Portland throws party about people-moving infrastructure

PORTLAND, Ore., — The Portland Bureau of Transportation held a public comment event yesterday at Revolution Hall to share information about upcoming transportation infrastructure improvements related to its Central City in Motion initiative.

The public comment opportunity was as much a party celebrating creating people-centric infrastructure as it was a way for the various agencies to explain what they’re doing. I have to admit I thought the event would be a panel of unaffected city workers sitting at a table pretending to listen to feedback from cranky and misinformed people. Luckily, I was not only wrong, but I was so wrong that I may have redefined the idea of being wrong, and I’m happy for it. Everyone I encountered working the event was cheerful and welcoming, and none of the projects had the “lowest bidder” visage I’ve come to cynically expect with government projects. Plus, how could I find fault with their bounty of delicious hors d’oeuvres? Nope, Portland knows what it’s doing, it listens to transit and infrastructure users and appears to want to make a more livable Portland. 

Representatives and project managers from PBOT, in addition to TriMet and Portland Streetcar, were on hand to explain some of the upcoming projects and get feedback from the public. On both ends of the Astoria Room in Revolution Hall, where the event took place, projectors displayed a looped video showing a rendering of Better Naito Forever. Additionally, I couldn’t take my eyes off the two long prints of planned projects that were laid out on long tables in the middle of the room, and organizers encouraged attendees to comment on the plans with Post-It Notes. 

The amount of information — and the quality and various means of presenting it — was impressive and nearly overwhelming. Projects ranged from the comparatively inexpensive street restriping for the Rose Lane Project to more complex plans where different agencies and government at different levels have to cooperate. Starting this summer to about 2030, local and regional governments and agencies plan to update and improve bicycle, pedestrian and public transit infrastructure to make human-centric movement safer and easier. 

For more information, visit https://centralcityinmotion.com/#/