The city of Portland won't give its approval to the Oregon Department of Transportation's plans to expand Interstate 5 above the Eastbank Esplanade.

That could be a significant blow to ODOT, which asked the city to agree that the wider highway through the Rose Quarter won't effect the waterfront walkway below. (Critics argue it would create a cavelike atmosphere in a city park along the river.)

As WW reported last month, advocates called on Mayor Ted Wheeler to use this power to push for a delay and more clarity on the project's effects on Portland ("East Flank," Feb. 5, 2020).

He has done just that.

"We do not believe," wrote Portland Parks & Recreation planning manager Brett Horner to ODOT on Feb. 21, the agency's document assessing the impact on the esplanade "was adequate."

Opponents of the project say the city's decision bolsters their legal case for a more thorough review of the entire project.