As part of an ongoing collaboration to promote harmony between one of Northeast Portland’s largest employers and its surrounding neighborhoods, Providence Portland Medical Center officials and neighborhood leaders met at the end of October to discuss common opportunities and challenges. Speaking for an ongoing Transportation Working Group, Laurelhurst resident Jim Parker delivered what he said was a “wonderful thing” in the form of transportation statistics.
While employment at the medical complex had doubled in almost 20 years, auto trips created by that work force has not. Providence Portland employee trips by auto were calculated at 88 percent in 1996, but 2013’s auto trips made up only 68 percent of the total trips generated. Parker said the challenge is in whether further reductions can be made, in light of a Medical Center projection that its workforce may increase by as many as 1,000. Helping generate potential increases in trips will be a new patient residence set to open in the summer of 2015 and a news medical office building, construction of which is currently on hold.
A 30-unit housing structure is currently under construction on the site of a former Northeast Glisan Street printing business. It is designed to provide lodging for patients trekking from far distances to Providence for treatment. The medical office structure is planned for the intersection of Northeast 47th Avenue and Glisan Street. Neighbors were provided a sketch of the new residence and samples of materials being used in the construction.
Based on Providence Portland’s track record of curbing auto trips, Parker said he is optimistic that more auto trip reductions can be made. He also pointed to Providence Portland’s cooperation with the Portland Bureau of Transportation as proof of that possibility.