I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Newsletter

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December 15, 2021

In this issue

  • New Newsletter!
  • Project Website 
  • Finance Plan – January 20 
  • Coming to a Meeting Near You
  • Meet our Project Communications Manager: Rose Gerber 
  • Meet the Changemakers: James Posey 
  • Advisory Committees: New News and Recent Recap 
  • Rose Quarter Underground

New Newsletter!

Starting in January 2022, the I-5 Rose Quarter Project will be included in a new monthly ODOT Urban Mobility Office newsletter, which will provide updates on this and other Portland metro area transportation projects. The I-5 Rose Quarter Project will continue to send out occasional e-news as well as a print newsletter twice a year. Our website is always the best source for immediate information and to answer your questions. Thank you for reading our articles and keeping up with the latest on the I-5 Rose Quarter Project. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to connecting with you in the New Year.

Project Website

You might notice our project website looks a little different right now − i5RoseQuarter.org was taken offline after the site’s host server was compromised. We are excited to share that we are currently hard at work at redesigning that site with the look and feel of our new brand! In the meantime, project information, updates and upcoming meeting and event information will all be shared on ODOT's Rose Quarter page. As always, please reach out to the project team with any questions at 503-470-3127.

Finance Plan – January 20

At the Oregon Transportation Commission’s January 20, 2022 meeting, Project Director Megan Channell will present a conceptual finance plan for the project. That plan includes a refined cost estimate and describes the federal, state and local funding sources that will provide the financing needed to cover the full cost of the project.  

Originally, the project team was working to provide this draft report by December 1. The shift in schedule is to align with the new timeline for signing of the federal Reconciliation Bill associated with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – a large potential funding source for the project. 

Coming to a Meeting Near You

If you are you a member of a community organization, non-profit or business that would like to hear more about the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project, we’d like to hear from you! We have a speaker and a slide deck ready to join your upcoming meeting to present the latest project information and answer your questions. A monthly Lunch and Learn with invited audiences is also a possibility. Contact us and let’s talk!


Rose Gerber
Public Outreach and Media Manager – Rose Quarter Project

Meet our Project Communications Manager: Rose Gerber

I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Communications Manager Rose Gerber smiles at the camera wearing a dark green blouse.

Drawn in by academics and Portland’s music scene, Rose Gerber moved to Portland in 2008, where she attended Portland State University and received a master’s degree in Public Administration. After receiving her master's, Rose went on to work in the nonprofit sector in Portland. In 2012, Rose moved to Eastern North Carolina, where she joined Teach for America, serving two years teaching English and World History at KIPP charter high school. During her time in school and her nonprofit work, Rose fell in love with Portland and moved back to put down roots. Eager to be back, Rose joined two different bands where she puts her singing and songwriting skills on display performing around Portland. 

The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement project is a part of ODOT's Urban Mobility Office (UMO). The UMO has a vision of infusing equitability, livability, opportunity and safety into its projects. When Rose learned about that vision, she wanted to be part of a pioneering governmental approach to address systematic and structural ills that have impacted underrepresented and disadvantaged communities. Rose saw ODOT owning their past and methodically setting out to do business differently, particularly on the Rose Quarter project. In October 2021, Rose joined the project as the Communications Manager. The advisory committees, public involvement and transparency efforts, years of planning, and work to engage community and move toward consensus motivated Rose to be part of a new way of building infrastructure designed to benefit all Portlanders.

Rose wants to empower people and provide them with avenues to effect positive change for their community. She encourages participation in issues that affect people's lives and is committed to elevating voices that might not otherwise be heard. Understanding the priorities of the community allows decision-makers to make equitable and inclusive project and policy choices. Rose is inspired by the ways community engagement work focuses on creating safe, respectful, and productive spaces for people from different backgrounds to come together to grapple with complex issues to work for the common good. Rose’s goal is not only to bolster engagement for the project – she wants to take things a step further to create and sustain a robust engagement program that is implemented continuously so that there are always ways for every member of the community to stay informed and engaged.

Meet the Changemakers: James Posey

Every other week through the remainder of the year, we’re introducing a member of the project team or a community partner. Watch for new releases on Wednesdays through ODOT’s Urban Mobility Office Twitter page.

Veteran, advocate and business owner James Posey smiles at the camera wearing a plaid shirt and a black jacket. Photo courtesy: Temitope Timothy

“I’m pretty much exhausted, but I'm not ready to leave the battle because the work is not done. I keep engaging and I keep speaking up... because as I’ve said before: if you're not at the table, you're on the menu.”

Even at 75 years old, Mr. James Posey still wakes up every day with the energy to hold decision-makers accountable and fight for equity and justice in contracting. Battle tested as a veteran of 20 years in the United States Military, surrender has never been an option for him. Around Portland, James is a well-respected, methodical and unapologetic advocate for improving the economic ability for Black people living in Oregon.

Posey’s story is a long one full of perseverance, advocacy, and innovation that ultimately led to him becoming a key player on the I-5 Rose Quarter Project, the largest infrastructure project awarded to a Black-owned contractor in Oregon history.

Advisory Committees: New News and Recent Recap

Check out what's happening at upcoming committee meetings:

  • Thursday, December 16: Community Oversight Advisory Board – The board will continue to work through the draft Diversity Plan.

Missed recent meetings? Here are the highlights:

  • Tuesday, November 16: Historic Albina Advisory Board – The board continued to shape the definition of “restorative justice” for the project, discussed community design forum opportunities and provided design considerations for local street improvements.
  • Thursday, November 18: Community Oversight Advisory Committee – The board had small group discussions to provide recommendations on the diversity plan.
  • Tuesday, December 14: Historic Albina Advisory Board - The board made a decision about their charter, discussed community input and transparent decision-making measures of success, and continued the conversation around underside and undercrossing designs.

 Event Details

Rose Quarter Underground logo

Looking at Conditions from the Bottom Up

Crews completed 2021 construction work in the Rose Quarter area in November. Field work will resume in 2022. Information will be shared on our website and through email e-alerts once more information is known on the construction schedule, work activities and impacts. Construction schedules are tentative and subject to change

About the Project

I-5 between I-84 and I-405 is the top traffic bottleneck in Oregon and the 28th worst bottleneck in the nation. It also has:

  • some of the highest traffic volumes in the State of Oregon with 12 hours of traffic congestion each day
  • a crash rate 3.5 times higher than the statewide average
  • a lack of full shoulders in key areas for crashes to clear and emergency vehicles to access
  • nearby local streets lacking neighborhood connections and with undersized or incomplete pedestrian and bicycle facilities

The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project will add auxiliary lanes and shoulders that smooth traffic flow and improve operations to make local and regional travel more predictable and safer for people driving and transporting goods. It includes street improvements to enhance safety and access for people travelling within and through the area. The project will support the regional economy, future economic development and a more connected and equitable Albina community.

In response to Governor Kate Brown’s directive to “Stay Home, Save Lives,” all project public meetings are being held on a virtual platform. We are committed to maintaining accessibility and transparency for all public meetings. Visit the agency’s COVID-19 web page for more information.

For ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) or Civil Rights Title VI accommodations, translation services, interpretation services or more information, call 503-731-4128 or Oregon Relay Service 7-1-1.

Si desea obtener información sobre este proyecto traducida al español, sírvase llamar al 503-731-4128.

Nếu quý vị muốn thông tin về dự án này được dịch sang tiếng Việt, xin gọi

Если вы хотите чтобы информация об этом проекте была переведена на русский язык, пожалуйста, звоните по телефону 503-731-4128.



Learn how we’re evolving to build a modern transportation system based on
sufficient funding and equity. www.oregon.gov/odot/Pages/SAP