Think Out Loud

Rose Quarter freeway project struggles to find community support

By Julie Sabatier (OPB)
Sept. 18, 2020 4:22 p.m.

Broadcast: Friday, Sept. 18

Interstate 5 runs through the Rose Quarter in Portland, Oregon, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Interstate 5 runs through the Rose Quarter in Portland, Oregon, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Bradley W. Parks / OPB


At the end of June, a long-time resident of Portland’s Albina neighborhood resigned from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Community Advisory Committee on the Interstate 5 Rose Quarter expansion project. Liz Fouther-Branch explained in her resignation letter that she was frustrated that all of the key decisions on the project seemed to have been made, leaving little opportunity for the restorative justice ODOT has said it wants for the neighborhood.

Shortly after Fouther-Branch’s resignation, ODOT abruptly disbanded the entire committee, saying it would instead rely on input from a new entity called the Historic Albina Advisory Board. Many committee members responded with a letter that said, “We hope that this new Historic Albina Advisory Board (HAAB) will not feel unheard and undervalued in the same way that we have felt as part of the CAC.”

We hear from two former CAC members — John Washington, executive director of the Soul District Business Association and Claire Vlach, an urban planner and volunteer for Oregon Walks. Brendan Finnn, director of ODOT’s Urban Mobility Office, also joins us.

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