Willamette Week highlights ODOT’s deceptive Rose Quarter freeway expansion plans

I-5 from the N Vancouver Avenue bridge.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It’s one thing for critiques of a project to swirl around transportation and advocacy circles; it’s another thing when a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter hops onto the story.

That’s what happened today with the Willamette Week’s publication of an article titled Questions About the Footprint of the I-5 Rose Quarter Project Intensify. The news that ODOT is being intentionally dishonest about the true width of their I-5 expansion plans through the central city is not new. What’s important about Willamette Week reporter Nigel Jaquiss doing a story on it is that it gets the idea more firmly on the radar of influential local electeds and makes them comment about it on the record.

And Jaquiss has also furthered the story in a significant way: By highlighting new documents from the nonprofit No More Freeways that show the potential width of the freeway is even wider than anyone previously expected. Here’s an excerpt from his piece (emphasis mine):

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Willamette Week: Portland’s Vision Zero efforts “not working”

“Portland’s streets are killing fields.”

That’s the opening salvo in a Willamette Week cover story that tries to make the case that the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Vision Zero efforts are failing.

Blindsided is a photo essay and reporting effort that will likely have a big impact on local transportation discussions for weeks and months to come. It uses personal stories from a range of Portlanders to illustrate the vast problem of unsafe roads and to poke holes in the City’s effort to fix them. The focus of the piece isn’t a surprise given that so far this year 35 people have been killed in traffic-related incidents. That’s one more than we recorded for all of 2018.

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Willamette Week’s bike issue looks to spice up Portland’s cycling complacency

The cover of the Willamette Week’s bike issue aims to show that biking is sexy.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s an annual tradition we look forward to every year: When one of our local weekly news outlets devotes an entire issue to bicycles and the people who ride them. This morning the Pulitzer Prize-winning Willamette Week released its Bike Issue and newsstands around the city are now adorned with this provocative cover. And under the covers of the issue is a suite of articles that will hopefully make people think critically — and positively — about biking’s role in Portland.

The lede is all about how Portland has gotten complacent:

“… don’t you kind of feel like we’ve been in a rut?

The percentage of bike commuters in the city has been stuck for the past three years. Adding more bike infrastructure has been a battle. Vandals felt empowered to destroy bike-share stations earlier this month.

It’s not just drivers to blame — Portland cyclists have become complacent… It’s time to spice things up.”

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