Businesses worried about impacts of planned $15M pedestrian bridge in SE Portland

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A new $15-million pedestrian bridge in southeast Portland, years in the making, has been green-lighted, but neighboring businesses are skeptical of the idea.

The bridge would be built over the Orange MAX line and other railroad tracks and connect Southeast 13th place and 14th Avenue.

The plans have been in the works since the Orange line was put in, but funding became an issue. TriMet says when federal funding for the light rail project came in below expectations, the overpass had to be delayed.

But they say the Orange line project came in under budget, so they went to the Federal Transit Authority to use the savings to build the pedestrian bridge.

The bridge would replace a pedestrian bridge at SE 16th Avenue that was not ADA accessible and was torn down during the MAX line construction.

Years later, TriMet says they will break ground in the spring on the project. They say it will help eliminate people crossing the train and MAX tracks and hopping the fence to get to the MAX platform.

“This is the corner of it,” Koerner Camera Systems owner Michael Koerner said, “Four feet from my driveway.”

Koerner says he is frustrated with where the bridge will be built, which is right at the end of 14th Street in front of his business building. He says he sees the need for it, but thinks the proposed location is not a good one.

“I believe they need a bridge connecting the Clinton triangle development area and this area but this is the wrong spot for it,” Koerner said.

He’s worried the bridge footing, elevator and stairs will block his businesses driveway and loading dock. Koerner is also worried about safety between drivers and people using the bridge.

“All of my delivery drivers are pretty upset over it, they are worried there is going to be an accident,” Koerner said.

He adds he would like to see the bridge built in the location of the old one, but TriMet worries it will be too far away, and wouldn't prevent people from making dangerous crossings across the tracks.

TriMet says the city collected information on the number of vehicles using the street. They say roughly 25 vehicles use SE 14th Ave on a daily basis.

They add the city will monitor use of the street and evaluate solutions to ensure good lines of sight between trucks loading and unloading.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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