Design work on the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project was paused in 2020 after voters rejected a local funding measure for multiple transportation improvements. In early 2022, Metro, TriMet and the Federal Transit Administration completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and issued a Record of Decision (ROD) to ensure the project is eligible for future federal funding. See Metro’s project website to access to these documents.
Marquam Hill, home to numerous health care destinations, residences and supporting businesses, attracts over 18,000 employees, patients, students and residents each day from around the region. To serve this major destination, the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project will include a connection from the Gibbs Street Station on Barbur Boulevard, up the steep inclines toward Marquam Hill.
The short but steep distance up the wooded terrain requires some combination of pathways and mechanical facilities. In early 2019, a “Green Ribbon” committee (GRC) made up of design professionals, key project partners and Marquam Hill stakeholders, explored a wide variety of connector types including bridges, gondolas, escalators, tunnels and more.
An inclined elevator was selected as the preferred connector choice. Choosing the right connector involved multiple phases of robust public engagement and technical review, including analyzing the effects on Terwilliger Parkway — a historic park resource with Federal, state and local mitigation requirements. Of the different connection options explored, the inclined elevator received the most public support, and was found to have the least impact on Terwilliger Parkway.
An inclined elevator works similar to a standard elevator but provides horizontal and vertical movement. Inclined elevators resemble historic funiculars, found throughout Europe, the US, and Canada, but use modern technology. A contemporary example can be found in Edmonton, Canada.
Two elevator cabs, each with a capacity of 40 people, will run on parallel tracks to efficiently move people up the steep slope toward Marquam Hill. A trip in the elevator will take about 60 seconds.
From the top of the inclined elevator, at Terwilliger Parkway and Campus Drive, an accessible pathway will connect to elevators within the OHSU campus.
Riders will also be able to access Line 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th Ave here, which provides frequent, door-to-door service to many Marquam Hill destinations.