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Railroad yards -- Oregon -- Portland, City planning -- Oregon -- Portland, Neighborhood planning -- Oregon -- Portland


This investigation seeks to explore specific design solutions that could potentially enhance the capabilities of heavy rail facilities while increasing their safety and reducing their environmental and community impacts.

Using Portland's Brooklyn Rail Yard as the study site, this case study explored the potential of structural platforms (caps) built above the existing rail yards to provide development space for expanding rail capacity and rail related activities. The potential for capping to reduce /eliminate conflicts between rail and non-rail uses will also be investigated. Finally, the various designs were presented for caps at the rail yard.

Capping projects (the development of air rights above an existing use) have been successfully employed over other forms of transportation. Duluth Minnesota, Barcelona Spain, and Seattle Washington have each employed capping strategies to mitigate the impact of freeways on the urban fabric. This study will explore the potential of caps to address the specific conditions of a privately held freight rail facility.

Key stakeholders will be identified including Union Pacific Railroad, TriMet, Portland Development Commission, Brooklyn Neighborhood Association, Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood Association and Reed Neighborhood Association. The stakeholders will be interviewed to identify the needs and impacts of freight rail on this particular site. Consultants with expertise on the mitigation of the identified impacts will be interviewed and their input documented. Precedents for potential solutions will be identified and documented.

Sites in the Brooklyn Rail Yard will be selected as areas for additional study based upon their potential to illustrate the impact of the proposed solutions. Once the sites are selected a master plan will be generated that reflects input from the stakeholders, consultants, and precedent investigations. The master plan will be presented to stakeholders and consultants for their response to the proposed solutions.


This is a final report, OTREC-RR-11-26, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:



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