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More than 75 people (including Mayor Charlie Hales) attended the West Quadrant Plan Open House in City Hall on March 10. The following comments — and many more — were offered about the area:
The project team, including staff from BPS and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, shared revised goals, policies and actions for each of the seven districts within the quadrant. They also presented ideas for different transportation modes (e.g., bikes, pedestrians, transit), along with the Green Loop and the Willamette River Central Reach Urban Design Concept.
At one of the stations, a group of PSU graduate students calling themselves Watermark Planning presented their ideas to “Activate the Waterfront.” As part of the Masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program, the group is working with the West Quadrant team to address challenges in the area, including:
“… Few opportunities exist for park visitors to engage directly with the river and Portland’s downtown waterfront lacks vibrancy, largely as the result of difficult or unclear connections to the city’s central business district, surrounding neighborhoods and the eastside.”
Several people came to talk about Old Town/Chinatown, advocating for revitalizing the area while preserving the significant architectural and cultural resources in the district as well as the strong Asian community ties. As BPS Planner Nicholas Starin was quoted in The Oregonian recently, staff researched other Old Towns in cities like Seattle and Los Angeles to learn how they preserved these vital parts of their urban core. One of the more successful elements in these other districts is a multicultural museum, which is part of the action plan for Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown. Such a resource would acknowledge and celebrate the rich cultural history of the city’s oldest neighborhood and its Greek, Jewish, Roma, Chinese and Japanese populations over the past 165 years.
Other big ideas emerging from the West Quadrant planning process are to:
This round of public input is concluding, but you can still provide input until 5 p.m. March 24 via the WQP Virtual Open House webpage. Over the past few months, the project team made more than 400 individual contacts with Portlanders, through Neighborhood Association and community meetings, one-on-one conversations, and Stakeholder Advisory and Technical Advisory Committee meetings. Staff will consider this feedback as they refine the goals and policies, district plans and maps for a proposed draft, to be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission over the summer. The West Quadrant Concept Plan will then go to City Council for adoption.