With a new bridge over the Columbia River in doubt, Portland’s city council and Planning and Sustainability Commission sat down Thursday to discuss plans for an island in the river.
Planning commissioners have recommended annexing West Hayden Island and giving the area a temporary zoning designation, until the Columbia River Crossing’s future is clearer. They say annexation could allow other steps to start.
The general idea is to protect 500 acres on West Hayden Island as greenspace and turn 300 acres into a port terminal.
Health and environmental studies suggest development would have significant impacts. Development advocates say it promises jobs.
Commission chair Andre Baugh says the path forward hinges on how city council deals with the Port of Portland.
Baugh explained, “The port is, in a sense, a very strong member of this, and you have to kind of look in their eye and say ‘do you trust ‘em?’ If you trust ‘em, then maybe some the answers come, and they’ll do the right thing in the future. If you don’t, you’re going to struggle.”
Hales wants the council to make decisions about West Hayden Island before the city’s comprehensive plan is finished, next spring.