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Light rail construction continues to impact Brooklyn, Powell

by: RITA A. LEONARD - Barriers at S.E. 10th and 12th Avenues are placed to permanently close westbound automotive traffic at S.E. Clinton Street.Traffic confusion reigns on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project around S.E. Powell Boulevard, due to bridge work, railroad crossings, and traffic detours. Current aspects of the project aim to improve bike and pedestrian access along the north side of Powell, while demolishing retaining walls near the Union Pacific Railroad overpass. Work on site preparation and underground utilities helps to prepare the area for future development.

Activity along S.E. 12th Avenue between Powell and Clinton Street has included cutting down several street trees, rerouting traffic for heavy equipment from staging areas, and closing Clinton westbound at the railroad tracks.

TriMet community affairs spokesperson Jennifer Koozer of Sellwood advises that plans for a new sidewalk link along the north side of Powell, from underneath the railroad bridge to S.E. 19th Avenue, would require construction on the Powell frontage road.

Evening work beginning in mid-March brought demolition of the retaining wall along the north side of Powell near the overpass. Huge piles of earth nearly hid heavy equipment from the view of passing motorists. There were lane closures and traffic flaggers in place on Powell between S.E. 13th and 22nd Avenues, as crews installed wooden barriers along the South side of the pedestrian underpass.

S.E. Clinton Street was permanently closed to automotive traffic at S.E. 10th and 12th Avenues, while pedestrians and bicyclists were redirected to alternate routes around the site.

Reconstruction of the S.E. 17th Avenue westbound overpass to Powell is under way on the south side of Powell, although the sidewalks underneath are closed for several months. A new overpass is scheduled to open by the fall.

Meanwhile, the pedestrian footbridge at S.E. 16th and Gideon Street provides access across the railroad tracks, and allows spectators regular views of the constantly-changing landscape around this multi-faceted public transportation project.