I-5 Rose Quarter Project
The Oregon Transportation Commission has reached a crossroads when it comes to the I-5 Rose Quarter megaproject.
The governing body of the Oregon Department of Transportation is poised to make a decision later this month about whether to drive ahead with the estimated $500 million project or whether to hit the brakes and perform a more thorough assessment of its environmental impacts.
Thus far, ODOT’s analysis of the project’s potential impact to the earth and to our community has been severely lacking. And that’s not just according to activists who oppose the project. Back in April, Metro’s senior planner described ODOT’s work on the project “inadequate and potentially misleading.”
In August, ODOT hinted that they’d heed the groundswell of community leaders and voices calling for a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as part of the National Environmental Protection Act process they’re mandated to comply with. To date, ODOT has completed only an Environmental Assessment (EA) which is a less robust process.
What’s really going on with the controversial I-5 Rose Quarter project?
In what would be a stunning development, the Willamette Week is reporting that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) plans to do a full Environmental Impact Statement for their I-5 Rose Quarter Project.
Critics of the proposed $450 million-dollar expansion of Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter are convinced state transportation officials are prepared to conduct a full-blown environmental impact study for the project.
They drew that conclusion after an Aug. 7 meeting with senior Oregon Department of Transportation staff and two Oregon Transportation Commissioners at the downtown Radisson Hotel on Southwest Broadway… Moving toward a full environmental impact study would mark a major shift and give critics more time and leverage to shape the project to their liking.
Senate Democrats learned what mayors are doing to combat climate change during the first meeting of their Special Committee on the Climate Crisis held today on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was one of the five mayors invited to offer testimony and answer the Senators’ questions.
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.
The kids know.
In yet another piece of very good news for people who are concerned about the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plans to expand Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter, Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly released a pointed statement via Facebook about the project on Tuesday evening.
Eudaly said she’s joining the Portland Public Schools Board, Albina Vision, and other groups in calling for a more thorough analysis of the project’s impacts to the community. “I believe it’s more than called for,” she wrote, referring to her belief that ODOT should complete a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) instead of just an Environmental Assessment (EA, learn more about the differences between the two here).
The Portland region’s metropolitan planning organization has poked more holes in the I-5 Rose Quarter project. Big ones.
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…]