United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg will get a tour of Portland’s 82nd Avenue on Friday. The USDOT chief will be a special guest of U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Oregon Governor Tina Kotek. The trip is part of the Biden Administration’s Investing in America Blitz that aims to highlight the president’s economic agenda.
82nd Avenue is in the midst of a transformation from an “orphan” state highway to a more livable main street owned and managed locally by the City of Portland. After years of pushing from advocates, the car-centric urban arterial was transferred from the state to city ownership in April 2022 — one year after two people were killed by drivers at the same intersection in separate collisions within two weeks of each other while trying to walk cross the street.
Friday’s event will be a bus tour of 82nd Avenue that will include speeches by assorted bigwigs at Portland Community College Southeast Campus (82nd and SE Division). On the bus, Buttigieg, Kotek, and Blumenauer will get a narrated, “windshield tour” of the street from a list of advocates and local elected officials. The list of tour guides includes: TriMet GM Sam Desue, Metro Councilor and APANO Community Development Director Duncan Hwang, 82nd Avenue Coalition Manger and Oregon Walks Interim Executive Director Zachary Lauritzen, Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps, Portland of Portland Executive Director Curtis Robinhold, and Oregon State Representative Khanh Pham.
Here’s more from the press announcement:
The tour will highlight the challenges and opportunities for 82nd Avenue, as well as efforts to bring greater engagement and investment to the corridor. Tour narrators will acknowledge how historic inequities have shaped the street as we see it today. They will also describe a vision for a thriving business and residential corridor—along with the need for safety improvements, affordable housing, and more.
Following the event, Blumenauer and Buttigieg will take questions from the media.
In the last 15 months, work on the new era of 82nd Avenue has begun in earnest with public outreach events, renewed attention from officials and politicians and planning work from transportation agencies.
Since the transfer from the Oregon Department of Transportation to the Portland Bureau of Transportation has been completed, 82nd Avenue has attracted $185 million in funding from a mix of local, state, and federal sources. In addition to repaving and basic maintenance and safety changes, the street is likely to see a significant reconfiguration of its cross-section that could include a bus-priority lane and access for cycling.
US DOT Sec. Pete Buttigieg has won many fans in active transportation advocacy circles. His presence at 82nd Avenue will add to the considerable political tailwinds surrounding this project.