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The Oregonian article on the Lake Oswego streetcar

Oregonian front page article on the Lake Oswego transit project.

[updated with some additional info]

This morning’s Oregonian has a front page article on the Lake Oswego transit project. The article mainly focuses on the funding and politics associated with the project:

  • The article notes the presence of significant organized opposition from Dunthorpe residents, including former senator Bob Packwood, and Multnomah County commissioner Deborah Kafoury.
  • The article discusses the price tag in detail. Project supporters may object to the article’s headline (“Is $458 million streetcar worth it”); the article breaks down the costs and funding sources–including the Willamette Shoreline ROW and some other publicly-owned properties whose value will be considered for a federal match. Open questions include how much value the land will be appraised at for matching purposes (opponents of the project are hoping the federal match will be lower; in order to make the local contribution unaffordable), and whether a 60% match is likely. The project cost is well below the $1 billion cutoff for a 60% match (this is why Milwaukie MAX to only get 50%); and there’s some concern that the federal New Starts program might not view a streetcar project as within its scope. (Metro expects a 60% match).
  • The relationship between the project and developer Williams/Dame & White, who are developing the proposed Foothills project in Lake Oswego, which would anchor the line, are examined.
  • Next steps in the project: The city of Lake Oswego will vote on the project on April 19, in what is expected to be a close vote; Portland will vote on it on the 20th, where it is expected to easily pass.

Also, the City of West Linn wants in on the project, citing concerns about the project affecting West Linn bus commuters on the 35 (who would be forced to transfer once the project is completed), and of potential future traffic impacts. The city of West Linn is not calling for the project to be shelved–one of their concerns is making sure that a future extension south is not foreclosed–but wants to have input on the project’s development.