The Classic - Cycle Oregon

CRC opposition group launches first video

Posted by on March 19th, 2009 at 10:40 am

“The CRC project will degrade everything we’ve collectively invested decades creating. There are cheaper, more environmentally sound ways to do this. We aim to make the public aware of them.”
— Joe Kurmaskie

As promised, a “grassroots coalition of Portlanders and Vancouverites” has launched their first of several satirical videos mocking the current plans for a 12-lane I-5 bridge. This is the same group that has put together an impressive list of speakers and plans for an April 5th rally they are now calling the CRC Opposition and Alternatives Rally.

The video (embedded below) was released this morning along with a press release with more details about the upcoming rally in Waterfront Park.

Here’s the “Have we got a bridge to sell you!” video (YouTube link):

In the press release, organizers call this,

“the opening salvo in a sustained campaign to block funding for the project in its current form, and to offer alternatives that match the desires of a community to be fiscally responsible, address environmental challenges and tackle livability issues effecting the region.”

Local author and syndicated columnist Joe Kurmaskie, who has become the group’s de facto spokesperson, says that our region has a legacy for making sustainable transportation choices but that, “Putting up a four billion dollar, 12 lane mega-bridge will change all that, and not for the better.”

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Kurmaskie feels that, “this bridge promotes single occupancy vehicle use, invites unchecked sprawl to southern Washington and opens the door to widening I-5 through the heart of Portland.”

Confirmed to speak at the rally are former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Metro Councilor Robert Liberty, and Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocate and educator Michelle Poyourow.

About the videos, the coalition says they are modeled in the American tradition, “of political rebel rouser Mark Twain and more recently, the humor and humanity of Jon Stewart.” The videos will be posted once a week and emailed to a list of 250 regional media outlets.

“We can’t allow the area to become another L.A. or Houston in terms of traffic,” Kurmaskie states in the press release, “The CRC project will degrade everything we’ve collectively invested decades creating. There are cheaper, more environmentally sound ways to do this. We aim to make the public aware of them.”

Kurmaskie also says he’s set to go head-to-head with Lars Larson on KXL 750 AM at about 1:35 today.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • a.O March 19, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Man, I was rolling on the floor when I heard this! Hilarious!

    How can I mortgage my childrens’ future for a concrete monstrosity cutting through my neighborhood and destroying the livability of Portland and SW Washington?!?!

    How can I help contribute to deadly air pollution, global warming, and sprawl?!

    And only a million easy payments of $4,000 each? That’s so low. I’m sure it will be more when they get to buildin’ so I won’t feel so bad about the bargain I’m getting.

    I can’t wait!! I’m especially looking forward to the time when oil is so scarce that it’s totally useless for motor vehicles! We can use the “add/drop” lanes for bike races! Yay!

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  • RyNO Dan March 19, 2009 at 11:42 am

    THANK YOU to the lovely people using your time and creativity to oppose this really bad idea. No CRC !!

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  • ScottG March 19, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I’m really impressed with what I’m seeing. Also just the name of the protest “CRC Opposition and Alternatives Rally” is smart marketing. Don’t let anyone pigeon-hole us as hippie protesters – we’re here to offer sensible alternatives. Nice work!

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 11:58 am

    It’s not 12 lanes, its 6. 3 north and 3 south. And yes it is too much money, and it will take too long to build

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  • metal cowboy March 19, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Jim – It is 12 lanes – three “thru” lanes two auxillary lanes and a truck lane. But when a on off lane is five miles long it’s just wording to not deem it a lane. Even the Mayor of Vancouver agrees that it’s 12 lanes. The trouble with building that many lanes is that cars will fill them up and the congestion is back – and iit’s backed up even worse into the rose quarter – opening the discussion regarding widening the interstate right htrough Portland. If you still think it’s only three lanes go abck to the video and look at the photo – its the offical rendering of the bridge count the lanes.

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  • a.O March 19, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    And Joe, isn’t it true that there is a committee chaired by Sam Adams that will close those pesky additional lanes and use them to house the homeless?

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Metal cowboy-
    Go tot the crc website. It clearly states 3 through lanes each way, even our mayor dosn’t want any more cars crossing the river than what we have now.

    The rose Quarter is a joke, Why is it that you can drive through most of the state on 3 lanes until you get to the densit spot in the state and it narrows down to 2 lanes. They need to take care of that problem pdq

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  • John Lascurettes March 19, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Jim, most of the state is two lanes each direction on i-5. Exceptions: near Salem and from i-205 to i-84. Heck, most of i-5 from Canada to Mexico is only two lanes of travel in each direction.

    The fact that the CRC site states 3 lanes in each direction does not change the fact that there are at minimum 5 lanes in each direction that are travel-able by cars for the whole length (as stated in Metal Cowboy’s post); 5 miles of onramp/offramp plus truck lane is still going to be used as a lanes by cars. And what is that “auxiliary” lane? If it’s an HOV lane, it’s still a lane to get stuffed with passenger vehicles when the jamup from merging/exiting happens on either end of the bridge.

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  • Hart March 19, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    They need to take care of that problem

    “We really need to do something about all these bicyclists.”

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 19, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    It’s not so much about a specific number of lanes being talked about right now… it’s the fact that the bridge will be built to a size “that can accomodate up to” 12 lanes.

    …if you build a bridge that big, obviously WashDOT and ODOT are going to put as many lanes as they can possibly fit on it.

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  • Snowflake Seven March 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Its a good concept, but I wish some of the motion designers / video producers in Portland would help producer a higher quality version. (Didn’t W+K build the good looking Oregon Manifest website as a sponsor?)

    If some of the skilled creatives in town that are behind this issue created some high end ads like the commercials made for, then the local news would probably broadcast them for “free” as part of their CRC editorial/news reporting.

    The info-mercial is a good concept. Hopefully it will garner some broader attention.

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  • metal cowboy March 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I just taped an interview with terry travis on kpam – she thought that the video mock hsn ad was a first – the idea of using a spoof and humor on youtube to fight a political and transportation battle. I couldn’t think of any other time this has been done but it probably has – I just thought of it b/c it plays to my strenghts and hopefully entrains and gets people to listen to the message underneath. OK. Lars in 20 minutes. 😉

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  • Mike March 19, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Best of luck with your Lars time!

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Do you think a bridge this size will keep cars moving vs stop and go? Stop and go is what creates the most pollution. The most efficiant speed for a car is at 55 mph. At that speed a car only needs 14 horspower to maintain their speed, everytime you slow down and speed up it is sucking a lot of fuel. It would be a lot cleaner to have more lanes so cars can run at their most effient speed. The way it is right now the cars are making too much unnecesary polution and are just wasting gas

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  • BURR March 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    we should be making travel on our highways more efficient by limiting the amount of cars and trucks using the road, not by making the roads ever-larger

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    thats how they do it in communist countries

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  • Mike March 19, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    My issue is the cost for something that may never be needed. During a time in which thousands of people are losing their jobs, and subsequently, their homes, is it wise to be spending billions of dollars on a bridge?
    I understand that it is more complicated than just moving the money around, but when we can’t afford to pay our teachers, maintain current roads, fully fund social programs, etc etc, what business do we have undertaking an endeavor such as this?
    All in the name of easing a little congestion?
    I can think of many other things to do with $4B that would have a greater impact on livability in PDX.

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    “All in the name of easing a little congestion?”

    Congestion is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. I think we could do it for a lot less money though

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  • Mike March 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    More serious than education?

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    more serious than art projects

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  • metal cowboy March 19, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Connecting this back to bicycles – it will effect the neighborhoods you are riding in right now. If we don’t fihgt projects that induce people to continue driving by themself to and from work etc. then the highways will keep growing and widening and the mode share of cyclists won’t increase, This is a fight worth getting behind for many reasons, but if effects the quality of your ride and what funds are left to improve bike and ped infrastructure in the future.

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  • Suzanne March 19, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Jim, The key point you are missing is that within a short amount of time, cars will fill up this new bridge, just like they fill up the one we have now. And then we will be back where we are now, looking at what section of highway we can spend excessive amounts of money on next to widen. All you need to do is look at LA, NY/NJ, Boston…. building bigger roads doesn’t decrease congestion. It creates demand and increases congestion.
    Where I grew up in NY, the LIE has been in a constant state of construction for as long as I can remember – ever widening the highway to make room for more cars. This is an outdated, ineffective, and infinitely harmful way of thinking, and we need to move away from it.

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Maybe a bicycle registration fee could be the first step for some funds for bicycle infrastructure. What is the toll going to be for bikes on the crc? $5.00 roundtrip? How many yrs. is it going to take for the cyclists to pay for their portion of the bridge?

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    LA has 10 million people, Portland has 575,000. no comparison

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  • Snowflake Seven March 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    From More People, More Congestion over at the Sightline Institute:

    “Take Portland. As INRIX reports, Portland was the 23rd largest metro area in the country in 2008 — and its congestion ranked 23rd worst in the country. Similarly, the two largest US cities by population, New York and LA, ranked second and first, respectively, in total congestion.”


    “…where congestion is concerned, Northwest cities are doing just about what one would expect, given their size. Demagogues would have you believe that there’s some sort of easy solution to congestion. (Build more roads!! Get rid of carpool lanes!!) But the evidence suggests that easy solutions are hard to come by. Geographically constrained metro areas — think New York and San Francisco — have congestion that’s roughly in line with their population size. The same is true for cities that have no real geographic limits, and where low-density sprawl & exurban highway construction has gone virtually unchecked. …”

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  • Suzanne March 19, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    The number of people is not the point, obviously LA is much bigger then Portland, but thanks for pointing that out. The point is, in LA and almost all other major metropolitan areas in this country, they keep building bigger and bigger roads trying to decrease the congestion. Too many people sitting in traffic? Well okay, we’ll build more lanes and put zero emphasis towards alternative forms of transportation. Has it worked? No. And it won’t work here either.

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  • Mike March 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Art projects?

    How about more serious than too many phone books delivered to my house? Just as relevent?

    What was your point?

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  • joe March 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Please don’t feed the trolls

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  • nuovorecord March 19, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Adding some perspective to the 6 vs. 12 lane discussion…

    The number of striped lanes is irrelevant. That’s just paint. What’s important to focus on is that fact that this proposed bridge will accommodate 6 lanes of traffic in each direction, just as the original Interstate bridge now accommodates 3 lanes. The original bridge and it’s twin were originally striped for two lanes, but expanded to three as more and more cars began using them.

    If a 12 lane corridor exists across the river, the pressure will be on ODOT to widen I-5 south of the bridge. There’s already a mis-match of lanes between Oregon and Washington. I have no confidence that the three “auxiliary lanes” + three travel lanes model will stand the test of time.

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  • Hart March 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    The less lanes, the less people will want to drive. The idea is to discourage driving, not make it easier.

    Portland defeated the Mt. Hood Freeway system, we can defeat the CRC.

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    less lanes will mean that the cars will be in a stop and go gridlock making more polltion and using more fuel

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  • revphil March 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Jim, I appreciate you sharing your perspective even though i disagree you.

    According to the internerds i just checked most cars are most efficient traveling at ~30mph. Air resistance becomes exponentially annoying afterward.

    this website did a good job of avoiding saying what would happen below 50 mph

    this one is for teh ubernerds:

    In summery coasting downhill is more efficient.

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  • Hart March 19, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Sorry Jim. That’s a myth. Less lanes will mean people will take lite rail and ride their cycles.

    I would suggest you brush up the history of Portland’s opposition to costly, polluting, unnecessary highway projects.

    Here, learn about this:

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Mike I agree with you that this is too much money. I think they could resolve this for a whole lot less. Education reform is a whole different topic. And I am glad that they were able to change the old bridge from 2 lanes into 3 lanes, that wasn’t a bad thing. That is a good an example of govt. taking care of its infrastructure. Until we are like the jetsons and hover around on hover boards this is the system we have to work with

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Acording to onboard computers on cars they Allways get best mileage on the freeway cruising at uninterupted speeds.

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Portland I understand has 575,000 people, by 2030 we are suposed to be at 3 million. These are just numbers I got off the net so I can’t vouch for them. How do you supose we are going to move goods and provide services for all those people on a jammed up freeway?

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Do any of you remember when we voted for the light rail on Interstate Ave.? It got voted down at least twice, the people spoke and they said no. I think this whole bridge project should be voted on before a small group of people say how to spend our money. personally if Vancouver wants light rail bad enough let them pay for a light rail bridge, I’ll never use it.

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  • Hart March 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    That’s stating the obvious.

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  • bikieboy March 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Jim #36) i think you’re comparing current Portland population to the projected Portland *metropolitan* area population. Current Portland metro population is 2,160,000 (2007 estimate). So, there is anticipated population growth over the next 20 years, but under 50%, not 500%.

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  • jim March 19, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Bikie- Thanks for the clarification. 50 % is big enough

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  • Jebus March 20, 2009 at 2:12 am

    If more people sit in traffic and waste gas, maybe we will run out of fuel before the CRC is even done and we wont need it anymore because we will all be riding our bicycles to work.

    I do know that if the CRC goes through I am moving to Vancouver… why am I paying income tax here when I could live across the river and be able to shop tax free with a quick jump on the CRC? And I am going to stop riding my bike because like Jim said, there wont ever be congestion since its only 3 lanes. Wait, I mean its 6 lanes but only says 3.

    So we are adding 3 faux lanes to ferry vancouverianites over to our side to buy tax free things… nice.

    I have a better idea, and it costs more. Lets build a bridge OVER PORTLAND so that they dont even have to stop here in town on their way to California!

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  • JP March 22, 2009 at 10:13 pm


    I live in LA so let me be the first to tell you that an LA-style approach of widening freeways is not the answer. We have the most extensive freeway network in the country, and our traffic is also the worst. You could call it a failed experiment. Even though we have more people (by the way, 3.8 million, not 10 million), the law of induced demand is the same whether your talking about LA or PDX. I hope that your city is smarter than mine — that it will learn from my city’s mistakes and choose an alternate course.

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  • jim March 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    There probably are 10 million if you count everyone not just the registered persons

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  • jim March 23, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    LA county is 10 million and since you never really leave one city to go to the next it is kind of like a city of 10 million

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  • JP March 23, 2009 at 9:43 pm


    Ok, but you didn’t address my main point, which is that induced demand applies regardless of population.

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  • jim March 23, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    In portland we have what we call an urban growth boundry, This keeps portland from sprawling out like LA. We do have a need for infrastructure as without it trucks sit idle on the freeway not moving. We try to make our bottleneck in the middle of the city. Thats where our busiest freeway goes from 3 lanes to 2 lanes. Why? I don’t know. I guess we’re just weird

    Go Blazers

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