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Adams: Moving I-5 on east side would reconnect city

Mayor Sam Adams has released a draft proposal for relocating a portion of Interstate 5 over inner Southeast Portland.

Adams posted the proposal on his City Hall website and asked for public comments on the plan. The proposal did not, however, include cost estimates or time schedules.

The proposal calls for burying the portion of the freeway that passes of the Central East Side Industrial District but maintain many of the access ramps.

Calls for altering or rerouting the eastside portion of the freeway have been made for years. Each proposal in the past has focused on benefits of opening large sections of the east bank of the Willamette River to redevelopment. No plans have ever moved forward, however, in large part because the estimated large cost of dismantling the existing freeway while maintaining access to inner east Portland, a major freight hub.

In his announcement, Adams says, "While it would be decades before such wholesale freeway replacement could occur, the future that the new concept plan portrays is undeniably appealing. Acres of downtown land are liberated, and the Willamette's east bank is reconnected to the city. Freeway lands become available for development and public open space. Local streets are re-knit across I-5, views to the river are exposed and structures long in the shadow of the freeway see sunshine (and redevelopment opportunity) again."

The proposal is posted at www.mayorsamadams.com .