Huge news from the Portland Mercury and Willamette Week: The nonprofit Albina Vision Trust has decided it will no longer support the Oregon Department of Transportation’s I-5 Rose Quarter project and they will no longer participate in an advisory role.
In a tweet posted today, reporter Blair Stevnick wrote, “Albina Vision Trust is withdrawing from all planning on ODOT’s Rose Quarter 1-5 project, saying that ‘Despite our good faith efforts, we do not see our engagement resulting in meaningful changes to the project or its anticipated outcomes.'”
Metro President Lynn Peterson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have found a politically convenient way out of the predicament posed by the very unpopular I-5 Rose Quarter Project: the Albina Vision plan. Drowning in a sea of controversy around the idea of expanding a freeway through our central city, both leaders have made this plan central to their position on the project.
As the clock ticks ever closer to the end of the official comment period for the I-5 Rose Quarter project Environmental Assessment, another major voice of concern has been raised.
Today Albina Vision Trust Board Chair Rukaiyah Adams sent a letter (PDF) to the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration requesting a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Adams faults ODOT faulty freeway lid plans and says the agency has not gone far enough to assure the community that past injustices wrought by the construction of I-5 won’t be repeated this time around.
The letter was addressed to ODOT’s Major Projects Manager Megan Channell and FHWA Acting Environmental Manager Emily Cline.
Here’s the text of the letter: [Read more…]
Fresh off a public hearing dominated by opposition to their I-5 Rose Quarter project, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is now hearing new concerns from the Portland Public Schools Board.
In addition, the leader of the Albina Vision project, Rukaiyah Adams, made public statements about the project at an event hosted by the Portland Parks Foundation last night. And No More Freeways PDX has filed a formal request for an extension to the current comment period for the project’s Environment Assessment on grounds that ODOT withheld crucial data and gave the community only 18 days to analyze it.
Here’s a rundown on each of those fronts…[Read more…]
“Taking on ODOT for buildable caps over I-5. I used to be a nice, middle-aged lady. But, Albina has turned me into a fighter. I’m not backing down.
— Rukaiyah Adams, Albina Vision
There’s a storm brewing over the I-5 Rose Quarter project and it’s not just coming from a growing number of anti-freeway activists.
The Oregon Department of Transportation wants to widen the freeway that slices through the heart of what was a thriving community in the 1950s. The agency hopes to add several lanes and expand the freeway’s footprint in an attempt to speed up traffic and reduce congestion. But there’s another vision for the area that is more about living and less about driving.
As we shared in 2017, the Albina Vision wants to recreate the lost grandeur of dense, walkable and bikeable neighborhood that once flourished before I-5 and other developments destroyed over 700 homes and many businesses. That vision also includes a significant amount of housing — much of which would be built on top of I-5.
One of the main things standing in the way of that vision is ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter project.
In the early 1950s, the Rose Quarter was a neighborhood of homes, churches and stores. It was a thriving part of our city where many people lived and worked. But by 1958 all the houses were razed to make way for the Memorial Coliseum and eventually the Moda Center. Within the same decade hundreds more homes would see the same fate as city planners gave Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Interstate 5 priority over housing and businesses. These “urban renewal” projects in the Albina corridor had a devastating impact to the community and many of the scars — on human lives and infrastructure — remain unhealed.
A bold new plan unveiled for the first time on Friday seeks to restore that neighborhood — and ideally, the community that went along with it. The “Albina Vision” would develop the 30-acre Rose Quarter with housing and businesses that respects history and embraces the future.
On Friday two of the project’s main backers — Rukaiyah Adams, chief investment officer with the Meyer Memorial Trust and Zari Santner, a former Portland Parks Bureau director — laid out their vision to a crowd of about 70 electeds, planners, advocates and government staffers during a stop on the annual Policymakers Ride.