Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Oregon Senate passes CRC bill 18-11

Posted by on March 4th, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Sen. Chip Shields, who represents
north and northeast Portland, was one
of 18 yes votes.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Senate passed HB 2800 (the CRC bill) today by a vote of 18-11. The vote comes just a week after the House passed it 45-11. The bill will now be signed into law by Governor Kitzhaber.

The bill was carried by Senators Lee Beyer and Bruce Starr, both of whom spoke at length about the project’s benefits and urgency.

Beyer said “the time has come” before rattling of a list of conditions in the bill that must be fulfilled before Oregon can sell $450 million in bonds. One of the questions he offered an answer to was whether or not the $27 million per year bond repayments will impact other transportation projects. That has been a key concern from opponents of the project and has not been clearly answered by ODOT and CRC staff. Beyer said on the Senate floor today that the answer is “To be frank, no and yes.” He said since the project wouldn’t begin construction until 2014, no other priorities would be impacted until then. “On the other hand,” he continued, “the [Oregon] Transportation Commission and the his legislature is always in a position of having to prioritize projects since there’s never enough money. In transportation funding, there’s a sense of everyone taking its turn. And at this point, because of its impact on the entire state economy, the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project is on the top of the list.”

The Senator who spoke most eloquently in opposition to this bill was Portland Democrat Sen. Jackie Dingfelder. She was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. Sen. Dingfelder mentioned many serious concerns she’s heard from constituents that she does not feel are addressed in the bill.

“I am concerned about the impact of diverted I-5 traffic on my district and neighborhoods. The communication from my constituents on this issue and their overwhelming concern about the project is hard for me to ignore because the concerns remain unaddressed.”
— Sen. Dingfelder explaining her no vote

“I am concerned about the impact of diverted I-5 traffic on my district and neighborhoods. The communication from my constituents on this issue and their overwhelming concern about the project is hard for me to ignore because the concerns remain unaddressed.”

Sen. Dingfelder added that she’s “skeptical of modeling results” that show minimal impacts on surrounding streets and said, “I believe this traffic diversion will have a significant impact on my district unless we address the I-205 diversion issue.”

Dingfelder said the bill should have included a mitigation fund to deal with impacts the project will result in for surrounding neighborhoods. She also said she’s worried about long-term funding to pay back Oregon’s investment in the CRC. “Oregon is already facing serious transportation funding challenges,” she said, “and we have no assurances about the impact this project will have on ODOT’s ability to address safety and infrastructure problems on other state-owned highways.”

“SE 82nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard, already badly need improvements that ODOT claims they can’t afford.”

CRC hearing in Salem-7

Sen. Starr.

Senator Starr, in his closing remarks, called the bill a compromise between the “unique political culture in Portland” and the different culture that exists in Clark County and Vancouver. “In order to bring those cultures together, you compromise by combining light rail with a lot of lanes and a lot of capacity.”

Another yes vote that surprised many observers came from Sen. Chip Shields a Democrat who represents north and northeast Portland. Other Portland Senators that voted yes included Sens. Ginny Burdick and Rod Monroe.

Now all eyes turn to the state of Washington. They must make a financial commitment and guarantee light rail’s inclusion in it before anything moves forward.

Below are the complete vote results:

YES
L. Beyer D Springfield 6
G. Burdick D Portland 18
P. Courtney D Salem 11
R. Devlin D Tualatin 19
C. Edwards D Eugene 7
B. Hansell R Pendleton 29
M. Hass D Beaverton 14
B. Johnson D Scappoose 16
T. Knopp R Bend 27
L. Monnes Anderson D Gresham 25
R. Monroe D Portland 24
F. Prozanski D Eugene 4
A. Roblan D North Bend 5
D. Rosenbaum D Portland 21
C. Shields D Portland 22
B. Starr R Hillsboro 15
E. Steiner Hayward D Beaverton 17
J. Winters R Salem 10

NO

H. Baertschiger R Central Point 2
B. Boquist R Dallas 12
B. Close R Albany 8
J. Dingfelder D Portland 23
T. Ferrioli R John Day 30
L. George R Sherwood 13
F. Girod R Stayton 9
J. Kruse R Roseburg 1
A. Olsen R Canby 20
C. Thomsen R Welches 26
D. Whitsett R Klamath Falls 28

NOT VOTING 1

A. Bates D Ashland 3

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

56
Leave a Reply

avatar
24 Comment threads
32 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
40 Comment authors
007just joeAlainPaul in the 'couveGlowBoy Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Guest

That’d be a “yes” vote from Shields, I think!

matt picio
Guest

“because of its impact on the entire state economy, the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project is on the top of the list.”

There *is* no impact – bridge counts are *down*. There MAY be an economic impact in the future, *if* bridge counts rise, *if* there is unmet demand in truck traffic, and *if* that traffic goes somewhere else due to congestion. Also, most of the truck traffic they are concerned about does not start nor stop in Oregon – so again, in that case no economic impact.

Hart Noecker
Guest

Jackie Dingfelder deserves praise as being the sole voice of sanity within our state’s senate Democrats. The rest of them are going to have fun trying to get re-elected anywhere near Portland.

Lance P
Guest
Lance P

I’m ashamed for Oregon right now.

Jason Lang
Guest

So, let me get this straight:
Oregon just passed a bill for the first part of funding on the bridge. Washington has not, and the federal funds are now in question due to the Sequestration… Why am I thinking that we are going to get stuck with the bill for this boondoggle?

Joe
Guest
Joe

what happened to GREEN Oregon today? I will keep fighting the good fight
on the bike here, even if I get bully’ed around by huge 4 wheel gas hogs. and ppl with views that don’t make sense!

Peter W
Guest
Peter W

I would love to hear how Senator Shields explains his vote, in light of the concerns about asthma rates being 3x higher in N/NE than other parts of the city, 32% increase in greenhouse gas according to the CRC’s projections, etc.

I know that he heard those concerns, because I shared them with him in person.

Gasper Johnson
Guest

I politely left a flaming bag of bile on the voicemail doorstep of Sen Shield’s office.

deborah
Guest
deborah

I REALLY do not understand why Portlanders would vote for this…

Zaphod
Guest

Are we not better than this?
A thinking person’s logical conclusion is that this is unworkable yet it’s moving towards the finish line. I will be sure to use whatever means I have to get these people out of office. Call me a one issue voter but this massive project is the quickest way to really do a lot of damage to such a great city.

BIKELEPTIC
Guest

it looks like the sensible ones were the republicans today – who all pretty much voted NO, while all the democrats voted YES….. I’m a little confused here. I forgot what team I was on today.

Allan Folz
Guest
Allan Folz

I knew Shields was going to vote yes when he never answered the email I sent him last week.

Allan Folz
Guest
Allan Folz

Also not surprised by Burdick. She always talks about working for regular people, but when push comes to shove she is as arrogant and hypocritical as any politician. She knows where Dem’s big campaign money comes from and makes sure those contributors see a return on their investment.

Jon
Guest
Jon

In my opinion we cyclists need to burn a lot less energy on being anti-car/road and work more on improving local bicycle access. There are very few bicycle commuters traveling back and forth from Vancouver to Portland. The people that live in Vancouver and work in downtown or farther away would move closer to their job if they wanted to commute by bicycle. For the most part they live away from the central core because they dislike the light rail/bicycle/pedestrian transportation culture and the population density that makes it possible. Portland’s bicycle community needs to focus on connecting neighborhoods and improving bicycle access for the short trips that anyone can do on a bicycle. As anyone who has to go from downtown to anywhere SW or north-south in SE knows, there is much work to be done. When the bicycle community gets bent out of shape about projects like the I-5 Bridge which is aimed at improving truck and car over a bridge that is ancient we waste our small amount of political capital on things that are not related to cycling. I’m glad this vote is over. Nobody but the most naïve person should be surprised about the result of the vote based on how much matching $$$ the Federal Government will be sending to the region to employ all kinds of union (Democratic) voters.

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

Please write a quick thank you to sen.jackiedingfelder@state.or.us !

She absolutely rocks for stepping up to vote no on this.

Rol
Guest
Rol

Ah yes, the “urgency” of the project. Urgency – the one thing all lying-ass sales pitches for crappy things have in common.
“Act now!”
“Supplies are limited!”
“…for a limited time!”
“Sale ends tonight at midnight!”

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

This is a good call out by Sen. Dingfelder, “said the bill should have included a mitigation fund to deal with impacts the project will result in for surrounding neighborhoods.”

It would be great to see a fund set aside to address transportation safety mitigations due to the impacts of new traffic patterns. Better yet lets make sure out current system is safe for everyone then start to build onto it. We have some many streets without safe places to walk that to me it really makes sense to address that first.

Concordia Cyclist
Guest
Concordia Cyclist

I will now actively work against Chip Shield’s reelection. I had no reason before this to oppose him (in fact, I voted for him), but he clearly has caved in to big money instead of supporting the neighborhoods that elected him and made it very clear they did not support this. Apparently, his constituents no longer matter to him.

was carless
Guest
was carless

So, apparently the state isn’t broke if they can drum up $27 million/year for a make-believe bridge that wasn’t even planned well enough to allow boats underneath it.

Funding bike lanes should be easy by comparison!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Retired two-term governor Vic Atiyeh…remember, or heard about that guy, any of you? ….most recently interviewed by the O’s columnist Duin, had this to say about the CRC:

” “We’re not in good shape and we’re going to build another bridge? It’s insane,” Atiyeh argues. “And it’s a fantasy that they think they’re going to take care of the traffic.” ” duin/Oregonian http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/steve_duin/index.ssf/2013/03/steve_duin_a_third_vic_atiyeh.html

paul g.
Guest
paul g.

I’ve been observing this mainly from the sidelines, and am professionally skeptical of extremes. With that fair warning, I think those opposed to the bridge need to read Spencer’s post above and then read, and re-read, and re-re-read Ron Buel’s posts on the previous thread.

If CRC opponents really want to defeat this bridge, they need to build an alliance with Clark County, suburban Washington County, and the rest of Oregon (who after all does dominate the legislature–we don’t ALL live in Portland), not demonize them. You need to point out how this bridge is a budget buster, won’t solve traffic problems, and that you have a better alternative in hand.

You need to acknowledge that you DID have a seat at the table for the past few years–Mayor Adams and other Metro stakeholders were part of all the planning meetings yet didn’t raise much of an objection until very late in the game. (I suspect Adams was bought off by the Max line and held his nose on the rest.)

You need to recognize that many of the folks you allied with to win the elections in 2008, 2010, and 2012 are not on your side on this issue. And if you say you are going to throw them overboard, they’ll have no problem working with a more conservative Democrat or Republican. They are motivated by JOBS JOBS JOBS, and if and until you can translate your pro-bike, pro-environment sentiments into economic growth (this CAN be done) then you are not going to be a very reliable ally for them.

And above all, a bit of modesty would go a long way. Anger can translate into action during an election, but don’t go very far during the nitty gritty of a legislative session. To take one example, Jules Bailey is at no risk. He can easily defeat an underfunded primary opponent from the left and has such a safe seat that there is no threat from the right.

The rest of the state of Oregon doesn’t appreciate Portland arrogance on many issue, even though the city is the economic engine of the state.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Disappointing but not surprising. As Spencer Boomhower pointed out, this is a VERY low bang-for-the-buck freeway expansion project when we have so many other pressing needs. There’s no way it will come in on budget, especially with a number of the bridge’s basic design parameters still in contention. If the initial funding for this project doesn’t suck dollars away from EVERY infrastructure project we actually need, the overruns will.

By the way, GREAT thanks to Ted Wheeler for continuing to sound alarm bells about the CRC’s financing scheme.

The shell game of justifications by this project’s proponents would be hilarious if the stakes weren’t so high. First they say we need CRC because I-5 bottlenecks are impeding interstate commerce. Point out that through trucks can take I-205, and they say we need CRC because the bridges are about to fall down. Point out that they are actually sound and should be for several decades to come, and they say we need CRC because of all the bridge lifts. Point out that the imperative to avoid a lift span has created an irreconcilable design problem, and that the ultimate design might still include a lift span, and they say we need CRC because congestion is costing the region too much. Point out that the bottlenecks will just get shifted elsewhere, that the cost of the project exceeds the collective cost of congestion, that most of the congestion comes from local traffic on I-5 and that there are more cost-effective ways of mitigating that; and they say we need CRC so we can improve transit and bike/pedestrian access to Vancouver. Point out (as 9watts has) that political and fiscal pressure may well cause LRT and improved bike/pedestrian facilities to be removed from the final bridge design, and they say we need CRC because of JOBS. Point out that the jobs are temporary and we could generate the same number of jobs on other infrastructure projects that provide greater community benefit, and they say we need CRC because I-5 congestion is impeding interstate commerce. Around and around we go…

Alain
Guest
Alain

Comments about being “anit car/road” are unnecessary and counter-product. You want to be devils advocate, fine, but why resort to such rhetoric, esp if you want the people you’re talking to listen.

One can be anti-CRC without being anti-car/road. One can even resent the inequities created by funneling more and more money to projects that do more for SOVs than the freight the CRC project advisors claim to want to move, and yet still not be anti-car/road.

People who have been watching this and other highway projects in the corridor are upset because it’s fiscally irresponsible, and likely won’t stop with the CRC.

There are plans for expansion at the Rose Quarter, which will call for expansion at the at the choke point between Hayden Island and the Rose Quarter. And there has been (for decades) plans to bury I-5 where it now sits on the east bank of the Willamette across from downtown. The CRC is one of a chain of expansion projects for the corridor.

007
Guest
007

Democrats with integrity, such as my senator, Jackie Dingfelder, need to oppose these spineless incumbents next election. My other senator, Michael Dembrow, you’re OUT OF HERE dude.