I-5 Rose Quarter Project
“‘Improve’ [air quality] is not the standard we want… You could have technically an improvement, but it could be immaterial and the air is still not safe for and healthy for children.”
— Julia Brim-Edwards, Portland Public Schools Board member
Even though drivers on Interstate 5 through north Portland already emit unhealthy levels of toxic gases from their cars and trucks, the Oregon Department of Transportation wants to widen it and bring those vehicles even closer to the kids who attend Harriet Tubman Middle School.
“I trust ODOT to deliver the plan… They’ve made compromises. And I think we should move on.”
— Mary Nolan on I-5 Rose Quarter project (5/5/20)
The Oregon Department of Transportation has made a new promise regarding their controversial I-5 Rose Quarter project.
Asked Friday by the host of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud radio show about how much power the forthcoming Historic Albina Advisory Board (HAAB) would have to influence the project, ODOT’s Director of Urban Mobility Brendan Finn said they’d have, “A tremendous amount of power and influence in how this project shapes out. They’re going to help reshape it with us.”
Finn was a guest on the show along with Oregon Walks‘ Claire Vlach and John Washington, CEO of Flossin Media, and the chair of the Soul District Business Association — both of whom were members of the I-5 project’s Citizen Advisory Committee which was abruptly disbanded earlier this month. [Read more…]
14 former members of an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) advisory committee have signed onto a letter that says they’re “deeply suspicious” of the agency and that they were shut out of the process because they “didn’t play ball” on the I-5 Rose Quarter project.
As we reported on September 2nd, ODOT abruptly shut down their own Community Advisory Community (CAC) for the embattled project and decided to create a new committee in its place. ODOT claimed they made the move to, “Intentionally center Black voices,” but they’ve glossed over the fact that the now defunct CAC was highly critical of the project and on the verge of a mass resignation. It’s also worth noting that five of the 14 people who signed the letter — Liz Fouther-Branch, Cleo Davis, Craig L. Brown, Jasmine Gadie, and Andrew Campbell — were on the committee to represent Black and African-American communities and businesses. [Read more…]
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has just taken the rare step of closing down its own advisory committee in favor of a new one that will consist of mostly hand-picked members. It’s the latest twist in ODOT’s effort to resuscitate the highly controversial, $800 million I-5 Rose Quarter mega-project that’s been on life support for months.
While ODOT says the move is an effort, “To intentionally center voices of the Black community,” it also allows them to avoid difficult questions from skeptical and frustrated committee members, one of whom had already resigned and several others who planned to follow suit.
In a statement released today, ODOT said the 25-member Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will be shut down in favor of a “board of individuals with historic ties to Albina.” Albina is the neighborhood where thousands of Black people lived before ODOT destroyed their homes with the initial construction of Interstate 5. [Read more…]
Note and correction, 7/8: I originally reported this yesterday as PBOT crews defying the City Council work stoppage order issued by Mayor Ted Wheeler on July 6th. I made an assumption after seeing a large work crew in the same general at the same time and on the same date that ODOT had planned to do I-5 Rose Quarter work. That assumption turned out to be wrong. I have since confirmed the PBOT crews were not working on the I-5 project and were doing unrelated pavement maintenance work. I regret the confusion this post has caused. — Jonathan Maus.[Read more…]