The idea behind Wonk Night is to go deeper into the issues, get questions answered, and connect with other people. Based on early reviews from last night’s event, it appears to have been a big success.
About 40 people braved a stormy evening and came together in the offices of Lancaster Engineering downtown to learn more about the I-5 Rose Quarter project’s environmental assessment (EA). We had drinks (thanks in part to an assist from The Street Trust!) and snacks (peanut M & Ms were a big hit) and plenty of copies of the relevant documents.
In the room was a healthy mix of Wonk Night regulars and new faces. There was a strong contingent of PSU planning students, a few agency staffers there on their own time, and activists and concerned citizens of all stripes. We had people like (poet) Alicia Cohen who’s just learning the ropes of activism, and veterans of freeway fighting like Jim Howell who was a key figure in stopping the Mt. Hood Freeway and founded Riverfront For People in 1969, the group that helped turn Harbor Drive into Waterfront Park.
Everyone in attendance expressed serious reservations about the project. Before we got started, I asked how many people in the room wanted to defeat it. All the hands went up. [Read more…]