During the evening of Sept. 17, Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson met with members of the community to explore the Gateway District and discuss issues facing pedestrian access and safety in the area. The gathering was part of Oregon Walk’s Steptember, an annual observance highlighting the physical and mental benefits of walking.
1. To kick off the tour, Commissioner Vega Pederson and attendees introduced themselves at East Portland’s Gateway Discovery Park.
2. After walking down NE 106th Ave. and west on to NE Holladay St., Commissioner Vega Pederson commented on the lack of complete sidewalks in the area. She said that the disparity dates back to the late 20th century when current-day “east Portland” was unincorporated and lacked the resources of a city like Portland.
3. After crossing over NE 102nd Ave., Commissioner Vega Pederson said that the group was lucky to have a safe way to cross a major arterial in the city. She noted that many other communities aren’t so lucky, especially in east Portland and that more than 30 pedestrians were killed in Portland in 2017 by cars, and 32 were killed in 2016.
As an elected official, she said she’s advocated for more funding for crossing beacons on high-crash corridors in east Portland and lower speed limits on outer Division and Stark Streets.
4. Walking up NE 99th Ave. toward NE Halsey St., Commissioner Vega Pederson noted how car-focused the area was. “Gateway has such amazing resources, like beautiful parks, ample businesses, transit access and a thriving community,” she said, “but it’s hard to experience those things from inside a car.”
5. Walking through a shopping center parking lot, up toward NE Halsey St., Commissioner Vega Pederson said that the Gateway area’s potential is often hindered by “lack of investment in important transportation areas.” She then thanked attendees of their time and encouraged them to help advocate for the investments needed in east Portland.