“Will the Green Loop have the bitterness of a bureaucrat’s utilitarianism and timeline, or will it be a place that embodies the slightly anarchistic spirit of Portland?”
“What is the Green Loop”?
That’s the question I got asked the most while tabling for the Friends of the Green Loop at the last Sunday Parkway as thousands of people streamed by. I always responded, “It is this, but all the time.”
Connecting the downtown park blocks across the Broadway Bridge through the Lloyd and over the soon to be built I-84 crossing on 7th through the Central Eastside and finally looping over the Tilikum crossing. It is a connected loop for walking, biking, reflecting, and enjoying our city. This past Sunday, tens of thousands of Portlanders got a taste of what that feels like on the Green Loop edition of Sunday Parkways. For me, it was a quiet exploration of the city full of the diverse faces of my neighbors.
Over 40 years ago, atop the Hawthorne Bridge Governor Tom McCall, facing growing protests, made the decision to remove Harbor Drive and replace it with a gigantic park. This decision, along with a few others, cemented Portland’s place in the history of great things cities have done. It made the 28th largest city in the United States a leader in urbanism and a draw for progressive-minded people from around the country who realize there is a better way then sitting in traffic.
The vision of the Green Loop is no less ambitious then removing Harbor Drive.
Will the Green Loop have the bitterness of a bureaucrat’s utilitarianism and timeline, or will it be a place that embodies the slightly anarchistic spirit of Portland? How ambitious will it be at removing parking from the cold dead hands of 1950s thinking business groups? How will marginalized groups of Portland help shape it? That future is up to you.
The Friends of the Green Loop is a grass roots non-profit advocacy group aimed at answering those questions. You can add your name as a friend and join us at our Green Loop socials.
Unfortunately, over the past few years our vision of how transportation should be used to connect us has been dominated by the Oregon Department of Transportation and their freeway expansions. It is time for us to offer an alternative vision. Sam Adams was the last elected official who understood the political force in Portland of visionary, non-automobile centric transportation projects. All those tens of thousands of people who enjoyed this past Sunday Parkway are ready to vote for leaders who articulate and deliver that vision.
Join the Friends of the Green Loop and let’s help make that vision a reality.
— Go By Bike (a.k.a. Kiel Johnson)
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