Following his Thursday discussion of a revamped I-5 corridor on the east bank of the Willamette with the Central Eastside Industrial Council, Mayor Sam Adams has released a draft of how he'd like to see the freeway in the future. In short, he doesn't.
The plan is all for keeping I-5 in its current location, as it's a vital thoroughfare through the city, but pushing it underground. Adams has two reasons for this progressive plan: 1) the Rose Quarter has a dangerous interstate interchange and surrounding streets and 2) he's against uprooting and moving I-5 entirely, drawing away from local buisnesses that depend on the corridor.
This would be a huge project, relying on an equally huge pot of money. However, Adams says, this initial draft planning outline does not include or evaluate the cost or benefits of the project. It'll be interesting to see where he (or the future mayor, if they're on board) would fish out the funds.
Here's a snapshot of the proposed sub-ground freeway system (in light blue):
For the full PDF, go here.
Clearly, this is the very first step in decades of work to see this project through. Adams concluded his press release on the draft with that idea in mind:
While it would be decades before such wholesale freeway replacement could occur, the future that the new concept plan portrays is undeniably appealing. Acres of downtown land are liberated, and the Willamette’s east bank is re-connected to the city. Freeway lands become available for development and public open space. Local streets are re-knit across I-5, views to the river are exposed, and structures long in the shadow of the freeway see sunshine (and redevelopment opportunity) again.