Every day tens of thousands of people ride TriMet bus lines 4 and 9 between Portland and Gresham to connect to Portland’s Central City, Downtown Gresham, Portland Community College’s Southeast Center and many places in between. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is collaborating with Metro, TriMet, the City of Gresham, ODOT and Multnomah County on the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project to provide faster, more reliable high capacity transit to more Portlanders, especially those living, working or going to school in East Portland.
The project team has been conducting extensive outreach, focusing on the needs and interests of East and Southeast Portland and Gresham residents as well as the many immigrant and refugee and limited English proficiency (LEP) populations in the area. In addition to focus groups and youth outreach, the City of Portland and Metro recently partnered with the Jade District and Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement to host community workshops at local businesses at East Garden restaurant on SE Division and 124th and at Fubonn on SE 82nd Ave. Successful and lively events, the Jade District workshop on February 28 included live translation services for Cantonese and Vietnamese speakers provided by community leaders Rosaline Hui and Thao Tran, respectively. A joint Powell-Division and Mixed Use Zones Project open house was also held at Cleveland High School on March 10.
Community outreach has also been supported by Metro’s new interactive map tool, which asked participants to share their preferences for alignments and station area planning. Metro received more than 1,500 comments between February 13 and March 4, 2015, which were shared with the project's Steering Committee in advance of their March 16 meeting. Representatives from the Tongan community, the Russian Speaking Network and the Latino Network all spoke at the meeting, and youth organizers shared insights they gained while canvassing businesses in the City of Gresham. The project team is looking forward to them continuing their work as they move west into the City of Portland. Additional focus groups are slated for April and May, and staff will schedule presentations and discussions with Neighborhood Associations during that time as well.
At the same meeting the Steering Committee, which includes community and government agency representatives, reached consensus on the most promising route options for the new high-capacity transit services slated for the Powell-Division corridor. The new bus rapid transit service will travel from the Central City across the Tilikum Crossing, up Powell Blvd to either 50th, 52nd or 82nd Avenues, where it will head north to Division St. It will then travel on Division to Gresham, where it will connect to Mount Hood Community College. The Steering Committee expressed strong support for 82nd Ave as the north-south crossing, but some cautioned that additional engineering, design and traffic studies need to be completed to better understand the opportunities and challenges. Further refinements to the design will take place as the team moves into project development and completes additional engineering and traffic studies.