Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Transportation Study – Map of existing, committed, and proposed roadway improvements, c.1969-70.
Because the topic seems to be of ongoing interest, I thought I’d share a bit of the text from My MA Thesis on the Mt. Hood Freeway. Contact me if you’d like to read more.
Excerpt from: IN THE SHADOW OF A CONCRETE FOREST: TRANSPORTATION PLANNING, ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS, AND THE REVOLT AGAINST THE MOUNT HOOD FREEWAY, 1955-1976 by Val C. Ballestrem
In addition to Portland’s local planning efforts, the highway department enlisted the Portland Vancouver Metropolitan Transportation Study (PVMTS) group. Originally formed in 1959, PVMTS helped direct local freeway development. At the helm was long-time Portland city commissioner William Bowes, a staunch proponent of the Laurelhurst Freeway and freeways in general. Bowes had overseen the Portland Public Works Department since 1939, fancying himself a sort of Robert Moses-like figure. In fact, Bowes had played a role in bringing New York City’s famous “power broker” and freeway builder to Portland in 1943. Citing local traffic studies dating back to 1949, which asserted the need for north-south traffic relief between 39th and 52nd Avenues, Bowes and the PVMTS recommended construction of the Laurelhurst – Lake Oswego route for I-205.
On April 2, 1963, the efforts of the PVMTS and the highway department were rejected by the Lake Oswego City Council. In unanimously resolving to oppose any freeway that would pass through its jurisdiction, the Lake Oswego City Council told the highway department and PVMTS to “forget about” building any freeway within a distance of several miles of their city. Because state law forbid the highway department from building roads through any jurisdiction that did not give approval, the PVMTS, under the watchful eye of Laurelhurst Freeway advocate William Bowes, had to select another connection to I-5 at its western end. One solution was the Mount Hood Freeway, which was also part of the highway department’s 1955 freeway plan for the Portland metropolitan area and a route that had plenty of official support.
Lake Oswego’s rejection of I-205 invigorated plans for the Mount Hood Freeway. Although the general route for a potential Mount Hood Freeway had been agreed on by Portland and Multnomah County officials as early as 1956, efforts at developing the Mount Hood route had been repeatedly stymied. Because the route was too close to Portland’s city center, the Mount Hood Freeway did not meet federal standards for interstate bypass loop segments. As a general guideline, the Bureau of Public Roads (BPR), which oversaw implementation of the interstate network, wanted highway segments to avoid city centers, by looping around urban areas rather than through them. The BPR had refused to consider the Mount Hood option as a substitute for I-205, because I-205 had always been viewed primarily as a north-south outer bypass route. Using the Mount Hood route as part of I-205 would mean the BPR would have to change its policy of keeping outer bypass loops away from city centers. If the Mount Hood Freeway was to become part of the interstate system, it would have to be deemed one of the main-line interstate routes for Portland, rather than a portion of a bypass loop. Portland’s existing east-west interstate line was the heavily traveled Banfield Freeway, completed for the most part prior to the 1956 Interstate Highway Act. This route, also designated I-80 North, did not meet federal interstate standards because of its narrow lanes and sharp curves, which provided proponents of the Mount Hood route an opportunity to redouble their freeway advocacy efforts.
 Abbott, Portland: Planning, Politics, and Growth, 138.
 Oregon Journal, April 3, 1963.
 I-80N Environmental Study Freeway Design Alternatives, Volume 1, 13.