The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Metro, and Trimet published the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Lake Oswego to Portland Transit Project earlier this month. This statement looks at future transportation options (streetcar, enhanced bus service, or no change) along Highway 43 from Portland to Lake Oswego.

The concept behind the DEIS is to provide the decision makers and the community with information about the benefits and trade-offs related to a variety of factors for each alternative. For each project, a comment period is announced when the public has an opportunity to provide feedback on the document and their preferred alternative. For transportation projects, a decision is made on the Locally Preferred Alternative following the comment period.

One of the challenges with the DEIS process is that the document is often very long and very technical. Although this information is meant to inform the public and the decision makers, the sheer length of the document often intimidates the pubic. Also some of the technical analysis, that needs to be detailed to provide the important information necessary for good decisions, may not be very accessible to the larger public.

These challenges highlight the strong need to conduct public involvement during a DEIS process in order to get public input from a wide range of community stakeholders. Metro will be conducting two open houses in December (December 9th, 4-7 PM, PBS Conference Center, 4343 Corbett Ave. and December 16th, 4-7 PM, Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street, Lake Oswego) to explain the DEIS findings to attendees and to ask for public comments. For those that wish to read the DEIS findings they are available on the project website, along with a DEIS summary.

– Bernadette