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A safer way across the tracks north of Brooklyn is under construction -- an overcrossing

RITA A. LEONARD - Looking South from S.E. 14th Avenue, near where the Gideon Overcrossing footbridge is to be built, toward the Portland Fire Bureau Station 23 - with its fire practice tower visible - on the north side of Powell Boulevard.  Monday, May 20, was the official beginning date for a new bike and pedestrian bridge just north of Powell Boulevard called the "Gideon Overcrossing".

According to TriMet Spokespersons, the new structure – running from S.E. 14th Avenue to S.E. 13th Place and Gideon Street, near the Portland Fire Bureau's Engine House 23 – when finished is intended to allow access to bicycle riders and pedestrians to cross both the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and the MAX Orange Line tracks, without the need to wait for them to clear.

Since the original wooden overcrossing near the site was torn down in 2013 to make room for MAX Orange Line construction, those who want to cross the tracks must currently use the ground-level access at S.E. 12th Avenue and Gideon Street, which is often subject to closure from train and light-rail traffic. The Gideon Overcrossing, which will include exterior lighting, glass elevators, stairs, ADA access, and an aerial walkway, will be open at all times without the need to wait for trains to pass by.

Construction began at the S.E. 14th Avenue site with pre-utility relocations, and is still proceeding – and expected to last about a year. The project places the overhead structure entirely in the existing public right-of-way; and, when completed, the bridge will be owned, operated, and maintained by the City of Portland. The project's cost is estimated to be about $15 million – which has been freed up from Federal Transit Administration funds already allocated to TriMet.

Land-use issues involving adjacent businesses at the north side of the tracks were settled last December, with the determination that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was not required. The new Gideon Overcrossing will also allow easier access to the Orange Line's Clinton Street Station on the southern side of the MAX tracks.

The completed structure will connect the neighborhood north of Powell to the river, thus completing the city's vision for an active transportation corridor from the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood to the Willamette River. TriMet's Public Information Officer Roberta Altstadt told THE BEE, "We are coordinating closely with Portland Fire Bureau's Station 23, to ensure that construction will not impact their ability to respond to emergencies."


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