“We intend to demonstrate to elected officials that there’s huge support for re-using the Sauvie span.”
–the BTA’s Karl Rohde
While City Hall tries to work out its differences on the effort to move the old Sauvie Island Bridge span to NW Flanders street, bike advocates and citizen activists are moving forward in a push to raise awareness and support for the project.
So far, the effort is being led in part by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. The BTA is reaching out to a myriad of local organizations and to neighborhood and business associations in Northwest Portland for support.
Karl Rohde, the BTA’s Government and Public Affairs Director says they hope to build a base of bridge re-use supporters. “We’re building a coalition and getting support from the neighborhood, and the environmental and business communities, to push City Hall to make this project happen.”
(Photo © J. Maus)
Rohde adds that, “We intend to demonstrate to elected officials that there’s huge support for re-using the Sauvie span.”
Rohde says much of his work will be to “make sure everyone understands the details of the project.” He says that, “Because of media coverage and statements from the Mayor’s office, there’s been a misunderstanding of the funding.”
Rohde is referring to comments made by Mayor Potter that, instead of funding this project, the City should spend the money on sidewalks. According to Rohde, that comment ignored the fact the money lined up for this project (before it was derailed by Potter and Commissioner Saltzman last week) would have been dedicated solely for this project, and would not be transferable to other projects.
The estimated $5.5 million for the re-use plan would have come from a mix of sources including Portland Development Commission Urban Renewal Funds ($2 million), transportation system development charges ($2 million), a federal grant through ODOT ($1 million) and private fundraising efforts ($500,000).
The BTA offers more analysis of the funding picture and Mayor Potter’s position on their blog.
Elly Blue — a BikePortland contributor and citizen activist who help rally the community after two fatal (and one serious-injury) bike crashes over the span of a few weeks last winter — is planning an event to bring attention to the need for a safe crossing of I-405 at NW Flanders.
Blue says she plans to fill the bridges at Everett and Glisan with people, legally using the roadway. “It won’t be a group ride or a protest march, we’ll just fill the area, with everyone following the rules of the road. That should be more than enough to demonstrate that these crossings are not safe for all road users and that they pose a huge danger and barrier for many people.”
Blue and others plan to ride and walk around the proposed site of the bridge (NW Flanders Blvd.) this evening to prepare for the event which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, April 17th at 5:30pm.
Stay tuned for updates and more coverage of the Sauvie Island Bridge span saga.