“I heard from a number of people who have expressed concerns about their [legislative] priorities if they were to speak against the bill.”
— Mara Gross, interim director of Coalition for a Livable Future
The Columbia River Crossing project took a big step forward when HB 2800 easily passed the Oregon House this week. But while the project has made a lot of noise lately, major environmental and transportation advocacy groups have stayed quiet.
The bill will likely be voted on by the Senate next week (March 4th) and then Governor Kitzhaber is expected to sign it into law (unless he gets nostalgic and has a change of heart).
As this snowball has gathered size and speed, I have become intrigued by the deafening silence about it from our region’s major environmental, land-use, and transportation advocacy groups. Groups like the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, 1000 Friends of Oregon, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the Oregon Environmental Council, and the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Meanwhile, the relatively small opposition has been led by volunteer grassroots activists with little to no budget and a few organizations pulled together by Coalition for a Livable Future, an umbrella group that has just two policy-related staff. At a house party on Tuesday hosted by CLF and the Facebook-based group Shut Down the CRC, they celebrated a paltry $1,000 fundraising goal to help pay someone to work the halls of Salem to stop the bill. (more…)