In early 2020, the Oregon Transportation Commission directed the Oregon Department of Transportation to retain a consultant team to conduct an independent assessment of the highway covers included in the Rose Quarter Improvement Project. The goal for this independent team was to understand the goals and objectives of stakeholders in the project area, generate potential highway cover scenarios, and assess the impacts and benefits of these scenarios.
The I-5 Rose Quarter Independent Cover Assessment team included experts in community engagement, urban design, engineering, and environmental issues. The Team worked directly with Black community members from historic Albina to understand how potential highway covers, delivered as part of the Rose Quarter Improvement Project, could rebuild the neighborhood and better serve the historic Albina community.
The team sought direct input from historic Black community members and other stakeholders through a series of virtual work sessions, surveys, and online public comments. The input informed the development and evaluation of highway cover scenarios that best support the stakeholder visions for the Albina/Rose Quarter neighborhood, and support restorative justice goals for a diverse, inclusive, and accessible neighborhood.
The Independent Cover Assessment team concluded its process and presented its findings for the preferred highway cover options to the Rose Quarter Improvement Project Executive Steering Committee in June 2021. Its final report was delivered to the Executive Steering Committee and the Oregon Department of Transportation on July 23, 2021. The Executive Steering Committee is expected to make its recommendation to the Oregon Transportation Commission on the development scenario for the highway cover that best supports the collective vision by the fall of 2021. The goal is to ensure that these improvements strengthen the Albina/Rose Quarter neighborhood and provide restorative justice to Portland’s Black community.
The Independent Cover Assessment was committed to supporting historic Albina community stakeholders through the following actions:
Ensuring independence, transparency, and objectivity in the analysis and alternative design development of the Rose Quarter Improvement Project highway covers.
Elevating the voices of and providing benefits to the historically impacted Black Albina community.
Ensuring an authentic, transparent, and responsive engagement strategy, one that informed and was informed by two-way dialogue.
Connecting with community members in diverse spaces to amplify marginalized voices, meeting the community where they are.
Proposing alternative development scenarios that prioritize restorative justice benefits both short-term and long-term for the Black historic Albina community.
Providing multimodal travel opportunities in a fiscally responsible way.
Establishing connectivity and proposing alternatives that support a vibrant and culturally grounded sense of place and space.
Providing multimodal opportunities and investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and improve air quality, public health, and safety.
Addressing local, regional, and statewide climate action goals.
The Independent Cover Assessment team heard directly from the historic Albina community and the metropolitan region. We collected input in three primary areas:
1. Visioning the future of the Albina/Rose Quarter neighborhood and determining which outcomes were most critical to the development scenarios for the highway cover.
2. Evaluating development scenarios based on what the community said is important. The project’s success is connected to its transparency and commitment to the community’s vision. The Independent Cover Assessment process and expertise intended to empower the historic and local communities to make the choices that impact their future.
3. Recommending a development scenario for the highway cover that supports a broader vision for the future of the Albina/Rose Quarter neighborhood and the region. We ensured that the process was transparent and that participants were able to follow along to make sure the vision is achieved.
The Independent Cover Assessment team was selected by a panel consisting of the Albina Vision Trust, Metro, Multnomah County, Portland Public Schools, City of Portland, and Oregon Department of Transportation.
The Independent Cover Assessment team included the following organizations:
The Executive Steering Committee received community responses and considered advice and input from the Historic Albina Advisory Board in its decision-making.
Want to share your vision for the Albina/Rose Quarter neighborhood or have questions about what’s next, contact the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project team.