From Mayor Sam Adams on August 12th, 2009:
Portland’s Central Eastside has languished for too long. Today marked a step toward a bustling, vital future for the district. This afternoon, I kicked off the official groundbreaking for the East Burnside/Couch Couplet Project.
Slated for completion by next fall, the project will create a new kind of one-way couplet: one designed to improve safety on one of our busiest arterials and humanize a street that has served as a barrier and has shortchanged the businesses and neighborhoods surrounding it. In the process, the project will create 120 jobs over the next 14 months.
I have long been a champion of this project, which reflects years of planning and community engagement. Property owners, businesses, and transportation advocates came together to create a vision that will prime redevelopment along Burnside. The completed couplet will feature bike lanes on Burnside from the east end of the bridge to 13th. It will offer safe crossings at every corner and a street environment that invites people to visit, dine, shop, and walk.
The project also includes “green street” improvements – trees and
stormwater swales that enhance the streetscape, filter stormwater, and protect water quality in the Willamette River. It will transform the intersection at Sandy and Burnside, providing an eastern “gateway” to the lower Burnside district, and moving traffic efficiently through what has been called the worst intersection in Portland.
Today’s groundbreaking happens thanks to an array of partners.
Neighbors from the Kerns and Buckman neighborhoods put in countless hours, as did the East Burnside Couch Design Advisory Committee and the Central Eastside Industrial Council. We owe them enormous thanks. In addition, special thanks go to Congressman Earl Blumenauer, an early proponent of the project who secured millions of dollars in federal funding for the project.
This is the type of project that makes Portland exceptional. It reflects our community engagement, our commitment to environmental sustainability, our investment in local businesses, and our willingness to take risks. I am proud to be a part of it, and am deeply grateful to all of those in the city who have helped to make it happen.
For more information about the project, visit