OTC moves I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project forward

PORTLAND – Today, the Oregon Transportation Commission approved continuing the federal Environmental Assessment process for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project.  The Commission directed ODOT to continue to work with local government partners on a set of actions the Commission approved in January.  Those include:

  • Retaining a consultant to develop alternative design concepts for highway covers over I-5 in the Rose Quarter area capable of supporting multi-story structures;
  • Conducting a peer review of the project’s air quality and noise reports with a panel of experts to assure air and noise quality analysis and mitigation measures are sufficient;
  • Continuing to work with the Executive Steering Committee made up of local government officials and other community leaders;
  • Through minority-owned business and workforce programs, provide job opportunities in the Albina area;
  • Consulting with the Community Advisory Committee and Community Opportunity Advisory Committee on local community concerns and needs; and
  • Implementing congestion pricing in the Rose Quarter corridor to manage traffic demand and finance multimodal transportation improvements.

“We are pleased with the progress we are making in establishing forums and investing in efforts to partner with Portland area leaders on achieving a comprehensive vision for the Rose Quarter area,” said Commission Chair Robert Van Brocklin.  “The Rose Quarter freeway improvements will reduce congestion, improve safety, and allow new transit facilities on the worst traffic bottleneck in the state and one of the most congested freeway corridors in the country.  The needs in the Rose Quarter area are extensive and varied.  We need to work collaboratively to achieve a comprehensive solution.”

Commissioner Sharon Smith from Bend noted, “We appreciate all the community input and share the interests of restorative justice and environmental progress.  The decision to continue an Environmental Assessment recognized the substantial work done by ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration in defining the scope and appropriate path under the National Environmental Policy Act.  We have been directed by the Legislature under House Bill 2017 to deliver the Rose Quarter Project.  We will do so in collaboration with the local community.”

Rose Quarter Project Director Megan Channell observed, “This project is only 15 percent designed.  We are ready to undergo a robust and intentional community engagement process to help address historic harm to the Albina community and create a forward leaning project that will serve the community for the long-term.”

Learn more about the project at the project website, www.i5rosequarter.org.

Read the full news release.