Here’s the latest from the grassroots group who are mounting a campaign against the 12-lane CRC bridge plans:
Bill Bradbury To Speak At CRC Opposition And Alternatives Rally
Citizen’s Coalition Schedules Rally for Noon, Sunday, April 5th Waterfront Park, Releases Satirical Video
A grassroots coalition of Portlanders and Vancouverites opposed to the current scope and direction of the Columbia River Crossing project will host an Opposition and Alternatives Rally at Waterfront Park. The event is schedued for noon, Sunday, April 5th, on the lawn of Portland’s Waterfront Park – just north of the Hawthorne bridge. Rally 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.
“This part of the world has made truly sustainable choices in the past, an urban growth boundary, investment in mass transit, bicycle infrastructure and the stoppage of the Mt Hood Freeway and Harbor Highway,” rally organizer Joe Kurmaskie said. ” Innovative decisions that have made us an attractive city to live in or visit. Putting up a four billion dollar, 12 lane mega-bridge will change all that, and not for the better. The project is based on models done before peak oil and the arrival of an economic crisis that’s changing every aspect of people’s lives, including their transportation choices. The CRC is 20th century thinking applied to a very different world today. We can not hope to build our way out of congestion. As proposed, 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.
The Waterfront Park rally will include speakers, calls to action, information booths, distribution of lawn signs and tangible steps citizens can take to oppose the project, as well as the announcement of teach ins by smarterbidge.org, and other organized events in the future. Speakers will include elected officials, transportation experts and community leaders explaining their opposition to the project while proposing alternatives.
So far, confirmed to speak are former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury (who give’s Al Gore’s climate change presentation all over the country), Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz (the only city council member who voted against moving forward on a 12-lane CRC bridge), and Metro Councilor Robert Liberty (who voted against the project in the past and has offered specific alternatives) and Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocate and educator Michelle Poyourow.
The coalition is also taking the fight to the blogsphere through a series of mock video ads that use satire to drive their points home. Modeled in the American tradition of political rebel rouser Mark Twain and more recently, the humor and humanity of Jon Stewart, the first sixty second spot is titled, “Have We Got A Bridge To Sell You?” and spoofs on the informercial/Home Shopping Network format.( video link at bottom of email)
In the video, a coffee cup toting couple sitting on a couch does a cheerful hard sell on the “Bridge Shopping Network”. The item up for bid is a $4.2 billion dollar “Luxury Item”. As a salesman makes his pitch sitting beside a poster of the proposed 12 lane bridge the phrases such as “Shock and sprawl!”, “Building like it’s 1959?”, “Making amends for not buying the Mt. Hood Freeway” and “$4 Billion dollars, subject to increase without notice”, roll by in ticker style at the bottom of the screen. Another one-liner you’ll hear: “This bridge can be yours for just 1,000,000 easy payments of $4,000 each!”
The videos will be posted on youtube each week and links emailed to 250 blogs and media outlets. The goal is to expose truths about the project in an entertaining way while promoting organized events such as the rally, teach ins and trips to Salem to voice opposition to elected representatives.
“We can’t allow the area to become another L.A. or Houston in terms of traffic,” Kurmaskie noted. “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.”