Montgomery Street closed off for June

Portland State announced on May 31 Montgomery St. would remain closed until June 16.

PSU sent out a poll the same day to gather student opinions on the potential permanent closure of the street.

Previously on May 1, PSU—along with the Portland Bureau of Transportation—closed off Montgomery as part of a month-long initiative called the Montgomery Pop-Up Plaza Pilot Project—to determine if the street should remain closed and become a pedestrian-only space permanently.

On the possibility of permanent closure, PBOT Interim Director Chris Warner said they would be “using a data-driven approach with traffic counts, surveys and other [forms of] public engagement that will better inform us as we test this street prototype.”

According to the Portland Business Journal, the pilot project dates back to the 2009 Montgomery Green Street Plan which “aimed to create a walkable corridor from the West Hills to the Willamette River.” The Montgomery St. project hopes to expand the Green Street, creating a bigger pedestrian-only zone in the “heart of downtown [Portland].”

To kick off the closure in early May, PSU hosted a pop-up plaza on May 1 on Montgomery St., located next to the Karl Miller Center and in front of the Urban Plaza. The street, closed to traffic and made into a pedestrian-only space on the same day, hosted booths and tables from local PSU groups like BikeHub, as well as a student arts fair with homemade goods and free food.

Over the month of May, several groups and businesses held events and marketing activities in the walkway, including Campus Recreation, Green Zebra, Ben & Jerry’s and the Homelessness Research & Action Collaboration.

According to the official press release, PSU said their goals for the pop-up plaza were to “explore the street’s potential as an active campus and community space,” as well as “create a successful precedent that will support the efforts to permanently close the street.”

For the opening of the pop-up plaza, The Queer Resource Center was also recruited to help paint Montgomery St. with a mural for Pride Month. Volunteers from the QRC and other student groups hand-painted parts of the walkway with a rainbow design.

“The QRC was invited to share the opportunity for students to submit street painting designs and submit events for the month of programming,” said Director of the QRC Kirsten Keith.

Though the area “won’t be hosting organized events after today, the plaza will still serve as an outdoor community space through June 16,” according to Associate Campus Planner Elizabeth Hoekstra.