CRC Update: US DOT denies comment period extension request

Posted by on May 29th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Download letter (945k, PDF)

A request by a coalition of 13 advocacy groups that sought an extension to the comment period on the Draft Environment Impact Statement of the Columbia River Crossing project has been denied.

In a letter (download PDF here) from the U.S. Department of Transportation, to Tom Buechele of the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Group (he represented the 13 member coalition), representatives of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) wrote:

“The FTA and FHWA do not see “good cause” for extending the current comment period beyond the 60 days that are already being provided…

The…comment period is only one opportunity during the…process for the public…to review information and provide input… Project staff has also participated in over 450 meetings with neighborhood groups, business organizations and other potentially affected stakeholders, including a number of organizations that you have noted in your letter.”

The denial means that citizens have only until July 1st to review and make comments on the 5,000 page document.

Many concerned Portlanders plan to do just that tonight at the second of two CRC open house/public hearing events. Last night, Vancouver residents showed up to express their feedback, concerns, and support for the project.

Tonight, Portlanders get their chance to comment, ask questions of the CRC staff, and learn more about the project.

    CRC Draft EIS Public Hearing and Open House
    Location: Portland Expo Center (2060 Marine Drive)
    Open House – 5-8:00pm
    Public Hearing – 6-8:00pm
    Event will be held in Rooms D201 and D202-204.

Comments are also accepted online.

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KrisTodd BoulangerJohn ReinholdHillsonsralph Recent comment authors
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So now that the feds aren\’t allowing the process of deliberation which this project demands, it\’s time for those with veto power to man up. Better to say no than yes if local concerns are not being heard at the federal level.


450 meetings? Really? One every day for the last year and a half? Seems a little hard to believe…


This whole thing needs to be stalled until we get new Federal officials at appointment level, such as would happen when the White House changes parties. Even if the decision was made by a \”career\” officer, a change of priorities at the top of the Highway Department will trickle down through the decision-making process at all levels.

How to stall? Well, what are the grounds for some kind of lawsuit that\’ll get this tied up in the courts for a year or so? Lawyers? Care to comment?


i just left feedback online, i encourage everyone else to as well and/or attend the meeting.



Sounds great except these projects take years to get off the ground and run over multiple presidential terms.

Now what about projects that you approve of? What would be your response if that project was delayed just to get someone appointed that would quash that project?

This kind of thing runs both ways, so be careful what you ask for?


Do most people even know about the CRC project?

John Reinhold
John Reinhold

Mike: Believe it or not, the process has been going on since 2001.

The CRC has already spent more than 60 million dollars. ALREADY.

The most important thing anyone reading this can do is spread the word.

This project and this \”decision\” goes way beyond bicycles. And they way it is being forced upon us is an \”all or nothing\” approach.

Oil is trading for $130 a barrel. Only 8 years ago oil was $8 a barrel. We should not be building a > 4 billion dollar 12 lane bridge. I don\’t care what they call the extra lanes. We should be putting our 4 billion into reducing the need to travel so far. Better schools in Portland. Better jobs in Vancouver. Affordable housing in the city center. Better transit and alternatives in the region. If we reduce the need to cross the river to commute we reduce the need for a massive new bridge.

My prefered option would be to do a bunch of smaller things which all together make a better bang for the buck.

Todd Boulanger

Too bad they did not extend the period, but the CRC has been working to get the message out…I am pretty sure this is the region\’s transportation with the most outreach ever…

Well bicyclists – there is still time to comment on the project\’s DEIS…I have set up a special bridge tour by bike and mini open house to collect your comments…the Tour Du CRC DEIS is on June 26.

(I would ask that you still support the effort to improve the bike crossing and transit service…even if you hate the rest of the project.)
Come by and comment as the first round is on us.



Do you know if anyone from the BTA is planning to speak at this week\’s Metro Council public hearing in favor of the resolution of the 3 \”dissident\” councilors? Or does the BTA consider CRC – and the direction it\’s heading now – a done deal, especially given the strong support of folks like Rex Burkholder?

With the extension period denied and the current DEIS providing nothing close to a world-class bike facility, it seems to me that the right thing to do for the BTA is to align with the rest of the CLF and put pressure on the Metro Council (and City Hall) to exercise their veto power and get the CRC planners have a serious look at the no-build option (with tollling on the current bridge) or a smaller scale and less costly transit/bike/ped bridge option.