Last Thursday, May 24, 2018, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to endorse a resolution supporting the advancement of the Green Loop. The six-mile linear park around the city center was a “big idea” in the Central City 2035 Plan, which was adopted in full on Wednesday, June 6. The plan goes into effect on July 9, 2018.
As Commissioners prepared to vote, Mayor Ted Wheeler proclaimed, “The Green Loop is a fantastic vision, and I look forward to seeing it – perhaps not completed during my tenure – but I’d certainly like to see it well underway.” He went on to say that the Green Loop is an “extraordinary asset to the city,” and praised the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff’s early leadership and advocacy.
“It’s always hard to be the pointy end of the spear,” he acknowledged, “but at the end of the day, everyone will show up and say you were right.”
Commissioner Dan Saltzman called it a visionary project that will connect Portlanders in a way they haven’t been before. “And it will redefine how we keep our residents safe and get around,” he concluded.
What others said
Before voting, Council heard from BPS and PBOT leadership as well as business leaders and advocates for the Green Loop.
Art Pearce, PBOT’s policy, planning and project manager, pointed out how the Green Loop will help the City achieve its Vision Zero goals. “The majority of Portland’s high-crash bicycle intersections are in the Central City as well as some of the high-crash intersections for pedestrians," he stated. “The Green Loop will emphasize those streets, making it a safe and inviting route around the Central City."
Pearce also talked about how the Green Loop can help resolve conflicts between freight trucks, pedestrians and cyclists in and around the Central Eastside.
Susan Anderson, BPS director, emphasized community support and enthusiasm for the Green Loop. "Today,” she began, “we want to focus on a segment of the Green Loop where we think the first projects are likely to happen – in the Rose Quarter and Lloyd District. There are investments already planned for this area, including the Sullivan's Crossing Pedestrian and Bike Bridge. Potential partners such as Go Lloyd, Albina Vision Trust and others make this a really strong candidate as a place to start."
Go Lloyd’s Administrative and Transit Program Manager Jenny Taylor said, "The Green Loop will help create stronger connections to our inner eastside and downtown neighbors; encourage our interested-but-concerned population to choose active transportation; and help make us a safer, healthier and more livable community.
“In addition,” she continued, “by making Lloyd the first neighborhood to receive investment in Green Loop, you get Go Lloyd as a partner in promoting it.... We are prepared to work with the City and all of our partners to make the Green Loop a long-term success for Portland."
Stated Wade Lang, vice president and regional manager of American Assets Trust,"Lloyd is a community … [with] a long history of public/private partnerships. We see value in sharing ideas, listening to stakeholders and brokering compromise to reap the highest public benefit. … The Lloyd community would be willing to work with the City to explore funding strategies and help to make the Green Loop a reality."
So, what exactly is it?
The Green Loop will be a place for everyone in the heart of the city. Whether on foot, bike or mobility device, people of all ages, abilities and incomes will be able to get to work, go for a jog, shop, eat, rest or meet friends in the park via the Green Loop.
It’s an initiative that will add to the Central City network of great public spaces with formal and informal places integrated with new development like the Broadway Corridor redevelopment of the old Post Office and OMSI’s redevelopment of its riverfront campus.
It can become a recognized and attractive route connecting Central City destinations and neighborhoods like the Park Blocks, the Portland Art Museum, PSU, South Waterfront, the Central Eastside and the Moda Center. Think New York City’s Highline, Atlanta’s Beltline, the Miami Underline or the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
And, it starts to become a reality in the Lloyd District, with projects like the Sullivan’s Crossing bike and pedestrian bridge over I-84 at NE 11th/12th Avenues.
The featured attraction at last year’s Design Week Portland, this year the Green Loop will be the route for Sunday Parkways in the heart of the city. We hope you’ll join us on July 22, 2018, to experience the early days of the Green Loop.
Who knows? Someday you’ll be able to say, “I was there at the beginning.”