Portland, Ore. — U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to visit the Portland metro area on Friday to engage in discussions with leaders from Oregon and Washington regarding infrastructure challenges and opportunities for improvement.
According to officials from the Department of Transportation, Secretary Buttigieg will commence his day in Washougal, where he will meet with U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez.
Sen. Cantwell’s office disclosed that the primary focus of the visit will be a $40.48 million grant obtained from the Department of Transportation for the purpose of constructing a 32nd Street underpass, thereby eliminating a railroad crossing.
“Washougal is home to the busiest BNSF railroad line in the entire State of Washington. On an average day, 45 trains shut down the intersection at Evergreen Way and 32nd Street, causing blocked traffic, hindered access to the waterfront, and slower response times for emergency services,” stated Sen. Cantwell. “For a growing community like Washougal – where a recent port expansion is expected to generate 360 new jobs, $21.6 million in wages, and $60 million in private investment – being cut in half by a railroad is just not tenable. I look forward to showing Secretary Buttigieg just how crucial this federal investment is for Washougal’s future.”
Following his visit to Washougal, Secretary Buttigieg will travel to Portland, where he will meet with Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Governor Tina Kotek, and local leaders at the Portland Community College Southeast Campus on 82nd Avenue. They are anticipated to deliver speeches at the college before embarking on a narrated tour aboard a TriMet bus along 82nd Avenue.
Blumenauer’s office stated, “The tour will highlight the challenges and opportunities for 82nd Avenue, as well as efforts to bring greater engagement and investment to the corridor. Tour narrators will acknowledge how historic inequities have shaped the street as we see it today. They will also describe a vision for a thriving business and residential corridor — along with the need for safety improvements, affordable housing, and more.”
Last June, the city of Portland assumed control over a 7-mile stretch of 82nd Avenue from the Oregon Department of Transportation, with promises of improvements to the “orphan highway” funded partially by the state. Some of these changes have already commenced.
Before returning to PCC Southeast, Secretary Buttigieg and the Oregon delegation are expected to hold a media engagement near the Portland International Airport.