November Email Update

In this issue:

  • Rose Quarter Revised Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Released
  • Historic Albina Advisory Board Recruitment
  • Have Your say at the Online Open House
  • Rose Quarter Recap: Project Committees
  • A Rose by Any Other Name: Featured Community Voices
  • Rose Quarter Underground: Looking at Conditions from the Bottom Up
  • About the Project

Rose Quarter Revised Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Released

On November 6, 2020, the Federal Highway Administration issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project, joined with a Revised Environmental Assessment. This marks the completion of the environmental review phase under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the project and provides direction to proceed with designing the project.

 

 

Applications Now Open for Historic Albina Advisory Board

We are now accepting membership applications for the Historic Albina Advisory Board to help advise ODOT and the Executive Steering Committee about project design and future development of the historic Albina neighborhood. This volunteer board will include Black Portlanders and community members with strong connections to historic Albina who will meet approximately monthly through the design phase of the project.

The purpose of the board is to elevate voices in the Black community to ensure that project outcomes reflect community interests and values and that historic Albina directly benefits from the investments of this project.

Ericka Warren will facilitate the board. Learn more about Ericka below.

If you are interested in serving, please apply for one of the six open positions. Applications will be accepted from Monday, November 9 through Monday, November 30.

 

Rose Quarter Recap: Project Committees

Executive Steering Committee

The Executive Steering Committee met online on October 26. The committee adopted their charter and the project’s values and heard about the Independent Highway Cover Assessment process and the committee’s role in guiding that work. In the months ahead, the process will involve a series of work sessions with other stakeholder groups. The online meeting was open to the public. The committee also received a project update from Megan Channell, Project Director. View a video of the meeting and download materials at the project website.

The Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) convened the Executive Steering Committee in consultation with ODOT and regional partners to advise the OTC and ODOT on I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project decisions. The committee advises on principles and values to guide the Project, design elements such as highway covers, equitable engagement strategies, and other considerations. OTC Vice Chair Alando Simpson is the committee chair and Dr. Steven Holt facilitates the committee meetings. The next meeting will take place on Monday, November 23, 2020. Check back on the project’s events page for more information.

screenshot of ESC members during a Zoom meeting

 

Have your say at the Online Open House

You’re invited to join us at an online open house from Monday, November 16 through Sunday, December 6 to learn about and influence the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project. We’re sorry we can’t meet in person right now, due to COVID-19 safety measures, but we want to share what is currently happening with the project and hear your feedback on what happens next.

Your feedback, combined with the work with our advisory committees, the Independent Cover Assessment, and ongoing conversations with our partners and stakeholders will help us understand community expectations, inform future design decisions, and ensure we deliver on our commitment to reconnect historic Albina in a way that reflects our values. We are working with the community to develop and build a transformative project that addresses congestion, safety and community connections, and leads to economic opportunities, especially for our African American community members.

Visit the events page for more information on the online open house

 

A Rose by Any Other Name: Featured Community Voices

Meet Ericka Warren – Strategic Advisor and Historic Albina Advisory Board (HAAB) Facilitator

 

Ericka Warren headshot

 

 

 

“Portland is my home, Albina is my community and my ultimate goal is to see the community benefit.”

 

 

 

 

This month we are excited to spotlight a fantastic member of the community and project team. Today we hear from Ericka Warren, the new facilitator for the Historic Albina Advisory Board and project consultant with Try Excellence, LLC. On October 29, 2020, we had the opportunity to virtually sit down with Ericka to learn more about her history and her involvement in the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project.

How long have you lived in Portland?

My family has lived in Portland for three generations. I was born and raised in Portland and while I have also spent some time living outside of Portland – in Seattle, Detroit, and Dallas – I came back home to Portland nine years ago.

What motivated you to become involved with the Executive Steering Committee and Historic Albina Advisory Board (HAAB)?

ODOT brought Try Excellence, LLC to the table to help in strategy development as it pertains to community relations, building connections and facilitation of conversations with the agency and the Black community. We felt that this was a great opportunity to help influence the potential for growth and change in this area.

 

The Historic Albina Advisory Board really developed as a result of wanting to have measurable outcomes associated with the ideal of elevating the voices of the Black community and those that were historically harmed by past transportation projects. The Historic Albina Advisory Board is an attempt to stay aligned with the project’s values and to really allow those with deep ties to Albina and who have been impacted to be able to influence the project design.

If you wanted the community to know one thing about your job, what would it be?

That I belong to them – that I am them. My interest is to see the community benefit. What’s been great about this season in my life is I get to do something I’m passionate about. It is more than a commitment and obligation, more than just a job. It represents my family and those elders in the community who sacrificed before me. It’s an opportunity to influence, educate, and bridge gaps.

A fun fact about yourself?

It may surprise people that I majored in Asian Studies/Japanese at the University of Oregon. Most people probably wouldn’t expect that. Japanese and other languages were tonal for me, meaning I could easily mimic the tone. Being a singer growing up, the tonal nature of Japanese was easy. After I finished school, I went out on the road singing and spent a number of years touring as a professional singer. It’s fun for my daughter because we get to speak a little Japanese as she’s really into Anime.

 

A gracious arigato to Ericka Warren for her leadership!

 

Rose Quarter Underground: Looking at Conditions from the Bottom Up

ODOT contractor crews are out in the project area to collect critical data to inform project design.

ODOT contractor crews are out in the project area to collect critical data to inform project design. The following types of field work are scheduled to take place:

Activity Description Duration
Utility mapping Locate, map and record data on underground utilities in Project area June – December 2020
Soil sampling Soil sample collection in Project area July – November 2020

 

 

About the Project

The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project is committed to supporting a safer, more just and inclusive Albina community and greater Portland region. The project will make local, regional, and international travel more predictable and reduce frequent crashes on the I-5 corridor, supporting Oregon’s economy, and will create new community connections to support future economic development. We must ensure the historic Albina community benefits from the investment of this project.

The project will improve community places, spaces, and connections. It will reimagine highway overpasses to complement local street improvements that reconnect neighborhood streets. It will enhance public spaces while supporting opportunities for economic development and wealth generation for the Black community, including land redevelopment opportunities. On I-5, the project will add auxiliary lanes and shoulders to improve travel reliability and safety and will smooth traffic flow between I-84 and I-405 where three interstates meet at the top traffic bottleneck in Oregon and 19th worst bottleneck in the nation. The project is led by the Oregon Department of Transportation. The Oregon State Legislature identified the project as a key transportation investment in 2017.

Learn more about the project and sign up for email updates at:

www.i5RoseQuarter.org

 

 

In response to Governor Kate Brown’s directive to “Stay Home, Save Lives,” all Project public meetings are being held on a virtual platform. We are committed to maintaining accessibility and transparency for all public meetings. Look to the Project website for opportunities to get involved. Visit the agency’s COVID-19 web page for more information.

For ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) or Civil Rights Title VI accommodations, translation/interpretation services, or more information call 503-731-4128, TTY 800-735- 2900 or Oregon Relay Service 7-1-1.

Si desea obtener información sobre este proyecto traducida al español, sírvase llamar al 503-731-4128.

Nếu quý vị muốn thông tin về dự án này được dịch sang tiếng Việt, xin gọi 503-731-4128.

Если вы хотите чтобы информация об этом проекте была переведена на русский язык, пожалуйста, звоните по телефону 503-731-4128.

如果您想瞭解這個項目,我們有提供繁體中文翻譯,請致電:503-731-4128。

如果您想了解这个项目,我们有提供简体中文翻译,请致电:503-731-4128。

I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project receives final environmental decision from the Federal Highway Administration

November 6, 2020

For more information, contact: April deLeon-Galloway, 971-233-6514 april.m.deleon@odot.state.or.us

PORTLAND, OR – Today, the Federal Highway Administration issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project, joined with a Revised Environmental Assessment. This marks the completion of the environmental review phase under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the project and provides direction to proceed with designing the Build Alternative.

In coordination with the Federal Highway Administration, and in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Oregon Department of Transportation published the Revised Environmental Assessment and the Finding of No Significant Impact for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project. The Revised Environmental Assessment includes copies of all comments received during the 45-day comment period on the 2019 Environmental Assessment and a summary of ODOT’s and FHWA’s comment responses. In direct response to several public comments, including comments from the City of Portland, the project team took action to modify the design concept to avoid impacts to the Eastbank Esplanade. The southbound segment of Interstate 5 south of I-84 has been modified such that it no longer encroaches over the Eastbank Esplanade. With this change, the project will no longer require construction in the Willamette River.

Also in direct response to partner agency and stakeholder feedback on the Environmental Assessment, in January 2020, the Oregon Transportation Commission directed ODOT to conduct an environmental peer review of the project’s Environmental Assessment analysis on air quality, noise and greenhouse emissions. The peer review panel included air and noise quality experts from around the country who reviewed ODOT’s methodologies and findings to determine if they were conducted correctly. The Peer Review Report agreed with ODOT’s original findings for air quality, noise, and greenhouse gas emissions impacts for the project and did not suggest that ODOT conduct additional environmental studies. This Peer Review helped support the publication of the Revised Environmental Assessment .

The Project Director, Megan Channell acknowledged while this is a milestone for the project there is still more work to do. “While this closes the chapter on the Environmental Assessment, now the real works begin,” she stated. “We are excited to work with the community and our project partners to design and build a project that provides the most community benefit. Moving forward we are centering the project’s process to elevate the voices of the Black community.”

The next chapter includes convening three advisory bodies, the Executive Steering Committee, the Historic Albina Advisory Board, and the Community Oversight Advisory Committee. The Executive Steering Committee convened in May 2020 and is made up of elected and local leadership. The Historic Albina Advisory Board is still being formed but will be made up of community members with ties to historic Albina. Both groups will help shape the look and feel of the highway covers and local streets for the final project, and will meet on a regular basis moving forward. The Community Oversight Advisory Board convened in March 2019 and provides an oversight for the project’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and workforce program.

“The Project is only at 15% design,” said Channell, “and these three committees along with extensive and intentional outreach to community members will guide ODOT and inform the project moving forward.” In addition to the outreach, ODOT announced hiring a Construction Manager/General Contractor team that will unlock opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises which includes minority- and women-owned businesses.

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To read the Report which includes Appendices, please visit: https://www.i5rosequarter.org/library/