PBOT News Release: City Council commits $17.7 million to East Portland public transit improvement project

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Portland Bureau of Transportation

News media contact:

Dylan Rivera
Portland Bureau of Transportation
(503) 577-7534

PBOT News Release:
City Council commits $17.7 million to East Portland public transit improvement project

The $175 million Division Transit Project would be the largest bus infrastructure project in the region

Project will provide a faster, more reliable bus ride along one of the city’s most important commute routes

(Aug. 15, 2018) The Portland City Council voted unanimously today to invest $17.7 million in the upcoming Division Transit Project, which will bring faster, more reliable bus service on a 15-mile corridor connecting downtown Portland, Southeast and East Portland and Gresham. 

The Council vote gives a big boost to the project, providing it the last local match needed for the project to compete nationwide for federal funding. The project is seeking $87.3 million in federal funding to build the $175 million transit line. It will make bus trips 15 to 20 percent faster on a route that already serves more than 10,000 bus riders every weekday. 

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has spearheaded the City’s participation in the regional project, which has been led by TriMet, the transit agency, and previously Metro, which controls federal funding in the Portland area. PBOT has been working with the Portland Housing Bureau and Prosper Portland, the city’s economic development arm, to ensure affordable housing is developed and business support is provided as the transit line is planned and built. 

Affordable housing is already under construction as part of the project. The Jade, located at SE 82nd and Division, will provide 47 units of affordable housing when it opens in early 2019. 

“Improving public transit service in East Portland is a high priority for our City,” Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman said. “I’m glad that the City’s transportation, housing and economic development teams have been working together to ensure that we expand the affordable housing and job opportunities in the Division corridor. This will improve the lives of people who live and work in the area today. When we make it more convenient and more comfortable for people to take public transit, we reduce carbon emissions and make it easier for people to access jobs, housing and schools." 

Division Transit Project will add to more than $270 million in transportation projects funded in East Portland: View a map

Funded East Portland projects Spring 2018


Chris Warner, Interim Director of PBOT, said the project adds to more than $270 million in improvements the bureau and its partners have already committed to funding in East Portland. These investments include new sidewalks, safer pedestrian crossings and repaving projects. This includes funding from state House Bill 2017, the City’s Build Portland program and PBOT’s Fixing Our Streets Program, the voter-approved city gas tax. 

“East Portland doesn’t have the public transit service, bike routes and sidewalks that many Portlanders take for granted,” Warner said. “We have been working to change that, and the City Council’s commitment to the Division Transit Project marks a key milestone that will improve public transit. The Division Transit Project and our upcoming safety project on Division will make it safer for thousands of people in East Portland to bike, walk and take public transit to work, school and shopping destinations.” 

Recently completed sidewalk and other safety improvements in East Portland:
View a map

Map of recently completed East Portland projects Sprin 2018

The vote was 4-0, with one absence. The City’s contribution consists of $2 million in-kind services and $15.7 million in Transportation System Development Charges, one-time fees that developers pay to build more capacity, to help the transportation system account for the impact of population and job growth. 

In anticipation of the Division Transit Project, PBOT is installing a set of much needed safety improvements on Outer Division.  

Southeast Division is one of the most dangerous corridors in Portland. It ranks high for fatal crashes, even among the 30 high crash network streets identified in the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan. It ranks No. 1 for motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries, No. 4 for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and No. 2 for bicycle injuries and fatalities. 

PBOT’s Outer Division Multimodal Safety Project will fill in gaps in three miles of sidewalks, build more than a mile of pedestrian median islands, add 13 pedestrian crossings with signals, install more than 57 new street lights, and add protection to almost five miles of bike lanes.

PBOT’s safety project will be completed by mid-2019. If it receives federal funding, the Division Transit Project would start construction later that year.

This project will focus on small-scale improvements that could be built in the next five years to fill the gaps and deficiencies in the existing biking and walking network and promote increased transit ridership in the Northwest District. These projects could include improvements like: 

  • Marked crosswalks 
  • Curb extensions 
  • Sidewalk improvements 
  • New and improved bike routes 
  • Transit stop improvements 

About the Division Transit Project 

The 15-mile project will bring high-capacity bus service to SE Division Street between Downtown Portland, Southeast and East Portland and Gresham with easier, faster and more reliable trips. Highlights include:

  • 60-foot articulated buses with 60 percent more room for riders than 40-foot standard buses 
  • Three-door boarding for quicker stops at 42 stations 
  • Transit signal priority: Traffic signals prioritize bus travel, getting riders to destinations faster 
  • Estimated reduction in travel times by 15 to 20 percent, with buses running every 15 minutes during the day, and even more often during rush hour 
  • Bus stops expanded into stations, with amenities such as shelters 
  • Project cost: $175 million, with $87.3 million expected to come from a Federal Transit Administration Small Starts grant. 
  • Construction expected to begin in late 2019 and open in 2022 

Learn more at trimet.org/division. 

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation.