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Demand ODOT Take a Hard Look at Community Concerns of Freeway Expansion

Important opportunity to submit comments on the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Environmental Assessment of the I-5 Rose Quarter “Improvement” Project

ODOT is proposing to spend nearly half a billion dollars to expand Interstate 5 with an additional lane of freeway between the Fremont Bridge and the Interstate 84 interchange in North/Northeast Portland. As proposed, the project will not alleviate traffic congestion, but it will cost a huge amount of money, increase air pollution, undermine Portland’s climate goals, and perpetuate an era of mega transportation projects.

We need your help to ensure that ODOT takes a hard look at this project and fully addresses concerns that are being raised by Portland Audubon and other community groups.

Portland Audubon has joined a coalition of diverse groups that have grave concerns about this projects costs and potential impacts to the environment and local community. We are committed to promoting a transportation system that aggressively addresses climate change, environmental health and equity

Take Action

1. Submit comments by 5 p.m. on April 1, 2019

  • Send comments to info@i5RoseQuarter.org
  • Check out the No More Freeway Expansion coalitions website and comment letter.

2. Attend the public hearing on Tuesday, March 12 (TOMORROW)

When: 4:30 - 8 p.m. at the Oregon Convention Center (Room A108)
This event includes a brief project presentation and public comment. Learn more.

Talking Points 

We are concerned about the following issues:

  • Expanding freeways is not an effective strategy for reducing congestion. ODOT has failed to make the case for why this project should move forward.
  • ODOT should fully evaluate proven strategies such as congestion pricing and investment in public transportation before spending a half billion dollars to expand a short stretch of highway.
  • The project is entirely at odds with the City’s Climate Agenda. 40% of Oregon’s emissions are from the transportation sector. We need to focus on strategies that reduce dependency on cars, not perpetuate 1950s style highway projects.
  • At the same time that ODOT is proposing to spend nearly half a billion dollars on expanding I-5, the region continues to neglect serious road safety problems in East Portland. 
  • The project will increase air pollution in the backyard of Harriet Tubman Middle School, which already has some of the worse air quality in the state.

For a project with an estimated cost of over $500 million, we feel the projected community benefits are just not there - while the opportunity cost of using these funds shelves other deserving projects with tangible safety improvements or opportunities to decarbonize our transportation system. 

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