According to a Willamette Week article published Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Transportation is “prepared to conduct a full-blown environmental impact study for the project,” instead of the Environmental Assessment the agency produced this past February.
Holy smokes, this is massive.
We are delighted to learn that the Oregon Department of Transportation has conceded that their freeway expansion as proposed did not meet the standards expected by thousands of local community members and civic institutions.
First things first: Thank You.
We also thank Portland Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, Portland Public Schools, Metro, and the Albina Vision Trust in particular for their leadership in demanding ODOT conduct a more rigorous study of the impacts this freeway expansion will have on the air we breathe, the traffic we sit in, and the rising oceans on our warming planet. These entities each wrote thoughtful, nuanced critiques of the project that ODOT had proposed and demanded that the agency address numerous critical concerns that the community raised regarding the impacts to traffic, carbon emissions, air pollution and environmental justice. This is leadership, and we are so grateful.
What’s Next: Given the considerable role our grassroots initiative played in ensuring the local community was properly informed about this project, we expect and look forward to ODOT working with No More Freeways as a crucial community stakeholder in this project as they establish the parameters of this Environmental Impact Statement. We intend to make recommendations of how ODOT and PBOT can fully comply with the letter and intent of the National Environmental Policy Act and use the EIS process to more fully and fairly assess alternatives to freeway expansion that (unlike ODOT’s current proposal) will actually address carbon emissions, air pollution, traffic congestion, and provide restorative justice to the Albina community.
Stay tuned. We’re just getting started. But holy smokes, we won the first round of our freeway fight.
It’s Been a Hot Anti-Freeway Summer
Since we haven’t sent out an update in a hot minute, we figured that, in addition to our exciting news about the EIS, we’d also provide a couple snippets as to what No More Freeways has been up to this summer. Buckle Up!
📻 NMF Visits OPB 🎙️
Oregon Public Broadcasting’s signature program, Think Out Loud, has been running a series of interviews reflecting perspectives on I-5. NMF’s Aaron Brown was invited on last month, and used his 15 minutes of fame to eviscerate ODOT’s boondoggle, speak about the moral imperative to divest from fossil fuel infrastructure like freeways, and explain No More Freeways’ support for the intentions of the Albina Vision Trust. If you haven’t heard it, it’s the best 15-minute run down of our campaign we’ve produced to date. Thanks to OPB for the invite!
Sunrise Movement take to Metro’s #getmoving2020 task force
No More Freeways has been working with the Portland Chapter of the Sunrise Movement and students from Harriet Tubman Middle School to testify at Metro’s Transportation Task Force. The regional government has convened an advisory committee to make recommendations for the 2020 Transportation Package, and youth climate advocates have been showing up to demand that the package doesn’t include freeway expansions or additional road capacity. We’ve also been showing up for our pals with OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, who this summer launched their #UpWithRiders campaign (check out their video!)
You can read coverage of Sunrise youth’s testimony in BikePortland.org, and watch the Tubman students’ testimony on Youtube. We’ll be continuing to track the T2020 conversation; we’ve been livetweeting the #getmoving2020 hearings.
NMF Letter to OTC:
Future generations depend on a climate-smart hire for next ODOT director
“There’s no getting around this crucial fact – the decision of who to hire for the next head of ODOT is arguably the most carbon-consequential decision that the OTC will make in this young century.”
ODOT is currently in the final stages of hiring the next director of the agency (Willamette Week wrote about this yesterday). This process is being undertaken by the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC), who oversees ODOT (it’s the entity that we testified in front of this past spring). We submitted a letter last Mayarticulating the urgency that the next director of ODOT be ready to steer the statewide agency towards increased collaboration with municipal partners, prioritizing decarbonization initiatives by promoting infrastructure investments to reduce Vehicles Miles Traveled (VMT), and stopping build all these damn freeways.
National Publication calls ODOT’s Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion
Sunrise Movement Hosts Sit-in at Mayor Wheeler’s Office, Demanding End to Freeway Expansion
ELECTION SEASON IS SOMEHOW ONCE AGAIN UNDERWAY
Portland Forward hosts NMF, 350PDX, OPAL to talk transportation
Legislative Session Wrap Up
- HB 2007, which created the second strongest diesel engine regulations in the country (students from Harriet Tubman Middle School, above, testified in support of this in March);
- HB 2015, which allowed all Oregonians regardless of citizenship status to obtain drivers’ licenses;
- HB 2001, a first-of-its-kind legislation which legalized missing middle housing to create necessary housing density.
- ..and we OPPOSED HB 3023-A, which would have given Uber and Lyft sweetheart deals to avoid local regulation on TNCs.
We’re blessed and oh-so-grateful for your help. Together, we can stop this dumb freeway.