What is Gateway Green?
Gateway Green is envisioned as a 38-acre open space and recreation area, as well as a working test site for "green" innovation. Connected to Portland's famed 40 Mile Loop (a pedestrian and bike route originally proposed by the Olmstead Brothers in 1904 and now nearly complete), and currently reachable by foot, bike, car and light rail, Gateway Green could become a regional destination for locals, tourists, and green industry professionals.
While demonstrating new sustainable technology, Gateway Green could also provide recreation for area residents and bicycle enthusiasts from across the region and be a powerful "beacon" for Portland and Oregon -- highly visible to 65 million people per year as they pass through Gateway Green by car, truck, MAX light rail and bike.
An early site inventory/analysis by Portland State University graduate students and dozens of conversations with community members, environmental advocates, bicycle enthusiasts, and government representatives revealed that the site has immense potential for connection and reconnection; that it is highly visible; that it serves as a key location for bicycle activity, and more.
The key goals of the proposed Gateway Green project are:
- Open Space, Recreation, and Connectivity. Connect neighborhoods to open space and each other. Provide needed recreational opportunities with a focus on a variety of bicycle activities.
- Environmental Quality. Improve environmental quality and showcase environmental technologies.
- Placemaking. Develop a sense of place and identity for East Portland.
Economic Development. Promote investment in East Portland and economic development in Oregon, while providing a kick-start for the Gateway Regional Center.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) initially cautioned supporters that, while the project is doable, there would be a number of 'major hoops to jump through' before the agency could give final permission for development of the site.
They cautioned that, because the proposed project will be located on land officially designated as interstate highway right-of-way, purchased with funds from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, the approval process would be long and tedious. In addition, the collaborative nature of the project -- multiple levels of local government working together with the non-profit Friends group -- added complexity to the approval process.