Despite the down economy and budget problems for most governmental agencies, there are a number of big projects in the area still moving forward. The Milwaukie Light Rail Project – an extension of TriMet’s Green Line into Milwaukie from Portland State University – is slated to receive $200 million in funding from the Obama Administration through the New Starts program. With these funds, and others obtained thus far, the project is moving full steam ahead with acquisition of private property. TriMet’s appraisers are contacting property owners within the rail corridor to set appointments for appraisal inspections, and many offers have already been made by TriMet. Construction is scheduled to start this year.
The Columbia River Crossing (replacement of the I-5 bridge between Portland and Vancouver) continues to be in the news as stakeholders consider the bridge type. With a goal of construction starting in 2013, property acquisition is not that far off if the project can stay on schedule. The Final Environmental Impact Statement is on track to be released this year.
Also of note and gaining traction again is the Newberg-Dundee Bypass Project, which has been in the planning stages for over 20 years. With funding from the 2009 State Legislature now available in 2011, ODOT has been actively acquiring property within the Phase I area. Phase I will ultimately result in a two-lane limited access road connecting Highway 99W southwest of Dundee to Highway 219 south of Newberg.
Local utility companies are also busy as of late with their own projects. Bonneville Power Administration’s I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project is currently working to release a Draft Environmental Impact Statement later in the year, after which BPA will hold public meetings to discuss all of the route alternatives currently on the table. While the agency does not plan to announce the final transmission line route until 2013, the time to potentially influence the project’s location is this year.
Portland General Electric’s Cascade Crossing Project is also in the works, with the environmental review and permitting process currently underway and scheduled to last another two years. PGE is indicating that private property, or right-of-way, acquisition will begin this year; however the debate between the proposed and alternate corridors from Boardman to Salem continues.
Other statewide projects proceeding with plans for private property acquisition in the near future include the Murphy Road Corridor project in Bend, the Glen Creek Road NW at Wallace Road NW Intersection Widening project in Salem, and the Salem-Keizer School District’s acquisition of property for a new elementary and middle school in west Salem.