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PORTLAND-With visions of jobs and housing dancing in its head, the Portland City Council on Wednesday approved an aerial tram connection between Oregon Health Sciences University’s compound atop Marquam Hill and 140 acres of would-be expansion land just south of Downtown Portland along the Willamette River.

In a unanimous vote, the council accepted the Office of Transportation’s alignment over Southwest Gibbs Street. As well, it asked for further analysis of a second, shorter aerial system that would run part way down the hill to Southwest Barbur Boulevard and take some of the traffic load off heavily-used Terwilliger Boulevard.

Also as part of the vote, a non-profit group was created to be the sponsor of the tram. Portland Aerial Transportation Inc. is the name of the entity, which is now working to set up a design competition for the project.

The tram idea has long been opposed by many of the residents who would be under or near the tram. Apparently outweighing that is the fact that OHSU is the region’s largest private employer–and would likely expand outside the city if it does not get what it wants.

No Tram to OHSU, a group of neighbors, along with the area’s neighborhood associations are expected to appeal the decision to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, if not file a lawsuit in circuit court.

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