Friday, October 31, 2008

Events will re-visit ghosts of freeways past -

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Editor) on October 28th, 2008 at 11:16 am

This defunct freeway ramp serves
as a reminder of Portland’s freeway-fighting past.
John Russell)

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
–philosopher George Santayana

Much of the why Portland is a city where bikes, pedestrians, and transit can flourish, is because we have taken a stand against freeways. Two events coming up in November will educate a new generation about Portland’s proud history of freeway fighting and removal.

In the late 1960s and early ’70s, plans for the Mt. Hood Freeway (that would have run through the heart of Southeast Portland) were canceled after neighborhoods revolted and city planners threatened a lawsuit.

Bike Back the Night-22.jpg
Bikes enjoy a ride in Waterfront Park,
perhaps unaware that it used to be
a freeway.
(Photo © J. Maus)

In 1974, a piece of the 99W freeway (known as Harbor Drive) along the western shore of the Willamette River in downtown Portland was removed. In its place was put Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which stretches from the Steel Bridge to the Riverplace Marina — and Portland became the first major U.S. city to remove an existing freeway.

It’s important to note that both of these areas (Southeast Portland and the Waterfront) now see some of the highest levels of bike and pedestrian activity anywhere in the city...

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