Hillsdale Neighborhood Association
Meeting to Decide Point of View on SW Corridor Project
July 25, 2018
Greater Portland Bible Church
Board Members in Attendance
(William Reese performed secretarial duties from 7:00 - 8:40 pm; Robert Hamilton, from 8:40 - 9:30 pm.)
Jon Gillam of PBOT and Jennifer Koozer of TriMet attended to answer questions and help guide discussions.
Action Item 2018-7-25-1: Leslie Pohl-Kosbau moved that Robert Hamilton and Matt DeRosa draft a position paper for Board review and editing to be submitted to appropriate officials and agencies describing the HNA position on the Southwest Corridor Project, and include the Hillsdale values which support their Board decisions. The Motion passed 6-0.
Action Item 2018-7-25-2: Tatiana Lifshitz moved that the Board approve the procedures for the appointment of a Nominating Committee to identify candidates for the election of Board Member Position #13 on Wednesday, September 5, 2018. The Motion passed 6-0.
Action Item 2018-7-25-3: Tatiana Lifshitz moved that the Board establish a Bylaws Review Committee charged with the task of completing its work of review and necessary revisions for submission to HNA General Members for comment, modification, and approval by the Spring of 2019. The Motion passed 6-0.
Action Item 2018-7-25-4: Rick Meigs moved that the Board approve the addition of $50 of expenditures for the National Night Out event of August 7. The Motion passed 6-0.
Action Item 2018-7-25-5: Rick Meigs moved that Jose Gamero be Chair of the Bylaws Review Committee. The Motion passed 6-0.
Action Item 2018-7-25-6: Jose Gamero moved that the Board hold a Strategic Planning Meeting on Sunday, September 16, at a time and place to be determined. The Motion passed 6-0.
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Chair Matt DeRosa began at 7pm and introduced the topic and purpose of the meeting. The topic was the SW Corridor Project, and the purpose of the meeting was to learn, share perspectives, and determine the best means to communicate the HNA’s views to city agencies to inform the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).
Members introduced themselves.
Ron Stewart, architect emeritus from ZGF Architects, offered a statement to help frame the discussion.
Ron urged that the assembled group direct their attention not to specific solutions, but to general priorities for enhancing the community given inevitable population growth—such as walkability, safety of stations, preservation of forest—and to bring those ideas forward. Designers and TriMet will appreciate input from people about how to make their community better.
Jennifer Koozer of TriMet emphasized that the underlying interests of the community, rather than recommendations about specific solutions, were what would best guide work going forward.
Matt DeRosa directed the membership to separate into two discussion sessions (breakout groups) to discuss implications of rebuilding vs. preserving key structures: the bridges supporting Barbur Boulevard between Capitol Highway and Terwilliger (Newbury and Vermont bridges), as well as the “flyover,” or elevated exit ramp, which connects Capitol Highway to Barbur Boulevard.
One group discussed the rebuilding of the bridges and flyover with light rail, and the other group discussed the building the light rail in a way that would keep the bridges and flyover as they are.
Following the breakout sessions, the groups resumed a general discussion, in which the following concerns surfaced:
- The potential historic status of the bridges, which complicates the use of federal dollars for rebuilding them
- The much greater cost of rebuilding existing structures vs. lower cost of creating a separate structure for the light rail
- Susceptibility of the aging bridges and flyover to seismic events
- A need for improved safety for cyclists along Barbur Boulevard
- Desire to maintain unobstructed traffic flow during construction phases
- Maintenance of optimal traffic flow in the long term, should the flyover ramp be modified
- A need for better pedestrian connections from the central business district down to Barbur
- Good access to the line for OHSU
- Park & ride challenges: limiting the all-day parking of cars on community streets
Jennifer Koozer stated that the station serving OHSU would have “the second highest level of ridership on the line” (DEIS Appendix A contains current ridership assumptions.)
Jon Gillam stated that the number of Park & Ride spots at the transit center will be approximately doubled; and that a large Park & Ride is being planned at the 53rd Avenue station leading to Portland Community College; another at 68th Avenue and 99W; as well as another at Bridgeport.
In connection with commuter parking, Jennifer pointed out that the city has a program through which neighborhoods can initiate on on-street parking by permit, if commuter parking continue to be a problem.
At 7:45, members separated into new breakout sessions to discuss the pros and cons of building the light rail directly on Barbur Boulevard vs. on a new route to be created east of Barbur Boulevard and roughly parallel to it, between Barbur Boulevard and the I-5 freeway.
The breakout sessions and subsequent discussions addressed a number of issues including the following:
- Opportunity to utilize available federal funds to rebuild Barbur Boulevard
- Need for pedestrian walkways and a safe bicycle corridor
- Need to improve safety of crosswalks
- Displacement of residents and businesses by either alignment
- Loss of affordable housing inventory by I-5 alignment in particular
In response to questions, Jennifer Koozer stated that the Uniform Relocation Act requires the following whenever a transit project impacts a property:
- Purchase of property at fair market value to property owners
- Compensation for economic damages to cover any remainder of the parcel with decreased value
- Assigning of a relocation specialist to assist residents in finding a new place to live and arrange moving expense reimbursements
- Rent subsidies
- Business re-establishment reimbursements
Jon Gillam stated that in the event of an In-Barbur alignment, the traffic rate of flow along the Boulevard is expected to remain the same as in pre-build condition.
Matt DeRosa asked for a straw poll of Membership to vote on alignment options. The In-Barbur alignment of the light rail was approved 10-1.
Board Members then discussed creating a statement to relevant city agencies to represent the position of the Association. There was general agreement that the most useful form of statement would articulate the values of the Hillsdale community that drive its choices.
Members then voted on a series of Motions, as outlined above, relative to a crafting a formal statement on behalf of the Association.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm.