This Thursday, City Council will hold a hearing on the Central City Plan proposal, which includes updates to the Transportation System Plan that codify the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion. We’re happy to wonk out with you about what this means legally, but in one sentence: this is our first chance to speak directly to Portland’s City Council that we think it’s bad policy to expand freeways in Portland because it doesn’t solve congestion, is bad for air quality, is bad for carbon emissions, and is a very bad use of half a billion dollars. We want City Council to promise to fully study alternatives to freeway expansion, including an equitable approach to congestion pricing, before any freeway expansion is undertaken.
- Commissioner Dan Saltzman signaled on Friday that he’s mulling an amendment to require Congestion Pricing on the corridor before construction starts on the new lanes. (this is great news!)
- We’ve got over 240 signatures on our letter, over 200 followers on our facebook and twitter pages, and have since added Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Portland DSA to our letter.
- Our campaign was covered in the Portland Tribune on Monday, BikePortland throughout the week and we’re expecting an article in the Portland Mercury on Wednesday. KGW and KATU have also expressed interest in covering our events on Thursday.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
1) ATTEND OUR #STEPTEMBERPDX WALK TO CITY HALL
A group of us will be meeting at the Salmon Streets Fountain at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on Thursday, September 7th at 1pm in advance of our public testimony. Join us as we talk about Portland’s history of freeway revolts (including the removal of Harbor Drive) and we walk over to City Hall to deliver testimony on our opposition. Information on our facebook page.
(Steptember is a series of free walks hosted by community members organized through Oregon Walks, the state’s pedestrian advocacy organization!)
2) TESTIFY ON SEPTEMBER 7TH
If you’d like to testify to City Council, we’d love to have your support! Reach out, and we’ll try and put your name on the list for testimony. Council starts at 2pm on Tuesday, September 7th; we expect public testimony to start around 2:45. If you can’t make it in person but want to personally be on record, please feel free to email City Hall and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at THIS LINK. (feel free to check out our letter for talking points)
3) COMMIT TO GETTING THREE MORE SIGNATURES TO OUR PETITION
Can you think of three people you know that are really concerned about all the wildfires, Houston flooding, and other obvious signs that climate change is something we need to address? Maybe your roommate is passionate about air quality concerns, you have a friend who has children who would attend Harriet Tubman Middle School, or maybe your uncle hates government boondoggles.
Please think about three people you know are opposed to freeway expansion in Portland and send them to our website: www.nomorefreewayspdx.com
5) SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
Our facebook account is here; our twitter account is here. Over 80% of you who signed our petition said you’d share it on social media; we need you to share it today to help us gather signatures before Thursday’s hearing.
Feel free to email us back at this address if you have any other questions.
On behalf of all of us citizens working to live up to Portland’s reputation as a place that kills dumb freeway expansions, thanks for your help. Hope to see you on Thursday!
– Aaron Brown