More than 200 people attended events in Portland, Hillsboro and Oregon City in late October to discuss local transportation needs and investments that could be part of a 2020 regional transportation funding measure.
At each event, participants shared their views on proposed projects along some of the Portland area’s most dangerous and congested travel routes. A panel discussion followed with local leaders and representatives from Metro’s local investment teams - groups of community members in Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas County who met over the summer to review potential investments to improve transportation along the region’s most dangerous and congested travel corridors.
While each forum addressed regional transportation needs through the lens of a particular county, some common themes emerged.
The time for investment is now
“Portland’s growing population is going to happen regardless of how we respond to it and the proposed measure is one way to respond to it.” - Nolan Leinhart, ZGF Architects, and Transportation Funding Task Force member
"I think about other places I've lived that waited too long to make significant transportation investments. We still have time, but it's running out - there's a small window before it'll be too late." - Dave Hunt, Clackamas County
Address climate change and pollution
“Everytime we get in a car, how do we make sure that we’re not idling our cars creating more pollution to the environment...it impacts everyone else, not just myself. It impacts all the people in my community.” - Daniel Nguyen, Lake Oswego Councilor
“In 10 years, I would hope we would not be having conversations about air quality.” Walter Robinson II, Getting There Together Coalition
“We should listen to our children. They are talking to us about climate, about the world we're leaving them." - Pam Treece, Washington County Commissioner and co-chair of the Transportation Funding Task Force
“People need to stop losing their lives on 82nd...there are 10,000 people who work at PDX [airport]. A lot of them get there on 82nd. They get there on the bus, on bikes, and their own vehicles…primarily we have to take care of the most vulnerable people using the roadway.” - Emerald Bogue, Port of Portland and Transportation Funding Task Force member
Invest in transportation options
“Any kind of a greenway where people have to slow down in their vehicles and you can ride a bike through there and not worry so much about the safety factor, I think those are fantastic. But I also believe in bike trails, trails are really nice that way you get off the beaten path so to say, you don’t have to be with all the car traffic.” - Bike advocate Jay Panagos, Clackamas County
"If we invest in our youth and help them think regionally about our transit system, that it's a reliable option, they'll be transit users forever." -Walter Robinson II, Getting There Together Coalition
“[There are] people that just don’t have choices. Maybe they don’t have choices because they’re kids and they can’t drive a car. Not many people have the option to relocate their jobs to Clackamas County.” - Dave Hunt, local investment team member for Clackamas County
Prevent displacement and invest in communities of color
“We all know that with great transportation, infrastructure updates, and upgrades, the developers come behind. And we need to be intentional and have a purpose with the community to help vision that process and also make sure that process is community led.” - Ashton Simpson, local investment team member for Multnomah County
"Cities are popular again, and our landscape is changing, especially at the edges of our region. We must invest in the communities living at those edges." - Metro Councilor Christine Lewis
“As we think about growth, I want to go back to this racial equity piece. What are we doing for the folks who are here now and what are the things we can put in place to help them grow?” - Walter Robinson II, Getting There Together Coalition
Reliable and accessible transportation is vital for workers and local businesses
“The economic success of small businesses depends on accessibility.” - Sushmita Poddar, owner of Arampali and Bollywood Movez, and local investment team member for Washington County
“I have 60 to 70 employees who at any given moment are on the road getting to or from work...we deal with things as simple as calls saying I missed the bus and can’t get to work. So those are things that offer real benefit to me as an employer.” - Daniel Nguyen, Lake Oswego City Councilor and owner of Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen
Over the past four years, Metro staff have engaged with community members across the region, beginning with over 19,000 touchpoints that informed the 2018 Regional Transportation Plan and dozens of public meetings and other engagement activities to build a staff recommendation for a set of proposed transportation investments. This fall, the Transportation Funding Task Force is considering the staff recommendation as it develops its own recommendation to the Metro Council. Attend a meeting in Portland on November 20 or in Milwaukie on December 18 to learn more and share your views with the Task Force.