Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 7th, 2008 at 9:35 am
[Updated 7/7, 12:00ppm: Read this story for an update.]
With just a few days before the Portland City Council takes an important vote on the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) (along with a growing coalition of organizations) is stepping up its drumbeat of concern.
The BTA has struggled to find their voice and has come under fire from members and other in the community for not being more critical of the estimated $4.2 billion project.
After trying to clarify their position last month, the BTA released their formal comments — which were their most sternly worded yet — to the CRC project team last week.
BTA Executive Director Scott Bricker sent an email to Commissioner Sam Adams’ Chief of Staff Tom Miller this morning, in which he made it clear that the BTA was joining several organizations — led by the Coalition for a Livable Future (CLF) and other environmental groups — that are urging City Council to abstain from their vote on Wednesday.
The BTA, CLF, Environment Oregon, the Audubon Society of Portland, and others have varying degrees of opposition to the project, but they all agree that a key issue of concern is a growing sense that Portland may lose local control of the project (like deciding on design of the bridge and whether or not to analyze key issues like if/how it will reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions) if they vote to support it on Wednesday.
A recent meeting of the CRC Task Force watered down language from Commissioner Adams that sought to retain stronger local oversight of the project moving forward. That lack of control has created uneasiness on the Council and led Commissioner Dan Saltzman to go public with his opposition of the project.
Later today, the BTA will send out an action alert to their members stating their position and they will participate in a press conference tomorrow (6/8).
— The Oregonian published a story today that calls into question just how much the $4.2, 12-lane bridge would alleviate congestion: New I-5 bridge will do little to relieve congestion