The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project will do more than bring high-capacity transit to under-served communities—it will also help communities grow and achieve their aspirations. New economic development along the alignment will provide employment and residential opportunities, encourage walking and cycling, and create engaging public spaces where people want to be.
Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine
Chef and restaurateur Pascal Sauton has taken his vision for food, wine and community to Milwaukie.
With his daughter Prunelle as manager, Sauton opened Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine in November 2011 at 10610 S.E. Main St., in the town’s historic district. The space contains a specialty deli, gourmet food market, coffee shop and studio for cooking classes. The establishment offers breakfast, lunch and wine, as well as hosted dinners where Pascal Sauton cooks and then joins guests at a long community table. It’s open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
The location had just what the Parisian-born, French-educated chef and former owner of Portland’s award-winning Carafe Bistro was looking for—outside of Portland yet close, plenty of space and a good neighborhood vibe.
Sauton plans to create a place where Milwaukie residents can gather and build community. “I want this to become Milwaukie’s dining room and pantry,” he said.
His vision seems to have struck a chord. Cooking classes are selling out. He has added dinners-to-go and a wine club and has plans for Sunday brunch and a happy hour.
That kind of support has Milwaukie leaders upbeat both about the store and what it signals for downtown economic development. “It’s the beginning of a whole new generation of people to discover the charms of downtown Milwaukie and see its potential as a place to invest,” said Kenny Asher, community development and public works director for the city.
With the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project set to begin light rail service in 2015, Sauton agrees that the future looks positive for his establishment and for the community. “Milwaukie is going in a really good direction. It’s turning out to be a very vibrant and prized community. And with light rail coming, access will get even easier.”
South Waterfront District
Partnerships between TriMet, the Zidell Companies and Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) are bringing the vision for Portland’s South Waterfront district to life. Three major projects slated to reshape the district have the area buzzing with activity:
- The Zidell Companies’ remediation of 30 acres of property, with 15 acres slated for redevelopment
- The new OHSU/Oregon University System (OUS) Collaborative Life Sciences Building
- The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail (PMLR) Transit Project, including a new bridge over the Willamette River
The 120-acre South Waterfront district represents the Central City’s largest supply of developable vacant land, and public and private investments were essential to spur current redevelopment interests and commitments. Zidell’s 30 acres include an active barge construction facility. Since the mid-1990s ZRZ Realty Company, Zidell’s real estate branch, has been involved in a hazardous materials’ cleanup effort with the state's Department of Environmental Quality to mitigate the effects of almost a century of industrial uses on the site.
The $20-million cleanup project covers 2,700 feet of riverfront property and work to cap contaminant sediments in the river bottom. Plans for the light rail project and bridge bring the route through the middle of Zidell’s remediation area. ZRZ and TriMet collaborated to address the difficult issues of hazardous materials’ mitigation and closely coordinate construction and remediation crews working side-by-side. ZRZ also donated land underneath the light rail bridge and partnered with TriMet to determine South Waterfront’s optimal light rail alignment. TriMet helped reduce remediation costs by capping low-level contaminated soil underneath the light rail alignment.
In 2008, ZRZ, TriMet, the City of Portland, PGE and others teamed on a sampling process to characterize the sediment of the downtown reach of the river and protect against recontamination of the river bottom during various construction efforts. The current solution also will allow Zidell’s future barge operations to continue without disturbing the cap.
ZRZ and TriMet collaborated to address the difficult issues of hazardous materials' mitigation and closely coordinate construction and remediation crews working side-by-side.
The remediation improves fish and wildlife habitat and prepares the ZRZ property for a 100-foot wide greenway near the riverbank and 15 acres of market-driven redevelopment on the upland portion of the site. Over the past seven years, the construction of residential towers, OHSU’s Center for Health and Healing and the 0.5-mile aerial tram signaled the area’s development potential. The light rail project helped inspire ZRZ’s redevelopment on property south of the future South Waterfront/SW Moody Ave light rail station. For the first phase of redevelopment, ZRZ will pursue mixed uses tailored to users attracted to a transit-oriented neighborhood, including residential and commercial uses that will create jobs.
“The district is primed to be an exciting job center, and we plan to address the market and new opportunities that arise over the next 20 years, including developments at OHSU’s campus,” says Rick Saito manager of development planning for ZRZ Realty. “The public investment in infrastructure and transit and our private redevelopment investments form a natural partnership to create jobs and bring people to them.”
One of the first developments to break ground will be the 480,000-square-foot OHSU/OUS Collaborative Life Sciences Building on OHSU’s new Schnitzer Campus. The facility will house OHSU’s School of Dentistry and School of Medicine, OHSU and Oregon State’s joint pharmacy program and Portland State University’s (PSU) undergraduate biology and chemistry departments as well as a significant amount of research space.
Light rail’s presence made it possible for PSU to expand onto what will be OHSU’s Schnitzer campus as MAX’s capacity and speed will allow students to shuttle quickly between classes at the two campuses. In order to facilitate the light rail alignment, OHSU and Zidell each donated land to TriMet for SW Porter Street.
The Collaborative Life Sciences Building will open in two phases: a partial opening in fall 2013 will accommodate the start of PSU’s school year, with the full opening set for spring 2014. The $295 million,12-story project represents one-fifth of OHSU’s total 2.5 million square feet of development planned for the 19 acre Schnizter Campus over the next 20 years.
In addition to enhancing connections and collaboration between the higher-education institutions, the new light rail extension will provide metropolitan-wide transit access for building tenants, researchers and OHSU’s nearly 14,000 employees.
“Our employees are spread out across the region so we’re enthusiastic about every connection that puts them closer to our front door,” says Brian Newman, Director of Campus Planning, Development and Real Estate at OHSU. “The new light rail station is only a 10-minute walk to the tram, which also makes it easy for employees and patients to get up to our Marquam Hill campus.”
By 2030, the district’s development potential is estimated to provide 12,000 jobs and 6,000 housing units. Commute trips into South Waterfront are expected to increase by 57 percent and the share of transit trips will double, making public transportation in the district critical.
When businesses choose to locate along the project alignment, whether in big development projects in South Waterfront or storefronts in Milwaukie, many permanent jobs are created. The project will also create an estimated 44 permanent jobs at TriMet.. Permanent TriMet jobs (97KB PDF)