News Release: PBOT cuts the ribbon on SW Bond Avenue, Portland’s newest street

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Hannah Schafer
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Portland Bureau of Transportation


News Release:

PBOT cuts the ribbon on SW Bond Avenue, Portland’s newest street

The newest street in South Waterfront was built in partnership with Prosper Portland, Oregon Health & Science University, and state agencies


Cutting the ribbon on Bond Avenue

From left to right: Bryan Guiney, Business Oregon’s Regional Economic Development Officer for the Portland Metro Area, OHSU President Dr. Danny Jacobs, Prosper Portland Commissioner Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia, and PBOT Interim Deputy Director Noah Siegel cut the ribbon on SW Bond Avenue. Photo by PBOT.

(Nov. 14, 2019) Officials from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), Prosper Portland, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), and Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, joined local neighbors and community members to celebrate the opening of SW Bond Avenue, Portland’s newest street in South Waterfront.

The brand-new street, one third of a mile in length, supports the continued build-out of South Waterfront and the OHSU Schnitzer Campus, including the recently completed Knight Cancer Research Building. The project, known as the SW Bond Avenue Extension Phase 1, drastically improves access to OHSU’s Schnitzer Campus located between the Marquam Bridge and Tilikum Crossing, including two recently completed buildings and four future development sites.

The newest OHSU building, the Knight Cancer Research Building, is a state-of-the-art facility focused on early detection and treatment of cancer. The $11.6 million city investment in SW Bond Avenue served as the city’s contribution to the Knight Cancer Challenge, in which philanthropists Phil and Penny Knight promised a donation of $500 million if the public sector could raise the same amount. Former Mayor Charlie Hales made this commitment to infrastructure in response to the challenge.

The benefits of the project do not stop at the edge of the OHSU Schnitzer Campus. SW Bond Avenue is intended to be a major north-south street serving the full length of South Waterfront and connecting it to the rest of the central city, similar to SW Moody Avenue today. Once complete in its entirety, SW Bond Avenue will become a “couplet” with SW Moody Avenue handling southbound car and bike traffic and Bond Avenue northbound. The major remaining segment to be constructed is through the ZRZ Realty (Zidell) property to the south. Discussions are active with ZRZ Realty on how to partner on Phase 2 of SW Bond Avenue.

Bond Avenue during construction and after completion

SW Bond Avenue while under construction (left) and after completion (right). Photos by PBOT.

In the interim period, SW Bond Avenue Extension Phase 1 is likely to see heavy use by non-motorized traffic. It will create a shortcut between the Tilikum Crossing and downtown Portland for pedestrians and people biking or scooting. It will also extend the Willamette Greenway path, allowing people to walk, ride, jog, or roll from the Tilikum Crossing to the Broadway Bridge–a distance of 2.2 miles–completely separated from car traffic. In fact, private cars will not be able to access any part of the street until OHSU’s SW Meade Street Extension project is slated to wrap up next summer 2020. At that point, SW Bond Avenue will feature two-way traffic.

“This project fulfills our city’s promise and contribution to the Knight Cancer Challenge,” said PBOT Interim Deputy Director Noah Siegel. “But it is also the culmination of decades of work and planning and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the result.”

Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia

“We are pleased to celebrate the opening of this important South Waterfront connection,” said Prosper Portland Commissioner Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia. “Moving forward, we will continue to work with city bureau partners and the community to determine how best to deliver on the priorities of affordable housing, regional streets, the greenway, parks, and a strong employment base.”

“OHSU has grown over the last hundred years because our missions of research, health care, and education remain critically important to the health of Oregonians,” said OHSU President Dr. Danny Jacobs. “Like the research we do at the Knight Cancer Institute and our other centers of excellence, the more discoveries we make, the more we can do to help Oregonians and people everywhere live longer, healthier lives. This road provides critical access for those who come to OHSU to learn, make discoveries, and seek care.”

"Business Oregon is very pleased to support this project with an Immediate Opportunity Fund grant in partnership with ODOT,” said Bryan Guiney, Business Oregon’s Regional Economic Development Officer for the Portland Metro Area. “The infrastructure development by PBOT, Prosper Portland and OHSU, in addition to the commitment by OHSU to create 225 new jobs and retain 315 existing jobs while growing the advanced manufacturing and biomedical industry cluster, are all key to growing and diversifying the State's economy."

The extension of SW Bond Avenue continues over 20 years of planning and infrastructure provision to support redevelopment in the South Waterfront district. The city has been working with property owners, institutions, development teams, and other stakeholders to transform this once largely industrial area into a thriving mixed-use community with a range of employment, housing, and retail options along with public amenities such as parks and trails. Realizing the vision for the district requires building a system of streets for people to access places by multiple modes of travel. The council-adopted South Waterfront Street Plan, Criteria and Standards, set the stage for where streets are to be built and what they should look like.

Interim asphalt sidewalks and wood pole-mounted streetlights were installed on much of the corridor as both a cost-cutting measure and as a best practice for locations that, in the future, will see heavy construction and greenway improvements. When that future development is complete, the sidewalks and streetlights will be brought up to the South Waterfront standards, with gray ornamental streetlights and 13-foot-wide concrete sidewalks.

Additionally, environmental clean-up was a major component of the project, and for good reason. The site once hosted scrap metal deconstruction, steel fabrication, chemical manufacturing, and other heavy industrial uses that contaminated the soil. Lead was the most common contaminant encountered. The entire SW Bond Avenue corridor had contaminated soil removed down to 5 feet below the lowest utility pipe, backfilled with clean fill. OHSU took on the clean-up on their property, while PBOT used a grant with the state of Oregon to clean up the portion of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) property under the Marquam Bridge. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) provided strict oversight of the planning, removal, and disposal of contaminated soil.

The SW Bond Avenue Extension Phase 1 included $14.6 million in public investment from:

  • City Transportation System Development Charges (including developer charges from the North Macadam overlay zone and citywide): $7.5 million
  • Prosper Portland’s North Macadam Urban Renewal Area: $4.1 million
  • An Immediate Opportunity Fund grant from Business Oregon, with funds from ODOT: $1 million
  • OHSU’s environmental clean-up of the SW Bond Avenue right-of-way south of Marquam Bridge: valued at over $2 million

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.