I-205 light rail heads to next stop: Buying land
Transit The extension to Clackamas Town Center is on track to open in September 2009
Monday, November 14, 2005
The Interstate 205 light-rail extension south to Clackamas Town Center is moving from lines on paper to tracks on the ground.
TriMet will start buying land this month for park-and-ride stations along the 6.5-mile route south from the Gateway transit center. Most of the land needed for the tracks, which parallel the freeway, was set aside decades ago.
The federal government, which is supplying 60 percent of the money to build the line, gave the green light to property acquisition last month.
TriMet expects federal approval of a final design next year and to open the Green Line on schedule in September 2009, said Elizabeth Davidson, a spokeswoman for the transit agency.
"The big hurdle for us has been the federal (approval) process," Davidson said. "We're really happy with this project."
The I-205 project coincides with the rebuilding of the downtown Portland transit mall, at a combined cost of $557 million.
Over the next 12 months, Tri-Met will buy 33 parcels for park-and-ride lots. More than half the properties are at the Johnson Creek Boulevard interchange near what will be the Fuller Road light-rail station and park-and-ride. The purchase of the homes and rental properties will require several households to relocate.
Most of the Green Line's park-and-ride spaces will be in Clackamas County -- 630 spaces at the Fuller Road station and 750 spaces in a parking garage at Clackamas Town Center. The mall's transit center will be on the ground level of the garage.
Clackamas County officials hope the new transit service will spur additional development along Southeast 82nd Avenue. Part of the Clackamas County portion of the light-rail line borders a neighborhood that for years has battled crime and drugs.
The county plans to include the area in a new urban renewal district, which could add affordable housing and fight the blight along 82nd Avenue. Some developers already have homed in on the area.
Reliance Development, a Portland firm, plans a 276-unit condominium project north of the mall. Land south of the Town Center station is zoned for high-rise office buildings, said John Rist, Clackamas County's light-rail project manager.
Rist said he expects that light rail will stimulate developers' interest in the site.
TriMet expects the Green Line to carry at least 33,000 riders daily by 2025.
The Clackamas park-and-rides will attract residents from Happy Valley and the sprawl of new subdivisions east of I-205, Rist said. The line also will be within walking distance of low-income neighborhoods and apartment projects west of the freeway.
The mall will be a major destination for southbound passengers. Commuters headed to downtown Portland -- a 38-minute trip -- will have an appealing alternative to the rising costs of gas and parking, Rist said.
"I think once it opens, it's going to be at capacity pretty darn soon," Rist said.
Steve Mayes: 503-294-5916; firstname.lastname@example.org