Author: landerson

  • Eastside/Westside Portland…since 1890!

    Portland has been trying to tie itself together across the Willamette River for a long time. East Portland, Albina, Sellwood and St Johns were separate cities until voters approved mergers in the years between 1890 and 1915. Geography drives this…its tough to expand to the west over mountain range with heights over 1,000 feet and only a handful of passes (Cornell Rd., Burnside, Canyon Rd., Slavin Rd). But the River is a challenge as well…wide, deep and swift…only Pittsburgh comes to mind when I try to think of American cities that span large rivers (OK, New York too), and the model of how to do this is Frankfurt am Main…but more of that later. To make matters worse, to get anywhere on the opposite side of the Willamette in Portland, there is not just the River, but also a freeway and a rail line that makes the crossing feel twice as long. Things started with the bridges of course, but the first effort to establish a “second downtown” or to extend the City’s downtown to the eastside was Ralph Lloyd’s vision. A wealthy California oilman, he started buying property on the inner NE side, proposing in the 20’s a grand hotel. The Depression killed that, but later a plan was hatched for a new civic center, which also came to nothing. The first “stake” on the eastside was Memorial Coliseum, approved by voters in the 50’s, and sited by City Council in the South Auditorium Urban Renewal Area (more accurately Negro Removal Area). Voters rebelled and moved it across the river (it became the City’s second Negro Removal Area, which was later followed by “I-5” and Emmanuel Hosp. “NRAs”…read more about all this in E. Kimbark MacColl’s The Growth of a City).

  • Very Articulate CRC Dissent

    Occasional Portland Transport contributor (and frequent commenter) Lenny Anderson had an excellent op-ed piece in Friday’s Tribune: “For change, reduce trips”

  • 1% of $2B is…

    Lenny passed along this press release about tree planting (PDF, 33K) in conjunction with the I-5 Delta Park project and notes: The I-5 TF recommended a 1% for Enhancement fund for any I-5 projects… This is the first one to be implemented with $ from the Delta/Lombard project. Is the Enhancement fund alive and well […]

  • Thousand Little Fixes

    Lenny passed on this pointer to an article about Seattle’s efforts to mitigate the closure of their bus tunnel. The meta-message is that lots of small operational improvements may have more impact on moving people effectively than large capital projects.

  • Arterial Bridge haunts CRC

    The Arterial Bridge option has been haunting the bi-state deliberations on the Columbia River crossing for some time. I was a member of the Governors’ I-5 Task Force…the so called “Trade Partnership”… (I cast the lone dissenting vote on the final report), and recall the night about mid way through our several years long discussion when someone, maybe it was me, suggested that what we really need across the River is a “Broadway Bridge.” This came in the wake of staff’s report that somewhere around a third of Interstate Bridge traffic was “local.” From my own perspective as resident of the eastside of Portland who crosses the Willamette River often, this was an “Ah Ha” moment, and it appeared that many colleagues on the Task Force shared this reaction. I cross the Willamette by car, bike, bus, MAX depending on time of day, trip destination, etc. Car trips may be over the Fremont Bridge or even the Marquam, but are often via the Broadway, Steel or Hawthorne Bridges. But the point is that I have lots of options and chose the one best suited to my purposes. Travelers across the Columbia have very limited options…they must use a freeway bridge, whether they drive, take transit or even bike. As the Task Force neared the end of its work, staff reported that the “8-2” option…a new eight lane freeway bridge with a new two lane arterial bridge…performed very well. At that point I made a motion, seconded by then Portland Mayor Katz, to include in the final TF recommendations for further study a “6-2-2” option…keeping the existing bridges and adding two 2-lane arterial bridges, one adjacent to the current bridges and the other at some point within the heavy rail bridge alignment. This motion “failed” on a tie, 10-10 vote. Interestingly enough some “yes” votes came from Washington side representatives, while three “No” votes were cast by those on the Oregon side…Port of Portland, ODOT and sadly, Metro. I was assured at the time that the “6-2-2” option would be included in any DEIS. Clearly the largely consensus based process of the Task Force had broken down and the Facilitator has simply ruled “tie means exclusion, rather than inclusion.” So in the end the “6-2-2” was sort of recommended, I voted “No” on the final recommendations and the powers that be did not invite me back to the expanded Columbia River Crossing effort…for which I am grateful.