Portland Public Schools skeptical of ODOT's I-5 Rose Quarter Project

Portland Public Schools board members express concern about the Oregon Department of Transportation's I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project during a meeting Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (KATU Photo)

Portland Public Schools board members grilled the project manager of the Oregon Department of Transportation's I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Tuesday night.

Board members are concerned how the project would affect two properties near the construction site: Harriet Tubman Middle School and district headquarters.

Air quality at Harriet Tubman is a chief concern.

In a draft statement, PPS expressed concern with how much weight has been given to future automobile emissions projections. The draft statement claims ODOT's projections are "not universally accepted by knowledgeable critics."

"There's no way that any elements in this project will do anything to jeopardize the building and certainly not to jeopardize the students," said ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton.

The PPS board voted to submit public comments to ODOT asking that specific issues be addressed. The board also wants a full environmental impact statement to be conducted. So far, ODOT has only performed a less rigorous environmental assessment.

Public comment on the I-5 project is being accepted until April 1.

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