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Barbur Concept Plan Heads to City Council for Adoption

On April 24, 2013, the Portland City Council will hold a public hearing on the Barbur Concept Plan. The Concept Plan identifies seven catalytic focus areas along the six-mile-long boulevard — places where there is a community desire for change — and establishes a unifying vision for this historic transportation corridor as a more accessible, vibrant place.

The Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) voted unanimously on Feb. 26 to forward the recommended Concept Plan to City Council after hearing from the community. The commission also heard a compelling story about the vision for this important corridor.

That vision takes advantage of existing strengths in each area, situated in four unique segments  (Lair Hill, The Woods, Historic Highway and Far Southwest) and proposes several big ideas to correct current deficiencies and promote public and private investment.

The vision is supported by an economic analysis of what the market would support and when. The report’s key finding is that future high capacity transit (HCT) is a necessary ingredient to making the vision real. Attracting substantial private investment will likely require a significant change to the look and feel of Barbur that only an investment in HCT can deliver.

Barbur Boulevard’s Past

Barbur was first a railroad route that was converted to an auto boulevard in the 1920s, linking downtown to other parts of Southwest Portland. When Barbur became part of the state highway system (99W), early commercial development was tailored to the automobile and traveler services. When I-5 was built in the 1950s, Barbur continued to serve regional traffic — but without the funding and attention that a standalone highway might receive. Consequently, the southwest neighborhoods continue to advocate for basic pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements. With Metro's SW Corridor Plan, the time is right to consider how to complete this roadway’s transformation from a rail line, to a highway, and now to a civic corridor that offers an enjoyable place for people to live, work, play and learn.

What’s Next?

A week after the hearing, the City Council will vote to adopt the plan by resolution as non-binding city policy. The plan identifies future actions that will need to correspond to future regional decisions about high capacity transit and other major infrastructure investments in the corridor. This will ensure that Barbur, the adjoining neighborhoods and the City can take advantage of opportunities when they arise to move the community's shared vision forward.

A copy of the recommended concept plan is now available for the public to review.

Your comments for the April 24th hearing are appreciated in person or via:


Fax: (503) 823-4571 (attn Council Clerk)

Mail:1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 140, Portland,OR 97204.

SW Corridor Plan

Metro is leading a comprehensive planning effort to create livable and sustainable communities along the corridor between Portland, Tigard and Sherwood through integrated community investments in land use and transportation. A major component of this effort is to determine the mode of transit (e.g. light rail, bus rapid transit) and alignment (e.g. Barbur or I-5). Metro is in the early stages of evaluating alternatives and is expecting to narrow the wide range of alternatives into a handful by this summer. For more information, please visit

The Southwest Corridor Plan is working to schedule the following events and public involvement tools. Once confirmed, the events will be added to the project calendar on the SW Corridor website.

  • SW Corridor Open House, Thursday, April 25, 5:30-7:30pm at the Multnomah Arts Center, Room 30. Come help Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. (SWNI) develop priorities for future roadway and active transportation investments. As part of Metro's SW Corridor Plan and planning for high capacity transit, a series of roadway and other projects will soon be identified for regional investment in the next 15 years.
  • April online open house If you're not able to make it to the April 25th open house, you can catch up with the Southwest Corridor Plan by working though the online open house, to be posted in mid April.
  • Project bundle evaluation results Evaluation results of the project bundles will be released by mid-May.
  • Opt In survey, May 20 through 28 (unconfirmed) Using Metro's OptIn program, participants will be able to respond to the evaluation results and how they connect to regional and local values. Learn about and join the OptIn panel
  • Community Planning Forum, Thursday, May 23, 6:00-8:00 at the Tualatin library (18878 SW Martinazzi Avenue) Learn more about the evaluation results and offer your thoughts on what priorities should be included in the plan's investment package.
  • June online open house Beginning mid-June, review the initial concepts for the final investment package and offer your comments for the steering committee's decisions on how to move forward.