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WNA Weighs In on Proposed TriMet Transit Changes 2024-03-05

The Land Use and Transportation Committee of the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association, chaired by Anjala Ehelebe, sent a letter to TriMet about proposed transit changes in NE Portland on January 15, 2024. Below is the text of the letter—

We are writing in response to the proposed transit changes for NE Portland, specifically the north end of lines 8, 17, and 70. Although the 8 would still serve stops of NE 15th Avenue, removing the stops on NE 6th Avenue, Durham, and Claremont will negatively impact the school, businesses, and residents that it currently serves.

While the public comment period ended on October 31, 2023, the proposed changes continue to be discussed as Trimet patrons hear about the plan and understand its impact for the first time.

Roughly 2,000 residents live in the western slice of Woodlawn between 13th and MLK, between Ainsworth & Lombard.  With the proposed changes, commuters in the east half of our neighborhood, (about 3,000 residents there) will need to walk a greater distance or use the line 75 and then transfer to the line six, which will substantially add to their commuting time and time exposed to the elements.

Woodlawn has a large number of residents who have lived in their homes for decades and rely on the bus service, and some newer residents have cited the bus access as a reason they chose to live in Woodlawn. This includes young families, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and those with lower incomes. Having line 75 is a helpful connector for reaching Hollywood, St Johns, and more – but it does not provide important connections with our neighboring communities and business districts. Line 6 provides connections to other transit lines along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard but does not connect with the community business centers or even the heart of Downtown.

While we understand that line 17 is an underutilized line, redirecting that route to no longer serve 27th and Saratoga and rerouting line 8 to end there effectively removes north-south mass transit connections for both Woodlawn and Concordia to the Alberta, Fremont, Lloyd, and downtown. This is an unfair change to the people who often do not have an alternative means of transportation.

We would like to see alternative proposals where Trimet’s business needs can be met without cutting services to our vibrant and growing community. Top of mind ideas include:

– line 17 turns to include the University of Oregon Concordia Campus and Home Forward from its new route on 33rd Avenue; or

– line 17 remains serving 24th and 27th avenues with a reduced schedule

– line 8 has a split terminus with 27th & Saratoga or MLK & Lombard

– line 8 continues its current route and proceeds along Lombard to include 27th & Saratoga as a terminus.

With sincere gratitude,

Woodlawn Neighborhood Association and concerned TriMet patrons

The above photograph is by Tony Webster of San Francisco, California.