“With the Columbia River Crossing increasingly looking like the Mount Hood Freeway of this year’s mayoral race…”
Jack Roberts in The Oregonian
The recent spate of bad news for the Columbia River Crossing Project — which was documented in detail on the Blue Oregon blog last week — reached new heights today.
In a guest column in The Oregonian, former Oregon Labor Commissioner and respected businessman Jack Roberts reflected on the current Portland mayoral race. In assessing how candidates Jefferson Smith and Charlie Hales compare to former Portland mayor Neil Goldschmidt, Roberts wrote:
“With the Columbia River Crossing increasingly looking like the Mount Hood Freeway of this year’s mayoral race, pro-development individuals and interest groups may want to start cultivating a relationship with Smith to see if he has the capacity to grow into a Goldschmidt-style economic leader.”
Did you catch that? To my knowledge, it’s the most high-profile statement yet that draws a direct line between Portland’s defeat of the Mt. Hood Freeway and the currently planned Columbia River Crossing.
In the latter stages of the recent primary election, Jefferson Smith used his clear opposition to the CRC — and Hales’ inability to clearly define his position on it — as one of his top appeals to voters. He even made a commercial about it. With the controversial project being elevated into the election by someone like Jack Roberts, it’s sure to play an even larger role in November.
Will the CRC suffer the same fate as the Mt. Hood Freeway? A lot has changed since 1974 and the projects have as many differences as similarities. But one thing that hasn’t changed are the values that the citizens of Portland hold near and dear. The CRC project is a test of those values and the results of our mayoral race could depend on which candidate does the best job appealing to them.
— Read the Jack Roberts’ column here.