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About the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project

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Project purpose

Through the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project (Powell-Division), Metro and community partners will work together to achieve the following objectives:

  • Develop a transit solution that effectively serves the high transit demand in the near term. This includes identifying a preferred transit route and a preferred transit type (for example, bus rapid transit, light rail, or streetcar).
  • Develop a strategy that identifies related land use and transportation investments to serve neighborhoods and stimulate community and economic development along the transit line.
  • Engage the community in all phases.

Project organization

Metro is leading this project with the participation of many local agency and community partners, including the cities of Portland and Gresham, Multnomah County, Oregon Department of Transportation and TriMet. Community organizations are involved through the project’s steering committee, surveys, community grants and other outreach that will take place throughout the course of this project.

While Metro will lead the overall project, the cities of Portland and Gresham will work directly with local communities to help develop a land use vision and action plan and discuss the transit route, stops and transit vehicle types. Portland and Gresham are also integral members of the overall project team.

In 2013, the cities of Portland and Gresham jointly applied for a grant funded by the regional Construction Excise Tax (CET) to participate in the Powell-Division Transit and Development project. The grant was awarded later that year and formalized with the ratification of an intergovernmental agreement between Metro, the City of Portland and the City of Gresham in 2014. The CET grant makes it possible for the City of Portland to gather local community input on where the project could help encourage development, which areas to protect, as well as the type of preferred transit (e.g., bus rapid transit, light rail or streetcar) and the route.

Project area

A map showing the boundary area

Project background

Every day tens of thousands of people ride the TriMet bus lines 4 and 9 between Portland and Gresham to connect to Portland’s Central City, Downtown Gresham, Portland Community College’s Southeast Center and many places in between.

Recent regional transportation studies, including Metro’s Regional High Capacity Transit System Plan and the East Metro Connections Plan, identified specific transportation, community and economic development projects over the next 20 years. These studies both identified the Powell-Division corridor as an area with a significant need for improved transit.

Related projects

The Powell-Division Transit and Development Project builds upon current and past community work and planning. Provided below are brief descriptions of related projects. 

Division-Midway Neighborhood Street Plan, City of Portland

The street plan will define the primary active transportation routes and identify new opportunities for street system connections in the project area, which is centered on SE Division St from SE 112th to 148th Avenues, and roughly one mile north and south to SE Stark St and SE Holgate St.

Outer Powell Boulevard Design Plan, City of Portland

The plan identifies improvements and right-of-way width requirements that will allow Outer SE Powell Blvd to serve vehicle traffic movement while also improving safety, accessibility and the aesthetic environment for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders over the next 20 years.

20's Bikeway Project, City of Portland 

This project will plan, design and construct safety improvements to this important 9.1 mile north-south bicycle route. The route uses a variety of local residential streets and neighborhood collector streets between NE/SE 26th and 29th Aves, and runs from NE Lombard Stat the north end of the City to connect to the Springwater Corridor at SE 45th Ave at the south end of the City. The project is funded through a $2.4 million federal grant.

Eastside Service Enhancement, TriMet

TriMet’s Service Enhancement plans are multi-year efforts to plan for new and improved service in the region. The process will look at growth and engage local communities to determine where new service should be located and how to improve existing services for future growth. The Powell-Division Transit and Development Project will be coordinated with TriMet’s overall Eastside Service Enhancement plan.

East Metro Connections, Metro

This two-year effort analyzed present and future transportation challenges to prioritize solutions that reflect community values. Working within the cities of Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale,Wood Village as well as Multnomah County, the East Metro Connections Plan relied on collaboration across jurisdictional boundaries to advocate for the prosperity of the East Metro area.

High Capacity Transit System Plan, Metro

The plan calls for a focus on three transit corridors for investment in the near-term: Powell Boulevard, connecting Gresham to downtown Portland; Barbur Blvd/Highway 99, connecting downtown Portland to Tigard and possibly Sherwood; and the WES commuter rail corridor that connects Beaverton to Wilsonville, which could see WES service upgraded to all-day service with trains running at 15-minute intervals.

Outer Powell Safety Improvement Project, ODOT

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is designing and constructing improvements to help people get around busy Outer SE Powell Boulevard more safely. These safety improvements will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes and help vehicles, pedestrians, transit and bicyclists share the road with fewer conflicts.

Project timeline

Winter 2014 — Establish a common understanding of the needs and opportunities for transit and development in the corridor.

Spring and summer 2014 — Look at the kinds of transit that are feasible and desirable in the corridor, hear ideas about where it should go, and identify places that would make safe and active station areas.

Fall 2014 — Take the elements that are most supported and feasible, and craft a recommendation on the type of transit, route and strategies for development at station areas.

Winter 2015 — Refine the recommendation and present it to local and regional elected councils for consideration and endorsement.

2015 to 2017 — Develop a detailed design of the new transit line and station areas, and complete environmental review and permitting.

2018 to 2020 — Build the transit line and station areas and start new service.

Project contact information

Marty Stockton


April Bertelsen