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City Hall Recap, ODOT Open House Deets, and Last Chance to Submit Testimony ūüŹôūüõ£‚ĚĆūüėĖ

Thanks for an amazing turnout last Thursday! 

We had a wonderful crew join us for our #steptemberpdx walk on Thursday to City Hall; thanks to Ron Buel and Joe Cortright for telling us about the history of Tom McCall Waterfront Park and to Oregon Walks for hosting us on their #steptemberpdx walk series.
Charlie Tso testifying at Portland City Hall.Over 35 individuals signed up to testify in opposition to the Rose Quarter freeway widening. Our letter has been signed by over 440 community members and 26 community organizations.
We had a busy week in the media as well. Check out the coverage of our nascent campaign in The Oregonian, BikePortland.org, The Portland Tribune, Portland Mercury, and The Association Press; and thanks to Portlanders for Parking Reform for uploading video of all of our testimony onto youtube.


What comes next?

Turnout for ODOT’s Open House on Freeway Expansion¬†Tonight¬†in Northeast Portland

ODOT¬†is holding¬†an open house¬†on the Freeway Expansion Project at the Matt Dishman Community Center¬†TONIGHT, September 12th. We’ll be showing up to leave comments about our concerns about traffic safety, the inability of this project to address recurring traffic congestion, air quality considerations, and more.

Matt Dishman Community Center
September 12th; 5:00-7:00pm
77 NE Knott Street, Portland OR
(Accessible via TriMet Bus lines 4, 6, 44 and the Rodney Avenue Neighborhood Greenway)


Testify on Thursday; Contact City Hall by Friday

Miss your chance to testify last week? City Council will be holding an additional round of public testimony on the Portland Central City Plan on Thursday, September 14th, at 2:45pm. Individuals signed up last week will be given preference to testify first.

If you can’t make it¬†this Thursday¬†but still want to help, please consider sending in your own testimony to City Hall expressing your concerns with the project. Click¬†HERE¬†to queue up an email to your elected officials. Public testimony on the Central City Plan closes by¬†Friday, September 15 at 5pm.

If you haven’t already, please¬†sign our letter¬†and ask your friends and colleagues to do the same. We’re just short of 500 signatures; can you spread the word on¬†facebook¬†and¬†twitter¬†to help us get over the top?

Down the Road

It’s been a busy couple weeks over here at No More Freeways HQ!¬†We’ll have more to share soon about the next steps of our 21st century freeway revolt; we’ll continue to¬†ask City Council to remove this project from the Transportation System Plan, and we’re¬†interested in learning more about the Council Resolution proposed by Commissioner Dan Saltzman to ensure that congestion pricing is studied and implemented before freeway expansion. We’ll be conducting further outreach to bring more community organizations on board, to explain our opposition to this expensive boondoggle to elected officials, and to stand on the shoulders of a previous generation of Portlanders who prioritized building a city for people instead of paving a city for cars.

In the mean time, reach out to us at¬†nomorefreewayspdx@gmail.com¬†if you’re interested in becoming a regular volunteer with our coalition. We have meetings approximately twice a month, and would welcome new members to join us.

On behalf of all of us at No More Freeway Expansions: Thanks for your continued support.

Let’s Go Stop a Freeway!

375 signatures! 26 organizations! And one $450 million freeway officially in the crosshairs.

The No More Freeway Expansion Coalition submitted a letter to Portland City Council and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability on August 30, 2017 outlining our concerns for the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion and the project’s inclusion in the Transportation System Plan update in the Central City Plan.

Our coalition greatly appreciated the time afforded by Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and the staff of Mayor Ted Wheeler to discuss our concerns with the inefficacy, price tag, public health implications and expected carbon emissions associated with the proposal to add an additional line of freeway to Interstate 5 from the Fremont Bridge through to Interstate 84. ¬†We wish to thank Commissioner Saltzman, in particular, for his comments given to BikePortland.org last Friday, in which his office shared that they intend to issue a statement prioritizing ‘congestion/value pricing along the I-5 corridor before the project breaks ground.’ We welcome this acknowledgement that congestion pricing is a cost-effective, proven and (if done appropriately) equitable approach to solving the traffic congestion that Portlanders currently face; however, we continue to encourage Commissioner Saltzman and the rest of the City Council to evaluate whether this $450 million freeway expansion is appropriate for inclusion in the Transportation System Plan update, in the name of honoring our city’s commitments to action on climate, traffic safety and equity.

Since the public launch of our campaign, response has been enthusiastic. We provide you today with the names of 375 community members and organizations including Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Portland Democratic Socialists of America, and the East Portland Air Coalition who have signed on since the letter was sent to City Hall. You can see our full list here.

Our petition includes 62 residents of Inner North/Northeast Portland who live near the freeway, 52 self-identified small business owners, 18 self-identified residents of East Portland; 95% of our signatures stated they lived in zip codes with Portland addresses (and 98% in the state of Oregon.)

The ‚ÄúNo More Freeway Expansion‚ÄĚ Coalition solicited signatures from Portland community members concerned with the plans to spend half a billion dollars on a freeway expansion that won‚Äôt solve congestion over the past week. Below are the names, zip codes, and additional comments of the citizens and organizations who have signed on to our letter in advance of today‚Äôs City Council Hearing.

We look forward to continuing to engage with Portland City Council on constructive, healthy, cost-effective alternatives to this $450 million freeway expansion, and are eager to work collaboratively to determine a course to support equitable, climate-friendly, and common sense transportation investments for this corridor and for our region’s future.

To see the full comments and additional testimony provided by community members, please see our document HERE, submitted to City Council and the Bureau of Planning on Sustainability on September 7th.

We look forward to seeing you this afternoon at our #steptemberpdx walk 1:00pm at Salmon Street Springs Fountain (1000 SW Naito Parkway) and at the City Council Hearing at 2:00pm.

Our World’s On Fire! Let’s Stop A Freeway.

WHAT’S HAPPENING
 
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.
CAMPAIGN UPDATE:
  • 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
 
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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
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(Houston’s Katy Freeway. Maybe just *one* more lane will solve the congestion problem!)
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

And We’re Live!

Our campaign launches today!

We’d love your help in SPREADING THE WORD about our campaign and getting your peers, colleagues, neighbors and friends to consider signing on to our letter asking the City of Portland to reconsider their plans to move forward with a $450 million freeway expansion in Northeast Portland.

Once you’ve signed our letter yourself, please forward our website to your peers and share our content on facebook/twitter.

Additionally, a few founding members of the No More Freeway Expansions will be on XRAY fm today at noon for the “Group Therapy” hour to talk about why this project is an expensive, misplaced boondoggle that will lock future generations of Portlanders into decades of continued congestion.