Tacoma Urbanist

Nov. 20, 2007 at 12:20am

Is Portland's 1970s (Successful) Fight Against Mt. Hood Freeway Similar to Tacoma's Proposed Sound Transit Crossing?

Today, Tacoma Urbanist features a look back at the defeat of the Mt. Hood Freeway in Portland, Oregon.  Are there lessons for Tacoma to learn here?

This 11 minute film chronicles Portland's fight to keep the Mt. Hood Freeway from being built in the middle of town severing off a portion of the city and destroying neighborhoods.  In order to prevail, Oregonians had to fight Robert Moses, the architect of the project and the arch nemesis of Jane Jacobs in New York.

In Oregon, a battle raged for nearly twenty years over the construction of a highway project known as the Mt. Hood Freeway. If approved, the freeway would have removed more than 1% of all housing stock in Portland. In the mid 1970s, after the proposal’s defeat, the city opted to build a mass transit infrastructure. The result is a more pedestrian-friendly and livable city.

Is there a similarity of Portland’s fight to Tacoma's struggles with the Sound Transit route in the Dome District?

comments [4]  |  posted under street, tacoma, urban design, washington


by andrew.austin on 11/20/2007 @ 9:58am
Great video eric. A very informative Urban planning done right video. A couple observations:
While there are similarities between this and the Sounder train in Tacoma, there are also big diffrences.
1-the scope of the project is much smaller in Tacoma. A two track wide train track takes up much less space than a 6 lane freeway.
2-Its Ironic because the proposed project is a transit project.

That said, there are still big issue to be dealt with in regards to the Sounder crossing.

by Erik on 11/20/2007 @ 10:12am
While there are similarities between this and the Sounder train in Tacoma, there are also big diffrences.

Yes. So the question is that are those the differences which will are important.

The ultimate question is does the Sound Transit line pose the same threat to Tacoma that Mt. Hood Freeway posed to Portland?

by morgan on 11/21/2007 @ 11:08am
What in inspirational video! Great find! I think the take-away here is that it is up to the community to voice concern for its neighborhoods. Political leadership doesn't hurt either.

Aside from the blogs, where are Tacoma's voices?

Yes, there are differences between a massive freeway project and a commuter train. But the principle is the same: does the project unite or divide. I think the commuter train divides - and pollutes.

by KevinFreitas on 11/21/2007 @ 11:45am
It would be amazing to see the City Council and the Mayor's office do more to guide development in Tacoma -- downtown and elsewhere.