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SW Capitol Highway - Multnomah Village to West Portland Design Updates Archive

News article

May 2020 to November 2017 updates to the project's design.

In this article

May 2020 Update

Minor Scope Reductions

The project team is seeking ways to reduce the cost of the project through "value engineering" (finding cheaper ways to build things) and minor scope reductions. Three scope reductions to be aware of are the following:

  • The west side of SW Capitol Highway between SW Taylors Ferry Road and SW Collins Street will not feature a new concrete sidewalk and striped bike lane. Instead there will be a roadway-level protected walkway/bikeway defined by concrete traffic separators. Stormwater on this block will be managed using existing inlets rather than installing new inlets and a filter manhole system. Additional improvement of this block will occur in the future if the private properties fully redevelop.
  • The concrete multi-use path proposed on the north side of SW Multnomah Boulevard west of SW 40th Avenue will instead be a roadway-level protected walkway/bikeway defined by concrete traffic separators.
  • The intersection of SW Multnomah Boulevard and SW 40th Avenue will have the northwestern and southwestern corners reconstructed, instead of all four corners.

These scope changes and further refinements will be included in the 100% design engineering plans, also known as "issue for construction" plans, anticipated to be complete by the end of May.

November 2019 Update

95% Plans are Complete, Right-of-Way in Process, Two Public Meetings Coming Up

The tri-bureau project team completed the 95% plans, specifications and estimate (PS&E) on November 8 and distributed it for internal review as well as providing it to the Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) James W. Fowler Co. The CM/GC's review of the 95% PS&E initiates a series of deliverables from the company, including value engineering, constructability review, construction sequencing and schedule, traffic control plans, procurement of subcontractors, and other submittals over the next several months.

Changes in the 95% PS&E compared to the 60% PS&E include widespread use of cast-in-place walls instead of a combination of cast-in-place and modular gravity block walls; spot narrowing of the east side ped/bike improvements at a small handful of property frontages to avoid potential impacts to trees and structures; a change in the shape and size of the Multnomah South stormwater detention basin; and additional level of detail across the board. The estimate of construction items is $17.4 million, about $2 million more than the 60% estimate. Funding resources are being adjusted accordingly.

On November 7, City Council adopted the ordinance that allows PBOT Right-of-Way staff to begin securing temporary and permanent easements from property owners and to compensate owners for these "takings." Right-of-way staff and consultants have already begun contacting property owners along SW Capitol Highway. Most of the required easements are temporary, but some locations require permanent easements to maintain retaining walls and slopes.

Two public meetings are coming up: One is a meeting of the Capitol Highway Subcommittee on Wednesday, December 4, 6:30pm, in Room 7 of the Multnomah Arts Center. This is an opportunity for affected residents to meet the CM/GC team and review the 95% plans. A larger open house has been scheduled for the evening of Thursday, January 30, 2020 at the Multnomah Arts Center for a more comprehensive look at construction sequencing, schedules, traffic detours and other construction impacts. More details about the open house will be available in December.

September 2019 Update

Construction contractor selected

After a competitive, qualifications-based solicitation and review by an evaluation committee that included city project staff and a community leader, the City of Portland has selected James W. Fowler, Co. as the Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) for the SW Capitol Highway: Multnomah Village – West Portland project. The city issued its Notice of Intent to Award the contract to Fowler on August 27. This is an exciting milestone that allows the project to move into a pre-construction phase that will include value engineering, constructability reviews, construction sequencing and scheduling, and development of traffic control plans, landscaping plans, and other submittals. We expect Fowler to be under contract in mid-October and able to begin work shortly thereafter. The pre-construction phase is also likely to include some early work packages, such as utility relocations and tree cutting, before the new year. Heavy construction will most likely begin in late winter.

Communicating Construction

Another important pre-construction task for the CM/GC and city project team is to ramp up public communications pertaining to construction. Fowler has enlisted the services of JLA Public Involvement to serve as an on-the-ground resource for public communications during construction. We plan on holding a construction-focused open house with Fowler and JLA in November or early December to provide an opportunity for the community to see a first draft of the project sequencing, schedule and detours, and for the team to hear feedback or concerns related to these items. This open house will also be an opportunity to view the latest engineering plans. The city project manager is also working with the Capitol Highway Subcommittee to schedule a smaller meeting prior to the open house for directly affected residents to meet the CM/GC team. We will provide more details in advance of both events.

Advancing Engineering

The engineering and drafting team is currently putting finishing touches on the 95% design engineering plans. These plans will be available for viewing on the website prior to the open house, most likely in early October. No major changes to the design have occurred since the 60% plans. Minor changes and additions to the design have included tightening of the sidewalk around a handful of priority trees and private property features, refinement of driveways, a change in retaining wall type from modular gravity blocks to cast-in-place concrete, and changes to the size and shape of features in the Multnomah South stormwater garden. An interim roll map is available here (very large file!) – this is the same map that was on display at Multnomah Days on August 17, and reflects a progress design between a 60% and 95% level of completion.

Securing Right-of-Way

The engineering team has identified areas on private property that are needed temporarily for construction, and in a few isolated locations, permanently for retaining wall maintenance. PBOT’s Right-of-Way Acquisition Services division, along with a right-of-way consultant, will begin negotiating easements with property owners in October after City Council authorization. While construction will cause the need for nearly 100 temporary or permanent easements, not every property along the project will go through this process. Roughly 80% of properties along the corridor can expect to be contacted by the Right-of-Way team. In related news, the city is in the final stages of acquiring a property between SW Multnomah Boulevard, SW Garden Home Road, SW 40th Avenue and SW 45th Avenue for the Multnomah South stormwater garden. Along with purchase of the property, the city went through a Conditional Use and Environmental Review hearing at the Bureau of Development Services on September 9 to allow the stormwater management uses at the Multnomah South, Dolph Court, and Woods Creek locations.

August 2019 Update

This summer, community members in Southwest Portland had the opportunity to weigh in on design finishes and aesthetic choices for the project. This input is helping the project design team complete the 95% and final design plans. To gather this feedback, PBOT and BES staff administered a “Visual Preference Survey” in two formats: First in an in-person session with 40 members of the volunteer Capitol Highway Subcommittee on June 25, 2019; then through a web-based survey completed by 195 people throughout the month of July. For a topic as subjective as aesthetics, the survey results were surprisingly conclusive. Check out this project update for more details.

In other project news, City Procurement on August 6 received three proposals from large, experienced construction firms to compete for the role of Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) on the project. The project team is currently reviewing the proposals and anticipates announcing the successful CM/GC in early September. The CM/GC will perform pre-construction services throughout the remainder of 2019 and perform early work packages (such as tree cutting) as early as November. Heavy construction will begin in late winter 2020.

Finally, come see us at Multnomah Days on Saturday, August 17th. PBOT is a title sponsor of the event this year, and we will have a booth near the Multnomah Arts Center. Project representatives and other PBOT staff will be on hand, and we will have a roll map of the latest project design. If you can’t make it, we are planning on having a project open house in the fall with the CM/GC, with a major focus on the construction schedule and sequencing.

July 2019 Update

Help us choose aesthetic finishes!

The project design team is working diligently on the 95% design engineering plans for the project, but we need your help. As part of completing these plans, we are seeking community feedback on certain finishes that will help define the look and feel of the project – such as retaining wall surfaces, railing types, hardscape surfaces, trees and vegetation. Most elements of the project design are already set - the width of sidewalks, size of stormwater ponds, etc. But there remains some discretion as to what aesthetic choices we could make on certain features. Please take our Visual Preference Survey at the link below. The 95% design package will be complete toward the end of August. A "strip map" of the latest design will be on display at Multnomah Days, Saturday, August 17.


**Survey closes July 31 at 5pm!**

May 2019 Update

90% plans will include further detail on design finishes

The SW Capitol Highway: Multnomah Village - West Portland design team is making steady progress on the 90% design engineering plans for the project. Due to some engineering challenges associated with the stormwater facilities and retaining walls, completion of the 90% design will be postponed to August 2019. Fortunately, this provides the opportunity to engage the public on some design finishes. Coming in June, look for a web-based visual preference survey that will ask for community preferences on:

  • Retaining wall patterns for cast-in-place walls.
  • Railing and fencing products.
  • Treatments of the buffer zone between the proposed curb and bike lanes.
  • Trees and landscaping.
  • Public art.

The project manager will discuss this topic further at a meeting of the Capitol Highway Subcommittee on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 6:30pm at the Multnomah Arts Center, Room 30.

Procurement of a Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) is underway. A Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued in June 2019, and City Procurement released a pre-RFP announcement on May 22 to generate interest in the contracting community. 

April 2019 Update

90% Plans Coming Soon

The SW Capitol Highway: Multnomah Village - West Portland design team is making steady progress on the 90% design engineering plans for the project. Notable refinements will include:

  • Size, shape and other characteristics of rain gardens on SW Multnomah Boulevard between 40th and 45th Avenues.
  • Minor pedestrian/bicycle improvements on SW Multnomah Boulevard between 40th and 45th Avenues.
  • Extent and type of retaining walls along SW Capitol Highway.
  • Minor refinements to the east side sidewalk of SW Capitol Highway to further protect a handful of existing trees and walls on private property.
  • Additional detail on the striping and tactile devices that will be used to separate pedestrians and cyclists on the east side of SW Capitol Highway.
  • Surface materials for the buffer zone between the roadway and protected bike lane / multi-use path.

Completion of the 90% plans is expected in June.

CM/GC Documents Nearly Complete

Preparing the necessary documents to request proposals from Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) firms and consortiums has taken longer than expected due to the complexity of reconciling general provisions and specifications of three city infrastructure bureaus. We expect to post a Request for Proposals (RFP) in May. CM/GC is not an everyday procurement method at the City of Portland – it is typically reserved for large, complex projects where there is anticipated benefit in having an experienced contractor come on board before design is complete to consult on construction methods and negotiate the construction price.

Right-of-Way Outreach

You may have seen city surveying crews along SW Capitol Highway this month. They are there to collect additional topographic data in a handful of locations so that we have more precise definition of temporary construction easement (TCE) areas. Many property owners along SW Capitol Highway and other project streets will be contacted by PBOT’s Right-of-Way Acquisition group later this spring and early summer to discuss project right-of-way needs. Most of these needs are for TCEs – these are areas where the contractor will need to have personnel and equipment in order to construct the project. Some locations near steeper slopes will require permanent wall maintenance easements and some narrow strips of permanent right-of-way. Federal and state laws require that property owners are owed compensation for any such “takings.”

Future Public Involvement Activities

The broader community will have an opportunity to engage with SW Capitol Highway: Multnomah Village - West Portland project staff at the following upcoming events:

  • Capitol Highway Subcommittee meeting (June 2019, date TBD). PBOT and subcommittee chairman Chris Lyons are planning a meeting in June in concert with the completion of the 90% plans.
  • Multnomah Days (August 17, 2019). PBOT will be a lead sponsor this year and we will have a table with information on this and other Southwest projects.
  • Pre-Construction Open House (September-October 2019, date TBD). We are planning on having an open house with our CM/GC contractor before final plans are complete, so that the construction team can hear neighborhood feedback on construction-related concerns.

Construction is still anticipated to begin in December 2019 and last through most of 2020, with final paving in spring 2021.

January 2019 Update

Design engineering continues and is currently between the 60% and 90% design milestones. Particular design refinements are occurring at property frontages to reduce impacts on private property while still maintaining the integrity of the project design. For example, the ped/bike/bus stop area at the northeast corner of Capitol and Alice Street is being narrowed from 18 feet to 15 feet in order to avoid impacts to a substantial planter wall.

On other fronts, the project team is focusing on two major efforts:

  • Developing and advertising a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) services for the project: CM/GC is a procurement method in which a contractor joins the project before the design is finished in order to provide ideas that would make the project easier, faster, more affordable and less impactful to construct. The city then negotiates with the contractor on a construction price and moves forward with construction. CM/GC is typically used on large, complex projects such as this one. City Council approved the use of this contracting method for the project on December 5, 2018. We anticipate posting the RFP at the end of January.
  • Right-of-way work: A number of temporary and permanent easements are needed to construct the project and to maintain retaining walls in the future. The project team has defined these exact areas and will be reaching out to affected property owners to negotiate compensation and other considerations over the next six to nine months. Permanent acquisitions of property are not needed for the project, other than property already acquired (or in process of being acquired) by the Bureau of Environmental Services for stormwater detention basins on SW Dolph Court and SW Multnomah Boulevard.

90% design is anticipated to be complete in late spring, with final plans in the fall. Construction is scheduled to begin in December 2019. No tree removal or other work will occur during the current winter of 2018-19. Construction will take place during most of 2020, with final paving as weather allows in early 2021.

We will hold a pre-construction open house with the contractor in fall of 2019 so that neighborhood residents can weigh in on construction sequencing, detours, and other construction details. 

August 2018 Update: 60% Plans Complete

The project team has reached the 60% design milestone. Transportation improvements still consist of a sidewalk and protected bike lane on the east side of the road, a multi-use path on the west side of the road, and improved pedestrian crossings to access TriMet’s #44 bus.

The most significant change in the 60% design is the removal of green street planters from the Capitol Highway corridor itself. This allows for more separation between people walking and biking on the east (downhill) side, and reduced grading impacts on the west side. Stormwater runoff will now be directed into storm drains, and will be piped to regional stormwater detention facilities on SW 42nd Avenue south of Alice Street, SW Dolph Court east of Capitol Highway, and SW Multnomah Blvd west of 40th Avenue, for treatment and storage before water is discharged into local streams (see map). Some limited street improvements will be constructed along with these regional facilities.

Design Features

The project design concept has been developed based on earlier plans, 2016 community feedback, current pedestrian/bicycle design practices and available budget. SW Capitol Highway between Garden Home Road and Taylors Ferry Road will be reconstructed with the following features:

  • Continuous sidewalk on the east side of the road. Community feedback revealed a preference for the east side of the roadway because people walk there today on an informal pathway leading to the Multnomah viaduct.
  • Protected bike lane on the east side of the road. The volumes and speeds of vehicles on SW Capitol Highway, and the desire to attract cyclists with a broad range of comfort levels, calls for a bike lane that is separated from the roadway by a curb and planter strip. Careful design will address bike lane crossings at streets and driveways.
  • Multi-use path on the west side of the road. To reduce project costs and property impacts on the steeper west side of the roadway, a shared path will accommodate southbound biking and bi-directional walking.
  • Pedestrian crossings. PBOT is working with TriMet to consolidate stop locations for the #44 bus and to improve pedestrian crossings at those locations.
  • Stormwater improvements. The project will construct facilities to manage runoff from existing and new roadway surfaces. Portland Bureau of Environmental Services is a key partner on this project and is designing a multi-faceted stormwater management system.
  • A small pocket of on-street parking where properties have no other option for vehicle parking –north of Alice Street on the east side of the roadway; Context-sensitive design to reduce impacts to property frontages and mature, healthy trees.

Typical Cross Sections

The typical preferred cross section is pictured below. This cross section fits within available right-of-way, which is typically 60 feet wide. However, actual widths of features will vary throughout the corridor based on context, with this cross section as a starting point. For example, the pedestrian and bicycle facilities on the east side may move closer to each other in locations where stormwater planters must be provided next to the roadway.

January 2018 Update: 30% Plans, Specifications, and Estimate Complete

The combined PBOT/BES 30% plans were completed and distributed on January 24, 2018. These plans, downloadable here, are essentially the same in content as the plans shown at the November 29, 2017 open house. The associated cost estimate for the features in this plan set, including “hard costs” (construction of bid items) and “soft costs” (design, project management, construction management, contingency, overhead) is approximately $20.9 million. The design and cost estimate will now be refined further based on feedback received from interested parties, resulting in a 60% design by summer 2018. 

November 2017 Open House Update

PBOT and BES have completed a preliminary design for the project that will be shared at the November 29, 2017 open house. Key elements of the plan sheets are downloadable here, including the typical cross sections and street plan sheets that show the horizontal footprint of the project and proposed locations of stormwater planters and retaining walls. This design is considered a pre-30% design and will be updated with official 30% plans in December 2017.