Metro is moving forward with preliminary planning for its “Powell-Division Transit and Development Project.” For this “high capacity transit” project–meaning most likely light rail or bus rapid transit–Metro is currently soliciting input from the public and the Project’s steering committee regarding transit type, route, station areas, and redevelopment opportunities. Similar to Metro’s “Southwest Corridor” planning, such move was foretold by Metro’s 2009 High Capacity Transit Plan, which sets forth its vision and priority for high capacity transit projects across the Portland metropolitan area.
The Powell-Division corridor, as currently envisioned, stretches from downtown Portland to Gresham. As the name of the Project indicates, the corridor centers on SE Powell Boulevard and SE Division Street for much of its length. A “Project Atlas” published by Metro provides a many-layered view of the corridor area.
As noted above, the planning for the Project is currently in its public input phase, after which the Project team will decide on a preferred mode of transit and preferred route. The Project’s published timeline, from its most recent fact sheet, indicates that the Project team will make a final decision on mode and route recommendations in Winter 2015.
Whatever route and mode of high capacity transit is ultimately chosen, many properties, homes and businesses will likely be impacted. While many elements of the Project appear to serve legitimate public purposes, whether the owners of the impacted properties will receive the just compensation to which they are constitutionally entitled is a wholly different matter. It will also be interesting to see how the Project implements its development goals.