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BTA shifts tone, issues statement opposing the CRC project

Posted by on March 23rd, 2009 at 11:44 am

“Expanding the freeway and constructing six new massive interchanges will do tremendous damage to the bike friendliness of communities around the project.”
— From a press release issued today by the BTA

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) issued a statement today in opposition to the Columbia River Crossing project. The statement is by far the BTA’s most strongly-worded criticism yet in the 18 months they’ve been tracking the project.

After Mayor Sam Adams and Portland City Council (and soon thereafter the Project Sponsor’s Council) voted in support of building the new I-5 bridge to a size that could accomodate up to 12 lanes, many BTA members and others in the community felt like the project had taken a major turn for the worse.

Story continues below


One day after the council decision, I asked BTA executive director Scott Bricker where he stood on the decision. At that time, Bricker said he was “concerned” that the compromise signed off on by council “would not yield the results we expect,” and that, “12 lanes is just a number.”

Some BTA members felt Bricker’s response was not strong enough. On February 28th, member Steve Gutmann emailed Bricker and wrote that he wanted to cancel his family’s monthly donation. Gutmann wrote that he was, “very disappointed with the BTA’s unwillingness to call out the Columbia River Crossing project as a gigantic boondoggle.”

Now, nearly one month later, Bricker pulls no punches with the BTA’s position. In their statement released today, the BTA refers to the CRC as “the massive freeway expansion, known as the Columbia River Crossing.”

Here’s an excerpt (emphasis mine):

“Widening the freeway to move more cars will generate more traffic in Portland and in Clark County, will speed up climate change by releasing more greenhouse gases, and will spew pollutants into the air around N Portland and Vancouver neighborhoods.

Building bigger freeways is not the solution to the congestion or environmental problems the region is facing. Improving transportation between Vancouver and Portland doesn’t require expanding the freeway. Expanding the freeway and constructing six new massive interchanges will do tremendous damage to the bike friendliness of communities around the project.”

I spoke to Bricker about their position this morning.

He said over the past 18 months, the BTA had relied on local elected officials (Metro and Portland City Council) to make decisions about the project, while they focused advocacy efforts solely on the bike and pedestrian facility part of the project. “We thought our leaders’ efforts were going well, but they have now failed,” he said.

Bricker said City Council’s recent vote was a “clarifying moment” for him and the BTA’s ability to continue to support the project. He said that vote (as well as a similar resolution passed by Metro) went against the City’s stated promises to only support a “right-sized bridge”. “They went against those principles,” said Bricker. He went on:

“Six months ago we could not have imagined that a bridge like this would have passed through the City Council. We were surprised and disappointed in our local leadership that a major freeway expansion was approved.”

Bricker said the BTA will only support a bridge that “moves in a direction of creating healthy and sustainable communities,” and that, “clearly, the direction the project is moving would not achieve that.”

The BTA now plans to join the existing grassroots opposition to current CRC plans. In their statement they encourage attendance at the upcoming “Build Less Bridge Rally” (12:00 pm, 4/5, Waterfront Park).

Read the BTA’s press release here. For more coverage, browse our CRC category.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Suzanne March 23, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Yay! It’s about time.

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  • steve March 23, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    The time for the BTA to have taken this stand was months ago. Time for Scotty to go! Keep cutting off those membership dollars people. It is clearly the only thing that will get their attention.

    I thought 12 was just a number, Scotty?


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  • steve March 23, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Oh Jonathan, nice job downplaying the BTA’s initial response. i almost forgot that this is 180 degree shift. Kudos!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    steve, thanks for the feedback. i took another look at the title and story and i made a few small changes that I think make it more clear that this represents a shift in tone by the BTA.


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  • Aaron March 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    It’s definately about time that the BTA stands up and shows a backbone. Diplomacy is a great initial solution. But when that fails, you have to get up the courage to take a stand.

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  • Mike March 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Dang, Stevey.

    A little fired up?

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  • Amos March 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm


    while it may be hard to see something done the way you wouldn’t do it I don’t know that calling for people to cut off BTA membership dollars is really a rational reaction. I find it fascinating that there is an organization that exists solely for the protection and advancement of bicycle transportation and you want it to fail because it doesn’t work that way you think it should.

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  • matt picio March 23, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    The BTA has been slow to respond to the needs of its members, IMO, but it’s clear that they’ve gotten the message that a significant chunk of their membership does not agree with their initial position.

    I’m glad that the BTA has listened to the membership, examined their position and has changed it to reflect the current political, fiscal and environmental reality.

    CRC needs to go – we’ve now had a 14 consecutive month decline in VMT in the US – where is all this traffic going to come from? In the current funding climate, who’s going to pay for it?

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  • a.O March 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    My preference as a member would have been BTA leading on this (like other issues). But I ditto Matt’s sentiments (#8): At least they’ve decided to follow the will of the people and their members. After the rally, I think you will see other community and civic groups do the same.

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  • Brian March 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I moved to Portland 5 years ago and have been a car-free commuter ever since. I ride 9 miles to work every day, shower, put on my suit and do my job. I also race bikes. I love the bicycle infrastructure and culture in this town.

    With that being said, I think the BTA’s stance is unrealistic and makes Portland’s cyclists look like extremists. I’m a big fan of developing bicycle friendly infrastructure, but I think that opposing a the construction of a badly needed bridge for an auto traffic problem that clearly is not improving only serves to widen the divide between our community of cyclists and the motorists who waste away their lives stuck in traffic.

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  • Kris March 23, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Brian #10

    Nobody is asking to build no bridge or to do nothing. The sensible approach, which the BTA now seems to be subscribing to, is to build less bridge or a smarter bridge, not the biggest bridge that has ever been under consideration. I think the latter is the extremist option.

    Kudos to the BTA for giving this a second thought and become more outspoken about their opposition of the bridge in its current form.

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  • peejay March 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm


    Please better inform yourself about this bridge project, and don’t just rely on the CRC website as your only source. The bridge is not badly needed, fails to satisfy the needs we do have, and will significantly worsen the built environment for both cyclists and motorists, if those motorists also happen to be people who live in the communities surrounding the bridge.

    The fixation on the CRC as a solution to the traffic problem while ignoring all the other ways it will affect our region is not helpful to the debate. As the expression goes: we are all traffic. We are also all people. People who drive also get out of their cars when they reach their destinations, and it does them a disservice to only consider them as motorists.

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  • bahueh March 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    do any of you truly believe the powers that be are actually listening to the BTA? for politicians, special interest groups are to be catered too only during times of election…the years in between it’s nothing but “smile and nod”.

    a lot of you have learned nothing from the past election..and all previous elections. The BTA will not change minds when it comes to building this bridge, they will be politely listened to and told their thoughts will be “taken under consideration”…

    I mean, ask yourself, when’the last time the BTA actually got something tangible accomplished?

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  • bahueh March 23, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    hey peejay..just because Brian’s opinions are different than your own, hardly makes them wrong…and don’t conjecture as to what you think his sources of information are..such a redirection of his valid points only makes your response look foolish.

    The disserve may very well be making those people sit in their cars for extended periods of time, breathing particulate matter, increasing stress, and causing unneeded damage to their vehicles…..all in the way you view it. Simply because you choose to view it under a different lens doesn’t make him wrong.

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  • metal cowboy March 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I’m very pleased and grateful that the BTA has come out in opposition and stated clearly and specifically why. I hope to see all of you at the rally. Let’s help our region solve it’s transportation challenges with less expensive, evironmentally lighter impacting solutions. Sunday, April 5th Noon, Waterfront Park. – pedal, walk, bus, transit, get there whatever way possible and bring lots of friends. Size does matter in terms of turn out and showing the media and public that there is opposition to this thing.

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  • peejay March 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm


    I’m not saying Brian was wrong, but his argument in favor of the bridge is based on one issue alone, and that is the issue that the pro-bridge side is pushing to the exclusion of almost everything else. I hear it a lot from people I meet, and when I lay out the other issues tied to a larger bridge, those people are generally receptive to my ideas. We’ve all heard about how terrible it is that cars are sitting in traffic and not moving, but we’re not hearing that much about what a larger bridge will do to our area. It would be good if Brian read up on those issues.

    The funny thing is that there is no proof that a large bridge will solve the one problem it is supposed to solve, and plenty of examples in recent history that show that the traffic problem will return in a short time after expansion, only with more cars clogging up more lanes. On the other hand, we already have some pretty good solutions for traffic congestion that don’t require a massive and expensive new bridge. Congestion pricing works very well, and has been proven.

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  • old&slow March 23, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    It is nice that they really got out in front of this! Bricker,et al, are just so mainstream non-profit career types, that they really have no passion for cycling or even cycling related issues. As long as the bike shops give 10% discounts they can keep getting members but taking a stand requires ruffling some feathers which they obviously do not want to do or they would have come out against this a long time ago. The horse is already out of the barn and the B.T.A. and Sam Adams have sold us all out! Keep the cards and letters and the dues coming, the B.T.A. is looking out for you.

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  • beth h March 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I am glad the BTA leadership woke up and said something real.
    I am sorry they took this long to do so, because it makes them look like lemmings.
    I have no idea what a rally will actually accomplish but I plan to be there. See you on the 5th.

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  • Steve G March 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm


    The BTA clearly miscalculated in not opposing this project sooner, but I don’t think a mistake — even a huge one like this — can’t be rectified with hard work. Personally, I think this is great news, and I’m re-joining the BTA.

    Now all of the region’s cyclists — and the environmental community at large — need to step up the pressure, show up at noon on April 5th in Waterfront Park — and stop Bridgezilla before it destroys our city.

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  • bahueh March 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    peejay..I think Brian (and myself) are probably coming from the angle that people are moving to Portland. Period. Lots of them in the next 10 years. Lots.
    With that will come traffic. Lots of it. Now the lesser of two evils here is to help accomodate that somewhat to alleviate the pain on everyone (you and I included). I grew up in this town…I’ve watched it explode in the past 10 years…now you can either argue against accomodating some of that growth (with projects like this bridge – 8 lanes, 10 lanes, or whatever) or we can simply accept that decisions in this town are not made only by the 4-6% bike commuting constituency (in the summer months) and that our politicians and city planners have to make decisions to help 100% of the population in PDX.

    we can rally all we want…a bridge is still going to be built. why? because Portland is a great place to live and it is currently attracting a LOT of people (last year it was New Yorker’s…the Times was writing about the cheap real estate and restaurants almost weekly). that’s not going to change. I-5N is a craptastic parking lot between 3pm and 8pm…and the only historical precedent that will ever change that is higher gas prices…it had nothing to do with the size of a bridge.

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  • bahueh March 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Steve G…destroys our city?
    your flair for the dramatic is fun and all, but PDX isn’t going anywhere…it was here long before you showed up and it will be here after you leave..

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  • peejay March 23, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Everyone who is attending the rally, please bring what you can to the event. We’re doing this on a shoestring since we don’t have the BTA’s finances. It’s a good idea to make your own signs, as long as you keep it reasonably clean. Remember, we’re trying to make this a positive event, not a hipster/anarchist /fringe-outlaw protest. It’s about Portland, its communities, and its families. See you there!

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  • metal cowboy March 23, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Beth –
    What this rally will accomplish is make a public statement to and through the media that there is formal opposition to a megabridge – to the idea of building our way out of congestion and that this posal as currently stated is the only or best solution to the challenges of transportation needs for the area over the next 30 years. It also changes momentum, gets people to notice the issue, lays out alternatives and gets names such as Bradbury and others – BTA to make formal statements and offer solutions. It’s the court of public opinion and it can be powerful. Also, when you feel strongly about something, you should not be afraid to gather and rise up in nonviolent opposition to something. Imagine all the struggles of the past, if people decided, heck, probably won’t change anything , so I’ll just let my beleifs by washing over by the current conventional wisdom or loudest, most well funded voices in the room. I don’t want that happening to a community that i love, livi in and pedal around every day. So win, place or show we show up and speak up. And thanks for planning to be there. It will make all the difference… really.

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  • Jim Lee March 23, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Good to see BTA back in the saddle!

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  • Donna March 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    old&slow (#17) – I’m against the bridge and I’ve been very critical of the BTA’s stand on the CRC until today. I’m also not totally thrilled with what I’ve seen of Scott Bricker’s leadership. That said, Scott Bricker and a great many employees of the BTA have a deeply rooted passion for cycling and cycling-related issues. Bricker’s an LCI and no one goes through all that unless one is passionate about cycling. I see plenty of BTA staffers at cycling-related events on their own time because of their own passion for cycling. Many of them went out and got jobs at the BTA because they wanted their job to be related to something they truly loved doing.

    Criticize the BTA all you want for the stands they take on policy, but I’m certainly not going to accept lack of passion to be one of their faults.

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  • old&slow March 23, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Donna, I was perhaps a little harsh, but when I see such a namby pamby response to such an important issue, I just wonder what the politics behind this is. The B.T.A. is not a so-called political entity although they do have to operate within the environment,but when I have seen this group in the last year be so reluctant to be out front on important issues, I wonder what the problem is? The anti-bike groups have no problem playing hardball and have a lot more establishment types on their side, the bicycle advocacy citizens have so little clout and the B.T.A. is the only really establishment group we have that it is so disheartening to see them be so reticent to take positions that we pay dues to see them take!

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  • peejay March 23, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Portland can increase its population substantially without needing a new bridge. The Clark County suburbs cannot increase their population without this bridge. That’s what this is about. Do we want smart growth, or do we want business as usual?

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  • Anonymous March 23, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Is the BTA completely inept?

    Let’s ask ourselves the question based on the current crop of BikePortland stories.

    1. The Idaho law outreach. Inarguably poor outreach. Eugene is the state’s second largest city. Moreover it enjoys a strong reputation as a bike-friendly city. Not getting Eugene to neutral is a political disaster for this cause. You have to feel bad for Kopel-Bailey, though he will shrug this off politically. It’s the BTA that takes the hit in Salem for being poorly organized. But if you’re Jules, it’s a ‘fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me’ situation.

    2. The Idaho law merits. Get 10 cyclists together and they’re not all going to agree on anything. That said, 10 Oregon cyclists might all agree that rolling through stop signs isn’t the highest and best use of limited political capital in Salem. Who decided this was a legislative priority?

    How about moving from 1% of highway funds earmarked for bikes to 2%? when Democrats are in charge top to bottom. I bet we could all agree that would be a good use of political capital. Even Republican gubernatorial candidate Jason Atkinson would likely support this.

    3. Opposing the CRC now. Are you kidding? Where was the BTA when its opinion on this issue actually mattered? It’s one thing for individuals to do their fun skits after the fact, but the state’s most influential bicycle organization can’t get away with being a day late and a dollar short. This ship has sailed, folks.

    The entire environmental community, BTA included, left the mayor, city council, Bragdon, and Metro high and dry. They provided no cover whatsoever.

    It’s one thing to be incapable of getting your constituents motivated on a particular viewpoint. It’s quite another to johnny-come-lately after the votes. That’s just embarrassing.

    4. Without revealing sources, the fact is it’s the mayor’s office pushing for cycle tracks and innovations generally, not the BTA. A general observation: taking credit where credit is not deserved is tacky at best and a proven way of undermining credibility among those who know.

    5. And the final thing that comes to mind (at the moment): the BTA works to host the national Safe Routes to School conference in Portland the same year its local transportation bureau proposes to gut funding for the very program.

    That’s right: PBOT proposes to kill funding for its Safe Routes to School program, which is an extremely lucrative contract for the BTA, incidentally. Look at their budget. What does that tell you about the BTA’s pull with the bureau’s leadership?

    Imagine hosting that conference and having to stand up before hundreds of attendees from around the country and admit your program is gone because it was defunded. Adams will no doubt bail out the program, and by extension, the BTA with it before the final budget is completed. He won’t embarrass himself politically like that. But the fact that the bureau’s leadership can even propose to gut the program – the same year Portland hosts the national conference (!) – says BTA has no sway with Sue Keil or the leadership generally.

    What happened to the scrappy non-profit that sued the city for bike lanes and kicked ass? Please redirect my annual membership dues to those people.

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  • Mike March 24, 2009 at 10:14 am


    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    I’d rather my money and hours were better utilized than for the running of stop signs. Was/is that really the most pressing issue for cyclists?

    If you are wondering what happened to the BTA, look no further than the Board. Great people, to be sure, but their interests may not align with the greater membership base. Based on their objectives, I know that they do not represent me very well.

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  • Evan Manvel March 24, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Anonymous: if you think it’s easy or uncontroversial to double the amount of dedicated money going to bikes and pedestrians in Oregon’s bike bill, please come to Salem and talk to some legislators who are making big decisions in the middle of a huge budget crisis.

    I think you’ll change your mind about the relative ease of said proposal.

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  • beth h March 24, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    @ Metal Cowboy (#35):

    Thanks for your comments.

    I’ve been a daily bike commuter for over 35 years. I’ve also been tilting at the windmill that is Car Culture about that long.

    Mostly these days I’m not scared, I just TIRED. I am SO tired it hurts. I am tired of doing battle every effing day with cars on the roads.

    I am tired of having to dress like a Christmas tree on acid in order to pretend that I can be seen — and my presence respected — by car drivers.

    I am tired of doing organized recreational group rides through residential neighborhoods where I have to slow down and yell “clear” at Every Effing Intersection because people think it’s their right to drive their cars too fast on these quiet streets.

    I am just plain tired. I am weary.

    More people ARE moving to Portland, whether we like it or not. Clark County will grow, like it or not, and Portland’s longtime vision of urban density and walkable spaces may not match Clark County’s vision. And the powers that be have lots of money and time left to keep propping up the car culture and the sprawl that comes from it for many years to come.

    I am tired and saddened by the realization that all the rallies and battle cries and Sunday Parkways and Bridge Pedals won’t eliminate — or even meaningfully reduce — the sense of caution that I must exercise every time I ride my bike on city streets. It is exhausting to have to be so careful every effing day.

    I’ll keep riding my bike, and I’ll come lend support at the rally, but I’m not going to kid myself.
    The kind of change I dream of will take DECADES — and a real paradigm shift in concepts of personal space, wealth and entitlement — to come about.

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  • ryanknapper March 24, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    I don’t really know where I stand on this issue, however:

    “Widening the freeway to move more cars will generate more traffic in Portland and in Clark County, will speed up climate change by releasing more greenhouse gases, and will spew pollutants into the air around N Portland and Vancouver neighborhoods.”

    Cars pollute the most when they are driving slowly, or idle. Keeping traffic moving along at a decent pace would actually reduce the amount of pollution they produce.

    Additionally, not increasing the number of lanes is unlikely to increase the number of low-emission cars sold or to increase the cyclist commuters coming from or going to Vancouver. Most people decide to switch to the bike because of a variety of reasons, not just because the traffic is terrible.

    A new bridge would have vastly improved pedestrian and cyclist facilities, regardless if it has four or twelve lanes.

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  • peejay March 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm


    Cars pollute the most when they are driving slowly, or idle. Keeping traffic moving along at a decent pace would actually reduce the amount of pollution they produce.

    What guarantee is there that we won’t wind up with the same traffic congestion, just with twice the number of cars driving just as slowly?

    Almost every bridge proponent uses this claim that stop and go traffic makes more pollution than steady driving, yet they cannot prove that the bigger bridge will fix this. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of evidence that more lanes mean more of the same backed-up traffic.

    Additionally, not increasing the number of lanes is unlikely to increase the number of low-emission cars sold or to increase the cyclist commuters coming from or going to Vancouver.

    Take the not out of your statement and it’s just as true. And just as irrelevant to solving the congestion issue.

    new bridge would have vastly improved pedestrian and cyclist facilities, regardless if it has four or twelve lanes.

    While I’d like to see better bike and ped options crossing the Columbia, this will always be a small part of the overall bridge usage. There are far bigger issues at stake. I’d willingly give up the opportunity to have a better bike lane on the bridge if it meant stopping this project.

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  • bikieboy March 24, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    p-j (#27): “The Clark County suburbs cannot increase their population without this bridge”

    i think you nailed it. For this,$4.2 billion?

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  • Anonymous March 24, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    @ 30, Evan Manvel:

    You’re the Legislative Affairs Director for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. That means this is your job.

    We appreciate you weighing in. Thank you for the opportunity to ask some questions.

    Browsing your website… OLCV is a catalytic member of the Oregon Conservation Network, 50 environmental organizations – including the BTA – with six legislative priorities. You personally are the point person for this effort.

    Your stated #1 priority is “Implement Global Warming Solutions.” Another priority is “Increase Transportation Options.”

    Two of your six highest priorities directly relate to the CRC, the largest public works project in the state’s history. In light of these facts, what is OLCV’s position, directly or indirectly, on the CRC? What was it before the local vote?

    Please outline for our education the efforts that OLCV has undertaken to encourage a certain outcome for the CRC. Did OLCV meet with Metro or Portland City Council to articulate a position?

    The Idaho Stop Law isn’t on anybody’s radar screen as a top legislative priority – except, apparently, the BTA. While I strongly support its adoption personally, there’s no way it’s even remotely as important as say… increasing highway fund dollars from 1 to 2%.

    The Idaho stop law is a nice-to-have for the few of us that already ride. By contrast, increasing funding for bikes, a tangible commitment to two of your network’s highest priorities, is well within the reach of reality – if it’s prioritized as such.

    You have an outgoing governor who preaches global warming action at every opportunity yet allows his ODOT agency to allocate unprecedented levels of transportation funding, courtesy of the stimulus package, to the second greatest generator of greenhouse gases – cars.

    A politician can never walk his talk all the time. But on this one his rhetoric is so distant from his actions he’s practically begging you, the OLCV Legislative Affairs Director, to serve him an important legacy opportunity like increasing bike funding from 1 to 2%.

    You have 36 D votes in the House.

    You have 18 D votes in the Senate.

    You have an R like Jason Atkinson who probably gets this on the merits of policy. He also wants to be governor, so he probably understands this would play well in the politically important city of Portland.

    Sure Bob Russell will squawk. Roll him. You may never get a better opportunity.

    Bottom line: the focus is misplaced, the organization is poor, the strategy seems non-existent.

    PS- You may want to update your website: Jeremiah Baumann no longer works for Environment Oregon; he’s worked for Senator Jeff Merkely for months.

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  • old&slow March 24, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Anonymous, I don’t know who you are, but keep it coming! These groups, the B.T.A., the OLCV, are so embedded with non-profit professional types (not that there is anything wrong with that), that they have completely lost focus on who they represent. These window dressing efforts like the Idaho Stop law are just lazy! Keep the pressure on!

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  • beth h March 25, 2009 at 8:44 am

    @ Anonymous (35):

    Who are you? And perhaps would your informed and informing comments carry a little more weight if you identified yourself?

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  • ryanknapper March 25, 2009 at 8:50 am

    peejay: That was an excellent response.

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  • Kris March 25, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Anonymous #28: “The entire environmental community, BTA included, left the mayor, city council, Bragdon, and Metro high and dry. They provided no cover whatsoever.”

    Are you implying that it is the job of the environmental community and the BTA to provide political cover for our local elected officials on any important and controversial issue like CRC? What’s wrong with these organizations opposing decisions that are perceived to be contrary to their goals and to the interest of their constituents?

    Moreover, both the City Council and the Metro Council have been divided over the direction and scope of the CRC. Last time I checked, David Bragdon, Amanda Fritz and others were making very vocal pleas for the 8-lane or 10-lane build options. So arguably, the BTA and others are still providing cover for those people.

    This was just round one. There will be plenty of battles down the line about what the CRC ultimately will end up looking like. I for one am glad that the BTA is recognizing that this will be a long-term fight and that there is still time to adjust their position and align with many individuals in the bike community and environmental and social justice groups. Let’s just hope that they won’t keep going back-and-forth too often ;o)

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  • Lenny Anderson March 25, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    While growth will come to Portland regardless, the how and where it is accommodated is up to us. The irony is that many people are attracted to Portland because we have not gone the usual “build more roads” route, thanks to some visionaries in the 70’s. The CRC proposal violates that vision and compromises what Portland stands for, all the greenwashing notwithstanding.
    Join the April 5 rally against the CRC on the former Harbor Drive freeway, now Waterfront Park. Where is this generation’s Tom McCall?

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  • bahueh March 25, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Lenny…seriously? you think people are moving here because of the visionaries of the 70’s…teh MAJORITY of them are moving here for cheap real estate and reduced life stress common on the E. coast….
    its just a bridge, its not evil incarnate..it doesn’t “violate” anything…it simply helps interstate traffic move more freely through the area….anything else is emotion and conjecture…

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  • peejay March 25, 2009 at 5:56 pm


    Seriously? You think the idea that widening the I-5 at the most expensive part of its route (over the Columbia) – while swearing on a stack of Whole Earth catalogs that no other widening is even being considered – is going to allow traffic to move freely through the area? That’s is the height of wishful thinking. As the saying goes: Have I got a bridge to sell you!

    Anyway, why do you think we have reduced stress here? Go look at a map of the Boston area. Do the same for New York, Washington, LA. I bet you’ll see a lot of lanes of traffic on divided highways.

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  • revphil March 25, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    relating it to bikes…

    the new bridge would be high off the river for river traffic.

    Im sure they would spend several 1000s of dollars on the pedestrian/bike infrastructure, but making the bridge a steep climb is going to discourage many who might ride or walk across it.

    This bridge is wrong for so many reasons, its hard to keep track of them all.

    I am stoked the BTA is on board!

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  • wayne March 25, 2009 at 11:20 pm


    First of all, the tone of your comment was pretty lame.

    Second, Lenny is spot on. Portland has become a great city because of the decisions made by some “visionaries of the 70’s”. It is not by accident that bicycling (and walking) are vaible ways to get around in this city. A few people, way back in the 70’s, had to take some pretty serious risk to get the ball rolling so that Portland could become the city it is today. The problem is that a lot of today’s politicians like to bask in the legacy of the past but don’t want to rock the boat. Hence the CRC.

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  • SE Cyclist March 26, 2009 at 8:13 am

    The region will grow by a million people during the next 20 or 30 years. Some of them will work in downtown Portland; some will live in Clark County; some will live in more distant parts of Washington, Clackamas, and Yamhill Counties.

    Building a new bridge to Vancouver with 10 or 12 lanes plus a light rail extension plus great bicycle facilities will allow easier commutes from Vancouver to Portland than not building it. Wouldn’t it be better to have some of the million new residents living in Clark County and using all modes of travel to get to Portland than having them live in rural Yamhill County and commuting by auto? Clark College in Vancouver, the planned terminus of the Max extention, is closer to downtown Portland than is Hillsboro, which currently has the Max.

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  • peejay March 26, 2009 at 11:31 am

    SE cyclist:

    Great idea! Let’s build a Max bridge, with bike and ped facilities, and have it cross about half a mile downstream from the current I-5 bridge, which will allow Max stops to be developed properly. Since transit stops are best when hight density development is clustered immediately adjacent to the stop, it’s nearly impossible to design a proper station when it’s pushed right up against a high traffic, high speed automobile route, especially when you add the complication of entrance and exit ramps. If you locate them next to a freeway, you wind up with a park-and-ride, which is better than no transit at all, but terrible when compared to the alternative.

    Let’s stop designing our cities around cars, folks! Most of all, let’s stop designing our mass transit around – and as an afterthought to – cars.

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  • Rob March 27, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I agree 12 lanes is a mistake. However having bike lanes under and at one edge could make for a beautiful view, less wind, no distractions and car grit and a safer more pleasant merge with bike route connections on either end. Plus if it is a cable stayed bridge no bird droppings from above.

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  • RyNO Dan March 27, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    The Schmoregonian wastes Edit space today blasting the BTA’s decision.

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  • bike militia March 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Wow. Its really great to see so many people typing so passionately about this bridge.

    I think its critical that as many Portlanders (and even ‘Couvites) as possible take some time to think about this idea.

    Almost every Portlander I’ve talked to is decidedly less than enthusiastic about a new 12-lane bridge. It seems as though the people backing it thought they were going to sweep the planning under the rug, build the thing under a big tent, and then, ta-dah! Welcome to NW Orange County!

    The 12-lane I-5 is faaaaar from a done deal, but the time to stop it is right now. Don’t hesitate to email or call elected officials, neighborhood people, newspapers, non-profits, even the stupid jerks on the city council who think they’ve washed their hands of it. Every bit helps.

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