LULIs Tour the Southwest Corridor

Andrew Riley
Wed, 01/27/2016 - 12:30pm

February is upon us, and that means our 2016-17 Land Use Leadership Initiative (LULI) program is at its halfway point!

Since September, our cohort of 20 leaders in different sectors and communities has been taking a long look at the Southwest Corridor, a proposed extension of Portland’s MAX light rail system from downtown Portland to Bridgeport Village in Tualatin. In partnership with Metro staff, we’ve explored the ins and outs of planning a major public transit project, and how Metro & TriMet have engaged the public around the Southwest Corridor. Thanks to the generous support of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757, participants, partners, and staff took a tour of the Corridor to better understand the issues on the ground.

On our latest tour, we set out from downtown Tigard, and traveled along the major route through the Southwest Corridor: Highway 99W. Participants learned about the history of Highway 99W as one of the major north-south travel routes through NW Oregon before the construction of I-5. That highway system led the communities along it to orient themselves around auto travel, rather than public transit. Our LULIs heard in-depth about the history of King City, formerly a seniors-only retirement community that is increasingly age-diverse as a result of new development. As a result of rapid changes, King City is almost out of land to build new homes and apartments, which has led them to work with Metro to try and incorporate new land into their urban growth boundary.

Our tour took us through Tualatin to Bridgeport Village, the proposed end of the new light rail line. Staff from the City of Tualatin shared their perspective on how light-rail could benefit them. Tens of thousands of Tualatin residents travel outside of the city for work every morning, and tens of thousands more commute in to work at major employers in the area. New light-rail could alleviate the traffic congestion and decrease travel times all at once. Finally, we explored the Tigard Triangle to gain a better understanding of how light-rail projects can drive major redevelopment efforts, such as Tigard's proposed urban renewal area to step up economic development in the Triangle.

LULI participants have learned about the history and features of Oregon’s land-use planning system and how it can be used to build more-livable communities. Our cohort has deepened their understanding of the links between housing, development, and transit planning, including how and why communities work to prevent gentrification and displacement.

Since 2012, 1000 Friends' LULI program has taught dozens of emerging leaders the details of Oregon's land-use planning system. LULI connects participants with leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors through monthly discussions in forums ranging from informational panels to site visits to field trips. The program showcases Oregon’s innovative land use planning, highlights the most-pressing land development issues, and equips participants with a land use toolkit to utilize in issues that matter to them. We match small groups of our participants with professional mentors in or around the land-use field, to deepen their analysis and relationships in the advocacy world.

Want to learn more about LULI or receive updates about recruitment for our 2017-18 cohort? Get in touch with Community Engagement Coordinator Andrew Riley at andrew@friends.org, or by calling (503) 497-1000 ext. 129!