I-5 Columbia River Crossing

At a Glance:

Location: Portland, Oregon

Date: 2008

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Reliable Transportation, Thriving Natural World

Determinants of Health: clean air, healthcare access, noise, traffic safety, active transportation, clean water, built environment

Research Methods: Literature review

Community Types: urban, rural

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This HIA, led by the Multnomah County Health Department in collaboration with several other organizations, examined the health impacts of proposed alternatives for a renovation and expansion of the Interstate 5 Columbia River crossing between Oregon and Washington. The HIA was completed to inform an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project being undertaken by the Department of Transportation. The HIA and health-based recommendations were submitted as a detailed comment letter during the public comment period for the draft EIS. The health issues considered mode of transportation (e.g., car versus public transportation or cycling); opportunities for exercise, traffic safety, air quality, noise and illnesses, such as asthma and heart disease; and the potential for impacts on vulnerable people such as children, the elderly and low-income families. Recommendations include, maximizing the use of light rail transportation and ensuring that any transit lines serve vulnerable communities; prioritizing the development of safe, accessible bike and pedestrian facilities; employing strategies, such as the use of toll roads and peak travel time restrictions, to decrease the number of single occupancy motor vehicle trips made; and proposing air quality and noise pollution standards that achieve the maximum practicable protection for the public’s health and particularly for vulnerable populations. The HIA also proposed indicators to allow ongoing monitoring and management of any changes in health or health risk factors that might occur when the project is built.

Outcome

Oregon legislators approved funding for the Columbia River Crossing in early 2013. The Washington State Senate adjourned for the year on June 29, 2013 and did not vote on a $10 billion transportation package. That package included $450 million of funding for the Columbia River Crossing project and an increase in the gas tax to fund other large transportation projects.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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