“To me these highway expansions represent an old way of doing business.”
— Juan Carlos González, Metro Council
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.
What’s really going on with the controversial I-5 Rose Quarter project?
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.
“Portland’s future is female,” reads the headline of the Portland Mercury after last night’s primary election.
In local, regional, and statewide offices, Portland voters made it clear last night they want strong leaders with new ideas and different approaches to solving our problems. And it just so happens many of them are women.
If you want to lead the agency that oversees the entire Portland metro region, you need an intimate understanding of the cities within it. What better way to gain that knowledge than from the seat of a bicycle?