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Not on Board

Groups align against I-5 expansion

Danny Peterson | 3/6/2019, 6 a.m.
A coalition of dozens of organizations, small businesses, and Portland community members are worried Oregon Department of Transportation’s proposed Rose ...
I-5 traffic in Portland’s Rose Quarter near Harriet Tubman Middle School (behind trees at right). A plan to widen the freeway to ease congestion is moving ahead despite opposition from parents of the school and other groups concerned about air pollution and an increase in vehicle emissions. Photo by Danny Peterson

The school’s proximity to the freeway and the accompanying pollutants was previously addressed by Portland Public Schools by spending $12.5 million on a new roof and state-of-the-art HVAC system to eliminate toxics in anticipation of its re-opening last fall.

A proposed sound wall, that ODOT included in its assessment, to reduce noise levels of nearby traffic for Tubman was of little comfort to Edwards, who is a parent at the school and also works at Urban League of Portland as an outreach specialist helping the chronically homeless get housed.

“Whether it decreases noise level or not, our concern is more of the air quality,” she said.

The public comment period for the proposed I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project will close on Monday, April 1 at 5 p.m. Until then, ODOT will hold a drop-in open house on Thursday, March 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Leftbank Annex Clubroom, 101 N. Weidler St; a public hearing on Tuesday, March 12, with speaker sign ups from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and a program starting at 5 p.m. at the Oregon Convention Center, Room A108; and an online open house will be available now through April 1 at i5rosequarter.org.