Oregon DOT to Fund Albina Vision Infrastructure with $500M

The state's department of transportation is making long-term plans.

Source : Oregon DOT

March 18, 2024

Author : Patty Allen

In a major victory for communities seeking to reverse decades of discriminatory infrastructure decisions, Oregon's Congressional delegation announced $488 million in federal funding for revitalizing Portland's Albina neighborhood. The largest portion, $450 million, will be used to create a highway cover over a section of Interstate 5, physically reconnecting the Albina neighborhood fractured by the freeway's construction. An additional $38 million is earmarked for the redesign of N/NE Broadway and Weidler Streets, further enhancing the area.

Once the vibrant heart of Portland's Black community, the Albina neighborhood has a rich history deeply intertwined with the city's cultural fabric. However, the construction of Interstate 5 in the mid-20th century, coupled with discriminatory urban renewal policies, led to the displacement of residents and businesses, fracturing the neighborhood and contributing to economic hardship.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the longest-serving House member in Oregon's delegation, has been a champion of the Albina Vision, emphasizing the project's national significance: "For years, I've worked to build support...in support of reconnecting and revitalizing Lower Albina ... This funding is transformative not just for Portland but as a national model to heal communities torn apart by destructive federal projects. We are showing how to do it right with this investment."

Oregon's Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, also celebrate the project's critical importance. "These major federal investments in Portland will help to right the shameful wrongs inflicted on historically Black neighborhoods and to make our city a stronger and safer community for generations to come," said Sen. Wyden. Sen. Merkley added, "Today marks a major milestone for the Albina community, signifying the federal government is committed to their vision of restoring Portland's historic Black neighborhood back into one cohesive, vibrant community."

The Albina Vision Trust, a community-driven organization instrumental in securing the funding, views the project as a catalyst for positive, long-term change. "This catalytic federal investment represents the beginning of a new chapter, one where the government plays an active role in not only healing the harms of history but investing in community-driven visions of a better tomorrow," said Winta Yohannes, Executive Director of the Albina Vision Trust.

The revitalization in Portland resonates far beyond the city's limits. It highlights the ongoing national conversation surrounding the Reconnecting Communities initiative, which seeks to address the injustices of past infrastructure projects that devastated communities of color across the United States. As cities nationwide seek ways to address these legacies, Portland's Albina Vision is a powerful model of achieving transformative change.

Category : Department of Transportation State Government

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