#18 Downtown Construction

por-lrt-mall-constr-2007_trimet1.gifThroughout downtown’s beautification process, you will find these standard city development landmarks: Condo, high rise towers, commercial property renovations, commuter train and parking garage construction. City officials have done such a great job, I’ve heard that downtown Portland has become a model for city planning. However, I don’t care. This isn’t about how Portland sucks, it’s the particular things about Portland THAT suck. Currently, downtown constructions sucks for all residents, pedestrians and drivers*.

As a driver, I recommend scoping out downtown traffic through your internet map companion (Google Maps, MapQuest) to prevent the “DO NOT ENTER” run-in. Without a detail understanding of each street undergoing construction, you’ll eventually become tangled in a one-way, closed street, death spiral while trying to reach Bush Garden or Nike Town.

Employed in downtown, I find walking to be suicide. I’m given 20 seconds (not a mathematical fact) to cross the Burnside construction before traffic resumes its original course. If I were to continue south from Burnside, I’m faced with a maze of “Sidewalk Closed” and “Detour” signs guiding me further away from my favorite Thai/Mexican food cart.

Most of these issues are due to the gutting of 5th/6th St. for Transit Mall development. Originally, buses used 5th/6th St. for their mass transportation thoroughfare. Now, buses and cars are forced to live in perfect harmony on 3rd/4th St. This drives downtown motor-vehicular operators insane, making our lives a living “Frogger” level from hell.

UPDATE: Use Keep Portland Moving for navigating through downtown construction (Thanks John).

* I’m excluding bicyclist for this discussion because they’ve always viewed downtown as a place to avoid. Until every street is bike-only, bicyclist’s will never be happy.

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6 Responses to “#18 Downtown Construction”


  1. 1 wertyk 01/25 at 10:49 am

    I love this website, the information is great and I have bookmarked it in my favorites. This is a well organized and informative website. Great Job!

  2. 2 Paul Johnson 09/19 at 12:20 pm

    OpenStreetMap.org is good for keeping on top of odd construction projects and also is available for Garmin devices for free.

  3. 3 Jimbo 09/04 at 4:14 pm

    Anyone that thinks construction downtown will be over soon hasn’t lived here very long.

    About 25 years ago comic Red Skelton visited here for I believe the last time in his life and his comment at the time was “Portland is a nice place – if they’d ever finish it”. Downtown is the reason suburbs grew in the past and the reason they continue to. Big construction and out-of-state realty investors run the show here since the PDC was created in the 1960s. Not much has changed but the marketing slogans.

  4. 4 John Russell 04/01 at 12:54 am

    If you check out the link that I put in for my website by clicking on my name, you can see all of the street closures for this week in downtown Portland.

    Also, I find it uncanny that you posted this today, as I just rode a route on my bike in downtown Portland that went up and down every single avenue from 14th to 1st. The only one that was much of a problem was a few blocks on 6th.

  5. 5 jonsquared 03/31 at 8:24 pm

    i absolutely ABHOR all the construction that’s happening downtown right now, but i know i will eat whatever disdainful word i utter regarding it in a couple of years when everything is done and beautiful and functional and uber cool.

  6. 6 AngryLove 03/31 at 5:04 am

    When trying to avoid the worst effected areas one might try and use the river waterfront or the park blocks where instead of construction cones and incensed drivers you can be greeted by a much jucier effluent mix of vagrants, Independent Sales Reps (read drug dealers)and beautiful men and women being far too healthy in tight clothing silently scrutinizing the bit of gut hanging over my belt as they bounce bye glistening in organic free-range sweat. Maybe the last part isn’t so bad but it should be noted is generally only true in good weather.


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