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102nd Avenue work begins January 14

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102nd Avenue work begins January 14


Publisher’s note:
Welcome to Perlman’s Potpourri for January — a roundup of news items from the Gateway and Parkrose neighborhoods of mid-Multnomah County from veteran Beat Reporter Lee Perlman.

Coming up, the 102nd Avenue Improvement Project gets underway in January.

Tree-planting volunteers are sought for projects in the Russell and Wilkes neighborhoods.

Also Human Solutions, an affordable housing developer and provider serving east Portland and mid-Multnomah County wins a Spirit of Portland award.

Should there be high-speed rail in parts of the I-5 corridor from Seattle to California, with a stop in Portland along the way?

102nd work begins January 14
The 102nd Avenue Improvement Project will officially begin on Jan. 14, according to Project Manager Dan Layden. Work will begin on the avenue at Northeast Glisan Street and proceed north to Halsey. Work will cease at 4 p.m. daily, and there will always be at least one lane open in each direction to avoid excessive impact on traffic, Layden told the Memo.

The project will install bike lanes, trees and street furniture on the avenue, as well as widen the sidewalk where it is currently feasible or in conjunction with future development. There will be a center left turn lane interrupted by pedestrian islands at strategic locations.

Eventually, when funding becomes available, the improvements will proceed southward to Southeast Washington Street.

Tree planter volunteers needed
Friends of Trees, and community volunteers, are planting new street trees in the Argay, Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, Russell and Wilkes neighborhoods on the morning of March 1. If you’d like to help, show up at 9 a.m. in work clothes, work gloves and rain gear. FOT crew leaders will tell you what to do. For more information, including the gathering place, call 503-282-8846.

Human Solutions wins Spirit Award
Human Solutions, an affordable housing developer and provider serving east Portland and Multnomah County, received a Spirit of Portland Award last month. The awards are given annually to individuals and groups who contribute to the city’s livability.

The agency rents 2,500 units of affordable housing in middle and east Multnomah County. It also provides employment services, family support services, youth programs, and English as a second language and financial literacy classes.

Carla Piluso, police chief of Gresham and board chair of Human Solutions, said as she accepted the award, “For very low-income people, this is a very hard time of year. They’re facing evictions and utility shut-offs.” The agency offers “self-esteem, a place to go, people to listen — the best crime prevention possible.”

Rail as alternative to air proposed
Cully neighborhood activist Erwin Bergman is used to railing at public bodies, especially the Port of Portland and especially with regard to the management of Portland International Airport. Last month he was doing a different sort of railing — advocating high-speed rail as an alternative to air travel in some parts of the I-5 corridor.

Bergman distributed a letter to his fellow members of the Airport Futures Planning Advisory Group last month, advocating aggressive pursuit of development of an electric passenger train traveling 125 miles an hour between major cities in the corridor. While Portland would be the train’s only destination in Oregon, the step is desirable to achieve a sustainable future when fossil fuels are exhausted, he argued.

It takes 57,285 gallons of jet fuel to fill the tanks of one 747 jumbo jet. To fill those tanks with bio-diesel derived from rapeseed would mean devoting 1,200 acres of land for this purpose; to do it with ethanol would require 1,000 acres.

It is necessary to take steps toward the high-speed train now, Bergman said, because such a train will need its own rail system, free of interference from current rail lines.

The PAG took no action on the letter last month, but Bergman is calling for a vote on it at the group’s Jan. 15 meeting.

In other developments:
Riley Research Associates gave the results of a telephone survey on public attitudes toward Portland International Airport and related subjects. They reported a high rate of agreement with the statements: “The airport is important to the region’s economy,” “PDX is among the best airports in the United States,” and “Flights out of the airport allow me to easily travel where and when I want to go.”

There was somewhat less agreement with the statements” “The airport should do more to protect the environment,” and “MAX light rail is a convenient way for me to travel to and from the airport.” According to responses to another question, Airport MAX usage appears to be heaviest among those living some distance away, south of East Burnside Street, west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and east of the city limits.

There was little support, overall, for: “Airport noise reduces the quality of life in my neighborhood.” Among sustainability efforts, support was strongest for an airport-wide recycling effort, weakest for paying a surcharge to fly during early morning or late afternoon peak periods.

Consultant C.F. Booth said that in projecting future trends at the airport, planners should begin with the assumption that the port will take no action to alter or mitigate natural patterns. He hastened to say he did not advocate this as a strategy, but that factoring in intervention policies would “taint” research on natural trends.

PAG member Fred Stovel, a charter member of the advocacy group Airport Issues Roundtable (AIR), later told the Memo that this is similar to the approach the port has taken in past planning efforts.
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