Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 18th, 2020 at 4:23 pm
Tonight was supposed to be the first meeting of the I-5 Rose Quarter Project Community Advisory Committee. Due to public health concerns, it has been postponed and will be rescheduled in an online-only format (public will be invited, see updated details below). This is the committee foisted upon the Oregon Department of Transportation by their bosses on the Oregon Transportation Commission to try and get a handle on the thorny public debates surrounding the controversial project.
Back in January we encouraged readers to apply and it appears that a least a few of you did. I noticed lots of familiar names among the 147 applicants. In the end, ODOT selected 24 people. Here are their names, with a selected blurb from their application (followed by several other important project updates):
“I own Elmer’s Flag and Banner. I spend the majority of my waking hours managing my business in the Irvington/Lloyd area of Broadway. What happens next on this project directly affects me and my 15 or so employees. I also commute by bicycle and would appreciate the opportunity to do that (more) safely.”
Brad Baker, Eliot Neighborhood Association
“I am the chair of the Eliot Neighborhood Association’s Land Use and Transportation Committee… Right now, there are little to no local benefits, and lots of local downsides. I’d be interested in pushing it so that the opposite is true.”
Pastor Craig Brown, St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church
“As a Pastor, Government employee and retired military, I deal with challenges all the time… In this case how can the challenging issues be solved, what matrix will we use, What will be the group/team concept as we approach the issue. What’s our end-state?”
“I have been rooted in albina for almost 50 years… I live in the Humboldt neighborhood in a house I bought in 1976. The freeway is a piece of getting around and i am interested in helping to make this project the least painful process it can be.”
Andrew J. Campbell, Multnomah County Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH)
“To minimize harm to our most vulnerable communities, and demonstrate inclusion is tantamount to what I bring to the committee process.”
Robert S. Carroll, Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council (Union)
“In my opinion the Rose Quarter Improvement Project is needed to alleviate a number of issues that negatively impact the Rose Quarter.”
“I have grown up in this community and have watched it change drastically. Unfortunately the members it directly affects as not the ones who are making the decisions…”
Clint Culpepper, Portland State University
“This project has the potential to repair a neighborhood that has historically been negatively impacted by large projects. I see the opportunity for improvements in freeway traffic, neighborhood livability, and public transportation to be fantastic opportunities for the city of Portland.”
“[I want to join this committee] To contribute to the future of African American prosperity and overall future growth of the city of Portland.”
“I was born and raised in the very area under consideration and have had family members displaced due to I5 Corridor, Memorial Coliseum and Emmanuel Hospital.”
“I am an African-American resident of North Portland who has been directly impacted by the urban renewal of the area.”
Tristan Isaac, Bus Riders Unite
“My interest in participating in this community advisory committee is to bring a radical political lens to the planning process…”
Jon Isaacs, Portland Business Alliance
“The successful completion of this project has been identified as one of the top policy priorities by the members of the Portland Business Alliance for 2020… I am the former Chief of Communications of Public Affairs for Portland Public schools, and Executive Director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters… I have a detailed understanding of the importance of this project to the overall economic health of the region.”
“I am interested in advocating for greater investment in and focus on public transit and bicycle infrastructure…”
Olivia Lufkin, Portland Public School Student
(Application not available)
Bianca Montás (Youth)
“I would like to be more included within my community, especially in regards to big projects that will impact many people and communities- specifically people of color and low-income families.”
Brett Morgan, 1000 Friends of Oregon
“1000 Friends seeks to bring expertise in land use policy, particularly around Oregon’s Planning Goal 12 (transportation planning), and Goals 1 (citizen involvement in planning). (He’s also a Kenton resident.)
Christopher John O’Connor
“I work as a public defender and have thousands of past clients impacted by the history, traffic and public transportation of the impacted area.”
Shannon Olive, WomenFirst Transition and Referral Center
“Our black communities used to live in the project area, I truly believe that those jobs should be prioritized to our black communities.”
“I’m an active community activist in North and Northeast Portland, I care about the community that I live and work in.”
“I have lived in this neighborhood since 1956 and I have seen many changes and displacement.”
Jenny Taylor, Go Lloyd
“[At Go Lloyd] we have a vested interest in the project. Our board of directors includes representatives of large and small employers, residents of Lloyd and adjacent communities, property owners and managers, and public agencies. As a member of the CAC, I will represent their consensus viewpoint…”
Claire Vlach, Oregon Walks
“I’d like to help ensure that any redesign includes an attractive, safe, and convenient environment for pedestrians through the use of elements like continuous sidewalks, safe crosswalks, street trees, and pedestrian-oriented street lights. “
Diane E. Williams
“My hope is that as this project moves forward, it will make the surrounding area a priority in itself, and seriously pursue the potential for reconnecting some of those divides and healing those scars.”
ODOT says this committee will meet up to nine times per year. If you’re how much power the CAC will have, the answer isn’t clear. While ODOT has promised to, “work directly with the CAC to understand community concerns, values and perspectives,” it’s worth noting that every person on the roster agreed to a statement that said (in part, via a survey taken by all applicants): “I understand that… the purpose is to share information and provide advice, not make decisions.” Learn more on the official CAC website.
In related project news…
– Volunteers with No More Freeways are once again hustling to encourage everyone to submit comments to the OTC. As we reported last week, in addition to postponing a vote on the environmental analysis question until April 2nd, the OTC has opened a two week comment period. They want to know specifically, whether the OTC should recommend that ODOT do a full Environmental Impact Statement or stand pat with the existing (and less robust) Environmental Assessment. Yes, it seems odd to ask for more public comment on this as it should be crystal clear that most people who are paying attention — including most every major elected leader in Portland — feels the EIS is imperative. You can comment on the OTC website.
– Some activists think Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s executive order on climate change might provide legally-binding leverage to halt and/or delay the project.
– The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is ostensibly a 50/50 partner parter with ODOT on this project. But the bureau’s own Budget Advisory Committee has grave concerns about it. On March 6th, the committee signed off on a letter to PBOT Director Chris Warner (with cc’s to all five OTC members) calling for the full EIS, saying it’s, “Essential to ensure that the project aligns with Portland’s goals for climate change and equity.” The Bureau Budget Advisory Committee also said they support a project Executive Advisory Committee with, “… Oversight authority throughout the duration of the project.”
– Members of Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation are scheduled to take up the Rose Quarter project at their virtual meeting tomorrow (3/19). As detailed in this memo provided by Metro in the meeting package, they will discuss adding $106 million worth of project costs for the preliminary engineering and right-of-way phases into their Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Plan (MTIP) project list.
Congratulations! You’re all caught up!
UPDATE: ODOT just announced that the first project CAC meeting, an online meet-and-greet will be held March 25th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. They’ll use the Zoom meeting platform. More details on ODOT website.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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