Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Anti 12-lane CRC rally: Slideshow and open thread

Posted by on April 5th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

CRC Rally-155

View of the crowd from atop
the Morrison Bridge.
-Slideshow below-
(Photos © J. Maus)

A large and energetic crowd showed up for the CRC Opposition and Alternatives Rally held in Waterfront Park today.

They were energized by a long list of speakers ranging from Portland City Councilor Amanda Fritz to Republican Washington State Senator Don Benton. The main message to the crowd was this: It’s not too late to change the course of the Columbia River Crossing project and it will be up to citizens to make it happen.

Story continues below


I’ll try to update this story with a more detailed recap later tonight (after my daughters go to bed). In the meantime, you can read the BikePortland Twitter page for live updates that were posted from the rally (thanks to Elly Blue) and you can check out the crowds, the speakers, and the signs in the photo slideshow below:

Did you go to the rally? What were your most memorable moments?

— Check out the great video of the rally put together by Dan Kaufman of CrankMyChain CycleTV!.
— The Oregonian’s Dylan Rivera has posted his report.
— Read Jim Redden’s piece just published in the Portland Tribune.
— Mayor Sam Adams wasn’t there, but he shared his thoughts about the rally on his blog.
— Check out Sarah Mirk’s report on the rally on the Portland Mercury Blog.

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  • Spencer Boomhower April 5, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Really great speakers. Thanks Joe, for pulling this together!

    The line of bikes attached to the railing along the river spoke volumes.

    Some of those signs are great. I didn’t see most of them until I saw this slide show.

    Wonderful to hear from the Vancouver folks saying they’re not any happier about this thing than we are. This is not us vs. WA, it’s us vs. (among other things) rampant, mindless, and unchecked sprawl, and the car-dependency it produces.

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  • metal cowboy April 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks everyone for coming out. The first in many activities to change the direction of this project. Hey, Dylan Riveria has already done an article on at the O’s website. Since groups of so many stripes showed up I’m not clear why the diversity was not mentioned. and Tying the current CRC proposal to the idea of tolling as if the mobility council will be able to force tolling to happen – and when? Now or in 2018 if the folks who built the bridge approve it? AlsoIt and it tries to paint me as a bike activist rather than a community activist speaking up for concerned citizens int eh region and does not offer up any of the coalition groups and speakers who have never been on a bicycle – it would be wonderful if we could countrerbalance some of the comments like ” it’s about a bunch of hippies and a bike activist getting together with a few of his friends. did Sen Benton look like a hippie to you?! Here’s the link if anyone who like to comment on their perception of the rally and the issues.
    At any rate, coverage is coverage and it gets the topic out there front and center. I just did three radio interviews from arbor lodge park via phone so we must have caught some more media from outlets that didn’t make the rally. Thrilled with the number of state reps that showed and others who had letters read etc. OK, back out in the sun with the boys and Beth. Thanks again to all who are supporting this. PS. official numbers from postcards collected and report cards passed out puts attendance in the 400-500 range ciao.

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  • metal cowboy April 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    PS. the diversity was mentioned but to say that having different political groups and ideas on a stage lays bare the rifts between OR and Wash? I got the feel from the rally that we were united in opposing the megabridge – and offering a number of opportunities to look at alternatives. Last week the O’s editorial was that tthis was a bunch of bikers opposing it, now , when we bring out 15 different groups they try to call it rifts/ I felt no infighting or creating tension… just airing of people’s thoughts in the daylight – that alone showed that it wasn’t just a “bike activist” dreaming up a rally but a true outpouring from many portions of the community – but i quibble – coverage is coverage.

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  • Paul Tay April 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Hold up fo’ da LONG view: When cars become extinct like the dinosaurs, guess what’s left? A HUGE 12-lane BIKE path!

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  • Travis Wittwer April 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    I went to the rally for information. I had my feelings against the bridge proposed, but wanted to clarify my gut feeling with the thoughts of other people. I found my time at the rally to be well spent. I will continue to read up on and follow information regarding the bridge. One idea that came up during the rally is the idea to not do anything to the bridge (at the moment) and use the money to fix the bridges we have that are truly in need of replacing. Something to consider.

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  • Kronda April 5, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Great job Joe and everyone who attended. I’m bummed I was out of town till this afternoon, but the pictures are great. Awesome signs!

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  • lothar April 5, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Even though the rally went off well, it did
    have the feeling that it was mostly “cyclist” orientated. I am thinking that all in all this was really short notice and so we didn’t have enough time to get a real call to arms that would have attracted diversity. Don’t get me wrong, a lot happened in a short period of time and I am grateful of your passion for this issue. I also appreciate how well you did convey the message that this a “whole community concern” and not just one little special interest group being whiny .

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 5, 2009 at 7:11 pm


    You probably got that impression because just about everyone showed up by bike…but remember, the vehicle someone uses doesn’t neccesarily define their politics.

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  • Joe Adamski April 5, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Great first step. I hope that from this comes the next generation of leadership for our City. Remember, Mt Hood Freeway gave us the Kafoureys,Walsh,Gustafson, Goldschmidt( ya, i know,but remember him for Max and the transit mall and Pioneer Square) and other young turks who stood the political machine on their ear and then went on to reshape Portland politics to a neighborhood up process rather than a City Club down one.

    While cycling was well represented today, there were other folks who have a great interest in making sure 12 lane doesn’t happen.( Coaliton for a sustainable future, 1000 friends of Oregon and more,as well as conservative politicians,esp those representing Clark County.).
    Robert Liberty, Metro Councillor spoke of some of the other options to solving congestion problems,including a third bridge to Jantzen Beach not tied in with the I-5. he also spoke of the economic realities of this 4.2 Billion and climbing project.His was,to me, the most pragmatic and compelling arguements. One assumption is that CRC, be it 6 lanes or 12 is necessary. Liberty explains why that just aint so.

    One of the take away messages is to build relationships with these other groups. Through unity, strength.

    So, this is the first of many rallies,meetings,events. Remember that the anti Mt Hood folks were disregared too. Mt Hood was a ‘sure thing’ at the time they started the opposition. Myself,I thought they were a bunch of nutcases at first. Things change.

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  • Wallstreet April 5, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Jefferson Smith? was it? Best speaker.

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  • Arthur Smid April 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Portland Steps Forward
    to Build a 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure

    The Columbia River Crossing proposes spending $4.2 billion dollars to build a 12 lane [cars] mega-bridge. The problem is congestion, greenhouse gas emission, and job creation. The best route to solve these problems and build a sustainable transportation infrastructure is high-speed passenger rail with parking hubs at major work/live destinations in downtown Vancouver, Hayden Island, and Portland.

    High-speed passenger rails are common in Europe and Japan where intercity travel is a quick hop. The great distances between major American cities makes high-speed passenger rail an expensive investment. Trips under 400 miles are a perfect niche for high-speed rail. Portland to Vancouver are babysteps, but those high-speed rails are some expensive shoes.

    The infrastructure spending written into the stimulus bill is Portland’s opportunity to quell congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and build out the clean tech industry. The potential to power an electric passenger rail with windpower will create the synergy necessary to mitigate cost.

    It takes ten years or more to build extensive infrastructure. The higher price of transport fuel in Europe and their countries response provides a model for sustainable development in America. Building new highways and bridges can landlock money. By making the investment necessary to produce first-class intercity high-speed rail service, the infrastructure will be in place when oil resources are scarce and expensive. It’s important to build sustainable infrastructure while oil is still relatively cheap.

    (The second part of this think-piece is on muralmouth.wordpress.com) Please let me know what you think.

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  • bikieboy April 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    thanks for wrangling all this, MC – well done!

    An interesting diversity of speakers; not to mention any names, but some were from the rightmost portion of the transpo/politico spectrum, which makes me a little uneasy – still, as the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend…or so we hope.

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  • bikieboy April 5, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    oh, and a big shout-out to Robert Liberty who has obviously thought creatively & at length & in detail about the CRC question…and hasn’t drunk the $4.2 billion 12-lane kool-aid.

    Glad we have at least one person on the Metro council who has – Rex, David, are you paying attention…?

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  • Snowflake Seven April 5, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I made the trek out from Beaverton and pulled up a seat on the grass.

    Liberty definitely offered the clearest presentation of the ideas that I’m on board with. It was interesting to here the Vancouver-ites share their two-cents.

    The diversity of the coalition is going to be a difficult pain point as we try to build a coalition. Its easy to be together in opposition, but at some point a unified position in favor of something is going to be needed. That unity of purpose, shared on both sides of the river, will be a challenge to shape.

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  • Spencer Boomhower April 5, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    BTW, for more on this topic, I highly recommend the last KBOO bike show, which is archived here:


    It’s an hour-long conversation featuring some extremely well-informed CRC opponents.

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  • metal cowboy April 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    I echo JM’s mention that though a chunk of folks arrived by bicycles, many walked right over from the max, some told me they had to go while talking to me post rally because their smartpark time was ticking etc. I appreciate that we need to keep broadening the support base but I think this was great start in the time we had to pull this one together. We had 15 different groups represented at least, some of whom haven’t seen the seat of bike in some time – As I said at the opening of the rally, this is not about bikes vs cars or portland vs vancouver it’s abvout the livability of a region and it’s transportation landscape 20 years out – how that effects the cycling community is rather important, any why it needs to be covered on Bike portland, some of the strange bedfellows you witnessed at the rally should make it clear that we are trying to message beyond the cycling community. Thanks again for attending the rally, hope to see you at future events and actions and please bring family and friends, whether they ride or not.

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  • Elly Blue April 5, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    More photos!

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  • Tom K April 5, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Sorry to miss it – looks like a GREAT turnout. Was hoping to make it with our family but a beautiful day and overgrown landscaping conspired to force yard work. Congrats to Joe and the many supporters and organizers. Now, what do we need to change the course of this behemoth again?
    – 2 Portland City Council members? (thanks Amanda!) OR
    – How many Oregon legislators? OR
    – 3 Metro Councilors? (thanks Robert Liberty!) OR
    – Gov. K.

    Someone give me the details here…

    Seems doable, considering the hubris of a 4 billion dollar investment in increased CO2 emissions. In this day and age!

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  • Racer X April 5, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Wow…Robert Liberty & BTA joining Senator Don Benton…I know politics makes strange bed fellows…but has anyone who regularly reads BikePortland googled Benton?

    [I hate to tell you a secret…He usually is on the side of traditional sprawl.]

    He would not lift a finger to promote transit or bike (and pedestrian) friendly communities.

    His bridge would not have light rail, tolls or a bikeway!

    Regarding his speech today – he hopes you all vote out the current leadership roster for more developer friendly [and funded] politicians.

    This might make for an interesting page 2 article.

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  • Aaron April 5, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    This rally was amazing. My thanks to Joe, Jonathan, and everyone who helped put this together. Thank you also to everyone who came out and braved the weather .
    I hope to hear everyone’s thoughts and look forward to getting some attendance numbers.

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  • Joe Adamski April 6, 2009 at 8:37 am

    One question I do have, and its an important one: are we collectively opposed to the CRC project as a whole, or is it primarily the ‘up to’ 12 lane configuration that givers us the willies?

    Robert Liberty raises a huge question about replacing two bridges that are fundamentally sound and spending $4 Billion plus,where keeping the existing bridges and building a local access to Jantzen Beach and improving the railroad swing bridge downstream might solve most problems.

    Others seem to have a no to 12 lanes but perhaps 10, or 8 or whatever the number, might be acceptable.

    Another thread in BikePortland brings up bike ped facilities and says lets bargain for the best facilities possible, ( I truely believe if this project as a whole goes forward to build, thats a certainty that there will be much better bike ped features)

    Collectively, we seem to be all over the place on what we want. Just raising a big NO and not saying exactly what we stand for seems a difficult position to organize over. Perhaps I am not hearing the position the opposition is taking, but if I am not hearing it, I doubt others are too.

    Dont bite my head off.. just give me an answer.please.

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  • cyclist April 6, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Are there any better crowd photos? The photos on this site make it look like there weren’t more than 150 – 200 people.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 6, 2009 at 9:35 am


    i was thinking the same thing when i heard the estimates. I think what happened is that the assembled crowd we see in the photos was a much lower number than the total number of people who passed through the rally and filled out postcards and/or signed petitions.

    what do you think Joe? can you explain in better detail where the 400-500 attendee estimate comes from.

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  • John April 6, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Don Benton did make some sound arguments, though. What he was talking about scares the hell out of carbound southwest Washington residents; property taxes (dodging Portland’s property tax is why many of them moved here), tolls, etc. Hits them right in the wallet.

    Not to say that I’d recommend blankly following anyone’s advice, especially someone with large interests in so many areas. Individual research is invaluable in community action.

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  • Lenny Anderson April 6, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Thanks Joe for spearheading this event. Also a big thanks to the BTA and 1000 Friends for joining the Coalition for a Livable Future and AROTA in opposition to this foolishness. We have just begun.
    Please find below my letter to the “O” in response to CRC Lora Caine’ letter this the paper this morning.

    To the Editor
    With all due respect to Ms Caine, with whom I served on the Governors’ I-5 Task Force, the CRC proposal for 12 lanes on new I-5 bridges with five miles of expanded freeway is just too much capacity at too high a price based on old data and poor projections. This massive increase in capacity has the potential to dump 80,000 additional vehicle trips onto the streets and highways of north and northeast Portland.

    Actually, in the last couple of years number of vehicles crossing the Interstate Bridges has declined…its a trend we should be encouraging.
    And this comes in spite of the removal of the southbound HOV lane in Clark county, C-Tran’s failure to serve the MAX Yellow Line for three years after its opening(2004-7), and the reduction of subsidies for vanpools across the Columbia. Think what we could do if we really tried to reduce motor vehicle trips across the River. Remember 1997.

    Ms Caine will recall that the Governors’ TF came within one vote…10-9…of recommending further study of an arterial bridge option. Despite ODOT’s promise that it would be included in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, that work was never done. With local trips accounting for a third of the those across the River, a light rail bridge with local traffic lanes would seem to be the obvious fix if one must be had. Why should I have to get on an Interstate freeway to get a drink at Shenanigans?

    Freight? Remember the problem on I-5 is too many single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) in the two peak hour periods, less 5 hours per weekday out of 48. Most logistic folks know better than to send a load north at 3pm. 90% of the time the I-5 bridges are just fine, and there is plenty of additional capacity in all those SOV’s passenger seats.
    Lenny Anderson, Member, Governors’ I-5 Task Force

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  • sue April 6, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Frankly, I was disappointed in how few people showed up. Unless you were working or dying, or in favor of the 12 lane, where were you? I really wish there had been more non-bikey people there to show that this is not something that is of concerns just to cyclists. Also, is was a very white event. Yes, Portland is a rather white city, but this is going to have a great impact on a non-white part of the city. I think there needs to be much more outreach to the N and NE parts of PDX that are going to be destroyed by the CRC if it’s not stopped.
    Great photos of Joe, btw.

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  • Opus the Poet April 6, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Good crowd, but the sign about Houston hurt. People in Houston can’t help the way they are or their infrastructure, most of it was planned and construction started before they were born.

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  • metal cowboy April 6, 2009 at 11:54 am

    REgarding the crowd and the number of official attendees. What you have is about 100-150 people standing along the sides and behind the stage and along the waterfront – it was actually pretty hot on the grass and so we had a wide spread out crowd. But to put it in perspective amanda Fritz mentioned that this was a much larger rally than for the soccer stadium. We went throught he crowd at the END of the rally passing out the report card forms and ran out of 300 with people asking for more. so that should dispel anyone’s eye balling the grass area and deciding that it was 100 folks. We also have nearlng 500 folks who filled out postcards or lists to be transposted onto postcards ( we ran out of 400 postcards – also an indication of how many folks showed up. the weather may have been a mixed blessing – it was so nice that folks – families with limited time and folks with spring projects outside were hard pressed to choose to attend. Truth is i’ve been organizing community events for decades now – and when you have tough issues that don’t really fall into bike fun, it’s a project to get any folks to show up. Memorial events touch folks and bring out the crowds a lot faster than a difficult issue regarding livability. It like trying to get folks to carpool more, vbike, take mass transit. These things many folks agree are better for the society but someone else can do them. I say all this b/c I was very pleased with the turn out. And please remember that this was the opening kick off to a sustained campaign – with events and actions coming down the pipe. If you wanted to be at the rally but didn’t make it, we’ll be offering you more opportunities to engage in the process.

    and Joe Adamski. We hel the rally to oppose a mega bridge option. We also saw this as something of an open house to show a spectrum of alternative. I personally and publiclly side with robert Liberty’s vision. That this is a serviable bridge that we should toll now, retrofit and upgrade the rampos, focus on a hov lane for freight and look at lightrail and bike/ped. But no increase in lanes 8 or 10 or 12. I think this is a 4 billion dollar momument to bad decsion making and something that will open up widening i-5. we should not go forward with the crc – but we should look at cheaper, less carbon impacting solutions.

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  • Suzanne April 6, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Everyone did an awesome job, especially Joe for the amazing organization and all the volunteers and people who lent their time. However, I also was a bit disappointed by the turnout, and I agree with Sue. C’mon people, who the hell cares if your lawn needs mowing or your house needs cleaning. If you oppose this thing you need to show up and say so!!! The Mt Hood Freeway did not get shut down by people hanging out doing chores.
    I’m also really disappointed by the responses to the news articles that have been posted online. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but nonetheless I am a bit taken aback by the nastiness directed at all us treehugging-nontaxpaying-potsmoking-
    unemployed-longhaired-idiotic bicyclists.
    It is really hard not to get discouraged .
    In order for us to kill this thing we are going to have to figure out how to take this past bikes vs cars. My favorite comment was the one guy who suggested we all go committ suicide and stop using HIS resources. That was pretty sweet.

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  • metal cowboy April 6, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Don’t let the right wing bloggers that hang out at the Oregonian’s blogs influence you – if society had done that on a national level during the presidential campaign you would have thought Obama didn’t have a prayer. The fact that this issue/ the opposition to it and the alternatives are actually being written about is headway. I can only take responsibility for my actions and encourage others who share some of my values to act if they so choose.

    One final thought on measuring the success of the event – we had a number of elected officals show up, speak and others send letters to be read on their behalf by elected officals and phoned in statements. To get any elected officals to show up on a weekend to a controversial topic event is big. This thing will live or die by the funding/money from salem and olympia. People who make these decisions are listening and looking. whether you attended the rally or not please call, email and write our reps to voice your feelings of opposition and alternatives.

    And S, not one of those speakers at the rally could be compartmentalized as a hippie – If Benton, Liberty, Cortright, Kahl Fritz, Jefferson Smith etc are hippies then I’ve been smoking something that has thoroughly blurred my vision 😉

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  • Dan Kaufman April 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm
  • Suzanne April 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for the encouraging words. I certainly know that Sen. Benton ( and others) is not a hippy, I was just shocked by the utter hostility, even though I shouldn’t be. I know the rally was a huge success in terms of elected officials and visibility. I won’t let the crazies get me down!


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  • Spencer Boomhower April 6, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Suzanne, there’s also humor to be found in those comments. Like the fact that the very first comment on the OregonLive story, posted on a beautiful, sunny, Sunday afternoon, and posted a mere NINE MINUTES after the story went live, begins with: “Don’t these people have anything better to do?” Irony!

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  • Suzanne April 6, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    🙂 Good point! That is pretty hilarious.

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  • Joe Adamski April 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm


    tab down to the april 5th CRC special coverage. Wait till the kids are out of the room if you dont care to hear the f-bomb dropped repeatedly. Can’t agree with everything he says,but but he gets it in so many ways.

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  • 007 April 7, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I was at the rally and thought there was a good turnout considering the short amount of time after the Metal Cowboy first brought up the idea.

    Yeah, Rep. Jefferson Smith practically had to be dragged onstage, but his talk was cool. He definitely has charisma (sp).

    Robert Liberty, next mayor of Portland, was also cool. Amanda was fun. Benton only seemed to care about his constituents’ pocketbooks, whining about tolls and how Clark County folks don’t deserve them, but he’s a Republican so that’s to be expected.

    I thought Joe’s comment while holding his third son, “I’m not Catholic, just careless.” was funny but unfortunately spoken in front of the little tyke.

    My favorite sign was “Why don’t we just pave the Columbia? And the sign I wanted to but didn’t have time to make: “Stop Vehicular Proliferation”

    IMHO “The End of Suburbia” is nigh (see the film) and the CRC, if it were ever approved, would be antiquated by the time it could be completed.

    Can’t wait for the next call to action.

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  • bike militia April 8, 2009 at 8:41 am

    I thought this was a terrific rally given the circumstances. Apathy is at an all-time high in this country right now – been to an anti-war rally lately?

    Very nice job getting all those groups and viewpoints together in such a short period of time Joe. Had this thing been promoted a little more (and if your average Portlander cared a little more about his city and less about his facebook rep and shoes) we could have easily seen 1000 people.

    After listening to Robert Liberty (in particular), I don’t see how any sane individual could possibly support this project. Trashing a perfectly good $1,000,000,000 pair of bridges is just a ludicrous idea.

    About the bridge overpasses on I-5 in nopo: great idea, but we should be careful with the message. I’m thinking less along the lines of “Carpool you morons”, and more like “Please won’t you be my neighbor?”

    Flyering at bike commuting spots (“CALL YOUR REP WHEN YOU GET TO WORK!”) could also be very effective.

    Back to the rally though. That last lady was hi-larious! Where did you find her? It was great to at least hear the NEPA process mentioned, since it will be critical to stopping the project, but I wish we could of learned about from someone who hadn’t just stepped off of a spaceship. Hopefully there can be a slightly more concise speaker on NEPA and Environmental Impact Statements later.

    Thanks again MC

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