The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) agreed to an Aug. 25 meeting with representatives of an informal coalition of local organizations that are advocating to preserve and maintain the International Grove.
The advocates’ concerns for the grove are in anticipation of construction scheduled to begin in early 2022 to replace the 42nd Avenue overpass that crosses Lombard Street. CNews ConcordiaPDX.org/2021/09/advocates-rally-to-preserve-grove/ reported on those concerns in August.
Highlights of the Aug. 25 meeting include:
- PBOT reported its contract with the companies involved in the construction will prohibit using any parts of the grove for staging and/or parking. Grove advocates requested details about how the restricted access will be managed, and they suggested a barrier of some type as the best solution. According to PBOT, there were no plans at that time for a physical barrier. Based on experience with prior construction projects in the area, grove advocates expressed their concern about a high potential the contractors and/or their employees won’t comply. They requested contact information for city officials who have the authority to enforce compliance throughout the construction duration.
- Construction plans require placement of a crane on the lower northeast corner of the grove, on the southside of Lombard. That would require two to four trees to be moved or removed. If the latter is necessary, grove advocates were in favor of PBOT’s plans to replace them with trees of the same species to be planted elsewhere in the grove.
- Grove advocates also agreed with PBOT’s plans to remove several trees – most of them the invasive species Trees of Heaven – along the north side of Lombard.
- Remaining concerns due consideration include:
- An improved 42nd Avenue roadway and overpass may encourage traffic to travel at higher speeds. Additionally, new sidewalks on 42nd may increase pedestrian traffic. Along with the bus stop at 42nd and Holman, that mix may increase hazards. So future discussions are planned to consider adding speed bumps or other means to slow the vehicular traffic.
- Grove advocates pointed out the existing encampment of houseless people in the grove is hazardous to the long-term viability of the trees. It also poses safety concerns for neighbors who share a desire to access and enjoy the grove. PBOT and the Oregon Department of Transportation were asked to refer the grove advocates to other government agencies that can help identify better housing solutions for those houseless individuals.
Note: The informal coalition of International Grove advocates includes Concordia Neighborhood Association, Concordia Tree Team , Cully Association of Neighbors, Cully Boulevard Alliance, Cully Tree Team, Habitat for Humanity Portland Region, Hacienda Community Development Corporation, Living Cully, Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Native American Youth and Family Center, Our 42nd Avenue, Portland Clean Air and Verde.