Request for Extension for Public Comment Period
Today, the No More Freeway Expansions Coalition sent a letter to the Oregon Department of Transportation asking for an extension of the public comment period for the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion. Our letter was cosigned by two elected officials, fifteen community advocacy organizations, ten small business owners and two neighborhood associations. Our coalition requests that ODOT extend the public comment period by sixty days (from ODOT’s proposed thirty days to our request for ninety), ensuring our community partners have enough time to reveal the details of this proposal and provide meaningful input. As we write in our letter:
With a price-tag of nearly half a billion dollars, significant concerns about existing levels of ambient air pollution in the immediate vicinity of a recently reopened middle school, and independent concerns about project efficacy, it is essential that every organization is given ample opportunity to review ODOT’s proposal. We are requesting a 60-day extension, and an opportunity for community members to deliver oral testimony in a public hearing. Anything less would represent a failure of civic commitment to democratic principles to allow the community to appropriately understand ODOT’s project in their neighborhood.
The Public Comment period is slated to begin in late January 2019. Stay tuned – this will be a critical opportunity for community members to express their concerns about traffic congestion, climate change, and air quality in regards to the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion.
A Good Election for Portland’s Transportation Advocates
- Jo Ann Hardesty won a landslide election to become Portland’s first black woman elected to Portland City Council. Hardesty joined our campaign to oppose the freeway expansion over a year ago, and she’s the first Portland City Councilor to be elected who has explicitly stated her opposition to the freeway widening project.
- In Washington County, Kathryn Harrington won her campaign for County Chair. She’s been an excellent advocate for multimodal transportation investments throughout her tenure as Metro Councilor for the past eight years, and she defeated a candidate who questioned climate change and wanted to exclusively build more roads across Washington County.
- Rep Julie Parrish, known most famously in our circles for her attempts to stymie ODOT’s decongestion pricing initiative through a statewide ballot measure campaign, *lost* her reelection bid.
- Rep Richard Vial also lost his reelection campaign. In transportation policy circles, Rep. Vial is most famous for his dogged pursuit of the “Westside Bypass,” a multi-billion dollar freeway project mirroring I-205 with a similar project from Wilsonville to Clark County via Hillsboro.
- Portland’s Clean Energy Fund passed – the measure won overwhelmingly, and was supported by numerous organizations that are also members of the No More Freeway Expansions coalition. Regional voters also approved Metro’s housing bond, which passed in all three counties.
Obligatory “We Still Need You To Chip In a Few Bucks” Reminder
We’ve got big plans for 2019, but our grassroots coalition needs your help. We’re committed to raising $10,000 by the end of the year to prepare for next year’s antics for the No More Freeway Expansions campaign. Thanks to donors like you (with donations as small as $5 and as big as $1500) we’ve been able to pass the halfway mark in our fundraising schemes.
Thanks to our pals at Portland Transport, donations to our campaign to help us stop this freeway expansion are now tax deductible. Make a donation and we’ll mail you a button, as well as one of our new stickers that are just on their way to print.