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PORTLAND-Where Oregon Health Sciences University should build 2.5 million sf of new patient care, research and education facilities will get further study next week as transportation experts gather to evaluate key transportation issues.

OHSU says it has room left atop the hill for less than half of that amount of space, at best. For relief, it has long been eyeing a largely vacant former industrial tract south of the Marquam Bridge, much of it owned by the Schnitzer and Zidell families.

To connect to the property, an aerial tram is being bandied about, though residents of the Marquam Hill residential neighborhood it would traverse are skeptical about the idea, to say the least. Still, it seems the favored option, as one of the experts on the city-selected and city-funded panel is the president of a tram-centric engineering firm.

The study group consists of Wayne Kittleson, Kittleson & Assoc., Portland; Charles Peterson, Tramway Engineering, Colorado; Carlton Robinson, Maryland; and Stan Teply, Alberta; and Ernest Munch, Portland. They will be in town all next week to gather information. The process will ultimately result in a plan district that will guide a zoning overlay for the area.

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