Multiple groups file lawsuit over Rose Quarter project

Community

Community advocates say ODOT's $800M freeway expansion will hurt community

Protesters gather at the Oregon Department of Transportation headquarters in NW Portland to ask for more research into a proposed I-5 Rose Quarter expansion project, Dec. 10, 2019. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three groups announced they have filed a lawsuit against the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion project–a congestion-reducing effort that would add lanes in the Interstate 5 Rose Quarter.

The group, comprised of No More Freeways, Neighbors for Clean Air, Eliot Neighborhood Association, said the Oregon Department of Transportation’s proposed $800 million freeway expansion intrudes on Harriet Tubman Middle School and the surrounding community.

According to court documents, the group will be citing alleged environmental laws that ODOT’s project would be violating under the plan. The National Environmental Protection Act would require the agency to prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement to study alternatives to adding more lanes to I-5, according to the filings.

“The public has every right to know the impacts this proposed freeway expansion would have on our neighborhood streets, on the lungs of our children, and the planet they stand to inherit,” said Aaron Brown, an organizer with No More Freeways. “This lawsuit is our mechanism to try to force ODOT to answer to the community’s concerns.”

In November of 2020, the National highway Administration found there to be no significant impact warranting a revised environmental assessment and allowed for the project to continue. Monday’s lawsuit challenges the federal government’s findings, arguing it violates NEPA, according to the group.

Read the full complaint below:

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