Ground Broken: Celebrating Portland’s (Soon-to-Be) Orange Line
It’s been 25 years since Portland’s first MAX light rail line opened, and every segment built since has faced its own challenges and triumphs. Yesterday presented us with another celebratory moment, as lawmakers, deal-makers, engineers, and activists gathered to officially break ground on the latest piece of the network – a line that will stretch from Downtown Portland through Milwaukie and into unincorporated Clackamas County. The signature piece of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail (PMLR) line will be a new bridge over the Willamette – the first river crossing in some forty years and the only one which will accommodate transit (buses, light rail, and (eventually) streetcar), bikes, and pedestrians but not private cars/trucks.
SERA’s Urban Design & Planning staff have had their own encounters with the PMLR over the years. Allison Wildman and Ben Nielsen did some initial station area planning for the eastside stations, Ben and Paul Pawlowski worked on a planning initiative for the north end of South Waterfront, and Matt Arnold has been reviewing bridge and station details as Chair of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee. So we were pretty excited to attend Thursday’s groundbreaking. It was one of those great moments in a project when the wrangling and controversies are set aside and community leaders all stand on the same stage to reminisce about the hard work it took to get here and the value that achieving a shared vision will have for our community.