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Portland groups now part of national ‘Freeway Fighters Network’

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The members of the Freeway Fighting Network. Green icons indicate highway/ramp removal efforts, purple icons indicate highway caps and the crossed out circles indicate expansion prevention campaigns. (Source: FFN)

It’s been a big couple of weeks for Portland’s anti-freeway activists. Last week, the New York Times covered our local coalitions fighting against the Oregon Department of Transportation’s I-5 Rose Quarter freeway expansion, and this week marks the year anniversary of the Youth vs ODOT anti-freeway protests.

“Freeway expansion is antithetical to any coherent urban policy in America.” — Aaron Brown, No More Freeways

Now, Portland-area activists with No More Freeways and the Albina Vision Trust are part of a new effort to establish a national movement of anti-freeway activists. The Freeway Fighters Network (FFN), which launched this week, will track the more than 60 local anti-freeway efforts and coordinate national-level collective action.

The FFN map illustrating all the different groups fighting freeways is a powerful visual and provides more information about what, exactly, these groups are protesting. “Anti-freeway” can mean many different things, from pushing for lids over existing freeways, to morphing interstates into boulevards, burying freeways or preventing expansions, stopping projects completely, and so on.


Aaron Brown at a freeway fighting protest in 2019. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Aaron Brown, a co-founder of No More Freeways, tells BikePortland he sees this as the opportunity to build a national understanding that “freeway expansion is antithetical to any coherent urban policy in America.”

“I’m eager to work with CNU and other community partners to ensure the lessons learned in Portland’s freeway fights inspire visions for alternatives to freeway expansions in communities across the country,” Brown says.

Earlier this month, anti-freeway activists from different parts of the U.S. (who are now represented on the FFN map) came together at the YIMBYtown conference to share their stresses and successes.

And Brown says now is the perfect time to work together and make big strides against the freeway industrial complex.

“With many of these highways reaching the end of their designed lifespan, it is time to repair the damage and advance a more sustainable paradigm for American transportation.”

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