For better or for worse, Foster neighborhoods are also 82nd Avenue neighborhoods. Foster-Powell’s unique shape means that half of their population lives about 1/2 mile from 82nd Ave. One of Mt. Scott-Arleta’s most beloved bars, the Lion’s Eye, fronts 82nd Ave. And Lents, in it’s quest to be the Town Center of the future, needs to bring people across the 82nd divide. This can be challenging given the physical barrier the street poses.
For all the hard work going into Foster Road planning, the fight for a safer and more prosperous 82nd is going to be even more difficult. The challenges are more immense in every possible way. One of the biggest hurdles: the State of Oregon.
Unlike most streets in Portland, the City cannot just make 82nd better, it need’s approval from up high via the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Unfortunately, ODOT has been resistant to making any fundamental changes to the street. Key to the hopes of transforming 82nd is what’s called a “Jurisdictional Transfer” in transportation planning speak. ODOT needs to give 82nd to the City. But the catch? The City doesn’t want it; not in it’s current shape.
A few months ago the Montavilla Neighborhood Association organized a meeting with the key representatives of Portland and ODOT transportation bureaus. They told us there were three things that needed to happen to make a transfer a reality:
- Consensus on the vision of what 82nd Ave should be
- Public and private funding to support the change
- Political leadership from the City
Today, we have none of those things.
To change that, a coalition of Neighborhood Association representatives and community supporters is forming to pressure the City and State into action. They currently call themselves the “82nd Avenue Working Group,” but they’re working on a better name. In the short term, they want to see safe crossings and other improvements. In the long term, they want to establish a vision for the street that comprehensively looks at 82nd in all ways: the street, the transit, the buildings , the safety, and lays the groundwork for a transfer to the State to the City.
Is this something you want to help with? Then attend their next meeting: Sunday February 17th, 3:00pm at The Lumberyard Bike Park
Other groups are building momentum as well. The Central Northeast Neighbors and SE Uplift neighborhood coalitions have prepared a quick survey to build a list of supporters. If you’re interested in the issues facing 82nd, please take 5 minutes to answer a few (4) questions for them to gather information about your involvement and/or interest in 82nd Avenue. Your responses will remain confidential. Please respond by February 8th, 2013. Please forward this to your contacts, as well.