We’re at that awkward stage in a highway mega-project when the agency in charge is under a cloud of controversy and still (after years of planning) doesn’t have an official endorsement to start construction, but still wants money to keep the project moving forward.
Of course I’m talking about the Oregon Department of Transportation and the I-5 Rose Quarter Project. And it seems whenever I do, there’s growing skepticism and concern from regional leaders about it.
The event was held at the vintage decor shop Urbanite on SE Grand Ave. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Business for a Better Portland hosted its first policy event of the year last night. The up-and-coming association is looking to be a counterbalance the impact of the Portland Business Alliance, a more conservative group that has had a vast — and some would say deleterious — influence on city transportation policy over the years. [Read more…]
Oregon State Rep Janelle Bynum last night. Seated are Congressman Earl Blumenauer and County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Transportation is such a hot topic in east Portland right now that, “We need to be inside with the air conditioning,” said Lee Cha last night in the gym of the Immigration & Refugee Community Organization, located near the intersection of 102nd and Glisan. Cha, IRCO’s executive director, welcomed a panel of three lawmakers to a public forum on the topic: County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Oregon State Representative Janelle Bynum and U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer.
The trio shared their perspectives on the issues and were asked questions by the audience.
Blumenauer played emcee and kicked things off. A veteran bike advocate and the face of cycling in Congress, Blumenauer knows the big picture here: He went to high school nearby and served as both a county and city commissioner before moving to D.C.
One-by-one he checked off some of the big problems. “Since the first light rail and a few freeway projects, there’s been very little federal investment east of 82nd,” he said. “And the 205 freeway was a mixed blessings in terms of what it did to the neighborhoods it was dropped into. It took a lot of time for the communities to recover… This area has been sort of a stepchild.”
Blumenauer added that “orphaned highways” like Powell and 82nd are “stuck in limbo” and “aren’t much different from when I went to high school out here and that was a long, long, long time ago.” [Read more…]
From safety upgrades on Division to funding for Powell Blvd, there’s a lot to talk about. (Pictured: Bike Loud PDX activist Jessica Engelman at a demonstration in December 2016.) (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
A week from today three politicians will come together to learn more about transportation issues facing east Portland. And there’s a lot to talk about.
The event was spurred in part by a flurry of legislative and planning activity on two of east Portland’s most infamous and important arterials: Powell and Division. The passage of a new statewide transportation law earlier this month included $110 million in funding for outer SE Powell Boulevard and a mandate to transfer its management from the state to the city. Advocates with the East Portland Action Plan have already started organizing to make sure these funds are spent in accordance with the Outer Powell Conceptual Design Plan which calls for creation of an “urban main street” with separated bikeways throughout. [Read more…]
Bob Stacey (Metro Council), Sarah Iannarone (Portland Mayor), and Sam Chase (Metro Council) have all been endorsed by Bike Walk Vote. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Bike Walk Vote, the political arm of Portland’s transportation reform movement, wants to get you some face time with this year’s city council, county commission and Metro council candidates. [Read more…]