I-5 Rose Quarter Project
“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…]
I-5 Rose Quarter project updates: City of Portland pulls all support, The Columbian weighs in, what comes next
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.'”
Despite a majority of Metro Council expressing concerns about the future of a nearly $800 million project that will expand the I-5 freeway through the Rose Quarter, only two out of seven members voted against giving the Oregon Department of Transportation $129 million to continue working on it.
The 5-2 vote came at a meeting just hours after the Oregon Transportation Commission gave ODOT permission to move forward with the project without the rigorous environmental analysis called for by hundreds of Portlanders, many organizations and key local elected officials including Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. On the Metro Council agenda was a resolution to greenlight funding that allows ODOT to do two things: Purchase “right-of-way” parcels in the Rose Quarter where they’ll stage future construction equipment; and continue to pay expenses related to project development, outreach and preliminary engineering, and so on. (It’s the same funding passed by a Metro advisory committee last week.[Read more…]