Locus Focus

Locus Focus
Air date: 
Wed, 01/28/2009 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Short Description: 
Sellwood neighborhood activists talk about the options on the table for a new Sellwood Bridge

The Sellwood Bridge is in desperate need of repair or replacement. After a long process, a final decision is due soon on a new bridge's alignment and design. In recent weeks this process has become contentious because two groups are being pitted against one another. A group of condo owners who live on either side of the bridge have been aggressively supporting an alignment that would move the bridge a block or more north, saving their property from demolition but having major impacts on other parts of the neighborhood. This week we talk with a group of Sellwood neighbors who are opposed to this plan and have organized a grassroots movement to rebuild the bridge in its current alignment. We look at the sustainability and livability issues of where the new Sellwood Bridge is built.


Heather Nelson Koch is an environmental planner who has spent her career using planning, design and policy to protect and enhance built and natural environments.  With a focus on community participation in planning processes, Ms. Koch has planned and implemented a variety of projects, from urban creek restoration and urban greenway projects to long-range campus plans.  Her interests and involvement have ranged from hands-on, site-specific ecological design and construction to regional policy initiatives striving to foster sustainable communities.  Ms. Koch and her family live in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, where they enjoy the local riverfront park, the pedestrian/bicycle corridor and the ability to make most of their journeys on foot or by bike.   At this time, she is also working as a volunteer and organizer alongside hundreds of neighbors to protect shared community resources as the development process for the proposed Sellwood Bridge redevelopment moves forward.

Eric Miller is a Sellwood/Moreland community organizer, public health physical therapist and current stay-at-home Dad.  He co-founded the Sellwood Playgroup Association, an affiliation of 6 playgroups in the neighborhood that provide community and fellowship to families with children aged 0-5.  He became active in the Sellwood Bridge project late last year following an accident at the intersection of SE Tacoma and 13th Avenue between a 4-yr-old bicyclist and a truck.  Which bridge designs are chosen have a direct impact on the health, safety and welfare of our children and families who must cross Tacoma to go to school and church, and of those who use the Spokane gateway to access Oaks Bottom, Sellwood Riverfront Park, and one of the few natural beaches on the Willamette that exist in urban Portland.  He is an advocate for the community's overall well-being




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