Eastside Streetcar opens, "Central Loop" becomes a reality - KPTV - FOX 12

Eastside Streetcar opens, "Central Loop" becomes a reality

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After years of planning, construction, and traffic congestion, the Portland Streetcar "Eastside" edition finally rolled into action Saturday morning.

Hundreds of Portlanders stood by as Mayor Sam Adams, Gov. John Kitzhaber, Oregon's U.S. senators and congressional representatives, and several other local officials were on hand at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for the ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating first day of service for the Eastside Streetcar.

The theme of the event was to encourage people to "get in the loop." The Central Loop runs 3.35 miles and has 28 stops, from Downtown and the Pearl District on the west side of the Willamette River, across the Broadway Bridge to east side where it stops at the Rose Quarter, Lloyd District, and OMSI.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams stated that he sees the Central Loop as a way to unite the Rose City."And it wouldn't have been possible without a generous grant from the Federal Transit Administration and local commitments. I think 20 years from now this area will be more valuable, livable and sustainable, and we'll be thankful that we acted now," the mayor said.

There was also a celebration for the first "Made in USA" streetcar in 50 years. As part of the project, the City of Portland ordered six new streetcars that will be manufactured at United Streetcar in Clackamas County.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said, "The State of Oregon committed $20 million to buy 'Made in Oregon' streetcars to run on the loop. Today, more than 100 people are working at United Streetcar to build vehicles. What a great investment in the future of our state."

In coordination with TriMet's Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project, Portland Streetcar and the City of Portland are planning to "close the loop" by funding the final connections to put streetcar on a new bridge that will connect the Central Eastside and South Waterfront.

For more information, visit www.portlandstreetcar.org <http://www.portlandstreetcar.org/.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.

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