takes to get people to think of a car as a last or at least second resort.

    They don’t need to abandon their cars to jump on a bike to make me happy. There’s many modes of transportation that don’t involve driving. Further, if you ask folks, they probably don’t even like driving.

    What is it going to take to make walking, busing or biking attractive enough that people finally get on board with none destructive transportation.

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  • SD September 15, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    I am not seeing how those “covers” will do much for anyone. I ride through that area everyday. Not many people live close by and I don’t see them becoming a destination- “Hey, lets go hang out on top of I-5.” Maybe I am missing something. If anyone is excited about the “covers,” I would love to know what they see.

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    • wsbob September 16, 2017 at 1:08 am

      Fair point, but maybe they could somehow make them usable for more than just supporting the streets above the highway, and as temporary bypass routes as doug klotz mentioned having learned. Link to his comment:

      https://bikeportland.org/2017/09/15/portland-mayor-rebuts-opposition-to-i-5-rose-quarter-project-in-radio-interview-243045#comment-6827513

      Someone, I think in one of the earlier bikeportland stories, mentioned for comparison, NYC’s highline park…repurposed abandoned elevated inner city rail line. By the graphic, these covers don’t look in any way similar or potentially as functional as the Highline. Seattle too, has a blocks long linear park over some of the city’s big thoroughfares. I’ve heard it’s been controversial over the years. Pictures of it I’ve seen, look great. Designed by the same guy that designed Porltand’s Forecourt and Lovejoy fountains…Lawrence Halprin.

      These covers are a far cry from either either of those projects. But maybe it’s more of in that direction that the city should be thinking. A lot of this project is going to be federal money, so why not use that money to have this project really help to improve and as Wheeler says, “restore” this neighborhood, rather than just have the amenities be a less than satisfactory, or more or less ineffective token gesture?

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    • Momo September 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      I’ve experienced lids in other cities and they can be great public spaces if designed well. Freeway Park in Seattle is pretty awesome, for example. The Rose Quarter area could use some open space. I do think they should connect the two lids to create one larger lid, otherwise people will still be able to hear/smell the traffic. But overall they can be a great amenity and way better than open trenches.

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      • wsbob September 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

        Momo…thank you for bring this up…I’ve had multiple comments stuck in moderation, at least one of them mentioning Seattle’s Freeway Park, and the Highline in NYC. Yes, the people involved in putting this project together, should at least be obliged to assemble a concept with a realistic cost estimate for expanded covers over the freeway.

        Connecting the two covers in the existing design is an idea that’s obviously worthy of consideration, but just how much cover area would need to be provided to have the space above the highways be usable, and for what purposes (keeping in mind the pollution arising from motor vehicle use on the highway below.).

        Everything today costs a lot of money. Lacking very good alternatives for inner city travel, Portland will probably have to go along with building this project. In exchange for support from people objecting to the additional exit lanes, it’s possible the sources of the larger part of the money involved in the project, could be eventually persuaded to come up with a better, more usable above the highway design than exists in the current design.

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    • David Hampsten September 17, 2017 at 2:02 am

      The covers in Seattle and on Mercer Island are worth checking out, next time you pass that way.

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      • SD September 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

        Thanks. Looking at these projects, it seems that Portland would have to make significant additional investments publicly and privately to get to the level of those covers. Looking at the drawings in https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/415776 and in this article it appears that the “green” space is cut up by streets and this space will be a small island next to Broadway (one of the more revolting streets in Portland) rather than connected to residential or pedestrian traffic. Also the entire area around the lids would have to change a lot through private investment before anyone would be drawn there. It still feels like ODOT is bike washing/ black washing one of their mega projects and Wheeler + council is playing along.

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      • Al Dimond September 18, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        Indeed, in and around Seattle, lid parks have become WSDOT’s go-to tactic to divide local opposition to freeway expansion. “But look at all this “open”/”green” space! These beautiful meandering paths! This clip-art of bicycles and couples holding hands! Don’t you want these things? You can only get ’em with 12 LANES OF MIGHTY CAR-CARRYIN’ FREEWAY!”

        Freeway Park is an interesting place. Where later and more suburban lids try to hide the freeway as much as possible, Freeway Park incorporates it into a big, brutalist public space. Similar to the pride that companies used to show when they painted their names on their smokestacks, Freeway Park tries to instill pride in the massive infrastructure of downtown. While attempts to integrate cars into the social realm of the city have mostly been horrible failures, Freeway Park mostly succeeded at integrating a freeway into a work of public art by holding the cars at a distance, aggregating and shaping their noise, keeping the park pedestrian-only and human-scale. Additionally, because of its natural inspirations and the practical constraints of the space, it’s cozy in ways that larger, more open brutalist spaces usually aren’t. It’s not totally successful. Accessibility is a challenge, and parts of it are dark and isolated at night… so it doesn’t substitute for normal public sidewalks in a hilly, damp, high-latitude city.

        The more suburban freeway-hiding lids can make cool parks if they’re big enough and separated from interchange activity. The ability to create these sorts of lids depends on terrain and interchange layout. Seattle’s I-90 lid (from 23rd Ave to the start of the proper tunnel under the ridge) is a great one, big enough to be a nice park and without interchange activity breaking it up. Mercer Island’s Aubrey Davis Park is similar. The lid to the east, near 84th Ave SE, has no roads on it and is a nice little haven. The other Mercer Island crossings are dominated by roads, and are just glorified bridges. I’d generally say the same of the WA-520 lids, especially the one at 84th, which is just a pretty interchange. The planned lid at Montlake/520 promises to be much the same, with merely adequate ped/bike connections and tons of interchange activity breaking up the promised park-like aspect.

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        • Momo September 19, 2017 at 1:28 pm

          If this project were trying to widen I-5 to 12 lanes and offering lids as mitigation, I would totally oppose this project. But that’s not what it is. It’s taking the freeway from 2 lanes in each direction to…wait for it…2 lanes in each direction! Wow, what a crazy expansion [sarcasm]. Yes, it adds a ramp on either side connecting I-84 to I-405. So if you prefer to count those as through lanes (I don’t), the most you can claim is 6 lanes. That’s a far cry from the 12 to 16 lane monstrosities that people are comparing this to.

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  • Mark smith September 16, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Covers reconnect a space. Period. Other than for drivers, freeways are terrible, horrible graveyards. They kill property values and people. You only needs two lanes tops for freight movement. Everything else is for sprawl. If the area is so valuable. Toll it. That and 205…let the freeways fund themselves.

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  • Terry D-M September 16, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Keep in mind I spoke in favor assuming:

    1) Congestion price first
    2) the surface street improvements remain intact
    3) we use this as an opportunity to study the implications of a Cascadia Subduction Zone Event, then rebuild while REMOVING the east bank highway from Mcadam to 84.

    This needs to include:

    Turning 405 into I 5
    A purple max line PSU to Goose Hollow allowing for a Beaverton to Clackamas direct line cutting 20 minutes and a transfer off the commute
    Limiting access points to downtown, could charge for entry
    Adding HOV Lanes citywide
    Adding a direct slip lane from the tunnels to the Ross Island thereby allowing
    A Lair Hill Neighborhood to be reconnected to the central city

    Then when the Big One hits we can take what little money we get from FEMA and build this smaller, streamlined highway system. Or we could just build it.

    Think of the SW And Burnside Bridgehead density possibilities. Think about the glorious waterfront park from OMSI to the Morrison. It might not get done for a generation, but it is certainly cheaper than a tunnel and would remove sigificantly more lane miles than this “mega-project” will add.

    I refuse to be taken out of context as this project is loaded with Orwellian Propaganda on both sides.

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    • Momo September 16, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      I actually favor an I-5 tunnel rather than removal because it could also include a light rail tunnel (connect Yellow and Orange on the eastside) and a freight/Amtrak tunnel (good for high-speed rail, removes at-grade crossings at 11th/12th, 8th, and Central Eastside).

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      • Terry D-M September 18, 2017 at 11:02 pm

        So would I, shall we guess 8 times the cost?

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  • Jim Lee September 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    In 45 years of Council-watching never have I seen a blunder like Ted Wheeler’s.

    I sat in the overflow room, where one gets much better video of the proceedings, when his specially invited swish blonde Barbie ditz rambled on about the effects of tsunamis in central Oregon–no joke–and wondered how she had got to testify after the first day’s hearings, but before ordinary folk who had been derogated from the first day.

    Mayor Ted thought that the testimony of Chris Smith, Joe Cortright, and others was so effective that it must be countered by official political and bureaucratic flack meisters.

    The tradition of our Council’s meetings is that bureaucratic flacks are accorded first place: they get to talk as long as they want about whatever they want. Ordinary citizens are put down, forced to be last, restricted to 2 or 3 minutes. This of itself is inherently disgraceful and derogatory.

    Wheeler doubled down on that.

    His reaction was more than condescending to the large number of citizens who oppose his preconceived, biased, prejudiced position on expansion of freeways. He most definitely will regret it.

    He at least ensured a Chloe-quality opponent for any reelection bid.

    But he might not get that far. There are many politically savvy and well connected opponents to the bizarre expansion of I-5, more than enough to instigate an effective recall campaign. He gratuitously insulted and antagonized them. Chris Smith, Joe Cortright, and many others now are supercharged. They have the ability and motive quickly to preempt the possibility of a second term.

    Dumb, Ted. Really, really, dumb.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty September 16, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      “swish blonde Barbie ditz”? Please!

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  • Ted Buehler September 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    “The narrative that’s out there right now that this is somehow a mega-project is sort of ridiculous. What we’re really talking about here is a quarter of a mile, two auxiliary lanes through the Rose Quarter to make the merge safer.”

    This is an interesting take on it.

    At $450M, it’s definitely a mega-project.

    With 2 additional lanes of 1/2 mile, it certainly isn’t a mega-improvement.

    The reason the Rose Quarter is clogged up is because all the freeways that exit it are clogged up. 405 S, 5 N, 85 E, and 5 S.

    Adding a lane in each direction won’t solve this problem.

    The problem is that far too many of Portlands new residents are driving, and not enough existing residents are switching to bicycling.

    Building out the Portland Bicycle Master Plan, on the other hand, will solve all of these problems.

    My 2 minute testimony to City Council is found here:
    2:51:00
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU71XYVN9_o
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/video/player/?tab=meetings
    Sept 14, 2017

    Ted Buehler
    Co-Chair, BikeLoudPDX

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    • wsbob September 17, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      “…The reason the Rose Quarter is clogged up is because all the freeways that exit it are clogged up. 405 S, 5 N, 85 E, and 5 S.

      Adding a lane in each direction won’t solve this problem.

      The problem is that far too many of Portlands new residents are driving, and not enough existing residents are switching to bicycling. …” buehler

      What’s your suggestion for a viable route to this section of I-5, for travel by all those Portland residents that drive this section of the interstate highway?

      I believe it may be that some of the congestion on this short section of the interstate highway, is due to people having trips within the city, not being able to access and exit easily, this section of the highway. Seems like that may be the reason for the additional exit lanes. Sure, those new lanes may stack up during high use times…but those motor vehicles won’t be on the highway. And accomplishing that may be the objective of the design.

      One downside, in addition to the big bill, is that the additional lanes pave over a lot more land…even though it may be debatable whether that land could be used for anything other than highway. Requesting or insisting on consideration of an expansion of the covers or lids above the highway, equivalent to the amount of square foot used by the additional lanes added by this project, could be a way to build significant usable space above the highway.

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      • Gary B September 20, 2017 at 11:20 am

        wsbob–you’re making a compelling case for removing on/offramps that serve local commutes. As of course the intent of the interstate highway system was not supposed to be local commuting, that would be appropriate. It’d also effect a significant change in land use patterns, dampening the desirability of suburbs due to the inability to commute in by interstate highway.

        On the contrary, minor improvements to the status quo will do little to nothing to alleviate the underlying issue with which you and I both seem to agree.

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        • wsbob September 23, 2017 at 8:18 am

          Gary…here’s a wild idea just for theoretical purposes, and to help illustrate to what extent local use of the interstate highway is contributing to congestion on that road: during commute hours am/pm, close the exits to the RQ, and maybe a few others which may be major contributors to congestion during those hours. The city could easily do this for still a lot, but relatively little money…big programmable LED signs and automatic gates…to study real world traffic and congestion results.

          Can you imagine the hue and cry such an ‘experiment’ would bring about? Imagine that such an experiment might have a lot more people driving through Downtown, instead of taking I-405 from NW and SW to I-5 to the RQ: Who would find that to be a great result? The thing is it seems nobody at present, has a great alternative idea to this project. Opponents of this project, definitely don’t have a good idea (congestion pricing? Of what value is congestion pricing for this roadway and route, without an alternative mode of travel that can serve the need being made by local traffic, of this interstate highway?).

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  • Tom September 17, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Make every day Cycle to Work Day: Avoid transport woes and commute by bike. See the London take on congestion avoidance.

    http://www.cyclist.co.uk/news/2230/make-every-day-cycle-to-work-day-avoid-transport-woes-and-commute-by-bike

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  • oliver September 18, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Why are engineering/architectural plans never ever oriented correctly?

    I’m baffled looking at that drawing.

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    • BVT_Biker September 18, 2017 at 11:12 am

      When things are planned from a satellite image, the details become lost in the noise. A stressful interchange by bicycle looks so innocent from 5000 feet.

      Planners need to “go to gemba” and plan from the ground; preferably by bicycle.

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  • Scott Mizée September 18, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    [blockquote] It’s unclear how two relatively small lids over the freeway will “reconnect the street grid for the historic Albina community”. ODOT has only described them as having vegetation and a former Portland Parks Bureau director said last week they’re likely to be “more of a liability than an amenity”. At City Council yesterday, one of Wheeler’s invited guests, Portland architect Matthew Arnold, testified that, “In my opinion those lids should be much larger if you really want to promote that kind of continuous urbanism.” [/blockquote]

    FYI: Matthew Arnold is not an architect (If you are talking about the Matthew Arnold AICP that I know of) I do value his opinion though as an Urban Planner and principal at SERA Architects.

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    • Scott Mizée September 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      Excuse me, Associate Principal at SERA.

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  • Evan September 18, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    It’s absolutely maddening to see a local politician making fact-free statements.

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  • Evan September 18, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Also, those pink lines on the satellite images certainly include an off-ramp and on-ramp, which I don’t think can honestly be called an “auxiliary lane” or a “shoulder.”

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  • Jim Lee September 18, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Kitty: I calls ’em the ways I sees ’em!

    Many decades ago I had a charming, cultured, brilliant lady friend from a town on the west coast of Norway. Her brother was the prize student of the famous physicist Richard Feynman.

    Coursing the byways of Kowloon with her was most convenient, for with the traffic stopped we could cross the streets anywhere we chose.

    Ted and I have different tastes.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 18, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    UPDATE: Here’s how the Mayor’s Office has responded to my questions to explain his assertion that an “overwhelming” number of people of color testified in support of the project.

    “The Mayor made a limited claim on Think Out Loud – based on his recollection of the hearing – that while there were not a lot of people testifying in favor of the plan during the first hearing, of those who did testify in favor, a majority were people of color. That’s all he said.”

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    • Evan September 18, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      Do they deny that he used the word “overwhelming”? Majority is strictly correct (albeit misleading), but “overwhelming” is certainly not.

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    • Dan A September 18, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      Does Spicer have a new job?

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