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Fred Leeson

It's difficult to imagine this ever happening. A couple reasons: This is Union Pacific's main west coast line. How does it get rerouted during construction? Second, UPRR is willing to pay NOTHING, even to speed up its own trains. (We got a taste of this years ago when there was talk of smoothing out a curve near the Dreyfuss grain elevators near the Rose Garden...ostensibly the worst curve on the Seattle-Los Angeles run.) So locals would have to pick up the entire tab. Granted, I lack imagination, but there are some really difficult real-world issues.


If we could only have a mulligan. It was not apparent at the time, but the Lovejoy ramp off the Broadway bridge was our High Line moment. If an isolated five block or so segment had been retained, the Pearl would have a linear park. Neighboring buildings would access it from second or third floors. Restaurants could open into it for seating on the promenade. Beneath would be an all weather space for a public market, and the natural gallery for the languishing Tom Stefopoulos column murals.

In all fairness, what seems obvious now would have been have been beyond the pale thinking then, when the success of the district was in no means a given.


I must say that I continue to be confused about this conversation about “bury our mistakes” – i.e. the I-5 corridor. I find this to be a limited vision approach to the problem. I would suggest that there are a myriad of other solutions available to address the issues associated with the raised corridor, not just a Portland Big Dig project. We have great thinkers here in PDX, why not use them on this front? And, to now include “bury the rail line” seems even more confusing. The price tag alone would be amazing. Again, I think there are other options here that could be thought through rather than a standard tag line “bury it”. What if we took a cue from Tucson, AZ? They have one of the busiest rail lines in the states running right next to/through their downtown. The newly revamped 4th Avenue underpass (with street car line) is quite successful. What if something like this happened here? Maybe at a couple key locations? Make these into urban events?


The Central Eastside is a vital tool in the operation of Portland. Being a mixed-use urbanite I am the first one to wonder why the Central Eastside never developed into more of a residential mixed-use Left Bank or just about any other major river side city. That being said, have one conversation with any sitting member of the Central Eastside Industrial Council and you will know why this area must be maintained predominantly as an industrial enclave for our city.


Brian, the mind-blowing cost and execution of burying both of these critical transportation pathways should make everyone look for any other solution. Try this : we leave all that where it is [that is free] - We build a two to five block wide raised 'Super-High-Line' platform above it for the whole length of Downtown. This undulating park-filled entity can open onto the third floors of new mixed-use buildings, with great light and air, and stunning views of the River below, Downtown and the West Hills. The lower floors of these new buildings can provide parking and create a rain-free alternative 'Portland Underground' district.

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