The housing crisis requires partnerships and collaborative approaches.Read More…
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If you’ve been to a Fred Meyer store on Barbur Boulevard (in South Burlingame) or Tigard (on 99W) you probably saw pictures of the area and the store sites before Barbur was even paved.
A few Model Ts and horse-drawn carriages can be seen in the foreground as the dirt road carves a path to the south. Elsewhere, other old photos show robust dense neighborhoods with lots of housing in Lair Hill and where Duniway Park now sits. In some photos, you can even see the vestiges of an old streetcar line.
Barbur Boulevard circa mid-20th century (left); 1920s Lair Hill, before urban renewal and the Markham Bridge resulted in housing loss (right)
Fast forward to the 21st century.
Planning is underway for a light rail line in the region’s SW corridor, located along I-5 and 99W. Over the next 25 years, this area will experience the most growth of all the region’s major corridors. But it is currently underserved by transit, so light rail service will provide a reliable and affordable way to get to existing and future jobs, educational opportunities, as well as more places to live in the corridor.
This multibillion-dollar infrastructure investment will attract additional private and public investments, bringing more jobs and businesses, improved community services, and housing choices to the area.
The benefits of these once-in-a-lifetime improvements should be available to everybody.
The cities of Portland and Tigard as well as Metro have partnered to align this major public investment in transit with our values – inclusion, equal access to opportunity, and diversity in our region. Building on the work of the SW Corridor Plan and Barbur Concept Plan, which identified possible station areas and models for mixed use development along the transit corridor, project partners will create an Equitable Housing Strategy to preserve and create more housing opportunities for households of all types and incomes.
Housing for Everyone
It’s no secret that, as Portland and the region grow, more people are having difficulty finding housing, much less a home or apartment they can afford. People of color and immigrants are affected the most as they are pushed farther away from desirable neighborhoods with amenities and access to transit.
So we have an opportunity with the SW Corridor light rail line — and the accompanying public and private investments— benefits those who have traditionally been underserved and even harmed by major transportation projects.
At the end of a year-long process, the project team will deliver a unified, strategic approach to housing for the entire Barbur corridor, with a set of recommendations that the cities can take action on, including:
Timeline and Schedule
The planning for the transit route and station locations is underway. Final decisions by Metro, TriMet and the local cities are scheduled for 2018, when they approve the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). The Equitable Housing Strategy will be adopted by City Council when they vote on an LPA for the transit route from outer SW Portland to Downtown.
From Vision to Action
There will continue to be plenty of visioning about the future of the SW Corridor. Now we need to think about ways to ensure housing options are available to everyone. We have lessons from housing strategies along Interstate Avenue and in the N/NE Quadrant of the Central City and successful housing strategies from other cities to help us develop a meaningful and actionable strategy
But how can we do that?