Portland's Oleson Road Remake.
What makes local government and a home owners’ association work together?
Answer: A Swedish Bus Stop!
The folks of the Oleson Road Crossing Committee wanted to build a Swedish-inspired bus stop shelter for local school children. A bus stop that would keep them sheltered and out of the rain during the winter months. It was planned to be built close to the headquarters of the New Sweden Cultural and Heritage Society, across the road from Ross Fogelquist’s log home, Fogelbo, in Portland, Oregon.
The group issued an application to build the Swedish Bus Stop Shelter and waited for a response... and finally they received one: a response they didn’t expect!
“Please let the folks on Oleson Road know that we have not forgotten about their bus stop shelter. On the contrary, we have come up with the following strategy, to work with them to get the structure constructed and sited, through our Right-of-Way permit process.
Please note that Washington County is willing to provide structural design assistance if you have trouble getting someone to do the calculations.”
Believe it or not, a bus stop shelter was the thing that led to good communication between local government and home owners, which indicates it is possible to work together for the best of the local interest.
A financial donation by New Sweden Culture and Heritage Society and much labor by the home owners' organization kicked off the project in August 2010.
The bus stop shelter was of course built to the local government building code, which is stricter than most, and a very solid bus stop shelter was built. A local joke says:
“When the big earthquake is coming, run for the bus stop shelter!”
The bus stop shelter even has a sign in Swedish. Bus Stop is translated to Busshållplats. It is also decorated with Swedish kurbits painting by local artist, GunMarie Rosqvist.
All involved parties were present at the dedication of the shelter—Washington County, TRI-MET, Oregonian newspaper, New Sweden members and of course the home owners that made it all happen.
The Oleson Road Bus Stop shelter is most likely the only Swedish bus stop shelter in the U.S.
Written by Leif Rosqvist, the editor of New Sweden Culture and Heritage Foundation newsletter in Portland, Oregon.