‘Avenue of Roses’ businesses pitched 82nd Ave Street Plan

Take a look, and see what else members of this business organization discussed during their Annual Meeting …

Held in the Blue Room at Cartlandia this year, the annual meeting of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association gets underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Members and guests of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association (ARBA) got together for their annual meeting on the evening of January 13.

Some 30 attendees browsed silent auction items, and noshed on a wide variety of appetizing grilled foods set out by their host, the Blue Room Bar at Cartlandia.

The association’s president, Richard Kiely of Home Run Graphics, brought the formal part of the meeting to order, and introduced the guest speaker, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Project Manager Mike Mason.

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Project Manager Mike Mason talks about long-range improvements to 82nd Avenue of Roses.

Mason described the developing scope of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Implementation Plan project he is leading. “The area involved is from NE Killingsworth Street south down to SE Johnson Creek Boulevard, about 7½ miles of this State-owned road, also known as State Highway 213.”

After meeting with about 40 different groups along the corridor, as well as individuals and partners from the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation and Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, Mason said many “key themes” for discussion emerged.

A meeting guest looks over a handout, detailing some of the many areas along 82nd Avenue needing improvement.

Safety first
“First and foremost of these issues is safety,” Mason said. “This is safety for people walking along the corridor, or to transit stops. This includes areas around schools. The lack of sidewalks, especially along the south end, was highlighted as an important safety issue.”

He pointed out that 82nd Avenue, along with SE Powell Boulevard that runs through outer East Portland, “are State-owned highways that have the highest number of crashes resulting in fatalities, and severe crashes, for that type of highway in our whole [statewide] system.”

Other topics for discussion, Mason said, include:

  • Aesthetic and beautification improvements, including those related to traffic calming;
  • Creating a Plan with an “implementation component”, so stakeholders know that agencies are committed to getting things done;
  • Identifying funding strategies for getting the identified projects implemented, and being realistic about funding; and,
  • Investigating the implications and process of a “Jurisdictional Transfer of 82nd Avenue from ODOT to the City of Portland”.

 

Asked when the improvement project might be scheduled to begin, Mason explained that the scope of his work is simply to create plan, based on community input – and that would lead to the projects, whenever State funding becomes available.

Association President Kiely said one of the main interests of the ARBA is “to radically transform the Avenue of Roses to look more attractive, so people driving by will want to slow down and shop, and therefore ring the cash registers.”

Mason responded, “We’ve identified $50 million to do certain projects along the corridor. Depending on what you’d like to see out there, we need to find that money. If this is a priority for everyone in the area, then that will be the type of project that will rise to the top of the plan.

“I don’t think we know, at this point, what it means to ‘radically transform’ the avenue,” Mason added. “That would be a long-term process; it’s not going to happen overnight.”

ODOT’s Mark Mason answers questions put to him by attendees.

Beautifying the avenue aside, Cartlandia owner Roger Goldengay remarked that he simply longs for basic maintenance. “The most disturbing part about going down the avenue is dodging the potholes and the bumpy ride. The road surface is in such poor condition, it’s almost embarrassing to have a business here.”

The challenge of a major paving project, Mason countered, is the additional improvements that must be made. “To get funding [for paving], we’re required to also improve the sidewalks to the current standard, including adding ‘Americans with Disabilities Act curb cuts’. There are good reasons for this; everyone needs to be able to use the sidewalks to be able to get around. But, it makes the project very expensive.”

82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association president Richard Kiely reports on the successes of the organization during the past year.

Turning to the association’s business, Richard Kiely reported that thirteen new members joined during the past year.

“And, we’re looking forward to our ninth annual ‘Avenue of Roses Parade’ – the third largest parade in Portland. Last year, we were just eight entries short of being as large as the Starlight Parade in downtown Portland.

“We are, in turn, looking for more people to join up and help us raise funds,” Kiely continued. “Now that Human Solutions will be our 501(c)3 nonprofit sponsor, it will make fundraising from large organizations and companies easier.”

Being an active voice in the Street Tax/Fee issue is part of the association’s ongoing efforts, ARBA President Kiely says.

Kiely also said the organization helped to “light the fuse” on the City’s Transportation Street Tax/Fee issue. “We will keep pushing on this, and do the best we can to help businesses here in our area, and everywhere on the Eastside, to be represented.”

He concluded his formal remarks, saying, “I look forward to another year of being of service as President.”

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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