Cascadia Header Graphic
The Cascadia Corridor is comprised of the area west of the Cascades Mountain Range from Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia, in the north to Medford, Oregon, in the south.


To tie together the communities of the Cascadia Corridor, the Cascadia Center facilitates a council of mayors from the region. Originally formed and convened in 1998 by then Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, the Cascadia Mayors Council addresses a wide range of issues that impact cities and small towns up and down the Cascadia corridor and throughout the region. The mission and goal of the Council is to expand cooperation on issues of common interest that confront our cities and towns. Existing institutions do not have a broad enough reach to effectively address the challenges mayors face and federal and provincial governments continue to reduce their commitments to local jurisdictions, especially urban corridors. The Mayors Council meets twice a year alternating between host cities in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. The last meeting was in May of 2004 in Eugene, Oregon.


The Cascade Multi-Modal Foothills Corridor Study will examine demand and feasibility for new energy and telecommunications transmission and distribution facilities in a corridor along the western foothills of the Cascade Mountain range from the US-Canada Border to the southern edge of Cowlitz County, Washington. The Federal Highway Administration funds the study and Whatcom Council of Governments is the lead agency. The study will also be correlated with the Commerce Corridor study, funded by the Washington State Legislature, and being conducted by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Wilbur Smith and Associates. For more information on this study, visit the WSDOT website.

Opportunities for design and installation of new systems designed to transport petroleum-based products using new and improved technologies could help protect the region's citizens from the potential hazards associated with the aging existing systems. Related safety improvements along with the more remote location of transmission systems could result in increased safety for urbanized areas within the I-5 corridor. Future demand for facilities associated with transmission of electric energy will also be included in this study, along with their feasibility and economic viability.

Greatly improved transmission infrastructure also offers opportunities for implementing the concept of a north-south "green" corridor offering improved access to trails-based transportation and recreation in the Cascade Mountains setting.


The Cascadia Center has long supported improvements in freight rail, I-5, and Columbia River infrastructure to accommodate international trade and regional mobility. Working with the Cowlitz/ Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG), Cascadia has hosted Corridor forums highlighting state and local efforts to expand the capacity of I-5 in Lewis County and support additional rail capacity for freight rail (Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific) as well as Amtrak Cascades service in Kelso, Washington. Kelso, Longview, and Cowlitz County tourism officials were early supporters of the Cascadia Two-Nation Vacation tourism initiative, primarily because of their interest in access to the Mount St. Helens national monument. A white paper highlighting the Southwest Washington Intermodal Transportation issues was commissioned through the CWCOG and included in the 'Connecting the Gateways and Trade Corridors' report published in 1999. Check out a map from this report, highlighting the corridor.
An excerpt from this report, referring to the Southwest Washington Intermodal Transportation Issues can be viewed here.

For updated info visit Cowlitz/Wahkiakum Council of Governments.


The most complex nexus of north-south and east-west routes in the Cascadia Corridor is the area where I-5 and the Columbia River meet near Vancouver, Washington. The mobility challenge this area presents makes it virtually a 'second border'. It is also an actual border between two states, with Portland, Oregon to the south and Vancouver, Washington, to the north. It is the only bi-state metropolitan area in the Western U.S. In the year 2020, it is projected to have a population of 2.3 million. Thus mobility stakes are high. The 'key finding' of policy planners at the Portland Metro Regional Council twenty years ago was that 'freight movement on the motor vehicle system is the backbone of the region's economy.'

At the same time, the Western Transportation Trade Network rated Portland-Seattle as the single largest intercity truck freight market in the Western U.S., and Portland-Eugene as second largest. Equally impressive are waterborne transportation volumes in the metro area. For decades, the Lower Columbia ports - Portland, Vancouver, Kalama, and Longview, which are fed by the 465-mile Columbia-Snake River system - have been among the largest handlers of bulk cargoes in North America. At the end of the 20th Century, because of the urgent need to address this region's freight mobility needs for truck, rail, barge and ship, the US DOT designated I-5 in the Columbia River bi-state area as a National Highway System Priority Trade Corridor. This designation and the funding the designation brought with it enabled the Portland-Vancouver metro area to plan solutions for the corridor as both a commuter crossing and a trade hub.

In Portland, a major strategy to enhance personal mobility was to offer a greater range of choices. Westside, North-South, and airport extensions of the light rail transit system (MAX) have been completed. Both bus and rail transit have continued to enjoy ridership gains outpacing most other U.S. cities because of compact route design and frequent service along corridors where transit has been used to focus development. Also, dedicated rights of-way have been extended to give bus transit a rush-hour speed advantage comparable to light rail.


The Cascadia Center has supported expansion of the Amtrak Cascades rail service, particularly additional trains between Portland and Eugene, Oregon. With the assistance of the mayor of Albany, Oregon, Chuck McLaran, the Cascadia Center participates in the Oregon Passenger Rail Advisory Committee, which is working to expand passenger rail and thruway bus service in Oregon with particular emphasis on the Seattle-Eugene corridor. For more information visit Oregon Department of Transportation Rail or Oregon Passenger Rail Advisory Council.
Cascadia is also supportive of increased freight mobility on the I-5 Corridor through the development of technology initiatives. For updated information visit Oregon Department of Transportation. For a map of the Willamette Valley click here.


Freight forecasts indicate that the volume of freight traffic could well double by the year 2020 from population increases. Road, rail, and marine freight transportation infrastructure on the West Coast is already under tremendous strain in terms of both capacity and safety. That is true for east-west US transportation routes originating and terminating on the West Coast, which are vital arteries for handling America's Asia-Pacific trade. It also applies to north-south road and rail infrastructure systems on the West Coast, which handle massive volumes of West Coast interstate trade and NAFTA trade. The Cascadia Center has taken a supportive role with WCOG, SANBAG, and the Departments of Transportation from WA, OR, and CA, over the past two years in developing a West Coast Corridor Coalition that would assist Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California - under a proposed governing body that would combine state, local, and private interests - in coordinating combined inter-modal, freight, and passenger transportation systems and in making a national case for increased investments in west coast transportation systems.

Discovery Institute Logo
For More Information Contact:
Cascadia Center
208 Columbia St. — Seattle, WA 98104
206-292-0401 — Fax: 206-682-5320

About Cascadia divider dot Contact divider dot Search divider dot Discovery Home
Dotted Line