ODOT announced today it is ending the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project’s current Community Advisory Committee and replacing it with a board of individuals with historic ties to Albina. The move will intentionally center voices of the Black community to shape the project.
“In response to community input, and consistent with the shared values we have with current and former partners around restorative justice, we need to elevate Black voices to advise the project’s design,” said Brendan Finn, Director of ODOT’s Urban Mobility Office. “We are putting words into actions by prioritizing the formation of a new Historic Albina Advisory Board.”
Megan Channell, Project Director said, “After focused engagement with the Black community and hearing the input, we are taking action to achieve an even greater focus on the voices of Black Portlanders as we begin to make design decisions.”
In addition to engagement with the Black community, the project recently convened an Executive Steering Committee, which is developing a set of values, with the need to address past harms at its core.
Finn said “We also have expanded our project team to include community leaders to help us build relationships with the Albina community, make sure we do it right, and make sure the board is comprised of members with deep ties to the area. We thank the Community Advisory Committee members for their service and input. Their valuable comments and feedback will live on in the work we do and will inform the work of project partners and this new Board,” Finn concluded.
The Historic Albina Advisory Board will advise the Executive Steering Committee on project design elements, including the highway covers. It will have up to 17 people, with 11 appointed by ODOT and partners and six at-large. The board will conduct its work in partnership with the Executive Steering Committee and the Oregon Transportation Commission.
Applications for the at-large positions will be online in late September. Members of the Community Advisory Committee will have the opportunity to submit an indication of interest for the new committee. The new board is expected to have its first meeting before the end of this year. Channell said: “We want to do this right and take the time we need to develop long-term relationships with the people on this Board and the Black community.”
About the project
The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project is committed to supporting a safer, more just and inclusive Albina community and greater Portland region. The project will make local, regional, and international travel more predictable and reduce frequent crashes on the I-5 corridor, supporting Oregon’s economy, and will create new community connections to support future economic development. We must ensure the historic Albina community benefits from the investment of this project.
On I-5, the project will add auxiliary lanes and shoulders to improve travel reliability and safety and will smooth traffic flow between I-84 and I-405 where three interstates meet at the top traffic bottleneck in Oregon.
The project is led by the Oregon Department of Transportation. The Oregon State Legislature identified the project as a key transportation investment in 2017.