Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project: TriMet Moves Forward

Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project: TriMet Moves Forward

TriMet is moving forward with its Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project. The “mega-project” will extend over 11 miles of new light rail or “MAX” line from downtown Portland to Bridgeport Village. The Project will also result in the construction of 13 new light rail stations and new park and ride lots accommodating up to 3,600 parking spaces. The Project is estimated to cost approximately $2.8 billion and will require the taking of hundreds of properties in whole or part. In order to take the properties, TriMet will exercise its power of eminent domain.

Additional information on the Project, including the list of properties currently targeted for acquisition can be found at swcorridorlightrail.com, which is an informational site for property owners my firm has created.

On TriMet’s most recent light rail expansion—the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Project—my team and I represented a significant number of the property owners who sought legal representation. For one of those property owners, TriMet refused to negotiate a reasonable result, so we took the case to trial and obtained a jury verdict in an amount six times what TriMet originally offered and to the dollar on the testimony of our client’s appraiser. The court followed with a significant award of attorney fees and costs to our client. We then successfully defended TriMet’s appeal of the trial court judgments. See Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District v. Walnut Hill, LLC, 292 Or App 417 (2018).

 

 

Southwest Corridor Planning: Metro’s Next Move in High Capacity Transit

Metro has set its sights on the “Southwest Corridor” as the region’s next area for construction of “high capacity transit,” meaning most likely light rail or rapid bus transit.  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 Southwest Corridor, as currently envisioned, stretches from downtown Portland to Tualatin.  It centers on SW Barbur Blvd/99W for much of its route, working its way through Tigard, and then south through the Bridgeport area to downtown Tualatin.

The planning for the project is currently in its “refinement phase,” in which the stakeholders will zero in on a preferred mode of transit and preferred route.  “Recommended routes for further discussion” are set forth in Metro staff’s May 5, 2014 report. The Project’s published timeline indicates that the Project’s steering committee will make a final decision on design options in June 2014.

Whatever route and mode of high capacity transit is ultimately chosen, many properties, homes and businesses will likely be impacted.  While this Project appears to serve a legitimate public purpose, whether the owners of the impacted properties will receive the just compensation to which they are constitutionally-entitled is a wholly different matter.

 

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