Portland Metro Area

Portland Metro Area
Little country, big ideas
High Five
Thursday, March 25, 2010

Liechtenstein's foreign minister visits Portland to strengthen business ties with the Northwest.

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Beaverton plan emphasizes water
High Five
Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ideas for downtown Beaverton include more development around the city's creeks.

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Scappoose wants airport
High Five
Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scappoose says the business potential of the Scappoose Industrial Airpark is being neglected.

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LO-PDX project advances
High Five
Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rail options for the Lake Oswego to Portland Transit Project are being studied.

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On The Scene: Fixing the transportation mess
On the Scene
Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Sellwood Bridge is deteriorating as questions arise over whether Multnomah County or Clackamas County is responsible for its replacement. The approval of funding for the Newberg-Dundee bypass is being criticized as a political maneuver. And the fate of the Columbia River Crossing remains unknown while the debate over its size, impact and whether it should even be built keeps its progress in limbo. In other words, the Portland area’s regional transportation governance is a big, gridlocked mess.

The City Club of Portland recently released a report titled “Moving Forward: A Better Way to Govern Regional Transportation.” Several members of the research committee – Leigh Stephenson-Kuhn, Peter Livingston and Richard Ross – presented the report this week as part of the “Crossing the Columbia: What Does It Mean?” forum held by PDXplore and the Architecture Foundation of Oregon. In front of a small crowd at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, the three representatives discussed the conclusions and recommendations the City Club had come up with to solve the tricky problem of moving people at the lowest cost and in the most effective way possible.

What’s tangling up transportation progress so much? The report found several problems with the current regional governance, such as the Oregon Department of Transportation’s control of most of the region’s transportation money (which gives the power to choose and fund projects primarily to state officials). A large chunk of the problem, the report says, also lies in the fragmentation of governance, with federal, state and local government and agencies all having an influence on transportation projects in the area. With so many jurisdictions with a stake in transportation, the result is a lack of clarity on which entity should be responsible for which parts of the system. Many decisions are made on a micro level, Livingston says, when transportation is really a regional issue.

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