Feds add funds for streetcar expansion to Montgomery Park

Feds add funds for streetcar expansion to Montgomery Park

The Portland Streetcar plans to add 2.3 miles of track in the northwest Slabtown neighborhood.

An infusion of federal funds will scoot the Portland Streetcar a bit closer toward its planned Slabtown expansion.

The Federal Transit Administration wrote a check to the city's lighter-than-light-rail network for $1,076,000, which will be used to study development opportunities along the proposed 2.3-mile loop of new track terminating at Montgomery Park in Northwest Portland.

"It's a great opportunity for us to use some federal money and really plus up some of the work that's already ongoing," said Andrew Plambeck, a spokesman for the Portland Streetcar. "There's a ton of redevelopment potential baked in with existing zoning."

The new line would run north along Northwest 18th and 19th avenues before turning west at York and Wilson streets. The money will help determine if changing zoning to allow for residents over retail can entice developers' dollars, as well as whether the rail lines will impact traffic.

Montgomery Park — which includes the city's second-largest office building and surface and structured parking spread over 18 acres — is already zoned for mixed used. The now-demolished ESCO steel foundry offers another 24 acres, currently zoned for offices, that are considered ripe for redevelopment (or maybe a major league diamond).

But traveling the tracks to completion will cost an estimated $80 million, with some of the money earmarked for purchasing new streetcars and building a maintenance facility.

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