I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Newsletter

I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Spotlight’s Minority-Owned Businesses

In the 1950s and 1960s, ODOT’s construction of I-5 along with other public and private developments divided and displaced the historic Albina community, specifically Portland’s Black community. As we work to design and build this project with the community, we must work to address past harms.

One way this project can be a catalyst for change is to support wealth generation for local minority businesses including Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, which include small businesses that are at least 51% owned by minorities, women, or other individuals on a case-by-case basis. In doing business differently, we are making intentional actions to do business with minority-owned businesses.

We are proud to highlight stories of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises that play key roles in supporting, designing and developing this project. Melinda Sandifer, owner of Miss’ipi Chef, who provides catering services, and Monica Leal, Principal of Global Transportation Engineering, who leads a team on the design of ramp meters, freeway lighting, and communications systems on I-5, are featured below. These are just two of many stories we hope to share in the coming months!

Project convenes new community board in response to stakeholder engagement

ODOT announced it is ending the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project’s current Community Advisory Committee and replacing it with a board of individuals with historic ties to Albina. The move will intentionally center voices of the Black community to shape the project.

“In response to community input, and consistent with the shared values we have with current and former partners around restorative justice, we need to elevate Black voices to advise the project’s design,” said Brendan Finn, Director of ODOT’s Urban Mobility Office. “We are putting words into actions by prioritizing the formation of a new Historic Albina Advisory Board.”

Megan Channell, Project Director said, “After focused engagement with the Black community and hearing the input, we are taking action to achieve an even greater focus on the voices of Black Portlanders as we begin to make design decisions.”

In addition to engagement with the Black community, the project recently convened an Executive Steering Committee, which is developing a set of values, with the need to address past harms at its core.

Finn said “We also have expanded our project team to include community leaders to help us build relationships with the Albina community, make sure we do it right, and make sure the board is comprised of members with deep ties to the area. We thank the Community Advisory Committee members for their service and input. Their valuable comments and feedback will live on in the work we do and will inform the work of project partners and this new Board,” Finn concluded.

See the press release here for more information on the new Board.

Look for new public engagement opportunities soon

Sadly, COVID-19 has prevented us from getting out to see and hear from you this summer in traditional public spaces, like farmers’ markets and community events. Due to COVID-19 safety measures we’ve missed these opportunities and want to make sure to the create space to continue to connect with you and hear your thoughts.

Soon, we’ll start a new phase of engagement that will include an online open house to catch you up on the project’s progress over the last year. In addition, we’ll be sending a mailer to the project area and work with community-based organizations and faith-based communities to meet people where they are. Our goal is to bring people with diverse backgrounds and expertise together to gain greater understanding of present and future transportation and community needs

We want to foster a two-way dialogue that demonstrates how these conversations inform decision-making. To help demonstrate our accountability, we are creating an accountability matrix that documents feedback received and how we are addressing it. You’ll see the survey and other outreach feedback reflected along with comments from the project advisory committee. Look for the accountability matrix on our project website soon.

Through our outreach, we commit to reflecting the shared power of our community and local, regional, and state government to influence project decisions and outcomes. We want you to hold us accountable for those outcomes as part of ensuring the project addresses past harm in a way that enables communities to thrive.

We’ll be sharing information on the project and upcoming events throughout fall in the mail, on our website, and on social media platforms. Look for our Online Open House starting early October. The Online Open House will provide up-to-date project information for your review and a survey to share your feedback.

Community Opportunity Advisory Committee hears project update and discusses expectations for workforce program

The project Community Opportunity Advisory Committee met online on August 13, 2020. ODOT Office of Urban Mobility Director Brendan Finn expressed gratitude for the committee members’ service to the Project and stated that partnerships with and support from our Black community is core to the project’s success. Brendan said that the project cannot be successful without acknowledging ODOT’s role in the past harm to the African American community.

The committee also heard from Megan Channell, Project Director, who reviewed the committee’s role in holding the construction contractor accountable once they begin working alongside the project team and committees, and explained that the project’s current design is at 15%, meaning concepts are far from final.

At this meeting, the committee also approved their charter, which includes a name change to the Community Oversight and Advisory Committee to reflect their role as an oversight committee for the project’s workforce program.

The committee brings their expertise in diversity in contracting to provide feedback and recommendations on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/On-the-Job Training program for the construction phase of the project. Click below for information about the committee’s past and future meetings. View a video of the meeting and download materials at the project website.

Learn more about upcoming COAC meetings

Work has begun on Independent Cover Assessment

The project includes highway covers – concrete or steel platforms that span over the highway – that bridge both sides of the I-5 corridor. The covers will help reconnect the Albina community, create new community space, and provide an opportunity to make the area more pedestrian and bike friendly.

In response to public feedback and following direction from the Oregon Transportation Commission in April, ODOT has contracted a third party led by ZGF Architects and including local and national experts, to complete an independent assessment of the highway cover design. They will consider:

  • What opportunities the current highway cover design concepts, as described in the Environmental Assessment, offer for community development
  • The community vision for the highway covers, how highway design concepts might be modified, and what it would take for the covers to deliver outcomes consistent with that community vision
  • How various cover options can promote economic development and wealth generation for the historic Albina community, particularly for members of the African American community displaced by past public and private projects

This work will include multiple opportunities for community engagement. The Independent Cover Assessment team will share more information soon about how they will engage the community in this process.

Rose Quarter underground: Looking at conditions from the bottom up

Man uses survey equipment on a street

Utility mapping in the project area.

ODOT contractor crews are out in the Project area to collect critical data to inform Project design. The following types of separate 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

Learn more about work hours and traffic noise impacts

Read the full news release

July Email Update

In this issue

  • Community Advisory Committee hears a project update and learns about workforce and business opportunities
  • ODOT issues Notice of Intent to Award, takes step toward unlocking the project’s economic opportunity
  • Sliding into Summer: Engagement in Virtual Spaces
  • Community Opportunity Advisory Committee will meet online August 13

Rose Quarter underground: Looking at conditions from the bottom up

Community Advisory Committee hears a project update and learns about workforce and business opportunities

The Project Community Advisory Committee (CAC) met online on July 23, 2020. ODOT Office of Urban Mobility Director Brendan Finn expressed gratitude for the committee members’ service to the Project and stated that partnerships with and support from our Black community is core to Project’s success. Brendan said that the Project cannot be successful without acknowledging past harm to the African American community. The committee also heard from Megan Channell, Project Director, who summarized CAC input from the last CAC meeting, including the importance of wealth generation and investing in the Black community, the need for open and public communication throughout the Project, and questions about the scope of the project. Megan previewed an example Community Accountability Matrix that will soon be available on the Project’s website to help the committee and community members hold ODOT accountable by tracking committee requests.

The CAC brings community interests and experience into the Project’s decision-making process. CAC meetings are open to the public and include a public comment period. Click below for information about the CAC’s past and future meetings. View a video of the meeting and download materials at the project website.
The next CAC Meeting will be on Thursday, August 20, 2020 from 5:30 to 8:00pm.

Learn more about upcoming CAC meetings

ODOT issues Notice of Intent to Award, takes step toward unlocking the project’s economic opportunity

On July 13th, ODOT announced the notice of intent to award the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) contract to Hamilton Sundt, a Joint Venture, in association with Raimore Construction to help design and build the project.

ODOT is bringing a construction team on board early in the design phase to ensure the design and construction benefits from full collaboration with the community.

With a focus on restorative justice, the project is committed to leveraging deep ties with the historic Albina community to ensure meaningful involvement from the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) contracting community and using input from the community to help shape the project and outcomes for the community including generational wealth.

The CM/GC is expected to join the team this Fall.

Read the Press Release

Sliding into Summer: Engagement in Virtual Spaces

While community engagement for the Project has been ongoing since the 1990s, we know that there is still a lot of work to do. ODOT is committed to ensuring Black community members living, working, or with historical ties to the Albina neighborhood and broader N/NE Portland are engaged, participating in and actively shaping the Project.

This summer and into fall, you will see us online and actively and meaningfully engaging with people, with a focus on the Black community. We will use traditional and creative engagement techniques such as mailers and phone calls and working with community-based organizations and faith-based communities to meet communities where they are. We want to foster a two-way dialogue that demonstrates how these conversations inform decision-making.

Through our outreach, we commit to reflecting the shared power of our community and local, regional, and state government to influence project decisions and outcomes. We want you to hold us accountable for those outcomes. To do so, we are going to bring people with diverse backgrounds and expertise together to gain understanding and input and to ensure the Project addresses past harm and present and future local, regional and state transportation system needs in a way that enables communities to thrive.

We’ll be sharing information on the Project and upcoming events throughout the summer and fall in the mail, on our website, and in social media platforms. Stay tuned and please share these opportunities with your friends, colleagues, and networks – we need your help to make this a project for our community, by our community.

Learn more about Events

Community Opportunity Advisory Committee will meet online August 13

The public is invited to attend the next I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Community Opportunity Advisory Committee meeting. On Thursday, August 13, the Community Opportunity Advisory Committee will meet online from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. See the Project’s website for more information on the meeting’s agenda and how to engage.

Learn more about upcoming COAC meetings

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

Activity Description Duration
Pavement exploration Pavement coring, testing and surface measurements on local streets May 4 – August 2020
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

Learn more about work hours and traffic noise impacts

About the Project

The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project adds auxiliary lanes and shoulders to reduce congestion and improve safety on the main north-south freeway on the west coast and redesigns the local multimodal street network. The project will smooth traffic flow on I-5 between I-84 and I-405 where three interstates intersect and feature the biggest traffic bottleneck in Oregon. The project will also improve community connections by redesigning overpasses and reconnecting neighborhood streets, enhancing public spaces, and promoting economic development opportunities.

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

www.i5RoseQuarter.org

Read full news release

May Email Update

Community Advisory Committee meets tomorrow

The Project Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meets on Thursday, May 28, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The on-line meeting is open to the public. The CAC brings community interests and values into the Project’s decision-making process. Meeting topics include a committee orientation and Project design process overview.

To attend this meeting from your computer or phone, join Zoom or watch the livestream on YouTube. Click below for more details about the CAC and how to submit public comment.

All Project committee meetings are open to the public. If you wish to attend a virtual meeting but cannot attend by phone or computer or you require language accommodations, please contact the Project team at 503-470-3127 at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

View CAC meeting info

Read more

April E-Newsletter

In this issue:

  • COVID-19
  • OTC to ODOT: Continue work on I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project
  • Project next steps
  • ODOT seeking Project contractor
  • Executive Steering Committee update
  • Rose Quarter underground: Looking at conditions from the bottom up

COVID-19

In response to Governor Kate Brown’s directive to “Stay Home, Save Lives,” all ODOT-related meetings will be held on a virtual platform and will remain open to the public. ODOT is committed to maintaining accessibility and transparency for all public meetings. Look to the Project website for public involvement opportunities and event information. Visit the agency’s COVID-19 web page for more information.

Community Opportunity Advisory Committee (COAC) to meet on April 21

The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise & On the Job Training (DBE/OJT) Community Opportunity Advisory Committee (COAC) will meet on April 21, 2020 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM, and will be hosted using Zoom, an online meeting platform. The meeting will be open for the public to listen. To make sure your computer is properly setup before the meeting, you can use the Zoom test site.

If you wish to attend the meeting but cannot attend by phone or computer, please contact the Project team at 503-470-3127 at least 24 hours before the meeting time.

Visit the events page for more details or use the link below to join us on the 21st.

Join Zoom Meeting Read more

Join us for the online Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Meet and Greet on March 25

Thank you for your patience as we worked to reformat and reschedule the first CAC meet and greet due to community health concerns around Coronavirus (COVID-19). Based on feedback from our CAC members, the online event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. and will be hosted using Zoom, an online meeting platform. The online meet and greet will allow CAC members to get to know one another and build relationships, while ensuring a safe environment. The event will provide an opportunity for CAC members to meet each other and reflect on the project area history. No project presentations or decisions will occur at this meeting. The meeting will be open for the public to listen as we continue to uphold an unwavering commitment to transparency, accessibility and accountability. Details of the first formal CAC meeting following this online meet and greet are forthcoming. To make sure your computer is properly setup before the meeting, you can use the Zoom test site.

Visit the events page for more details or use the link below to join us on the 25th.

I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project advances based on OTC direction

Over the last two months, we have taken several steps to implement the Oregon Transportation Commission’s (OTC) direction on the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project. To date we’ve:

  • Established a project Executive Steering Committee and sent invitations to members. OTC Vice Chair Alando Simpson will chair the Executive Steering Committee and Dr. Steven Holt, owner of Try Excellence LLC, will serve as the lead consultant for and facilitate this committee.
  • Established a Community Advisory Committee (CAC). (See more on the committee below.)
  • Started the selection process for a third-party firm to evaluate highway cover design options.

The OTC also approved submitting a Cost to Complete Report to the Legislature.

Read more

Apply to help shape the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project

Applications now available for Community Advisory Committee

Community members gather around a table to share their feedback at the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Open House.

We are currently recruiting interested community members to serve on an advisory committee. The committee will help shape the project design and recommend avenues for equitable engagement with the community. The application period runs through February 18, 2020. Apply today!

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will include up to 20 members who represent diverse perspectives. Meetings will occur up to nine times per year for up to three hours at a location within or near the project area. Interested community members can learn more and apply at https://i5rosequarter.org/.

The project team has heard from the community about the importance of continued public engagement. The CAC is one example of how the project will intentionally seek community input, further extend opportunities for the public to engage, and bring community interests and values into the decision-making process. As the project moves forward, ODOT will demonstrate and communicate how the CAC’s input meaningfully informs project decisions.

In addition to seeking diversity in the CAC respective to geography, demographics, and current interests, ODOT strives for committee composition reflecting the historic Black and African American Albina Community.

Apply now! 

About the Project

The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project adds auxiliary lanes and shoulders to reduce congestion and improve safety on the main north-south freeway on the west coast and redesigns the local multimodal street network. The project will smooth traffic flow on I-5 between I-84 and I-405 where three interstates intersect and feature the biggest traffic bottleneck in Oregon. The project will also improve community connections by redesigning overpasses and reconnecting neighborhood streets, enhancing public spaces, and promoting economic development opportunities. The project’s transportation improvements allow the City to implement the development goals for the N/NE area and realize the City’s Central City 2035 Plan.

Read the full newsletter. 

I-5 Rose Quarter Project staff out and about this summer

Come talk with us at local events this summer

We are actively working with our federal partners to review and respond to the public comments received during the Environmental Assessment public review period that ended earlier this year. While the federal review process is underway, we are seeking additional community input to help define a vision for the covers over Interstate 5.

An image of the project table at an outdoor event. The table has project flyers, display boards, sign up forms and candy. The project sign reads "Come talk with us!".

Community members share their input on the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project covers at Good in the Hood in June 2019

We have been out and about in the community to share project information and learn about your values and priorities. In June, staff attended the Juneteenth Celebration and the Good in the Hood Multicultural Festival. At these summer events, community members learned about project elements, asked questions and shared input.

Please join us at these additional events this summer to learn more about the project and share your thoughts:

We are also planning other summer outreach activities including community discussions, an online questionnaire, additional in-person engagement opportunities and recruitment for a Community Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC will be formed through an open application process later this year. The CAC will advise ODOT and the City of Portland on design aspects, meaningful engagement and equitable project outcomes.

Read the full newsletter.

Soil sampling on I-5 scheduled to start in July

Crews are expected to collect soil samples in the Rose Quarter area starting mid July and continuing until October. The work will ensure the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project can provide information that will help answer questions raised by community members during the Environmental Assessment review about soil stabilities and the highway covers, informs legislative requirements outlined in House Bill 2017, and helps inform future urban design opportunities.