Renderings vs. Reality: A Roundup of 2021s Most Egregious Development Illustrations

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Oregon’s Rose Quarter Highway Expansion

From: “Freeway-Widening Grifters: Woke-Washing, Fraud, and Incompetence,” by Joe Cortright.

In September of 2021, the Oregon Department of Transportation sent a glossy newsletter to thousands of state residents promoting its proposed Rose Quarter highway expansion project near Portland.

“…their new brochure sets a new bar for illusion, showing a fictitious streetscape of North Vancouver Avenue, with three imaginary buildings. In the lower right hand side of the frame, a young Black man stands in front of a building labeled a ‘Career Development Center,’ carrying a plaque stating: ‘This building constructed by Black artisans in 2022’,” writes Cortright. “It’s a nice thought, but such a building is not part of what ODOT will build or pay for. Nor, in fact, are any of these buildings.”

The advertising executives at ODOT aren’t just selling the highway widening project; they’re selling a vision for the future that they’re not going to deliver on.

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