Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on April 21st, 2008 at 10:12 am
The City Club of Portland hosted a mayoral debate on Friday between the two leading candidates — City Commissioner Sam Adams and Portland business owner Sho Dozono.
Among the topics discussed (not surprisingly) was the plan to re-use the Sauvie Island Bridge span as a bike and pedestrian crossing over I-405 at NW Flanders street.
Dozono opposes the re-use plan and he used the debate to clarify his position.
The issue first came up as a question posed to Commissioner Adams by the debate’s moderator, KGW-TV news anchor Russ Lewis.
Lewis posed the question like this:
“As Transportation Commissioner you have championed a tax increase to pay for road maintenance as well as a costly proposal to move the Sauvie Island Bridge to the Pearl District. Is this an example of inspired leadership or lack of fiscal discipline? Can we really have our cake, and eat it too?”
Adams replied by disagreeing with the premise of the question and said, “I don’t think the facts agree with the question.” He went on to defend his spending decisions by saying that 81% of the discretionary one-time funding he has spent has gone to basic transportation maintenance and safety issues.
When Dozono was offered a rebuttal, he said he believes the project is not something that people in outer Southeast and Northeast want and that it’s a “mis-spent priority.”
You can listen to the full, two-minute exchange below (audio snipped from full recording available here):
The issue then came up during the part of the debate when the candidates could each other questions. Dozono used this opportunity to ask Adams about priorities.
Speaking of his background growing up in East Portland, Dozono said,
“How do you explain to these [East] Portlanders they should spend millions of taxpayer dollars to add a special bicycle bridge to cross I-405 to the Pearl District when so many streets and sidewalks throughout the city are unpaved and unsafe.”
Adams answered by saying he takes a balanced approach to Portland’s transportation needs and he told Dozono that the bulk of $11 million in recent transportation safety funds were spent in East Portland.
In response, Dozono referred to the bridge as a “special interest to cater to the people of Northwest Portland and the Pearl District,” that would be good for only a “handful of people.”
Listen to the entire exchange below:
The debate was part of the City Club’s ongoing Friday Forum series. You can hear the entire debate via an MP3 file available here.
This Friday, City Club host a debate between the two leading candidates for City Commissioner Seat #2 — Jim Middaugh and Nick Fish.