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What about Powell? Powell is a huge thoroughfare (26 east) and needs to be more efficient with dedicated bus or even Max Line? Walkability there would increase with mixed used Buildings, and being so close to the waterfall avenues of Belmont, Hawthorne, Division, it logically is next isn't it? Come on!

Brian Libby

Powell is a great suggestion, Damien. I'll admit I hadn't thought much about it other than the fact that, in broad terms, I've advocated for density and transit along major thoroughfares. So I appreciate your making this supplemental point. When you say "Come on!", though, it makes me wonder if you might acknowledge that some of the other points in the post had merit. I'm completely willing to concur with your point. But the "Come on!" makes me feel a little defensive.


Brian, I can do that for you, this is a thoughtful and thorough piece. Great Job!
One idea for all to consider would be : 'what if we buried I-5 on the east side, BUT left the old ramps and treated them like the High Line in NYC'. One big linear green park with amazing views.

Alex B. Craghead

Powell was already on the books as an HCT line, but that project quickly devolved to a Bus Rapid Transit project and then, as planning advanced, that also has shifted to an all-Division route.

As for a downtown subway, I'm on the fence, but Metro is not. It was considered and dismissed in the RTP process several years ago. Their modeling found that putting MAX underground and reducing stops would result in lower ridership downtown. Essentially a tunnel would reduce service quality for the area of the metropolitan region that most depends upon MAX. Again, I am uncertain about whether I agree with this thinking, but this is the conclusion Metro's planners came to.

I cannot agree with you more regarding Gateway. At this point there is a twofold agenda that Portland ought to be pursuing. First, the MAX system needs upgrades to add capacity, in the form of improved signal systems and (possibly) additional tracks in the I-84 segment. Second, every surface parking lot within a 1/4 mile radius of a MAX station between (and including) Rose Quarter and Gateway needs to be considered a developable lot and built upon—and in the case of Gateway, to the highest density allowed.


The natural next-step in Portland's evolution is the development of a true commuter rail system.

Imagine the benefits of frequent, express, passenger rail service linking Downtown Portland to Vancouver, Tigard, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, McMinneville, Forest Grove, Newberg, and Troutdale. Salem should probably be included too.

Some will point to WES as a reason as to why this wouldn't work, but even this poorly planned line would start to work if it was tied into a regional system.

TriMet may serve the region's three most populated counties, but what about those commuters that regularly travel between the other counties in the region?

Maybe an express, regional bus system could be an interim step in this direction if rail is too expensive.

Jay Raskin, FAIA

The extension of the Park Blocks to meet the Willamette River should be added to the list as well. The City's rendering the City showing the Park Blocks ending in a tower with the off ramp of the Steel Bridge as a backdrop is deeply unsatisfying. Especially since the River is just a couple of blocks away. A complex design problem given the ramp, the train station quays, the tracks, and the odd angle where the grid meets the river but one well worth pursuing. The last time there was a serious proposal was the 1912 Bennet Plan. Its broad vista approach is outdated and not well suited for the complexity, but a grander gesture is needed.

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