County Board of
A draft resolution that is expected to be voted on by the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners on Thursday could make them the first government body to take a position against the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project. The draft resolution has been published to the Board’s website and we’ve pasted the full text below.
If it passes (assuming it’s even brought up for a vote), it would be just the latest symbol that the facade of inevitability for the project that has been strategically promoted by staff and backers for years, might finally be starting to crack.
Here’s the text of the resolution (emphases mine):
RESOLUTION NO. _________________________
RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE
COLUMBIA RIVER CROSSING (CRC)
known as the I-5 BRIDGE REPLACEMENT PROJECT
WHEREAS, the nearly $10-Billion Dollars of fully burdened total cost, including all interest that result from the CRC Project, this will create significant losses of State and Federal Funding opportunities for our future City and County transportation infrastructure needs; and
WHEREAS, new fees and taxes will likely be required and imposed upon our citizenry with the opportunity for voter approval; and
WHERE AS, there is abundant evidence of widespread and overwhelming public opposition; and
WHEREAS, there are better plans available which will provide significant savings and gain public support; and
WHEREAS, we (elected officials) are obligated to speak up for our citizenry and to protect vital future funding sources; and
WHEREAS, it is important for elected officials to stand up and be counted on what me be the largest transportation project in the state history.
NOW, THEREFORE, THE BOARD OF CLACKAMAS COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:
The Board of Clackamas County Commissioners hereby directs the Clackamas County Administrator, to notify all of those concerned with the CRC Project (also known as the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project), including ODOT, WDOT, TriMet, C-Tran, Metro, City of Portland, The City of Vancouver, the Washington and Oregon Governors offices, both State Legislatures and the congressional delegations that:
The Board of Clackamas County Commissioners strongly objects to commit any funding to the Columbia River Crossing Project as currently planned; And
That the Board of Clackamas County Commissioners urges all other Oregon and Washington Counties and Cities to stand up and be counted on the important matter.
INTRODUCED AND ADOPTED this 7th day of February, 2013.
John Ludlow, Chair of the Board of Clackamas County Commissioners
Clackamas County is known around the region for their vehement opposition to “Portland creep” and light rail; but it’s amazing to note how similar their arguments against the CRC project are to the Portland-based non-profits and citizen activists that also oppose it. Strange bedfellows indeed.
“As others are asked to come up with money — or see that the project will jeopardize funding for things they want — we are likely to see a lot more resistance.”
— Joe Cortright, economist
Also important to note is that there are two new commissioners on the Board, both of whom were expected to shake things up. The new Chair of the Board, John Ludlow, told The Oregonian after the elections in November: “I think we need to become real participatory partners with Metro instead of being stepchildren and being told what to do. Clackamas County has its own ideas about what to do with growth, density and transportation.”
Reached for reaction to this resolution, outspoken critic of the CRC project and noted economist Joe Cortright said, “I think its a big deal.”
“It signals that other folks around the region — and around the state — are recognizing that if CRC goes forward, it will essentially suck up every available dollar of transportation money, and all the other projects people want will have to get in line behind ‘finishing’ the CRC.”
Cortright also said if the resolution is passed, it might give Clackamas County state legislators and federal representatives reason for pause when it comes to voting on CRC funding legislation.
For years, CRC project staff and backers have relied on the image of a broad consensus of support for the project as a way to make it politically palatable. This resolution could spark an erosion of that regional consensus (especially if we see other governmental bodies follow suit) which would pose a very big problem for the project overall.
Cortright sees this opposition from Clackamas a sign of things to come:
“For the past 7 years, CRC has pitched the project as a giant gift to the region. Recall that nobody, anywhere, has voted even a dime for the construction of this project. Now it’s getting real. Clark County [Washington] had the first vote on the matter and went 56/44 against CRC. As others are asked to come up with money — or see that the project will jeopardize funding for things they want — we are likely to see a lot more resistance.”
UPDATE, 2/6 at 9:30 am: We have confirmed with the Clackamas County Administration Office that this resolution will be brought up tomorrow and voted on.
Awesome. The enemy of my enemy is my friend: anti-CRC elements in Clackistan + same in the Couve + livable community and environmental activists! Now that’s awesome. Can’t wait the the Tea Party Anti-CRC booth at Sunday Parkways.
Yeah, if left and right actually agree on something (are there any other issues that they see eye to eye on?), I don’t see how the project will generate the support to move forward. Even Clark County didn’t support it…
While everyone has their own reasons for hating the CRC, it’s encouraging to see the actual facts of the project being repeated by activists on both ends of the political spectrum. The impact of this nightmare freeway will be suffered by everyone, and we need to continued speaking out and working together to shut down the CRC for good.
you do realize that this is only due to the fact that clackamas doesn’t want any new bridge built, at least not if there’s a chance they’ll have to help fund it.
“WHEREAS, there are better plans available which will provide significant savings and gain public support…”
Sounds like a soft endorsement of the ‘Common Sense Alternative’ to me.
This region will double in population within most of our lifetimes. But we can’t have light rail. We can’t have cars. We can’t have bike lanes. Even the falling down Sellwood Bridge was refused funding from certain camps. In a democracy we plan and build for the needs of the many. But in too many cases the vocal minority plays spoiler and even endangers us. An AR-15 in every school? Healthcare at an emergency room? Creation ‘science’ in school? So many bad ideas keep returning like weeds. Our political landscape is so polarized that we’ve lost our concept of progress. But the present bridge is awful and the vocal minority thinks it is a modern marvel. The rest of us dread it. Please build the CRC. Enough delay.
“This region will double in population within most of our lifetimes.”
Just like VMT will always go up?
“Our political landscape is so polarized that we’ve lost our concept of progress.”
What is our concept of progress that we’ve lost? Build more freeways? No thanks.
“But the present bridge is awful and the vocal minority thinks it is a modern marvel. The rest of us dread it. Please build the CRC. Enough delay.”
I don’t think this is per se about the condition of the bridge, Marid. ODOT doesn’t think it is awful; they just like big capital projects. But let me ask you this: Why are you so enamored of this freeway-expansion-dressed-up-as-a-bridge-replacement? What exactly will it solve that you find so pressing?
Marid Show me the money! and not the money in my pocket
Woah woah woah Marid. You’re comparing a giant, unfunded, terribly designed bridge boondoggle with automatic rifles in schools and creationism? What step am I missing here?
Even though it’s so darn expensive it might make sense to support this project IF it could do what claims it can – relieve congestion, reduce pollution, and provide family wage jobs for the region.
Unfortunately, it won’t reduce congestion in the short or long run, it will increase pollution and it will actually cost us permanent jobs and we have to pay dearly for all this failure.
To add insult to injury they are cutting the MUP to save $15mi (a small fraction of the muti billion total). This should be considered a slap in the face of all active transportation proponents.
We can do way better than this. Please help kill funding in the Oregon Legislature by supporting legislation like above, citizen and advocate lobbying of legislators, AND direct action!
Please join the PDX Bike Swarm as we ride the Hawthorne Bridge next Tuesday Feb. 12th. We will also be lobbying and riding from Olympia to Salem Friday, March 1st- Monday the 4th. More info at http://bridgethedivide-northwest.blogspot.com/ and soon at pdxbikeswarm.org
While I welcome their contributions to stopping the CRC, my concern is that if the Clackamas and Vancouver contingents get their way & kill bike, ped, & light rail then change their minds, we’ll get the worst possible bridge.
“it might make sense to support this project IF it could do what claims it can – relieve congestion, reduce pollution, and provide family wage jobs for the region.”
The only thing that reduces the kind of pollution we’re increasingly interested in (CO2) and congestion is reduced driving. Tolling the existing bridge would go some distance toward that and cost (probably) less than we’ve spent studying this damn thing already. As for family wage jobs, those jobs that rely directly or indirectly on digging up or burning fossil fuels aren’t going to remain viable very long. Every day the news is worse on that front. Just about anything else we could conceivably do with this money (we don’t have) would be more prudent than expanding freeways. Dumping all that money (we don’t have) in a pile and setting it on fire would almost certainly be a better way to go.
Clark and Clackamas Counties, both considered to be more conservative than Multnomah, have positioned themselves against the CRC for distinctly different reasons.
Multnomah County – with the most to lose in terms of environmental damage, congestion, noise pollution, and job competition from out-of-state workers, in addition to all of the factors that Clackamas has listed – do you have anything to say for yourself?
Good for the County to stand up and be counted. This boondoggle threatens more than just future transportation funding – it also threatens the future of downtown Vancouver, which will be overwhelmed by 3 giant parking garages. One of these will destroy the Lucky Lager Warehouse, a historic building which has stood for almost 100 years. While I do not oppose light rail, I do not support the construction of these parking garages which will house almost 3,000 vehicles. These do not belong downtown.
The carbon footprint of cement is 5% of worldwide CO2, airlines are only 3.5% of worldwide CO2. The cement, steel, work vehicles and construction equipment are a HUGE carbon footprint. It will take decades to balance out the CO2 savings in traffic flowing one minute faster.
Also Clackamas County gets points for acknowledging that the bridge cost isn’t $3.5 billion with interest it’s $10 billion. Money that the feds don’t have to rescue us in case it all goes to hell, which it will.
How many other government services are going to be cut, to realize this dream, I mean nightmare.
The savings will never balance out, because of:
1) Bottlenecks elsewhere. I-5 through North Portland is still only 6 lanes. There will be diversion onto local streets, but this will do little to reduce congestion, because…
2) Induced demand. As countless cities have shown us over the last 50 years, if you build it, they will come. This project will just encourage more sprawling development in Clark County, and the bridge lanes will be full again, long before any “congestion reduction” has had time to earn back the CO2 put out during construction.
Overall, bravo. But the ‘better plan’ hinted at here is too ambiguous for comfort.
CRC opponents would do well to show up in Oregon City to testify on Thursday to put on the record that the ‘better plan’ would in fact be something like the Common Sense alternative: multiple crossings for emergency resilience, phasing, seismic retrofits, reduced congestion, and support for all modes of transit that will be mutually beneficial for freight, cars, commuters, people on bikes, and even those on foot.
It is a chance for citizens to get the phrase ‘Common Sense Alternative’ into the lexicon in Clackamas County. And to help make sure that the commission’s reference to ‘better plans’ is not a subtle hint of willingness to endorse the project if only light rail and bike/ped could be engineered out.
Let’s not forget the Do Nothing Alternative. A time-tested approach.
Without tolling the entire freeway system, and charging per mile, all the financing of this project goes out the window and does not work.
If their goals were actually to fix the problem then a multifaceted and logical approach would have to happen first.
1) Toll the entire freeway system, congestion priced per mile so if a new bridge is built, the east and north sides of town will not be congested with diverted traffic and everyone gets used to actually paying for the roads they commute on
2) Build out the Rose quarter plan to prevent traffic backups in the rose quarter at the two lane bottle neck
3) Retrofit the current bridges I 5 bridges for earthquakes
4) Retrofit the railroad bridge downstream for earthquakes and eliminating the stupid S curve.
At this point it would become evident that we do not need extra capacity, just use what we have better.
Then, since Vancouver does not want light rail and probably never will but they most likely will build Bus Rapid Transit…
By this time the SW Corridor Planning study will have come out with their recommendations. If they also vote for BRT, then we have the makings for a Bus Rapid Transit Line with a transfer stop downtown. The Vancouver line northward would make another stop at the end of the Yellow Line, then continue via a new bridge built to the proper height with a BRT Lane, real bike facilities, and two lanes in each direction, one for an HOV lane throughout the entire freeway system and the other for trucks and by-pass traffic. Local traffic can stay on the I 5 bridge and shrink it to a safer two lanes with a shoulder instead of packing in three tight lanes with no room to breathe.
BRT would be better for Vancouver anyway since the point is to get them out of their cars would have to save them time AND money…close to an hour from downtown Vancouver on light rail would NOT do that, where BRT in an HOV lane with a SOV toll probably would.
This could keep the height, remove much of the congestion, be significantly cheaper, be much safer at the bridges, be paid for more up front through extensive tolling, and keep the build out carbon footprint as small as possible. Plus, we would have an HOV lane throughout the entire Portland freeway system when done, like most major cities.
Now, just to stop the current monstrosity…..
Terry D – these are all great suggestions…I wish more of those fighting the CRC were spending an equal effort at getting a Plan B up and running before the FHWA/ FTA spend the funds elsewhere and we have to wait another 15 years for I-5 corridor HCT and Bike Ped upgrades and TDM.
As for HOV lanes, I have not seen anything recent that outlines the establishment of north and south HOV lanes throughout the project impact zone (Rose Quarter to Salmon Creek and back). [Someone update me if I am out of date.]
I have not ready anything either about HOV lanes, except that Vancouver removed them because they “did not work without a complete network” ….hence making my point for me.
Obviously the CRC/BURP is a make-work project to garner union support. As much as I like(d) the Kitz, he is showing very poor leadership, fiscal responsibility and vision for dealing with complex transportation issues in Oregon’s economic hub.
This is such a huge waste of money, but at least the tea partiers in Clackamas and Clark Counties agree.
Seattle killed a similar piece of costly road/transit expansion funding & planning nightmare years ago, and later passed a transit-only expansion plan. See RTID/ST2 plans.
Now Seattle is in the midst of building a project at least as bad as the CRC – the Viaduct replacement with a $5 Billion dollar tunnel that won’t solve the traffic problem if it is tolled (which the financing is dependent upon).
I love that Clackistan came out against the CRC, but I am uncomfortable getting too cozy with those guys. On the news last night this “historic” statement of non-support was mentioned alongside the opposition to light rail making its way past Sellwood. I get that they don’t want to spend their money on the CRC, but they don’t want to spend their money on ANYTHING except single-driver car infrastructure IN their county. The relentless “stop Portland Creep” rhetoric ignores how many people come into Portland to work, shop, play, etc. Those yahoos would do well to understand the concept of REGIONAL planning. A county is a political division that has nothing to do with how people work, live, and move between the two. It is time for the county to get out of this business….
Uh, ok. So, it’s okay for a county to allow ANOTHER county to dictate how YOUR county moves between counties? That doesn’t even make sense, jeremy.
My concern is that the Vancouver and Clackamas opposition would disappear instantly if they cut out light rail and replaced it with HOV lanes on the bridge. That would save them $1 billion, and pretty much eliminate the need for tolls.
So I’m hesitant to side with all the suburban anti-CRC folks, because I don’t really see Portland putting up too much of a fuss to “save” light rail…
Anyone else have thoughts on this?
1. Tolls will likely be required regardless of the options.
2. The ‘common sense’ approach involves adding BUS lanes and a couple more car lanes. The buses alone can handle MORE transportation and are more versatile than light rail anyways.
Those are just two benefits with far less cost. If light rail could get a LARGE number of people (try 60,000 commuters a day) to ALL OF THEIR DESTINATIONS in a timely manner you would think everyone would be on board, right? Well, it can’t. Not even for everyone in the greater Portland area it can’t. And so, that’s why so many people are against it. It will serve so few and have to be paid for by virtually everyone. Let light rail become more useful FIRST, then let’s talk about forcing others to pay for it. If that can’t happen, then perhaps it’s just not the best idea right now (maybe further down the road).
It’s funny you should say this. If you look at the story posted today in the O, southern Washington republicans opposition seems to rest on the bridge being to low. (ie. suitable for light-rail)
A few observations from the North side of the river:
1. I’m not convinced there is the depth of opposition to the bridge by Clark County folks as some of you imagine.
2. “My concern is that the Vancouver and Clackamas opposition would disappear instantly if they cut out light rail and replaced it with HOV lanes on the bridge.” I couldn’t say it better, so be careful what you wish for.
3. “Why is it uncool to invest money you do have in repairing and maintaining an existing civil infrastructure that is falling apart? This is simply amusing.” One of the 2 bridges was opened in 1917 and the second is 54 years old. These bridges were not built with the current use in mind and will not withstand a significant seismic event. While they have been maintained, they highlight our inability to reinvest in our current infrastructure/corridors. Many of the “oh so insightful” people some of you are aligning with think the best answer is a THIRD bridge. Talk about waste and impact!
4. If one or both of the bridges become unusable, the 205 corridor will be overwhelmed and the humane, environmental and economic impact will be off the charts.
5. All that being said, I think it is unlikely a replacement bridge, of any form, will be built. Unfortunately that means no lightrail, safe bike route or any of the other forward looking assets will be developed. What I am sure of is if/when the existing structure(s) are unusable (with all of the attendant negative impacts), none of the critics from any side of the political spectrum will raise their hands and take credit for the disaster that will ensue. It is ALWAYS much more difficult to address a difficult challenge than sit back and take shots. The Tea Party folks are the embodiment of that dynamic.
These projects have always been very hard to mount and this one (CRC) has not been well managed in my opinion. However the problem (stalled traffic) and risk will not go away without an investment in a significant project. Do we need to spend 3 to 5 billion to address the issues? I don’t know. What is clear: We have lived off the investment of those that came before us without (most of us) giving it a second thought assuming things will be fine. Big, big mistake. The bill for our lack of foresight and investment is coming due and getting bigger every day.
“It is ALWAYS much more difficult to address a difficult challenge than sit back and take shots.”
True, especially when the challenge is difficult. I don’t believe it is here.
“However the problem (stalled traffic) and risk will not go away without an investment in a significant project.”
If stalled traffic is the problem, then let’s start tolling the bridge. Problem solved. And the investment wasn’t even very significant.
That wasn’t that difficult. Now can we get back to what we were doing before?
Vancouver doesn’t have too much love for HOV lanes. If we did what made sense, I-5 would have an HOV lane from the point where I-205 calves off of it and the point where it rejoins. There’d be HOV lane from south of Wilsonville to almost Ridgefield. The lane ends in the worst possible place near Jantzen Beach. It would be worth a six-month experiment to see if the absence of that North Portland lane shuffling in and of itself would smooth traffic out.
“freeway-expansion-dressed-up-as-a-bridge-replacement” – well said, 9watts. Politicians, always after the new shiny thing… Why is it uncool to invest money you do have in repairing and maintaining an existing civil infrastructure that is falling apart? This is simply amusing.
Why do they refuse to apply simple arithmetic? Why can’t they make a good business case for investing in more light rail? If the numbers just aren’t there, then drop the idea and move on and stop trying to induce behavior on others. If the majority of people don’t want it or don’t want to pay for it, then let it go.
“Stop trying to induce the behavior of others”? Presuming you said that with a straight face, what exactly do you think tripling the capacity for single occupant vehicles does?
I wouldn’t touch Clackamas County politics with a 10-foot pole. They’ve made it clear they won’t pay for anything, so why should the state, ODOT, TriMet, or anyone else care what they say or even start a project in that county. Might as well let Clackistan fester into obsolescence (after PMLR light rail gets built).
“I wouldn’t touch Clackamas County politics with a 10-foot pole. They’ve made it clear they won’t pay for anything, so why should the state, ODOT, TriMet, or anyone else care what they say or even start a project in that county. Might as well let Clackistan fester into obsolescence (after PMLR light rail gets built).”
What a nice thing to say about an entire county of fellow human beings. Care to say that to each of their faces? What a class act you are.
Those of us in Multnomah County are going to be paying for the Sellwood bridge for 20 years when 3/4’s of the users are from Clackamas county…which refused to pay a whole $5 a year for their share. That decision was completely selfish and those of us in Portland will remember it for a long time. Paying for this bridge is a major reason pointed out by the recent PBOT audit as to why we are in such a dire funding situation in PDX.
Maybe if Charlie Hales fulfills his promise of tolling the Sellwood for Clackamas county users when opened, these hard feelings will go away…
Combined with the vociferous opposition to TWO stops of light rail into Milwaukie…..which the LOCAL residents want…. Clackamas County has created its own reputation as “Clackistan”…. which refuses to move forward into the 21st century, or work together with the rest of the region (look at the Damascus debacle). Although in the case of the CRC this may be a good thing, so there is always a silver lining I guess.
From Multnomah County’s perspective, Clackamas appears to be a county filled with human beings who pretend to be regionally oriented and scream “good neighbors fix their own bridges” (even though our county is stuck with a white-elephant bridge that really serves the surrounding region much more than it serves the county proper, and should be regionally or state funded) … but then turn around and act like regional secessionists when actual regional planning comes up.
The phrase “Portland Creep” seems to be Clackamas code to conflate urban and regional planning with everything about the city that terrifies suburbanites. Makes Clackamites look like a bunch of paranoiacs that want the jobs that come with being a metropolitan area, but think they can pretend they’re not actually part of a metropolitan area. Grow up and learn to play with others, folks.
Now I’m sure (in fact, I KNOW) there are plenty of nice people in Clackamas County, and even progressive ones that support regional planning, public transit and bicycle transportation. But don’t count me as impressed with the political climate down there.
There was mention by someone of pursuing some option that would negate the need for tolling. As long as we continue to provide the bridge with no direct out of pocket cost to users, they will consider the current bridge – or any bridge that replaces it – to come at no cost to them. Just as with any other consumer good, if no price is associated with using it you will get demand that exceeds supply. In traffic terms, that means, well, TRAFFIC. Lots of it.
Toll the existing bridge now. Demand will go down, which means travel time will be reduced. Heck, the reduction in demand may be enough that we will realize that a replacement isn’t even needed. The toll revenue can be put right back into maintenance and improvements on the existing bridge. It’ll all be paid for by the people who use it, while local and ODOT budgets can continue to fund other needed work elsewhere.
Yeah, we’ll still have a lousy connection for bicycling. But perhaps tolling the bridge would encourage a few more people to ride across instead of driving, which would in turn build more support for better bike and ped facilities when other toll-funded improvements are done.
Of course they are against it; if people find it hard to get from Vancouver to Portland, maybe they’ll move out to Clackamas. And, if they refuse to help pay for the Sellwood Bridge (which carries a large number of Clackamas residents to their jobs), why on Earth would they be on-board helping to pay for a bridge to carry non-residents anywhere. C’mon, secede from OR and get it over with!
I don’t see it online but The Columbian deadtree, page C1, “County to consider anti-CRC resolution,” reports that the Clackamas measure did not pass. It needed 3 votes to pass, it got 2 for, one against, one abstain and one not present. Now Madore has added a very similar resolution to next Tuesday’s Clark County commissioner’s meeting.
…and now I found it online: http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/feb/07/county-consider-anti-crc-resolution/
This is real pork folks, sold with a pack of lies about a green bridge and jobs for union workers. If you can’t make meetings, at least sign a petition and read the fact sheets.
It’s all on this link below
From the words of Madrid above:
“But the present bridge is awful and the vocal minority thinks it is a modern marvel. The rest of us dread it. Please build the CRC. Enough delay.”
It is obvious that some users have possibly valid concerns about the current bridge.
Rather than belittling these people we need to deal with the force fed misinformation by addressing these concerns within the framework of not wasting $5 billion on a new bridge which no one can conclusively show we absolutely have to build.
If we build this bridge:
The jobs will be temporary,
The bridge may be temporary,
Only the debt is eternal.
First time in a long while that I feel proud of the government of the county I grew up in. Hooray Clackamas!