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Plus, celebration of Commissioner Nick Fish's life is Sunday and the switch to daylight savings time tied to crashes

CONTRIBUTED - Metro President Lynn PetersonMetro President Lynn Peterson tried to thread the needle about the Interstate-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project when she delivered her State of the Region address before the City Club of Portland on Friday, Feb. 7.

Crowd reaction to questions about the project, asked by the moderator, made it clear many, if not most, of the club members oppose the Oregon Department of Transportation plan to add auxiliary lanes in order to reduce congestion and improve safety in the milelong stretch of I-5 through the area.

Peterson did oppose the plan, but said it must address community and social justice concerns if it goes forward. Among other things, she supported requiring ODOT to build "caps" over the rebuilt freeway that are strong enough to support new buildings.

The problem is, such upgrades will push the cost of the project past the current estimate of $795 million to more than $1 billion, straining the ability of the state to pay its share.

The regional transportation funding measure being developed by Metro for the November general ballot is expected to include some funds for work in the area, but mostly for surface street connections and bike/pedestrian connections.

Fish memorial this Sunday

Many elected officials, community leaders and Portland residents are expected to turn out for the celebration of the life of the late Commissioner Nick Fish, which was rescheduled to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, in Portland State University's Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom.

The event also will be livestreamed at the student union and online at nickfishforportland.com.

Fish was the longest-serving current member of the City Council when he died of cancer on Jan. 2. A special election to choose someone to serve the remainder of his term is coinciding with the May 19 primary election.

The Portland State Foundation has established a Nick Fish Memorial Fund for Leadership that will support students in the Hatfield School of Government. To support the fund, donate through the foundation website at giving.psuf.org/nickfish or by mail: PSU Foundation, The Nick Fish Memorial Fund for Leadership, P.O. Box 243, Portland, OR 97207-0243.

Daylight saving time crashes

Traffic fatalities in Portland increased last year, despite the City Council's commitment to the Vision Zero policy intended to eliminate all fatal crashes by 2025.

Transportation officials responded by reasserting their promise to fund additional safety improvement projects throughout the city, and the council referred the renewal of the 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax that funds the Fixing Our Streets program to the May 19 primary election ballot.

But a recent study suggests there's one contributing factor the city has no control over — the annual switch to daylight saving time. According to a study in the Jan. 30 issue of Current Biology, evidence shows about a 6% increase in the risk of fatal traffic accidents in the week after the time change each spring. The increase is greater in western states such as Oregon.


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