They offered free coffee and donuts, and some bad news: The bridge they were giving it out on will be removed if the Oregon Department of Transportation ever breaks ground on their $450 million I-5 Rose Quarter project.
Volunteers from the No More Freeways coalition and Bike Loud PDX hosted the event with an aim to educate people about the project and add signatures to a petition they plan to deliver to Portland City Council this Thursday.
I was there for just a few minutes and was surprised to be greeted by Jim Howell and Ron Buel, two veterans of Portland’s past freeway fights. They were both eager to show me a strip of grassy hillside adjacent to the current I-5 freeway that separates thousands of polluting cars from students at Harriet Tubman Middle School. “That’s where ODOT wants to put the new lanes,” Buel said.
No More Freeways organizer Aaron Brown said nearly 100 people stopped to sign their petition (which is open until tomorrow at 2:00 pm) that reads: “The Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion is #NotAnImprovement to the local streets of North and Northeast Portland. This $450 million freeway is already demonstrably proven to not have any positive impact on congestion relief, will not adequately address the true safety concerns on Portland’s streets, will exacerbate existing unhealthy poor air quality near Harriet Tubman Middle School, and will hinder our ambitious carbon emission initiatives.” So far the petition has about 200 names.
Emily Guise is the co-chair of Bike Loud PDX and worked a shift at the event this morning: “We were able to raise a lot of awareness about the proposed removal of bridge and the other proposed bike/ped changes, as this was the first time many people had heard about it,” she shared with us in a follow-up email.
One of our readers contacted via Twitter said, “Biking past them today was the first time I’d ever heard of it! I would hate it if that bridge was gone. There really is no better way to get onto Broadway.”
ODOT’s plans are to remove the Flint Avenue bridge and replace it with new crossing that will connect between Hancock and Dixon.
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