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Plan to Widen I-5 in Portland Loses Critical Local Support

The I-5 Rose Quarter project has proven controversial throughout the study and planning process, and now it's losing key local political support.
July 5, 2020, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Willamette River
Josemaria Toscano

"A state project to expand Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter lost major support Tuesday after a community nonprofit leading an effort to revitalize the nearby Albina neighborhood and city, county and regional elected officials announced they no longer support the plan," reports Everton Baily. 

The Albina Vision Trust was the organization that withdrew its support for the plan. "The nonprofit’s mission is to help restore and revitalize the Albina neighborhood that in the last century was home to 80% of Portland’s Black population before most of those residents were displaced through eminent domain, gentrification and racism," explains Bailey. 

The Albina Vision Trust has been voicing concerns about the project since January, and organization said in its statement that the plan hadn't evolved since that time. 

Since the Albina Vision Trust withdrew its support, "Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have both pulled their support as well. This means ODOT is left trying to complete a controversial mega-project that doesn’t have support from the very city it would be built in," according to a separate article by Jonathan Maus.

After those local leaders withdrew their support, Oregon Governor Kate Brown chimed in too

"Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday that the planned widening of Interstate 5 through the historic Albina neighborhood that was once home to nearly 80% of Oregon’s Black population will not happen without the support of Portland’s Black community," reports Betsy Hammond, in yet another article tracking the shifting political landscape for the project.

Brown stopped short, however, of withdrawing support from the Rose Quarter project, "which the Oregon Legislature authorized and agreed to fund under a mammoth 2017 transportation package."

Previous Planetizen coverage of the I-5 Rose Quarter project.

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