Interstate 205 is generally a six lane freeway that bypasses Portland by way of Oregon City and Portland International Airport. The right of way for I-205 is wide enough to accommodate future expansion. 08/27/06
Interstate 205 is the eastern bypass of the Portland metropolitan area. The mileage based exit numbering system continues from Oregon north into Washington. Fully opened in 1983 with the opening of the Glenn Jackson Bridge over the Columbia River, the first section of Interstate 205 to begin construction was the bridge over the Willamette River in West Linn, in 1968.
To avoid the Interstate Bridge north of downtown Portland on Interstate 5, I-205 is a recommended alternate route for through traffic.
Construction of Interstate 205, the East Portland Freeway, was delayed throughout the 1970s as a result of a series of challenges related to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).1 Nevertheless, I-205 was completed in stages:
- 1968-1970: Willamette River Bridge opened in West Linn on May 28, 1970
- 1974: freeway from Interstate 5 northeast to West Linn and Oregon City opened in Clackamas County
- 1974-1978: controversy erupts over Multnomah County segment, with protests made to the Environmental Quality Commission. A compromise crafted by Glenn L. Jackson (Oregon Transportation Commission Chair) was reached between the various parties involved: community groups, environmentalists, and governmental agencies. By 1978, Interstate 205 construction was allowed to continue after a nearly five-year hiatus.
- 1978-1979: most controversial segment of Interstate 205 in Multnomah County constructed as a six-lane facility with fewer interchanges and fewer lanes than originally proposed; rights of way reserved for a busway
- December 1982: Glenn L. Jackson Bridge over the Columbia River opened, thus completing the Oregon section of Interstate 205. This bridge was featured on the cover of that year’s Oregon Official State Map.
- 1983: Washington section of Interstate 205 completed, thus finishing the bypass route
Interstate 205 was the last spur or bypass Interstate route to be constructed in Oregon.