Improved access to transit is often a great benefit to the surrounding neighborhoods. When new infrastructure such as light rail comes in, property values rise. This benefits some people, but rents and other housing costs also increase, hurting other members of the community. Many are pushed out and displaced; small businesses close; the character of the neighborhood is irreparably altered. The Southwest Corridor Equitable Development Strategy resulted from an effort in 2017 to prevent these negative impacts from happening in Southwest Portland, Tigard and Tualatin with future light rail expansion.
Thanks to a Federal Transit Administration grant, Metro worked with partners from the community to explore how a proposed light rail and other investments in the Southwest Corridor could support community development and improve the quality of life for people of all incomes and backgrounds. This process built relationships among government and community members, employers, affordable housing providers, business leaders, philanthropic organizations and educational institutions. It also tested several new solutions with help from the grant.
The Southwest Corridor Equitable Development Strategy established several goals for Southwest Corridor communities:
- Empower people affected by the light rail expansion to determine the community’s needs.
- Ensure people affected by a light rail expansion are able to stay in the community and have opportunities to thrive.
- Preserve and expand affordable housing.
- Create new economic opportunities for neighbors and local business owners that generate new wealth in the community.
- Prevent the displacement of neighbors and local businesses.
- Improve transit options for people to get where they need to go.
- Develop healthy and safe communities.
The Southwest Corridor Equitable Development Strategy is an innovative tool to create more equitable outcomes as our region plans to extend light rail. Metro staff envisions a new group, the Southwest Equity Coalition, to continue carrying out the strategy. The coalition will work to prepare current residents of the Southwest Corridor for the economic impact of the new light rail line. Metro wants to ensure that existing residents are able to stay and experience the opportunities that this major public investment will bring.
To learn more, access the Southwest Corridor Equitable Development Strategy and summary documents below.