ODOT hosts open house for I-5 Rose Quarter project

Citizens turn out at an ODOT-hosted open house Thursday, March 7, 2019 to learn about an I-5 Rose Quarter project. (KATU Photo)

Dozens showed up Thursday night for an open house regarding the Oregon Department of Transportation's proposed I-5 Rose Quarter project. There were some project supporters, but the majority of those who showed up were opposed to the project going forward.

The project, which has been talked about for nearly a decade, would revamp I-5 and surface streets in the Rose Quarter. Auxiliary lanes would be added, allowing easier merging, or none at all, for those drivers only using freeway connections and not through-lanes.

"With the new auxiliary lane, the 99 percent of traffic coming from 405 does not have to be using the two through-lanes of traffic," said Megan Channell, the project manager for ODOT. "That keeps everybody moving more efficiently."

But opponents still say it's a freeway expansion or widening project.

"There's not a single city anywhere in North America that has ever solved traffic congestion through freeway expansion," said Aaron Brown of the group No More Freeways PDX. "The only solution that has ever solved traffic congestion is congestion pricing. I know people don't like tolls, but that single policy mechanism is the one thing that actually makes traffic move faster."

Thursday night's event was aimed at explaining the project to citizens. A public hearing next Tuesday night will allow comments from the public.

ODOT released an environmental report for the project last month.

Opponents of the project cite many reasons for being opposed, just as ODOT says there are many more benefits to the project than just relieving congestion.

You can read ODOT's full project presentation here.

No More Freeways PDX has compiled their opposition materials here.

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