Monday, January 26, 2009

Neighborhood Assoc. Minutes of January 21

January 21, 2009 Meeting minutes

11 members present

Mark Wells (, our liaison from North Portland Crime Prevention Office, introduced himself and described the services that are available from his office. He is the liaison for 7 neighborhoods and emphasized that the best way to contact him with any questions is through email as he is out in the field often but checks his email several times a day. He handed out guides to Home and Vehicle Security and gave recommendations to decrease the chances of becoming a victim of car prowlers. Don't leave valuables in the car, hide registration and insurance papers (he recommended hiding them underneath the spare tire in the trunk) and hang a "Stop Thief, there are no valuables in this car" notices from the rearview mirror. You can also empty out glove compartments and consoles and leave them open to clearly display that there is nothing in the car. Of course, he made no guarantee that doing all of these things would ensure that your car would not be broken into. In the event that you have a crime occur, he emphasized the need to report the crime using the non-emergency phone number if the vandals are already gone and the emergency phone number if a crime is in progress. However, after being informed that several residents had recently called the non-emergency number to report multiple break-ins and damage to vehicles and being told that they would not create a report, Mark advised calling the Police Information Line (503-823-4636) and said that they "have to" take a report and give you a case number that you can use for insurance purposes.

Mark also talked about creating good neighbor agreements within local neighborhoods if you have issues and gave examples such as having to deal with a neighbor who regularly leaves garbage outside their premises, etc.

And, to improve safety, he recommended paying attention to the lighting in the neighborhood and making sure that lighting that stops working gets fixed right away.

For additional information, go to the Website at

The next item on the agenda was the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project. The guest speaker, Peter Ovington, attended to get neighborhood input and to answer questions about the current status of the project. All current material related to the project can be found on the Website at

Two milestones have been achieved and will not be revisited. Yes, a new bridge will be built and yes, lightrail will be extended into Vancouver.

The next decision to be made is how many lanes the new bridge will have and whether two structures or three structures will be built.

Peter gave an overview of the effects of add/drop lanes and spoke about the negative effects of the current substandard on-off ramps at Hayden Island. Previous work on the project has already determined that there will not be more than 3 through lanes going North and 3 through lanes going South. He gave us a handout that describes the traffic effects of 8, 10 and 12 lanes and handed out diagrams of the Add/Drop Lanes in 8, 10 and 12 Lane designs. The criteria used to measure the traffic effects on the handout make the 12 Lanes option the most appealing option due to the decreased locations of unsafe and poor service, the decreased number of local streets impacted by the 12 Lane design, the decreased number of hours of congestion, the decreased number of collisions, the increased flow of traffic and decreased traffic diversion to I-205 and the potential for an HOV lane.

Concerns were expressed by a meeting participant about the increase in cancer rates related to pollution. Another participant responded that pollution was likely to be higher if traffic was at a standstill due to congestion rather than passing by rapidly in traffic that is flowing freely.

Another concern was expressed over the congestion being forced to the Rose Quarter. Walter presented statistics from research that discovered that 70% of traffic is getting on OR off I-5 before Rose Quarter and 40% of traffic is getting on AND off before Rose Quarter. So, traffic moving efficiently at the bridge does not necessarily increase congestion drastically at the Rose Quarter. And, the Rose Quarter is already a congestion problem that requires it's own project for resolving.

The function of electronic tolling was explained when a concern was raised about the slowing of traffic for toll collection. Local vehicles will carry transponders that will automatically be read and drivers will automatically be billed. Snapshots of license plates for vehicles without transponders will determine how vehicles from outside the area will be billed. Cars from other states that cross the bridge infrequently, for example, twice a year, may not be billed. The toll will automatically change to charge different rates during peak and off-peak hours.

Rick Page made some very good points about considering the long term value of building a 12 Lane bridge. He pointed out that we should be thinking about how the bridge will service traffic for 100 years and not just how the bridge serves the area in the immediate future. He pointed out how costly it would be in future dollars to re-visit the bridge project to add lanes in the future. He pointed out that cars in the future will not have the same carbon imprint as the cars that we drive today and it is not accurate to assume increased carbon monoxide output using today's vehicles as a basis. Carbon emissions will be less in future cars. He also pointed out the expanded capacity and flexibility provided in the 12 Lane design.

Walter verified that the cost increase for 6 lanes rather than 5 lanes in each direction was modest now. He also explained that the guardians of stopping freeway growth are our own representatives, for example, Amanda Fritz and Sam Adams. Freeway growth is seen as selling out to Urban sprawl. If the neighborhood disagrees with the concerns about Urban Sprawl resulting from increased traffic flow, it has to voice that disagreement because that is not being heard as strongly at this time.

A Portland City Council public hearing is scheduled on January 29th at Portland City Hall at 2:00 PM and a Project Sponsor Council meeting is scheduled on February 6 from 10-12 at ODOT - Region 1. The decision about the number of Lanes and the number of structures will be made at this meeting. Please attend to voice your opinions.

Walter also presented diagrams showing the neighborhood impacts for the 3 different bridge designs under consideration at this time. The newest design is a very desirable design for the Bridgeton neighborhood because Marine drive no longer directs traffic to the highway, it provides for a direct path to walk to Safeway on Hayden Island and it increases green space. It is very friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists.

A meeting for Marine Drive stakeholders will be held on January 28 at the Kenton firehouse from 9-11 AM. Your concerns and opinions about the impacts to Marine Drive can be expressed at this meeting.

There was additional discussion concerning a preference for closed Max platforms (accessed only through turnstiles with tickets rather than openly accessible with or without tickets). Closed access would enforce the purchase of tickets and would increase safety.

New platforms in Clackamas are being built as open platforms and some riders do not feel very safe. Recent headlines concerning crime on Max platforms support the concerns.

Peter pointed out that closed platforms create a different type of "sealed-in" safety issue and that Metro has a stronger preference for Open designs.

Stan asked about news on connecting the sidewalk and stairs at the school. Walter said there was no news, we have petitioned for funds, received a verbal OK, but there is no additional movement. We need to refocus on mitigation. The funds are available. We should talk to Leslie and create a smaller group to work on these issues. We will be getting more trees than we have space for. We should focus on planting on Gantenbein.

A question was raised concerning when the Alexan project was going to happen. Walter answered that current economic funding issues have slowed things down.

Another question was raised concerning the condo project between the Hotel and Pizza Mia. Walter described the project as 4 units of 36 condos in each unit. The hotel owner said that the units will initially be rented out until the economy picks up again at which point they will be converted to condos.

There were no additional questions, so the meeting was adjourned.

No comments: