The first steering committee meeting of the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, March 17, at the Community Hall at Portland Community College's Southeast Center, 2305 S.E. 82nd Ave.

The project is intended to identify and plan a new high capacity transit line and other community improvements from inner Southeast Portland to East Portland and Gresham that can be built in five to seven years. Alignments under discussion include portions of Southeast Powell Boulevard and Southeast Division Street.

The project is being overseen by Metro, the elected regional government responsible for transportation and land use planning in the urbanized portions of Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties.

Public discussions through Spring 2015 will center on transit alternatives — including possible vehicle types, routes and station locations — as well as strategies for community development at future station areas.

The project will also determine opportunities to support neighborhoods, stimulate economic development, and make it easier and safer to get around. For example, new crosswalks, sidewalks, and enhanced transit stops will likely be a part of the recommendations.

The steering committee is co-chaired by Metro Councilor Bob Stacey, who represents parts of Portland, and Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick, who represents Gresham. Other members represent the cities of Portland and Gresham, the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Department of Transportation, TriMet and Multnomah County.

Several community organizations also are represented on the steering committee. They include the Gresham Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition, the East Portland Neighborhood Office, the Division-Midway Alliance, and the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon. In addition, three advocacy groups are listed, including the East Metro Economic Alliance, the Audubon Society and Upstream Public Health. Also represented are three large transit users in the area, including Mt. Hood Community College, Portland Community College Southeast, and Catholic Charities, which operates a residential complex at 2740 S.E. Powell Blvd.

The Powell-Division corridor is a near-term priority in Metro’s Regional High Capacity Transit System Plan and the East Metro Connections Plan, a two-year effort in east Multnomah County that that identified specific transportation, community, economic development projects and their phasing over the next 20 years.

Project partners include the cities of Portland and Gresham, Multnomah County, Oregon Department of Transportation and TriMet. The project will be closely coordinated with other efforts, including TriMet's Service Enhancement Plan, Gresham's Transportation System Plan, Portland's Comprehensive Plan, the Division Neighborhood Street Plan, the Outer Powell Boulevard Design Plan, the East Portland in Motion strategy, the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiatives and the East Metro Connections Plan.

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