Construction along the 14-mile Division Transit Project route is set to begin this fall, with service beginning in 2021.

Construction along the 14-mile Division Transit Project route is set to begin this fall, with service beginning in 2021.

The beautiful weather took its toll on the Division Transit Project (DTP) Community Advisory Committee meeting April 19: public attendance was sparse. Eight out of 10 committee members were present. The committee is made up of representatives of community organizations, as well as Portland Community College Southeast, Oregon Health Science University, Centennial School District and TriMet. The DTP will improve travel between downtown Portland, Southeast and east Portland and Gresham with easier, faster and more reliable bus service. 

Jonathan Williams from Metro spoke to the committee about the Jade Apartments, which are going up on the site of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) event space on Northeast 82nd Avenue and Division Street.

The Jade Apartments will have 48 affordable units of various sizes for tenants who earn from 30 to 60 percent of the area’s median income. It will also be home to APANO office space and a new 4,800-square-foot event space. APANO raised $1.3 million for its space, and construction started in January. It is expected to be completed in February 2019, and leasing will begin the following March. 

Project manager Michael Kiser addressed the committee next. The project will reach 35 percent design completion by June 2018, when the project is submitted to the National Environmental Policy Act process, Kiser said. Then a decision will be made on funding by October 2018, when a federal omnibus spending bill will be passed. Kiser referred to this funding as the “congressional path,” since the president’s budget made no provision for the project.

At 30 percent design completion, there was a $20 million funding gap and a year’s delay. In response to this, the Powell Garage was defunded in the project. The garage will be one of four used for the articulated buses that will run along the Division Street transportation corridor. Renovation of the garage is scheduled to begin in September 2018, and the garage will be ready for DTP vehicles in January 2020. It has multiple sources of funding, But the DTP was seeking more local funding, Kiser said. Funding for the project was being redistributed between federal and local sources. Instead of $100 million coming from the federal government and $75 million from local sources, the funding would be divided equally between them.

Besides that, TriMet was doing more dependability modeling on the project, since dependability is as important as performance. They were also coordinating with the Outer Division Multi-modal Safety Project to ensure complementary design. 

There will be two more open houses for the project, one in Gresham and the other in Portland, in June of this year. A TriMet representative pointed out that the agency created the new No. 74 bus line that runs along 162nd Avenue because of public input connected with this project.