In this issue

  • Independent Cover Assessment: Final Online Open House #3 Coming Soon!
  • Meet the Changemakers: Dr. Steven Holt, Try Excellence, LLC
  • Exploring the Southbound Realignment Design Option
  • Upcoming Joint Committee Meetings
  • Rose Quarter Recap: Committee Updates
  • Questions? Check Out Our New Project Fact Sheets!
  • Rose Quarter Underground: Looking at Conditions from the Bottom Up

Independent Cover Assessment: Final Online Open House #3 Coming Soon!

Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in one of the most impactful design elements of the project.

The Independent Cover Assessment’s second online open house in a series of three recently closed on May 10. Thank you to everyone who helped envision how to best create economic and community development opportunities that knit the Albina community together! This open house asked community members to review and refine potential development scenarios to assess how the design of each scenario supports the community’s vision and restorative justice outcomes.

Mark your calendars for Online Open House #3 starting on Saturday, June 5!

At the third and final online open house, participants will review final cover concept scenarios and rank them in relation to the community’s values and feasibility. Feedback from this open house will help develop the final recommendations for the design cover concepts. Learn more about the independent cover assessment and upcoming engagement opportunities here.

Meet the Changemakers: Dr. Steven Holt, Try Excellence, LLC

Explore how the project is transforming ODOT’s business processes and lifting up people of color through economic opportunities on the recently-launched Success Stories webpage.

“We have a chance to do something good, something bigger than ourselves. These opportunities don’t come along every day. When they do, we must seize them for generations to follow.”

When the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project established its Executive Steering Committee, it needed a strategic advisor with ties to the historic Albina Community, along with a talented facilitator to guide the way. Dr. Steven Holt of Try Excellence, LLC emerged as the perfect fit. With deep roots and lived experience of Black Portlanders and familiarity with governmental land use processes, his pedigree is custom-built to lead the Executive Steering Committee. But the real magic lies in his strategic approach and facilitation style which centers committee members’ shared humanity.

Exploring the Southbound Realignment Design Option

Last year, the project design team identified technical challenges with reconstructing the Eliot Wall, the retaining wall near Harriet Tubman Middle School. In late January, following an initial analysis by the project Construction Manager/General Contractor − which joined the team in late 2020 − we were able to better understand those challenges from both a design and constructability perspective, and directed the team to do further evaluation of an alternative alignment.

The alternative would shift the northern portion of the project’s highway alignment to the west, and minimizes those technical and construction concerns. This option would not move I-5 any closer to the school site, but could have impacts to properties on the west side of the highway.

Existing Design Concept: Align East image shows I-5 with 26-foot shift to the east
New Design Concept: Align to West image shows I-5 with 38-foot shift to the west, does not widen towards Harriet Tubman Middle School

We are at the very early stages of that evaluation and are working on ways to address technical and construction challenges. We are actively communicating with the owners of properties on both sides of the highway to understand the impacts the new design option may have. The team anticipates sharing concepts with all affected property owners and our advisory committees in late May, and gathering broader public feedback through June. Stay tuned to hear more about this work in the future!

Upcoming Joint Committee Meetings

This month we will be holding our first joint committee meetings for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project:

Joint Historic Albina Advisory Board, Executive Steering Committee, and Community Oversight Advisory Committee Meeting – May 18

The Historic Albina Advisory Board, Executive Steering Committee, and Community Oversight Advisory Committee will be holding a joint virtual meeting today, Tuesday, May 18The agenda will focus on the project’s preliminary Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and workforce program and initial analysis of highway cover design considerations. The committees will also have the opportunity to discuss shared concerns and alignment around shared goals and outcomes.

The project’s events page includes information for how to watch the meeting, what is included on the agenda, and how you can provide public comment.

Joint Executive Steering Committee and Historic Albina Advisory Board Meeting – May 24

The Executive Steering Committee and Historic Albina Advisory Board will be holding a joint virtual meeting on Monday, May 24This meeting will be a continuation of discussion from the May 18 meeting with additional details related to the highway cover concepts provided by the Independent Cover Assessment Team. The committees will also have the opportunity to discuss shared concerns and alignment around shared goals and outcomes.

The project’s events page includes information for how to watch the meeting, what is included on the agenda, and how you can provide public comment.

Rose Quarter Recap: Committee Updates

In case you missed it, here’s what happened during our April meetings:

Executive Steering Committee

The Executive Steering Committee met in a virtual meeting open to the public on Monday, April 26, 2020. The meeting opened with committee and project updates on the Southbound Realignment design option and the release of the 20% Design Package reflecting design modifications made during the environmental process. The meeting focused on a recap of work session #2 for the Independent Highway Cover Assessment. Check the project’s events page to view meeting materials or watch a recording of this meeting.

The Oregon Transportation Commission convened the Executive Steering Committee in consultation with ODOT and regional partners to advise the Oregon Transportation Commission 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. Oregon Transportation Commission Vice Chair Alando Simpson is the committee chair and Dr. Steven Holt facilitates the committee meetings.

The next Executive Steering Committee meeting will focus on Independent Cover Assessment Workshop #3 to review final development scenarios and evaluate and rank each development scenario’s performance in relationship to the community’s values and feasibility. The meeting will take place on Monday, June 7. The project’s events page includes information for how to watch the meeting, what is included on the agenda, and how you can provide public comment.

Historic Albina Advisory Board

The Historic Albina Advisory Board met in a virtual meeting open to the public on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The meeting opened with committee and project updates on the Southbound Realignment design option. The meeting focused on the recap of the Independent Cover Assessment Workshop #2, maximizing community benefits, development concepts and next steps. Check the project’s events page to view meeting materials or watch a recording of this meeting.

The purpose of the Historic Albina Advisory 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. The board brings community perspectives into the project’s decision-making process concerning elements that most directly support community connections, urban design and wealth generation in the Black and historic Albina community. Ericka Warren facilitates the committee meetings.

The next Historic Albina Advisory Board meeting will focus on Independent Cover Assessment Workshop #3 to review final development scenarios and evaluate and rank each development scenario’s performance in relationship to the community’s values and feasibility. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 1. The project’s events page includes information for how to watch the meeting, what is included on the agenda, and how you can provide public comment.

Community Oversight Advisory Committee

The Community Oversight Advisory Committee met in a virtual meeting on Thursday, April 22. The committee heard a brief update on project updates related to the work of the Independent Cover Assessment and a recap of the March meeting. A majority of the discussion focused on work with the Construction Management/General Contractor on the initial diversity plan, focusing on an element of the Greensheet process in breakout small group sessions.

The Community Oversight Advisory Committee focuses on the project’s workforce participation goals and advises on decisions about Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contracting requirements and on-the-job training opportunities. The committee oversees the development and implementation of a Diversity Plan that is being created by the construction management team, Hamilton Sundt a Joint Venture in association with Raimore Construction. The plan will include:

  • a subcontracting plan,
  • apprenticeship and training opportunities,
  • a workplace culture assessment,
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise capacity-building strategies and more.

The next Community Oversight Advisory Committee meeting to review and discuss the Diversity Plan in more detail will take place Thursday, May 20. The project’s events page includes information for how to watch the meeting, what is included on the agenda, and how you can provide public comment.

Questions? Check Out Our New Project Fact Sheets!

Did you know that more than 70 design concepts were considered before selecting the current project design? Have you heard what an Environmental Assessment is and what it analyzes? Are you wondering what actions ODOT has already taken to minimize air quality impacts from the project? Would you like to learn more about how sound walls would reduce existing and future traffic noise levels in the project area, including at Harriet Tubman Middle School and Lillis Albina Park?

There are a lot of topics at the top of mind for our community and we’ve developed several fact sheets to answer your questions. These fact sheets have also answered questions from and informed the work of the Historic Albina Advisory Board:

  • Project History
  • Environmental Assessment and Environmental Peer Review
  • Air Quality
  • Noise

Rose Quarter Underground: Looking at Conditions from the Bottom Up

Soil sampling activity taking place near I-5.

ODOT contractor crews are out in the project area to collect critical data to inform project design and construction. This work will cause temporary closures and detours for people walking, biking, rolling, and driving, but the activities will be no louder than typical traffic noise.

Three types of separate field work are scheduled to take place:

Activity Description Duration
Surveying Locate and record data on street trees and other existing features in the project area May – June 2021
Soil sampling Soil sample collection in project area May – June 2021
Hazardous materials sampling Collection of paint and other materials samples in project area May – June 2021

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:

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.

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