Foster (Streetscape) Suddenly Becomes Media Darling

How tiring. Media outlets continue to pimp Foster for all its worth, using the future streetscape improvements as a divisive issue to boost ratings. Naturally, the theme remains the same: give play to a select few businesses who oppose the plan, mention how much it’s going to choke traffic for those who commute through the neighborhood, but only briefly mention the safety impact it will have.

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This is the most media attention Foster has had since the spate of crashes that led to multiple injuries and fatalities a few years ago. There’s a bit of irony there. Not to mention, KGW parked in front of O’Malley’s, but did not seek to talk to the owner, Glenn, about his support for the plan.

How tiring.

Recently it was the Portland Tribune, as their headline read, “Foster ‘road diet’ eats at some merchants.”

A day before that article, KOIN news questioned, “Will changes to Foster Road help or hurt businesses?”

The focus in both these headlines is on business, not safety. The articles also play heavy on a select few businesses that are only now objecting to the Streetscape Plan, despite years of previous outreach and planning for the project, as well as support from local residents, neighborhood associations, individual businesses, and the Foster Area Business Association.

In typical media coverage, the eye is on controversy; discontent. In this case, it’s Euro Classic Furniture and a few others who’ve displayed posters all over their storefronts Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 8.26.50 PMobjecting to the plan. Just yesterday, KGW visited Foster to get their foot in the road-diet-controversy-ratings game. As such, KGW’s Tim Gordon led his story with a tweet that only draws attention to the plan’s opposition.

Well, thanks for coming to Foster.

Sure, there are legitimate concerns about traffic being diverted to side streets. There’s worry that fewer auto lanes will lead to more congestion and drive away potential business. And then there’s the fretting over increased commute times. All this can be seen at length in a Nextdoor.com conversation (registration required) about the Foster Streetscape Plan. That conversation now has (at the time of this writing) 366 comments.

imageBut what we’re not seeing the media cover is the hope and relief people are feeling about coming safety improvements; the parents who will have less fear when walking their kids across Foster on the way to school in the morning; businesses who are so giddy that traffic will be slowed and pedestrians and bikers will now be more inclined to hang around—to them, the Foster Streetscape Plan is expected to be a boon to local business.

Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, though—this is a turning point for Foster. Some are embracing it, others are skeptical. We respect all sides, though we can’t help but to be partial to the increased safety and walkability the changes will bring to our neighborhood, as well as the potential for a much more vibrant and livable commercial district.

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11 Responses to Foster (Streetscape) Suddenly Becomes Media Darling

  1. 62ndgarden says:

    I love what NWIPA is doing there. I think, for a short time anyway, that all of the businesses should write their opinions on bright poster board and put them in the windows. It would be like one of those post it note installations for a solid mile…but it would show the ratio the way it truly is. -And tell me that wouldn’t slow down the traffic!

  2. fosterroad says:

    The business association has reached out to the media to tell our side of the story, namely that we have been supporting Streetscape since the beginning and that we are for Streetscape as an organization that represents a number of businesses on the street. If you have any Streetscape questions, you can always contact our organizer marina at marina@ventureportland.org

    The majority of Foster businesses want Streetscape and are looking forward to the increased foot traffic that comes with road safety.

  3. Adam Herstein says:

    I can’t wait for this project to go in and prove to the opposition how much of a benefit for Foster this will be!

  4. Chris says:

    Kudos to NWIPA! The first business I see brave enough to publically show some love to the streetscape plan. I think I’ll go pick up some beer this weekend to show them some love in return. I hope many others follow suite.
    I am very concerned about this media push – we have thousands of people hearing about this plan for the first time who have no association with our neighborhood other than their high speed commute. Hopefully my fears are overblown, but I am glad that the pro-streetscape side is reaching out to the media.

  5. Tim says:

    Not only NWIPA, O’Mally’s had a bit of fun:

    (Sorry, I could only find the FB vid with problaby requires and account.)

    Cheers to a safer, vibrant and walkable Foster!

  6. 62ndgarden says:

    Way to go, O’Malleys!

  7. Robert Squires says:

    I think it’s funny that only businesses that cater to people who don’t live in the neighborhood are against the plan. My understanding is that they had a lot of advance notice but obviously never showed up at the discussion meetings. As a native Portlander, I doubt Foster will ever be anything other than the gateway to the crime and drugs of felony flats. I’m not buying into the wishful thinking of a bunch of gentrifiers thing Foster is the next Hawthorne. That said, I’m all for trying to make this murderous street people friendly. The industrial businesses catering to people from happy valley and beyond can suck it! Their motto should be : “hey we want freeway speeds through your neighborhood so we can sell stuff none of you locals buy!” Like most locals, I know Woodstock and Holgate don’t take much longer to drop ve than Foster. In fact, if you want real gridlock, drive four lane foster at rush hour. Businesses which are complaining don’t even live here: John at Euro furniture lives in East Moreland! I used to work for him there. Too bad John, buddy, sell something that the locals want or move out. Your signs are stupid. Are you selling furniture or your anti social anti pedestrian values?

  8. Jake Bush says:

    Moving to FOPO shortly. For us personally, Streetscape plans were one of the things that pushed us over the edge on leaving NE Portland and heading south. Thanks for all the great updates and news.

  9. Travis says:

    I live on 57th and Holgate and expect to see more traffic in front of my house during rush hour once the streetscape plan is in effect. Are my panties in a bunch??? Nope. I’ve almost been killed a couple times trying to cross Foster to go to Taqueria Naya (which serves great Mexican food). I see a lot of people in big, jacked up trucks speeding down Foster to get back to Happy Valley or Clackamas with zero regard for public safety. The businesses that oppose the plan don’t sell anything me or my friends and family that actually live here would ever buy. I even see a gigantic sign opposing the plan on that beautiful building some jerk has left to rot. Do the owners of that potentially great building care about us that live here? Obviously not. Ask NWIPA, O’malleys, Starlight Lounge (another great bar), Red Castle Games, Henry Higgins, or the countless others further down the road how they feel. I love to see local FOPO people hanging out and getting to know each other at night. Go for a walk (or bike ride) and see for yourselves some night.

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