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Boones Ferry / Stephenson Intersection


August 1, 2014 update: TAFFIC ADVISORY

Construction will require full closure of SW Stephenson Street, between SW Stephenson Court and SW Boones Ferry Road, beginning Monday, August 4 through Sunday, August 17 (all hours and all days). Read the Portland Bureau of Transportation TRAFFIC ADVISORY HERE (PDF).

July 2014 update

Construction has started! The Stephenson/Boones Ferry intersection project is proceeding as planned and is estimated to be complete by September 30, 2014. There are no plans to close Boones Ferry Road. Flaggers are directing traffic with individual lane closures. Click on the image below to view a PDF of the final construction plat:

January 2014 update

The city is currently engaged in final preparations for putting the project up for bidding, scheduled for early February. The scheduled start is June 2014 and the project should last 3 months. Work is scheduled for spring to moving utility lines. Two permanent reader boards are in the plans, moving the existing north-bound one down and across the street for greater advanced-warning visibility.

September 2013 update

Right of Way Acquisition Phase: Complete Design Phase: Currently at 90% design. Over the summer, staff worked with the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) to refine the stormwater management elements of the design. Final plans are scheduled for November 2013. Construction Phase: The project will go out for bid January 2014. Construction will start March-April 2014 and last approximately 6 months.

May 2013 update

Right-of-Way Acquisition Phase nearing completion. Design Phase tentatively scheduled for completion July 2013. Construction Phase tentatively scheduled to begin fall 2013. Construction could be pushed out to spring 2014 if BES' culvert maintenance work on SW Boones Ferry is delayed.

January 2013 update

Portland City Council authorized the Bureau of Transportation to begin negotiations with landowners to acquire right-of-way for intersection improvement through the exercise of the City's Eminent Domain Authority. View a video of Portland City Council 1-9-13 AM Session: Click on the picture above to view the updated Boones Ferry-Stephenson Design Concept. PBOT had agreed to revisit the design and reduce the right-of-acquisitions to the extent possible. The diagram above reflects these updates. The only change that PBOT has made to the design since the neighborhood vote was to realign the new segment of SW Stephenson Court to reduce the taking from the property at 710 SW Stephenson Court. They were able to shift SW Stephenson Court and slightly reduce the taking to the north. Due to sight line requirements, they weren't able to reduce the taking expected from the property at 818 SW Stephenson Street.

October 2012 update

  • The design was reviewed and refined slightly to reduce the amount of right-of-way needed from the Walkers's property by tightening up the corner at Stephenson Court and reducing the overall taking by a couple feet.
  • The design is being redrafted and will be resubmitted to the independent appraiser in the next week or two.
  • The appraisal for the two properties should be updated in the next month.
  • The right-of-way phase is scheduled for fall 2012 - winter 2013. At the same time, PBOT will move forward with finalizing the design and preparing construction drawings.
  • The project will go to bid in spring 2013 and the contractor will start work early summer 2013.

May 8, 2012 Neighborhood Vote

The Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association’s efforts in advocating for safety improvements to the Boones Ferry/Stephenson intersection resulted in funding of $1.2 million from the Portland Bureau of Transportation. By fiscal year-end, PBOT was prepared to allocate the funds to other projects in the 2012-2013 transportation budget if Arnold Creek residents could not come to an agreement on what improvements should be made. PBOT requested confirmation that Arnold Creek residents wanted to move forward with the proposed improvements (see exhibit A below). A vote was taken at the May 8, 2012 Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association meeting to move forward with proposed improvements or surrender funding.


May 8 vote results: Should Arnold Creek move forward with proposed improvements?

"YES" (92) "NO" (6) UNDECIDED (1)


Read the Stakeholder Advisory Committee Recommendation


Exhibit A: BoonesFerry-Stephenson Design Concept

Exhibit B: SW Stephenson - Boones Ferry SAC Meeting Summaries

Highlights of the proposal:

  • Realign intersection further south on SW Boones Ferry to improve sight lines and make it safer for vehicles turning off of Stephenson Street. Right-of-way acquisition would be required for this new alignment and to improve sight lines along Boones Ferry Road. The east end of Stephenson Court would be redesigned to make a new right-angle connection with Stephenson Street. Right-of-way acquisition would be required on the SW corner of Stephenson Court to accommodate large vehicle turning movements onto/off of Stephenson Court as part of this new design.
  • A left turn pocket would be added to accommodate vehicles on Boones Ferry turning left onto Stephenson (as well as vehicles turning left onto Boones Ferry from Stephenson). Drivers would use this turn pocket if and when volumes are high and are unable to turn directly into the travel lane.
  • Stephenson Street would have stop sign with both left and right turn lanes onto Boones Ferry and space for future bike lane. Striping small segment of bike lane at this intersection may also be possible.
  • A Tri-met bus pad on the west side of Boones Ferry south of new intersection. Possibly one on the east side of Boones Ferry also.
  • Sidewalks on south side of Stephenson to Boones Ferry on new part and on west side of Boones Ferry to connect to existing sidewalk south of intersection.
  • City staff have also identified the need to fix the pavement design on Boones Ferry to improve sight lines and fix the horizontal curve of the road. This will help drivers to see the curvature of the road and help prevent the type of "run off the road" accidents that are occurring today. The proposal provides for the safety of traffic at current speeds.


Neighbors voiced their opinions in an online survey before the May 8th meeting.

View survey results.


Summary of options considered not acceptable

  • Stop Light: Increased possibility of rear-end collisions and low volume of cars entering Boones Ferry from Stephenson.
  • Roundabout: Cost ($2.5 million). There is not sufficient community engagement or support for a Local Improvement District (LID) tax on local residents to raise the additional $1.3 million needed.
  • Speed Bumps: Boones Ferry is designated a “collector road,” accommodating high-speed emergency vehicles. Speed bumps would slow these vehicles and they are also noisy.
  • Cut-Through Road: Adding a road on city-owned property between homes on Stephenson for traffic turning right from Stephenson onto Boones Ferry would not improve safety for cars turning left onto Boones Ferry.
  • Rumble Strips: These are not used for speed control and are very noisy.
  • Lower Speed Limit: The speed for Boones Ferry is set by the Oregon Department of Transportation and is designed to maximize the flow of traffic. The current accident statistics are not high enough to allow for a local override of these rules, as was the case with Arnold Street.


The Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association advocates for enforcement of building codes and has submitted testimony to object when developers request sidewalk waivers. As a result, developers have been required to contribute money to an intersection improvement fund if they are given a sidewalk waiver. System development charges (SDC’s) collected by the city have also been added to the fund.


In 2004, the owner of land at 11850 SW Boones Ferry Road, just south of the intersection initiated the process of subdividing the site and adding a new street entrance to Boones Ferry. The Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association submitted written objection and made a recommendation to the city that the intersection be improved before allowing the development to move forward. Portland City Council denied the appeal of the Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association. The Tryon Creek Estates subdivision calls for 8 lots with a private dead end street just south of the intersection.


In 2009, an electronic speed sign was installed at the intersection of SW Boones Ferry Road and SW Stephenson Street at the request of the Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association in hopes of slowing traffic. Additionally, the City of Portland hired a consulting group that submitted three proposals to improve the intersection:

  • Traffic Signal Concept 4-way, leaving intersection in current location and including Stephenson Court
  • Traffic Signal Concept 4-way, moving intersection south, adding planned Tryon Creek Estates subdivision entrance east of Boones Ferry, removing Stephenson Court
  • Roundabout Concept, moving intersection south with entrances from SW Boones Ferry Road, Stephenson Street and planned subdivision, removing SW Stephenson Court

The cost estimate was approximately $1.5 million. At the time, there was only $750,000 in the intersection fund.


At the April 2011 ACNA meeting, the Intersection Realignment proposal was presented by Portland Bureau of Transportation, costing $1.2 million, fully funded by the intersection fund. It is the proposal that was voted on at the May meeting (see above for details).


In June 2011, the city presented two new roundabout designs; one at the current location and one moving the intersection south. The roundabout previously proposed was less expensive but did not include required construction costs of water line relocation and fixing vertical alignment (lowering of road 2 vertical feet). A comparison of the realignment design presented at the April meeting to an updated roundabout proposal included the following:

  • Both improve sight distance.
  • Both reduce run-off and road accidents.
  • Both have pedestrian improvements (sidewalks and painted crosswalks, bus pads). Realignment would 
allow for higher speed traffic on Boones Ferry. Round about is problematic for vision impaired.
  • Both provide bicycle infrastructure.
  • There could be traffic delays on Boones Ferry with a roundabout.
  • Total right-of-way land acquisition is approximately the same. Roundabout takes land from 7 parcels; 
realignment takes land from 2 parcels (one major).
  • Estimated costs are $1.2 million for realignment and $2.5 million for roundabout.
  • The realignment would allow for future stop light installation when traffic volume increases.

A Local Improvement District (LID) was suggested as a way to secure the additional $1.3 million needed for a roundabout; a group of property owners would share the cost. There was not neighborhood support for this option.