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PORTLAND, OR— On Tuesday evening, May 18, the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project’s Historic Albina Advisory Board, Executive Steering Committee, and Community Oversight Advisory Committee will meet jointly to discuss highway cover design considerations.
“The Rose Quarter Improvement project is a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest real dollars into the community. That means thousands of jobs, new community connections, and a chance to change the narrative on what a major transportation project can be; restorative,” says Alando Simpson, Oregon Transportation Commission vice chair and chair of the Executive Steering Committee.
This joint coordination is to ensure that the Executive Steering Committee’s July recommendation to the Oregon Transportation Commission elevates the voices of members of the historic Albina community – more specifically, the many Black families and individuals that were impacted and displaced over decades as a result of inequitable public policy and infrastructure projects, as represented by the Historic Albina Advisory Board.
“Historical Albina is more than a battleground over freeway expansion or air quality. It was once what my Aunt called ‘the crossroads of the world’ for Black Portland,“ says Historic Albina Advisory Board member Estelle Love-Lavespere. “We have been displaced; the community has been gentrified. Gentrification and displacement does exactly what it is meant to do: disrupts and disempowers the economic, educational and social ties of a community. This is why the voice of the HAAB is important, and why our voice in the decision-making process must be heard.”
The meeting will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m Tuesday. It will be livestreamed and live-captioned. Find the link to join the livestream, agenda and other meeting materials at the project events webpage: i5rosequarter.org/event.
The joint meeting on May 18 is just one of several coordinated meetings, in advance of a forthcoming highway cover recommendation to the Oregon Transportation Commission in July:
- May 18 – The Historic Albina Advisory Board, Executive Steering Committee, and Community Oversight Advisory Committee will jointly meet to hear more on the project’s preliminary Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and workforce program and initial analysis of highway cover design considerations.
- May 24 – The Executive Steering Committee and Historic Albina Advisory Board will jointly meet to continue discussion from the May 18 meeting with additional details related to the cover concepts provided by the Independent Cover Assessment team.
- June 1 – The Independent Cover Assessment team will host the third workshop with the Historic Albina Advisory Board to review final development scenarios and evaluate and rank each development scenario’s performance related to the community’s values and feasibility.
- June 7 – The Independent Cover Assessment team will host the third workshop with the Executive Steering Committee to review final development scenarios and evaluate and rank each development scenario’s performance related to the community’s values and feasibility.
The committees will meet again in late June to develop a final recommendation in advance of the July 15th Oregon Transportation Committee meeting.
The Independent Cover Assessment team recently closed the second of three online open houses about the highway covers on May 10. A third and final public online open house will take place from June 5 to 14. More information about these open houses can be found at www.albinahighwaycovers.com.
About the Independent Cover Assessment
Last year, in response to direction from the Governor and requests from project stakeholders, the Oregon Transportation Commission directed ODOT to retain a consultant team of local and national urban design, engineering, and environmental experts to conduct an independent assessment of the highway cover designs included in the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project. The requests from Metro, Multnomah County, City of Portland, Portland Public Schools and Albina Vision Trust shaped the creation of the independent assessment process. The goal for this independent team is to understand the vision and goals of stakeholders in the project area, generate potential highway cover scenarios, and assess the impacts and benefits of these scenarios.