Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on March 2nd, 2009 at 4:38 pm
“We are All Traffic” rally held in
November 2007 after two
(Photo © J. Maus)
Mayor Sam Adams’ support of a proposal that would authorize the construction of a new I-5 bridge that could “be built to accomodate up to 12 lanes” has sparked a new level of opposition to the current direction of the Columbia River Crossing project.
Adams’ decision to compromise with Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard on this issue has provided a spark for citizen activists to organize and rally in opposition to the project.
A loose coalition of activists has come together and is planning a rally at 12:00 noon on April 5th in Waterfront Park (which is, fittingly, the site where the Harbor Drive Freeway was once located before it was removed, thus sparking Portland’s green transportation planning legacy).
“I trusted Sam and other city council members with my November vote. Since the ballot box failed me, the streets have my name written all over them. Bring me my walking boots.”
— Joe Kurmaskie
On Friday, activist and author Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie left a comment here on BikePortland that reluctantly put himself into the leadership role on the rally. He wrote:
“For me CRC is a linchpin issue. It’s a watermark to measure where a politician stands regarding Portland’s quality of life ten years down the road.”
Kurmaskie left his email address in the comment for anyone who had ideas or wanted to get together to discuss plans. When I met him on Saturday, he told me over 70 people had gotten in touch wanting to be part of the effort.
Kurmaskie is joined by many members of the Smarter Bridge Coalition. One of them, economist and outspoken critic of the CRC project Joe Cortright, showed up to the planning meeting on Saturday. “If you can’t say no to this,” he said, “what are you ever going to say no to?”
Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the only Portland City Council member who did not vote in favor of Adams’ proposal last week has already said she’ll appear at the rally (she has also been asked to speak at the event).
Kurmaskie says he hopes to bring in many different parts of the community to express widespread concerns about building a 12-lane bridge. For him, this isn’t about simply opposing the CRC project, it’s about presenting a more sensible way to move forward on the project and it’s a way to express his disappointment with Mayor Adams. He wrote:
“I trusted Sam and other city council members with my November vote to look out for Portland’s future. To back up campaign pledges with more than words and proposal promises to “manage” everything ten years down the line, AFTER 12 lanes and 4 billion plus dollars worth of bridge has been built.
Since the ballot box failed me, the streets have my name written all over them. Bring me my walking boots.”