24 April 2024 Letter to The Bureau of Planning & Sustainability

April 24, 2024

Portland Planning Commission

Montgomery Park Area Plan Testimony

1810 SW 5th Ave, Suite 710

Portland, OR 97201

To The Bureau of Planning & Sustainability:

We at The Friends of Portland Streetcar would like to express our support of the Montgomery Park Area Plan. As the former members of the Portland Streetcar Citizens Advisory Committee, we have been engaged with efforts to extend Portland Streetcar to Montgomery Park since the originally proposed alignment along 18th and 19th Avenues. We believe that extending Portland Streetcar to serve more of the Nob Hill district and ultimately Montgomery Park plays an important part in revitalizing the former ESCO site. Instead of the originally proposed branch line, extending the existing NS-Line along NW 23rd Avenue as part of planned infrastructure improvements is a financially responsible decision and one that provides better connections to existing TriMet services in the area.

We believe the proposed Montgomery Park Area Plan will transform the former ESCO site into a thriving neighborhood with hundreds of new homes – including further growth of affordable housing along the Portland Streetcar alignment, thousands of new jobs, new community spaces, and significant infrastructure improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.

The cost-saving measure of building the NS-Line extension without overhead catenary offers a further opportunity to revitalize the Portland Streetcar system itself. It has long served as a model for other cities, but at 23 years of service, the original fleet is overdue for a mid-life overhaul and difficulty in sourcing replacement parts is causing the quality of service to diminish. By the potential opening of 2030, the original fleet will be at the end of its usable life without an overhaul. As the proposed extension will require new battery-electric cars, we believe it would be financially responsible to replace cars 001-010 instead of overhauling them. We further recommend ordering a replacement car for 015, car 024, and two spares. We believe a minimum order of 14 cars will bring the Portland Streetcar fleet back up to modern standards and enable reliable, equitable service to continue for at least another 20 years.

Sincerely yours,

Stephen Weber, Chair

The Friends of Portland Streetcar