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More than 75 people turned out to hear about plans for the intersection of Barbur Blvd. and Capitol Highway

PHOTOS BY BILL GALLAGHER - Dozens of residents interested in plans for a possible SW Light Rail line packed a meeting room at the Multnomash Arts Center.A small crowd of engaged neighbors packed a back room at the Multnomah Arts Center to learn all they could about the potential future of light rail in the SW Corridor.

The SW light rail line is still nothing more than a concept.  The planning and design of the line have begun but it will be at least a decade before trains roll along Barbur Boulevard.  If they ever do.

Here are five takeaways from the Crossroads Community Meeting held on the evening of  October 29.

THE CROSSROADS REFERS TO THE AREA WHERE BARBUR BOULEVARD AND CAPITOL HIGHWAY CROSS.  

That "complicated" intersection includes an on ramp to Interstate Five and a bridge across the freeway. The Barbur Transit Station is part of the Crossroads as are several businesses including Barbur World Foods and Walgreens.  Options for getting light rail trains through the Crossroads are being considered, discussed and debated.

{img:220005}Eryn Kehe of Metro led the discussion.  "We are still,  in a conceptual way, saying this

is where we want light rail to be. When it comes down to specifically designing how it will

actually be - how many feet this way, how many feet that way, what will the stations look like,

how will people access the station in their wheel chairs - all that work is a lot more

detailed," she told the SW Connection during a break in the meeting.

2027 IS THE EARLIEST SW LIGHT RAIL COULD BE CARRYING PASSENGERS. "And that's if everything

goes exactly right," according to Kehe.  Still to come are two vital steps in the process that

give opponents an opportunity to derail the project. First, in November 2020 voters may decide

on local funding for the project.  The cost and taxpayer impact of such a measure are still to be determined.

If such a measure passes, negotiations with Washington D.C. will begin.  Local transit officials hope to

secure 50% of the estimated $2.64 to $2.86 billion cost in 2024 dollars from the Department of Transportation.

A LOT OF PEOPLE LOVE BARBUR WORLD FOODS.  The grocery store in the center of the Crossroads kept

coming up at the meeting.  More than a thousand people have sent written comments to Metro on how to 

move trains through that intersection and apparently a lot of them want to protect the store.

"Barbur World Foods is a business that has a lot of significance for the community," according to

Jennifer Koozer of Metro staff. The two alternative alignments for trains that have "the greatest potential for

evaluation" leave the store property untouched.

THE BARBUR TRANSIT STATION PARK AND RIDE SHOULD SURVIVE.  None of the alignment plans in play messes with the bus

station and parking spaces that so many Tri Met passengers use to commute.  However, there was some talk of the

"potential for redevelopment of the transit station as part of a vision for a West Portland Town Center."  One

proposal puts a light rail station between the back of the transit station and Interstate Five.

This session on Oct. 29 was the first of several.PLAYERS TO BE NAMED LATER WILL MAKE THE CALL - Sometime after the first of the year members of yet another steering

committee for the SW Corridor Light Rail Project will be appointed.  These will be local elected office holders and high-ranking

bureaucrats. "The new steering committee will take early action next year to make a decision (on alignment

options)," said Kehe.  "Members of the steering committee will be the decision makers ultimately."

If you would like to see the details of the various alignment options through the Crossroads, check out

swcorridorplan.org.  Information there will show which businesses are affected and how many residents

would have to move.

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