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City, neighborhood leaders celebrate 102nd Avenue Project completion


At the celebration marking the completion of Phase I of the 102nd Avenue Improvement Project are, from left, Michelle Winningham, Metro Councilor Robert Liberty, David Douglas School District Chair Frieda Christopher and Portland Development Commission’s Justin Douglas.
Sr. Project/Program Specialist Sue Lewis compliments graphic designer Christopher Masciocchi on his new design of the Gateway arch that will be featured prominently throughout the area.
On Nov. 10, public officials celebrated the completion of the 102nd Avenue Project, a $6.2 million makeover of the street between Northeast Halsey and Stark Streets. Actually scheduled to be completed by the end of November, the completed street will have four travel lanes, two bike lanes, a planted center median with left turn refuges, benches and other street furniture, bioswales to absorb storm runoff and gingko street trees. Sidewalks will be widened as new development occurs. Mayor-elect Sam Adams, who acted as master of ceremonies for the event, noted that because of the project, “Ornamental streetlights have come to east Portland, and it’s about time.”

Political and community leaders saw the project as a symbol of city hall taking east Portland seriously in terms of an actual improvement. Adams said, “When I became transportation commissioner, we prioritized and looked at where we could make a difference in a short amount of time; 102nd immediately rose to the top. This is a high profile street that needed help 20 years ago. This is not just a new street, but a new commitment to make it part of the seamless grid that is Portland.”

Jason Tell of the Oregon Department of Transportation, speaking in place of Congressman Earl Blumenauer, referred to the Bush Administration’s take on transportation funding when he said, “Partnerships are critical, especially when resources are less than what you really need. For far too long we haven’t had investment in public transportation projects. I’m looking forward to the coming year when a new (transportation) bill will be written.”
Noting the runoff soaking into the new bioswales, Adams said, “This is a green street. It’s (the celebration) appropriate on a cold, wet and rainy day.”

Adams introduced Metro Councilor Robert Liberty as “a lifelong advocate for a sustainable environment.” Liberty, who has been advocating for more public spending in the area, said that Gateway and Mid-county represent “as great an opportunity as anything on the west side. This is a beautiful location, and a great place for people to stay in.”

Dick Cooley, the first chair of the Gateway Urban Renewal District Program Advisory Committee, said he hoped the celebration of the completion of the project would be the first of many.

Justin Douglas of the Portland Development Commission said the project was the result of “advocacy, hard work and dedication for years.” He asked for advocacy for another $4.5 million for Phase II of the project, its extension to Southeast Washington Street. At a meeting of the Gateway PAC later in the month, he said that in jockeying for a high position in the city’s spending priorities, “we’re facing stiff competition from Hillsdale.”
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