What will ODOT’s Freeway Expansion do to Harriet Tubman Middle School?
For the last eleven months (!), we’ve been shouting to anyone who will listen about ODOT’s plans to expand Interstate 5 into the backyard of Harriet Tubman Middle School. Even without ODOT’s freeway expansion, public health experts are already recommending that students at the soon-to-reopen PPS school forgo outdoor recess due to air pollution.
ODOT’s freeway widening project is literally expanding the interstate into Harriet Tubman Middle School’s backyard. To drive the point home, we used ODOT’s own schematics to illustrate how much closer ODOT intends to move the freeway to the school.
The video is available on facebook, twitter, and on Vimeo. Please, please, please share this video with your colleagues, fellow parents of Harriet Tubman students, and community organizations. If you’d like for your small business, neighborhood group, PTA, or other entity to hear a presentation about our cause and/or to endorse our campaign, please get in touch.
We wish to give a hearty thanks to our pals at Cupola Media for their production of this video and support for our cause. We can’t recommend Cupola enough for any and all video/animation needs!
Weigh in on Metro’s Regional Transportation Plan
In a little over two years, residents of the Portland Metro region will likely be asked to vote for a transportation package. Metro, Portland’s regional government that convenes representatives from Gresham to Forest Grove, Portland to Oregon City, is the agency responsible for shepherding this package to voters in time for the November 2020 ballot.
This transportation package represents a *massive* opportunity to move forward with transportation investments that tackle congestion, provide cleaner air, reduce our carbon emissions, address regional inequality and affordability issues.
Every dollar in that 2020 Transportation Package that goes towards freeway widening around the region is a dollar not spent on those outcomes. This week, we have a chance to tell Metro to spend our money wisely.
A few weeks ago, representatives from the No More Freeway Expansions coalition testified to the Metro Council regarding the Regional Transportation Plan (Metro News covered it!) asking the Metro Council to consider the benefits of investing our scarce taxpayer dollars in infrastructure that addresses public health, climate change, and congestion (aka, biking, walking and public transportation).
Metro’s RTP document is the blueprint that coordinates the region’s transportation investments. Metro is actively seeking feedback on this document, and every comment in support of massive investments in transit instead of freeways will help the Metro Council make the right decision over the next few years.
Other Freeway Fightin’ News
- Thanks for all your help on our decongestion pricing letter. We received over 285 signatures from community members across the region. The future of decongestion pricing is all over the map (on one hand, regional leaders are pushing to make pricing even more comprehensive; on the other hand, Republicans are threatening a ballot initiative that’d allow the full state to vote on Portland’s local transportation decisions).
- “The project ODOT is proposing in this neighborhood is directly antithetical to the transformative and restorative opportunity which the Albina Vision is promoting.”
We got up early a few weeks ago to pay a visit to the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT). BikePortland covered the meeting. Most notably: ODOT has raised the upper limits of the cost of this project, and now predict the Rose Quarter Freeway Widening Project will cost as much as $500,000,000. What’s an extra $50 million amongst friends and freeway builders?
- Willamette Week reports that 10 public schools in Portland are within a tenth of a mile of a freeway, “a distance at which children could be substantially affected by the cars and trucks that speed or crawl past.” Yikes!
- “It’s an open question as to whether Portland’s elected officials will find the backbone to stand up for our children’s lungs (and planet they’ll inherit) in the face of this freeway pork project. It’s not an open question whether road pricing can aid in a just transition to establishing an alternative.”
Speaking of Willamette Week, last month the newspaper published a letter to the editor we wrote regarding the potential benefits decongestion pricing can provide to low-income communities, if revenue raised is directed towards transit and not freeway expansion.
- In numerous places, Oregon is once again on fire this summer. Thanks to our inability to shift away from a carbon-based economy over the past century, the American West will likely be on fire every summer for the rest of our lives. Numerous articles this month covered recent research about “Hothouse Earth,” suggesting that anything short of immediate and widespread paradigm shift away from a carbon-based economy could “trigger a series of accelerating climate-system feedback loops that would push the climate into a permanent hothouse state.”
40% of Portland’s carbon emissions are coming from transportation. It’s probably time to stop expanding fossil-fuel infrastructure like freeways.
- We were on XRAY.fm’s “XRAY in the Morning” (twice!) in the last month.
- Many of our community partners have been working for the past couple months to bring the Portland Clean Energy Fund to the ballot. We’re proud to work closely with groups like the Audubon Society of Portland, OPAL – Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon PSR and Neighbors for Clean Air who have brought this measure to Portland’s ballot. We’re not the endorsing sort, but we encourage Portlanders interested in environmental justice to check out this ballot measure this fall.
- Welcome to our latest endorsing organization in opposition to the freeway: The Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club! The Sierra Club joins numerous public health, social justice, environmental, and neighborhood advocates in opposition to this $500 million freeway expansion. If you represent a nonprofit organization, own a small business, or have any other sort of entity that you’d like to have officially on the record in opposition to freeway boondoggles, get in touch.
Got a couple bucks?
That fantastic video at the top of this email needs to be seen by as many people as possible, and cost us a couple bucks to produce. Can you spare $20 to help us cover the social media promotion to get this video in front of as many Portlanders as possible?