I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Newsletter

July 2021
In this issue:

  • Reflecting on Albina  
  • Meet the Changemakers: Turon White 
  • Committee Updates 
  • Committee Recap
  • Rose Quarter Underground

The Humboldt-Albina History Mural

This past October, local artist Daren Todd turned a 42-foot long stretch of fence line into a piece of art at the Haight Avenue and Going Street Walkway. It honors the history of the neighborhood by depicting things that people are doing in everyday life and how those small actions provide great wealth and contribution to society. The mural is bringing people together − they are stopping to admire the artwork and lingering to talk to each other. It provides an opportunity to discuss the past, both good and bad.

The mural begins in the 1960’s highlighting a group of Black leaders who organized a neighborhood beautification project and secured funding to plant over 500 trees, many of which were cherry trees. Mrs. Opal Strong is depicted in the mural with the other members of the Albina Women’s League among the many community members planting the trees. She represents the people that live or once lived in the neighborhood, demonstrating their strength. The mural also memorializes how Albina (and greater Portland) residents joined together to protest acts of violence towards communities of color. The mural ends at the intersection of peace and justice with hope for a better future.

Our Historic Albina Advisory Board has expressed that art just like this − celebrating Black culture and resiliency and reflecting the history of Albina – must be a feature throughout the neighborhood spaces created on the highway covers. Including installations as part of the local street where people walking and riding transit can enjoy them is one part of creating a place that welcomes the historic Albina community. Read the Committee Recap below to learn more about how we are continuing to engage with our advisory committees and the public to influence project design and potential development scenarios for the highway covers in a way that honors the historic Albina community and contributes to a better future.

Meet the Changemakers: Turon White

For the remainder of the year, we’ll be introducing members of the Raimore Construction team − the folks gearing up to build the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project. Watch for new releases every other Wednesday on our Success Stories page or through ODOT’s Urban Mobility Office Twitter page. 

“It makes me excited when they tell me something and I get it, it gives you hope. That’s the value of mentorship: it gives you hope.” Turon White, Foreman

Turon White’s life could have gone a very different direction. Living in a household surrounded by drugs, the good life seemed easier to achieve without investing the hard work in a career like construction. But eight years into his career, saving up to buy his own house, he’s glad he took the harder path.

Read the other recent success stories released in the series:

“The value of mentorship? You can’t put a price on that. It’s a life worth of lessons handed down, teaching you how to be a better person and better at life.”

Rose Quarter Committee Updates

Governor Brown understands that this project is a top priority for the State and presents an opportunity for ODOT to truly do something transformative for the community. In order to move forward a meaningful project, her office would like to gain a better understanding of the community concerns that have arisen over the course of the Independent Cover Assessment work and facilitate a path forward between the many interests from the community. At the beginning of this month, she toured the Rose Quarter project area and has hosted conversations with key community stakeholders.

Governor Brown has expressed deep appreciation for the work that the advisory committees have done, and expects these conversations to be a supplement to the role of our existing committees. We are thankful for her support and leadership, as we can all agree how critical it is for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project to be one the community can come together to stand firmly behind.

In order to make space for the Governor-led conversations, and for further discussions with the Historic Albina Advisory Board and Executive Steering Committee, we have pushed back the original Oregon Transportation Commission decision from July 15 to this fall.

Next month, we will hold another series of joint committee meetings between the Historic Albina Advisory Board and Executive Steering Committee, where Community Oversight Advisory Committee members will be invited to attend. We are bringing together the committees to hear information to answer questions from members, dive into conversations about tradeoffs and impacts, and allow time for discussion between the committees to reach an informed recommendation on the highway covers.

  • Joint Meeting August 3 – The first meeting will discuss the Governor-led conversations, discuss what the path to a recommendation looks like, present a highway cover element decision framework and outline next steps for the following meetings in the series.
  • Joint Meeting August 17 – The second meeting will dive deeper into the additional highway cover considerations and provide ample time to discuss these considerations by the advisory committees.
  • Joint Meeting August 31 − The third meeting will answer lingering questions from the advisory committees before allowing time for deliberation before pursuing decisions related to the highway covers.

June Committee Recap

In case you missed it, here’s what happened during last month’s advisory committee meetings:

  • Community Oversight Advisory Committee: The Community Oversight Advisory Committee met in a virtual meeting open to the public on Thursday, July 152021The meeting focused on reviewing and discussing workforce and apprenticeship approaches for the project’s Diversity Plan. Check the project’s events page to view meeting materials or watch a recording of this meeting.
  • Historic Albina Advisory Board: The Historic Albina Advisory Board met in a virtual meeting open to the public on Tuesday, June 22, 2021At this meeting, the Independent Highway Cover Assessment Team presented the Highway Cover Final Scenario Report and answered questions from members. Check the project’s events page to view meeting materials or watch a recording of this meeting.
  • Executive Steering Committee: The Executive Steering Committee met in a virtual meeting open to the public on Monday, June 28, 2021At this meeting, the Independent Highway Cover Assessment Team presented the Highway Cover Final Scenario Report and answered questions from members. Check the project’s events page to view meeting materials or watch a recording of this meeting.

Looking at Conditions from the Bottom Up

ODOT contractor crews are out in the project area to collect critical data to inform project design and construction:

Activity Description  Duration  
Surveying Locate and record data on street trees and other existing features in the project area June 2021
Soil sampling Soil sample collection in project area June 2021
Hazardous materials sampling Collection of paint and other materials samples in project area 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, including land redevelopment opportunities.

On I-5, the project will add auxiliary lanes and shoulders to improve travel reliability and safety and smooth traffic flow between I-84 and I-405 where three interstates meet at the top traffic bottleneck in Oregon and 28th 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 and dedicated funding for project design and construction.

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 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。

For 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.

Learn how we’re evolving to build a modern transportation system based on
sufficient funding and equity. www.oregon.gov/odot/Pages/SAP