Mount Tabor’s Maple Entrance: Neighbors Ask for Long-Delayed Southern Park Access

tabor_2Mount Tabor Park is indisputably one of Portland’s crown jewels, a stunning ancient volcanic cone that’s home to some of the most beautiful forest, wildlife and views the city has to offer.

Initially proposed by the famous Olmstead Brothers, the pioneering designers of many of the nation’s great parks, Mt. Tabor is one of the most popular parks in the city.

Beginning as a Water Bureau facility –which it still is, in part –the park was designed by one of Portland’s first Parks directors, the landscape architect Emanuel Tillman Mische, in 1929. Mische began his career with the Olmsteads before coming to Oregon, where he was part of the team that created Crater Lake National Park, among many other iconic northwest parks.

Within Portland Parks and Recreation’s designation system, Mt. Tabor is a “metropolitan park,” meaning it is intended to serve the citizens of the entire city. And residents to the west, north and east have easy access to its charms.

Those to the south, not so much.

But it wasn’t supposed to be that way. Mische’s original park plan included the “Maple Entrance,” a major park entryway from the south at Division and 64th Avenue. (more…)

Road Diets coming to Division and Glisan Streets

As Foster Road waits for its own traffic calming measures, the City is moving forward with help for our neighbors to the North.

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Construction begins on NE Glisan Street near where Heather Fitzsimmons was killed last winter.

On the evening of January 29th, Heather Jean Fitzsimmons was crossing NE Glisan Street, using the marked crosswalk at 78th Avenue. She was hit and killed when a driver pulled around another car that had stopped to let her cross.

Heather was 29 years old and worked in the after-school program at nearby Vestal Elementary School. The driver was not charged.

Locals have been upset about reckless driving in this area for a long time, and following Heather’s death, resident Benjamin Kerensa began documenting the dangerous conditions and lax enforcement in the area. His video of the scene was picked up by the Oregonian and has more than 5000 hits on youtube.

After a series of public meetings and enforcement actions, this month PBOT began rebuilding the roadway on NE Glisan between 60th and 82nd Avenues.

When completed by this fall, the former four-lane configuration will be replaced by a single lane in each direction, with a center turn lane. This kind of street profile is considerably safer for pedestrians because it avoids the type of “multiple threat crash” that killed Heather Fitzsimmons. (more…)

Public Comment Period Now Open – Metro Holds Public Hearing on Regional Flexible Funds

Last night, Metro held a public hearing that could have a big impact on funding for the long-delayed Streetscape improvements to Foster Road.

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The 90-minute meeting of JPACT –the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation –was held to hear from the public on a proposed list of projects being considered for the upcoming round of federal transportation dollars –a.k.a the “Regional Flexible Funds” for fiscal years 2016-18. (more…)

Foster’s Covered Bridge

Move over Madison County… Foster Road has its own covered bridge.

The little-known charmer is tucked away on SE Deardorff Road, just a few blocks south of Foster and 134th Avenue. It was the brainchild of two legendary Portlanders: neighborhood activist Lea Wikman and Multnomah County Executive Don Clark.

In truth, it’s not a “real” covered bridge, in that the roadbed isn’t supported by a wooden truss. It’s actually a modern steel-girder roadway with a wood-beam covering built over the top. It’s also not old, being built and opened in 1982.

cedar_crossing_1 (more…)

Money for Foster, if We Fight For It

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) wants to give us money, but the competition is tough. Their current round of state transportation project funding has identified three projects directly relevant to our Foster neighborhoods, and we’re only going to stand out from the many other projects on the list if we can make our voice heard. That’s where you come in.

Below the project descriptions on this page are three forms, one for each Foster-area project. Please consider filling your contact information and letting ODOT know your interest in seeing one (or all) of these projects funded. (more…)

The Traffic Analysis Results Are (Sort of) In

Project Overview: We are 3/4 through a process to update the Foster Streetscape Plan originally created in 2003. The update aims to explore the possibility of accommodating a future streetcar, improving safety for everyone, and providing a bikeway along the street. All of these objectives are in response to recent citywide plans. One potential strategy to achieving these goals is the reconfiguration the street from a 4-lane arterial to a 3-lane arterial design. The idea of this change is a source of some controversy.

The latest Advisory Committee meeting was packed with information about the impacts of various streetscape proposals. We learned a lot, and I wanted to share my summary of the details from the meeting.  I can’t stress enough that the analysis results presented below are preliminary and incomplete. For example, results showing impacts in the evening may be different when analyzed for the morning hours, so take some of this with a grain of salt.
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Foster Streetscape Diary #4: The Amazing Migrating Project

It may be getting colder outside, but discussions of the future of Foster Road are heating up. Tomorrow (Thursday), the Citizen Advisory Committee will meet for the fourth time, 6 to 8 pm at SE Works, 7916 SE Foster. Foster United will post audio from the meeting here for those unable to attend.

The Amazing Migrating Project

Among the most discouraging recent developments is the complete abandonment of Foster Road from 50th to 52nd Avenues.

While looking at street profiles last time, PBOT Project Manager Mauricio Leclerc told the committee that the first two blocks “need a lot of capacity” and that “it’s going to be very hard to do much” because of the current 5-lane cross section. He also said that there wouldn’t be a need to extend the bikeway to 50th, since neither 50th nor Powell have bike routes currently.

Foster at Night (more…)

The Case For the Foster Bikeway

The following is an open letter to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). The BTA is currently developing their advocacy agenda for the coming years as a part of their Blueprint for Better Biking update. We believe Foster Road can be a part of that plan, and be a symbol of the possibilities available to areas outside of inner Portland. If you agree, please attend their outreach event tonight at 6pm, or take their survey and write in the Foster Bikeway as a priority SE project.

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What a Difference a Lane Makes

Lents residents meet next Tuesday night for an open discussion of Foster Road, specifically to explore the prospects of lane reconfiguration as a part of the Foster Streetscape Plan. While we wait for the results of the traffic analysis to see what’s possible, neighbors might ask themselves what a smaller Foster could look like and what they could get in return. We drew some pictures of Foster at 85th,  where every inch matters. (more…)