Transit ‘Equity Workgroup’ updated on project progress

Find out what’s new, regarding this aspect of the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project …

Participants gather, as the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project Equity Workgroup meeting begins.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After first being called together in September, 2014, the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project Equity Workgroup again met on March 3 in the South Cafeteria of David Douglas High School.

The project under discussion is about creating a new transit line connecting Portland and Gresham, giving bus riders on SE Division Street and SE Powell Boulevard faster and more reliable trips.

Metro Principal Planner Brian Monberg welcomes participants to the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project Equity Workgroup meeting.

“We are continuing the conversation about the project with the community,” said Metro Principal Planner Brian Monberg before the formal meeting began.

“Specifically, it’s about how we can ensure that healthy outcomes really can become part of the project,” Monberg told East Portland News. “Together with our partners in the project, TriMet, and the cities of Portland and Gresham, we’re identifying what can be done to promote the community values that we want to see in outer East Portland and Gresham.”

Powell Division Transit & Development Project Equity Workshop leader Brian Monberg defines “equitable outcome”.

Asked what an “equitable outcome” example would be, Monberg said that developing affordable housing in outer East Portland and Gresham has been high on the list. “We want to have a conversation about the policies that we can have to increase affordable housing.

“We’ve also heard a real interest in making sure that we support community businesses,” Monberg added. “An important part of investing in improved transit is planning for ways to increase the prosperity and opportunities for people who live and work in these places, today and in the future.”

Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement District Manager Lori Boisen listens to a presentation during an Equity Workgroup workshop.

As the meeting began, the number of participants exceeded the seating, as well as the tables originally set up for the group, so organizers set up more chairs and asked attendees to pack in around the six tables set up with charts and maps.

During the meeting, Monberg reviewed the Project Goals with the participants:

  • Transportation – Giving people safe and convenient transportation options, including efficient and frequent high-capacity transit service;
  • Well-being – Promoting future development by creating safe, healthy neighborhoods, with access to social, educational, environmental, and economic opportunities;
  • Equity – Transit improvements that reduce existing disparities, and benefit current residents and businesses, to enhance diverse neighborhoods; and,
  • Efficiency – Creating a high-capacity transit project that is efficiently implemented and operated.

 

Through group table exercises, those at the workshop helped organizers define the tools and strategies that may reduce what are perceived as existing disparities, and enhance diverse neighborhoods along the transportation corridors connecting Gresham and outer East Portland.

During table exercises, participants develop ideas to assure equity in transportation along the proposed new bus transit lines.

“The discussion today is going to be directly tied to an action plan that we hope to have delivered in a couple of months, in the summer,” Monberg said. “This action plan will identify specific actions that Metro, TriMet Portland and Gresham and the Oregon Department of Transportation may take.”

Learn more about the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project by opening their official webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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