Metro Grants TriMet Funds for Green Park & Ride MAX Station

Metro has awarded a $349,305 grant as part of its Nature in Neighborhoods program to the Re-greening Park Avenue Park & Ride project which will create the regions first sustainable, habitat-friendly light rail station and parking garage.
Headed by TriMet and Urban Green, a local environmental activist group, the project will also restore and expand a nearby natural drainage and riparian forest area known as Courtney Springs Creek.
TriMets Portland to Milwaukie light rail line will begin running in 2015 and initial plans for a park-and-ride at the intersection of SE McLoughlin Boulevard (Hwy 99E) and Park Avenue in Milwaukie called for a standard multi-story garage. But neighbors approached TriMet with a different idea. Chips Janger, Ed Riddle and Charlie Stevens had attended Metros Integrating Habitats competition in 2008, which challenged teams to come up with designs that balanced development with nature and peoples needs with the needs of wildlife. The men took ideas they learned there and encouraged TriMet to try a more sustainable, eco-friendly and innovative approach with the station. Our thought was, wait, we certainly welcome the public transportation system, but, and a significant but, we didnt really want to see a concrete monolith dropped into the already degraded area, said Janger.
The Re-Greening Park Avenue Park and Ride project establishes some key things for the community first that real partnerships can be created between agencies and neighborhood groups to accomplish shared goals and secondly, that this project is greater than the sum of its parts, said Leah Robbins, East Segment Director of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project. This project team is working together to set the tone for future development and showing that sustainable development concepts can be a part of new development in this area.
The project now incorporates native trees and shrubs not only near the platform and a plaza, but alongside the 4-level parking structure. More greenery will be built into the garage itself. Plants and climbing vines on the structure will cascade down the sides to lessen the visual impact. A storm water sculpture made of vertical pipes on the north and east faces of the structure will collect and store rainwater from the top parking deck. This water will sustain the plants on the garage and create a vertical garden.
The re-greening project extends beyond the light rail station itself to restoring the natural area next to it. The Courtney Springs Creek area is overrun with invasive species and tainted by contaminated storm water. Damaging plants will be removed and new, native trees and shrubs added that will provide homes to birds and other wildlife. Water treatment areas will be established to decontaminate storm water runoff from the neighboring properties and roadways including the Milwaukie Elks Club lot and McLoughlin Boulevard. The restoration efforts will benefit the nearby Kellogg Creek basin and neighboring Trolley Trail, an old streetcar line that is being converted into a walking and biking path which connects with other regional trails.
TriMet, Urban Green, North Clackamas Parks and Recreation, North Clackamas Urban Watershed Council and the Oaks Lodge Sanitary District are all joining Metro in committing funds to the project which has a total cost of $1 million.
This re-greening effort fits right in line with the Nature in Neighborhoods focus to balance development and conservation in order to enhance natural areas on public lands in neighborhoods, said Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette. It strengthens the communitys connection to the environment. The Nature in Neighborhoods capital grants program is funded by Metros natural areas bond measure approved by voters in 2006.
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