Redevelopment in the inner east side will be compromised in
all three freeway options if the railroad right-of-way is not
removed from 1st Avenue. It is projected that over 100 trains
a day will pass through this right-of-way in 20 years when
high-speed rail and commuter trains become a reality.
This will create a barrier to the riverfront and a
discouragement for redevelopment almost equal to the
presence of the freeway.
- The Union Pacific railroad line could be moved from 1st Avenue
to beneath Grand Avenue in a tunnel that retains the same 1% grade
found on 1st (red dashed line). The Grand Avenue right-of-way
is wide enough to accommodate two tracks for freight trains and
two for passenger trains without condemning any adjacent private
property (see rail cross-section below)). New construction techniques could even
allow Grand Avenue traffic to remain above while the tunnel is
created below. Because the Eugene to Vancouver, BC line is
one of the few nationally-designated high-speed rail corridors,
there may be large sums of federal money available to pay
for such a tunnel.
- The relocation of the Union Pacific line underground eliminates
the need for viaducts over 1st Avenue. The plan calls for the
removal of the viaducts emanating from both the Morrison and Burnside Bridges.
- The quantity of passenger trains coming into Portland will have
difficulty crossing the Steel Bridge and will experience significant
delays coming into Union Station. It is therefore time to consider
a new train station on the eastside (blue circle). Located at the
Rose Quarter, the new train station could offer convenient connections
to the East-West MAX, North-South MAX and Airport MAX. The platforms
for the station would be located underground below Interstate Avenue
and the site of the Red Lion Hotel nearby. The station house itself
could be directly above (offering travelers an immediate and dramatic
view west towards downtown) or could be an adaptive reuse of the
Memorial Coliseum building.