On behalf of Friends of Terwilliger, Earthwise Law Centerhas recently submitted two sets of formal comments to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding the proposed upgrades and improvements to Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC):
FOT is concerned that the inadequate Draft Environmental Assessment and the VA’s conclusion of “no significant impacts” to Terwilliger Parkway by their Washington, DC office, will prevent effective mitigation in the final designs and construction and cause real harm to the Parkway and environment.
Friends of Terwilliger (FOT) met with Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran on Thursday November 11, 2021 to brief her on the status of the Marquam Hill Connector, Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project and concerns that FOT has about these transportation projects and their potential to negatively impact Historic Terwilliger Parkway. We also met with our congressional representatives’ staff virtually.
The Marquam Hill Connector is part of the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project (SWCLRP) proposed by TriMet to provide a connection from the proposed new MAX station at Gibbs Street to Marquam Hill. Marquam Hill has become a complex area as it is home to Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU), the Veterans Administration of Portland, the Shriners Hospital, residences and supporting businesses, and attracts over 18,000 employees, patients, students, and residents each day from all around the region.
A Metro steering committee has decided that a new Southwest Portland light rail line will travel out Barbur Blvd. from downtown Portland to Tigard and Tualatin. A planned station at SW Gibbs St. (below the tram) is intended to serve OHSU and other Marquam Hill institutions that are located several hundred feet up a steep hillside with Terwilliger Parkway lying in between. TriMet and Metro have proposed a “Marquam Hill Connection” to get people up the hillside from the SW Barbur MAX station to OHSU. Three of the proposals involve a combination of above-ground elevator towers and bridges and ramps, most of which would be located in Terwilliger Parkway and will necessitate the removal of many trees and significant alterations to the park. A fourth proposal is to build a pedestrian tunnel under the hillside with an underground elevator to bring people up to OHSU.