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Portland trees come down to make way for new MAX line

Early work starts on Southwest Lincoln Street
by: Tribune file photo Work on the new Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail line will require TriMet to cut nearly five dozen trees in downtown Portland

Beginning Monday, up to 60 trees will be removed from along Southwest Lincoln Street between First and Fourth avenues as part of the early construction work on TriMet's planned Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail project.

The trees will be removed to widen the street for the project, which will extend the MAX line from the southern edge of Portland State University to Milwaukie. When the work is finished, the Lincoln will accommodate the 7.3-mile rail line, two-way motor vehicle traffic, a westbound bicycle lane and two 12-foot-wide sidewalks.

According to TriMet, about 40 trees will later be planted along the street.

The planned MAX line will include the new transit bridge that is under construction over the Willamette River between South Waterfront and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The cost of the entire project is around $1.49 billion.

During the construction on Lincoln, TriMet says:

• Construction will take place for up to seven weeks between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

• Two-way traffic will be maintained, although all on-street parking has been permanently removed between First and Fourth avenues.

• Access to buildings and driveways will be maintained.

• Depending on the work area, pedestrian traffic will be moved to only one side of the street, and crossings will be available at either Second or Third avenues.

• The three bus stops on Lincoln will be closed for up to two weeks starting on Monday, Sept. 26. Signs will be posted to direct riders to nearby stops.

• Flaggers will be present to assist with local access.

• Following the removal of the trees, temporary street lights will be installed.

Trees to be reused

According to TriMet, the removed trees will be reused in a variety of ways. Higher-quality wood will be salvaged and provided to furniture and structure builders, such as Habitat for Humanity. Large sections of trees will be reused as playground furniture for City of Portland parks. The remaining wood will be made into firewood for low-income households, or mulched for use in local parks and community gardens.

The replacement trees to be planted along Lincoln Street will be purchased two years in advance. That way they will be larger and more mature when planted.

Up to 830 trees are scheduled to be removed along the entire line between Portland and Milwaukie. Approximately 2,000 trees will be planted in their place.

The tree-related work will be performed by local companies, including Harrity Tree Specialists Inc., with assistance from City of Roses Disposal and Recycling Inc., and COAT Flagging. Other early construction work will be conducted by Interlaken Inc. of Gresham, Affordable Electric of Portland, and Alamo Paving of Clackamas. In all, up to 30 people will work on this early construction package. City of Roses, COAT, Interlaken and Affordable Electric are Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contractors. Alamo Paving is classified as an Emerging Small Business.

Project to extend Clackamas County service

The Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail project will be TriMet's sixth light-rail line. It will be the second project to extend MAX service into Clackamas County. The project is planned to include 10 stations and the first bridge of any kind to be constructed over the Willamette River in more than 40 years.

TriMet says the project will create up to 14,000 jobs and generate $573 million in earnings. Federal funds will pay for half of the project, with state and local partners funding the balance. TriMet's share is less than five percent of the project budget and will not be needed until 2013. The line is set to open in fall 2015.

Other project partners include Clackamas County, Metro, the city of Milwaukie, Multnomah County the city of Oregon City, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the city of Portland and the Portland Development Commission.

For more information about the project, visit the website www.trimet.org/pm .