Final – ‘really final’ – Open House vets Foster Road plan

Although the February meeting was billed as the ‘third and final’ public meeting for the Foster Corridor Investment Strategy, see who, and why this fourth meeting was called …

At this final Foster Corridor Investment Strategy Open House, participants are encouraged to review a number of exhibits – and make written comments.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although the February 28 “Foster Corridor Investment Strategy” open house was billed as the “third and last” in the series, interested parties were invited to the “fourth and last” one on June 4 at the Junior Achievement building on Foster Road.

> Read our coverage of the February meeting: CLICK HERE.

While past public events to discuss the Foster Corridor Investment Strategy drew about 75 participants, the “BizTown” room nearly filled to capacity with about 125 participants taking part – making it one of their best attended events, ever.

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick takes in his first meeting as Transportation Commissioner.

Included was new Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, who had been named Transportation Commissioner earlier the same day by Mayor Charlie Hales.

“I just came out to learn more about this plan,” Novick told the group, “and hear more about the transportation needs in the corridor.”

PBOT Senior Transportation Planner Mauricio Leclerc explains how the updated Foster Road plan will improve the area.

City of Portland Bureau of Transportation Senior Transportation Planner Mauricio Leclerc led a discussion with community members regarding the update the 2003 Foster Road Transportation and Streetscape Plan – prior to investing $3.25 million on Foster Road, between SE 50th Avenue out to SE 90th.

“Our stakeholder advisory committee, made up of people from the neighborhoods and businesses in the area, has met several times,” Leclerc told East Portland News.

PBOT Senior Transportation Planner Mauricio Leclerc talks with Portland’s new Commissioner of Transportation, Steve Novick.

“We have come up with ways to improve the plan. Things that we’re considering are changes to the [street] cross-section, and making pedestrian crossing improvements. The key thing is safety. This is an outer East Portland High Crash Corridor, and we want to make safety improvements to make it better for everybody.”

Co-conveners City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Johnson Creek Watershed Manager Maggie Skenderian and City of Portland Bureau of Transportation Senior Transportation Planner Mauricio Leclerc take a break from talking to participants.

Also on hand was City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Johnson Creek Watershed Manager Maggie Skenderian.

“We took the lead organizing this extra meeting,” Skenderian said, “because there is some additional analysis and evaluation that we needed to do for one of our specific projects within the context of the Foster Road Corridor Investment Strategy.”

Specifically, Skenderian clarified, the Foster Road project runs from just east of Interstate 205 to about SE 117th Avenue, and that may further reduce flooding along the thoroughfare.

“Tonight’s meeting is important, because we’re telling folks about the cost/benefit analysis of providing a much higher level of flood mitigation.”

The Foster Floodplain Project reduces “nuisance flooding” – but does not eliminate them, officials say. BES Diagram

The flood mitigation work now completed, she explained, focuses on “nuisance flooding. What it does not accomplish as mitigating flooding at a level that might change the overall development patterns in this area. The set of questions we sought to answer revolves around whether or not it is possible to mitigate flooding that ‘wants to go north’ from SE Foster Road.

“The groundwater is high in this area, and we’re not sure that we could actually accomplish that level of a flooding mitigation.

“We also need to figure out a way to let the water from south of SE Foster Road get to the north side, where it ‘wants to go’, without flooding Foster Road.  We looked at the cost of raising Foster, and the Springwater Corridor, to provide – the term we use is “conveyance” – a path for flood water to move from south to north.”

They’re also considering if there is any stormwater storage capacity north of the highway.

“We then considered whether the benefits derived from doing this were substantial enough to outweigh the costs,” Skenderian said.

Participants examine exhibits that explain how SE Foster Road may be kept from flooding.

“Our preliminary – and the emphasis is on preliminary – analysis shows that it probably does pay off.  In the time frame of an average mortgage, the benefits of doing this very substantial amount of flood mitigation would actually provide enough benefit to proceed.”

Based on research, and taking in the feedback gathered at the meeting, BES will make a presentation to the Portland Development Commission, and later, to the Portland City Council, Skenderian said.

As of this writing, no further Foster Corridor Investment Strategy meetings are planned. But if such a meeting is announced, East Portland News will be there!

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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