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Coalition says, “Put the brakes on the bridge”

Posted by on July 7th, 2008 at 11:58 am

Blumenauer unveils Gas Price Relief Act-6.jpg

BTA leader Scott Bricker (shown here at an event
last week) has joined other groups in calling
on City Council to re-think the CRC project.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As expected, the BTA and a coalition of environmental groups have stepped up their oppositional stance to the Columbia River Crossing project.

They have just issued a statement (download PDF) that calls on Portland City Council to, “put the brakes on the bridge”.

On the statement’s letterhead are the logos of 1000 Friends of Oregon, Coalition for a Livable Future, Environment Oregon, and the BTA.

In announcing a press conference tomorrow, the statement says:

“A coalition of environmental, biking, land use, and environmental justice leaders will join with state legislative candidates in calling on Portland City Council to reject a $4 billion plan to replace and expand the current I-5 crossing over the Columbia River until further analysis is completed. The groups are calling for updated analysis on global warming, increased auto dependence, and funding for basic transportation needs to ensure the Portland Metro region gets the transportation investments it needs to thrive.”

Here are details on tomorrow’s press conference:

Speakers will include:

  • Leslie Carlson, Portland-Multnomah Sustainable Development Commission
  • Bob Stacey, 1000 Friends of Oregon
  • Jeremiah Baumann, Environment Oregon
  • Jules Kopel-Bailey, Democratic Nominee, State Legislative District 42
  • Jeri Williams, Environmental Justice Advocate and CRC Task Force
  • Scott Bricker, Bicycle Transportation Alliance
  • When: 9:00 a.m., July 8 (Tuesday)
    Where: Piccolo Park, SE 27th between Division St. and Clinton St.

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29 Comments
  • Avatar
    Jason Penney July 7, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    People need to think about this. I read this morning that the bridge will only relieve congestion for 20 years. Based on the CRC\’s own estimates for increased traffic, that means that we will need to recoup $2.50 on every single vehicle crossing over twenty years in order to pay for the bridge.

    And let\’s not forget that the carbon footprint for this proposed bridge is a giant step backwards for the planet.

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    mara July 7, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    KGW TV just did a story, and today\’s daily poll asks: Do you support the building of a new 12-lane toll bridge for I-5?

    Go to http://www.kgw.com and scroll down one page to vote NO. It\’s running about 50% yes, 40% no, 10% unsure right now.

    (it asks for contact info once you vote, but I\’m not sure if that\’s required for your vote to count)

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    frazier July 7, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    We could build bullet trains to Seattle for 4 billion dollars. This is insane.

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    jonno July 7, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Contrast this anachronistic boondoggle with California\’s push for sensible transportation choices (at long last):

    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

    $40 billion for a rail corridor spanning 2/3 of their state vs. $4 billion to shave 10 minutes off the commutes of SOV Vancouverites.

    We\’ll never live this one down, if we get a white-elephant bridge while CA gets bullet trains!

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    Tony Fuentes July 7, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    The bridge is far from a done deal. The opposition being voiced by these groups is shared by many individuals, neighborhoods, environmental organizations, and local businesses.

    The impact of the mega-bridge on the local and global environment will be significant. Locally we will lose acres and acres of wetlands and greatly impact local health and well-being by increasing the level of pollution in our air. The effect on livability in N and NE Portland will be especially pronounced.

    It is critical that the City of Portland retains its authority for guiding the solution for the crossing rather than conceding its role at this early date.

    What can you do to help?

    Contact Portland City Council and insist that the city maintain its authority in shaping this project by rejecting support for the 12-lane project and insisting on a decision-making role on this project not an \”advisory\” one.

    Your voice does matter, there is no such thing as a done deal at this point:

    Commissioner Sam Adams:
    Office of City Commissioner Sam Adams
    1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 220
    Portland, OR 97204
    Phone: (503) 823-3008
    Fax: (503) 823-3017
    Email: commissionersam@ci.portland.or.us

    Commissioner Dan Saltzman:
    Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman
    1221 SW 4th Ave. Rm. 230
    Portland, Oregon 97204
    Phone: 503 823-4151
    Fax: 503.823.3036
    Email:dan@ci.portland.or.us

    Commissioner Randy Leonard:
    Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard
    1221 S.W. Fourth Ave, Room 210
    Portland OR 97204
    Phone: 503-823-4682
    Fax: 503-823-4019
    Email: rleonard@ci.portland.or.us

    Commissioner Nick Fish
    1221 S.W. Fourth Avenue, Room 240
    Portland OR 97204
    (503) 823-3589
    Nick@ci.portland.or.us

    Office of Mayor Tom Potter
    1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 340
    Portland, Oregon 97204
    Phone: 503-823-4120
    Fax: 503-823-3588
    Mayor\’s 24-Hour Opinion Line: 503-823-4127

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    Kristin July 7, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Jonno #4: WOW that lightrail is sweet!

    \”$40 billion for a rail corridor spanning 2/3 of their state vs. $4 billion to shave 10 minutes off the commutes of SOV Vancouverites.\”

    Actually the Oregonian reports that that due to increased road mileage, it makes their commute longer.

    \”For Clark County commuters who contribute to the rush-hour bottleneck, the bridge project will actually mean a longer commute through a 5.2-mile stretch from 39th Street/State Route 500 in Vancouver to Columbia Boulevard in North Portland.[…]

    During the 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. peak of morning rush hour, it takes a driver 16 minutes to go from SR 500 to Columbia Boulevard, according to the environmental study. Do nothing, and by 2030 that trip would lengthen to 19 minutes, the study says.

    Build the proposed 12-lane bridge with light rail and toll charges, and the same trip would take 21 minutes — two minutes longer than doing nothing.\”

    !?!?!?!??!

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    Schrauf July 7, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    The \”study\” and so-called statistics referred to in #6 make no sense. Traffic congestion is in part a function of how long drivers are willing to wait in traffic before they seek other alternatives. Why would that equilibrium be longer with a new bridge? If anything, it would be shorter, given they would be sitting in traffic as they do now, but also paying a toll, and also watching light rail (hopefully) zip by on the side of the highway. And hopefully paying $10 a gallon for gasoline, most of which would be a tax to fund other infrastructre and discourage driving.

    Having said that, there are so many inter-related factors, it is impossible to predict future congestion. Fuel prices, tax incentives to drive or not drive, the economy and unemployment, proliferation of telecommuting, local population explosion as California goes to hell and some of the 50 million people head north, etc. Too many to mention. All we can do is what appears most logical, and one thing we do know is that new roads encourage sprawl and are historically filled to capacity within a decade of completion.

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    Paul Cone July 7, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Ironic that all the animations of the high-speed trains on the CA website linked to in post #4 were done by a Portland 3D modeling/animation company.

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    Donna July 7, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Big thanks to Scott Bricker & the BTA for deciding to choose what is right over what is easy.

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    Eileen July 7, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Wow on California\’s high speed train system. West Coast states should band together and extend that up to Seattle. I really feel like dumping money into trains that go virtually everywhere is much more worthwhile than these super highways that don\’t do a whole lot to relieve congestion and in the future, will be oversized bike paths. But if the trains are really going to replace cars and trucks, they will have to go just about everywhere.

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    Ethan July 7, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I am amazed (again) that anyone in their right mind would think that expanding freeways to meet demand is a wise course. It is 2008, and you don\’t need to be a transportation/urban planner to see that these widened freeways encourage sprawl, beget yet more traffic, and worst of all, overwhelm the central city\’s streets & parking. Anyone who has visited a countless list of American cities have seen firsthand what the outcomes will be (i.e. more cars)

    Besides, providing more lanes to Vancouver is like giving drugs to an addict. Thanks for building all those subdivisions, here\’s some more capacity so you can keep going . . .

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    Metal Cowboy July 7, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I applaud the BTA for changing it\’s stance and standing along side groups that have opposed this project from the get go. I hope it has an impact. We can do our part by getting even more vocal about opposition and specific reasons why this project does not make economic, environmental sense to our council members, media types. And really think about joining the CLF as a dues paying member – they have been outfront on this for a long time.

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    Hank Sheppard July 7, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Come to City Hall on Wednesday and give Sam Adams and company a piece of your mind.
    Time to kill this dog.

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    Graham July 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    It\’s amazing to read that the studies on this project didn\’t take into consideration the effects of induced demand, nor did they consider the effects a bigger crossing would have on other congested areas:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1214029515244280.xml&coll=7

    \”traffic forecasters … were told to assume a new 12-lane bridge would not trigger any more growth than if the current bridge were simply left in place. Yet a 12-lane bridge would handle 40 percent more cars during afternoon rush hour, according to the forecasters\’ calculations.\”

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2008/07/new_i5_bridge_will_do_little_t.html

    \”Though the problem is well-known, the I-5 bridge task force was told by a previous bistate task force to limit its scope to the bridge area and not deal with the I-5/I-405 split, Dingerink says. That\’s in part because some officials felt the I-5 split problem was more of an Oregon issue, rather than a bistate concern, he says.\”

    Okaaay…. So this thing could trigger massive suburban sprawl in Clark County, which could then pour 40% more traffic into already bogged-down Rose Quarter, downtown Portland, highway 26 out of Portland… But none of this is being studied? Because it\’s more of an Oregon issue?

    Now, I\’m embarrassed to admit I only first read about the proposed CRC a few months ago (on BikePortland.org). I guess it was so far off my radar because I hardly ever use that crossing. I wonder how many of my fellow Portlanders are as oblivious as I was to the impact this boondoggle could have on the city we love. Hopefully they get the message in time.

    Spread the word!

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    Cruizer July 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    mara (#2) Great idea to provide a link for the KGW poll on the I-5 bridge.
    http://www.kgw.com
    At 6:10, when I voted, it\’s 47% Yes and 46% No, so the tide is slowly changing.

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    peejay July 7, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Now it\’s 46% yes, 46% no, with an exact tie on the number of each response, thanks to me and my bullshit name and zipcode as I signed up as a 109 year old woman.

    Now, on to the BTA, where I will gladly become a member, using me real name! I\’m proud of them for admitting they were wrong, and doing something about it. Now, if we can get Barack Obama to drop his support for FISA…

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    Betsy Ross July 7, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    I like the well placed American flag behind Mr. Bricker.

    That\’s right it\’s been held hostage long enough. We\’re taking it back!

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    Dave Sohigian July 7, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Way to go Mr. Bricker. Just when I was losing faith in the BTA.

    That California High-Speed rail site is great. This bullet point is especially important:

    Creating Jobs and Boosting our Economy
    Nearly 160,000 construction-related jobs and 450,000 new permanent jobs.

    One of the big reasons for the push for the CRC is the construction Unions that want a big job to work on in the region. Let them build high-speed rail instead!

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    Martin July 7, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Yes! Keep the bridge small. The project as currently planned will add mucho air pollution to an area that already had some of the worst air pollution in Oregon.

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    Lynn July 7, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    As a resident of NE Portland I really like the high speed train. Especially if it would eliminate the need for the extra runway that is planned at PDX.

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    Scott Bricker, BTA July 7, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    This is the most challenging and informative issue in my 10-year history at the BTA. A few notes that I maintain:
    – Your input is very valuable and heard.
    – a new and improved bikeway to Vancouver is on our Blueprint for Better Bicycling.
    – we strongly support light rail, tolling, and other transportation options (yes think of tolling as an option, the option not to pay.)
    – we effectively have not changed our public position (review the blog history at http://www.bta4bikes.org/btablog/index.php?s=crc
    ).
    – Please contact your city councilor yesterday.
    – Steve, you and I should really play some one on one hoops down in the North Park blocks after work sometime. Might help me hear about your issues. Feel free to contact me.

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    Racer X July 8, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Wow…now is the time for Oregonians to blog less and speak more to their representatives in Salem…

    …all this talk of wrapping ourselves in the train \’flag\’…remember that Oregon barely funds its regional Amtrak service (2x a day), borrows trains from Washington State, underinvests in double tracking thus the Coast Star Light (aka Coast Star Late) is a dog, pays less to BNSF/ UP to prioritize on time service, and tried to end Amtrak service a few years ago, etc.

    Yes a high speed train is great…I would ride it…but Salem is not on board yet and Oregon would have to revise its UGB rules to create cities with true fixed greenbelts and satellight cities vs. sprawl belts bleeding into other states. Remember who built the 205.

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    peejay July 8, 2008 at 7:24 am

    I sent my letter to Sam. Four more to go!

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    mcbanx July 8, 2008 at 9:59 am

    OnwardOregon also has a web action page where you can send emails to the all the members of the Portland City Council;

    http://www.onwardoregon.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=ffIOIRMEG&b=121846&aid=11006

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    007 July 8, 2008 at 10:49 am

    We need to stop subsidizing automobile transportation projects.

    Just think if this money was put into Amtrak. But nooooooooooooooooo….

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    Marion July 8, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    If one of the big problems is how long it takes trucks to get through.. then let\’s just build a truck bridge or have truck only lanes?

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    Oliver July 8, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    All this talk about freight movement. Let the Port of Tacoma serve Washington and points east, and let the Ports of Portland, Coos Bay, Eureka and Oakland divide up whats left between the Bay and the Columbia River. There\’s no reason we should be throwing our tax dollars away to truck freight from the giant Washington ports into and through Oregon, period. Don\’t allow the further marginalization of the Port of Portland by the Port of Tacoma by building them a new bridge so that they can get their freight to I-84.

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    Ethan July 8, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    We\’ll see if the BTA, with new leadership, can win a bridge fight.

    And I do wonder how much high speed rail 4 billion could buy.

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    revphil July 9, 2008 at 1:02 am

    thanks for taking a stand BTA.

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