More than 50 adults – and almost as many children and youth – gathered at Markham Elementary School on a Saturday in June for the West Portland Town Center walk/roll tour. Childcare, interpretation and refreshments were provided, and the sun came through for a warm afternoon.
The purpose of the walk-roll event was to hear from community members about on-the-ground conditions in their neighborhoods around the intersection of I-5, Barbur Blvd and SW Capitol. They shared their experiences and ideas for how to improve safety and living conditions to make West Portland TC an inviting, inclusive and vital place for them and their families.
What we heard
Project staff heard a wide variety of ideas, suggestions, and concerns. The following is a summary of what we heard from community members on written surveys throughout the walk.
The 1.25-mile round trip route started and ended at Markham Elementary and included stops at the following locations:
- “Crossroads”/Barbur and Capitol
- Barbur World Foods/Taylors Ferry and 41st
- Barbur Transit Center
- I-5 pedestrian overpass behind transit center
- Portland Islamic School/Capitol Hwy
The feedback we received fell into the following “buckets” of ideas:
- Area is divided in two: I-5 and Barbur split the town center into north and south portions, creating a potential for two “hearts.”
- The civic and multifamily/residential areas near mosque/Markham Elementary/park could be part of a “heart” south of I-5.
- Area around Barbur World Foods is a potential “heart” and commercial center north of I-5.
- Roadway conditions are a barrier and need rethinking and improvements; consider ways to de-emphasize role of cars in local circulation.
- Many people are scared to walk and bike, especially on Barbur and SW Capitol. Safe, comfortable access is needed to make the town center area feel welcoming and functional.
- People want places to gather — commercial and community oriented.
- Barbur Transit Center has potential for redevelopment in ways that can serve community needs. But getting there safely is as important as what goes on there.
- The I-5 pedestrian bridge is a critical link, but many people do not know it exists!
How will this feedback be used? And what's next?
This input helps project staff understand community priorities, concerns and perspectives. It also helps define some key pieces for the town center plan work underway.
Look out for another community event in mid-fall, where we'll work together to discuss and problem solve the physical challenges and desired changes for making this town center a safer, more comfortable, accessible, convenient place to live and travel around.
So stay tuned!