Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

“The Columbia River Crossing is dead”

Posted by on June 29th, 2013 at 10:55 pm

The Washington Legislature has failed to pass any funding for the Columbia River Crossing highway expansion project.
(Graphic: CRC project rendering)

“The Columbia River Crossing is dead.”

That’s the lede in a story just posted by The Columbian newspaper a few minutes ago that reports the Washington Legislature has adjourned without voting on a transportation package that included the only chance for the Columbia River Crossing to get funded. Here’s more:

“After intense political wrangling, tens of millions of taxpayer dollars spent*, and a controversy that embroiled Clark County for the better part of a decade, the Washington Senate delivered the fatal blow to the beleaguered project Saturday.”

(*About $170 million dollars has been spent in planning)

I didn’t believe when Joe Cortright emailed that story to me a few minutes ago. Then I read the official statement from Governor Kitzhaber (emphasis mine):

“I am extremely disappointed that our legislative partners in the Washington State Senate failed to address the clear and present safety and economic need for this essential I-5 bridge. I have worked with three committed Washington governors on this project — starting with Governor Locke, then Governor Gregoire and now Governor Inslee — which makes the demise of the Columbia River Crossing without an up or down vote in the Senate even more disheartening. I want to thank Governor Inslee for his strong support and extraordinary effort to deliver Washington’s share of funding for the I-5 replacement bridge. The failure of the Senate to act does not eliminate the safety and economic risks to both our states, but without the funds from Washington and adherence to the project budget and schedule, neither state can incur the further costs of delay. Consequently, project managers have begun to close down the project.

This is a huge moment for this disastrous boondoggle of a project. Obviously the forces that pushed it this far are likely to keep gasping for breath and they will try whatever they can to keep it alive. But Kitzhaber made it clear that the Washington legislature had to act and they didn’t. It seems the CRC as we know it is dead.

I have mixed emotions. Since that night in February 2007 when I came back from a neighborhood meeting disgusted by the PR show I had heard about a “bridge project,” I’ve posted 75 stories about the CRC. I always suspected it would die, but CRC backers (especially the “Woman behind the bridge”) surprised me (and everyone else) when they aggressively rammed it through Salem this year.

After the project languished amid controversy and lack of political support, the momentum returned as land-use, bicycle, and environmental non-profits largely sat on the sidelines while many Oregon Democrats went against the will of constituents to support it (even though many lawmakers had no idea what they were even voting on). It took Washington Republicans who were suspicious of such a huge government expenditure — especially one that included light rail — to finally kill this thing.

Congratulations to everyone that fought this beast of a project! Especially the citizen activists who volunteered countless hours to fight it.

(The images below are from an anti CRC ride and the CRC Opposition and Alternatives Rally that was held in Waterfront Park in Portland in April 2009.)

Anti 12-lane CRC Ride-35

(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
CRC Rally-110

CRC Rally-108

CRC Rally-105

CRC Rally-128

Joe Cortright, an economist and outspoken critic of the project.
Anti 12-lane CRC Ride-6

Anti 12-lane CRC Ride-15

For full report on this story read The Columbian: CRC meets demise as legislature adjourns.

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.

  • Kiel Johnson
    Kiel Johnson June 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Wow… So that means ODOT has $450 million to spend on active transportation now?

    Recommended Thumb up 55

    • 9watts June 30, 2013 at 7:20 am

      So now that this nonsense is behind us can we toll the existing I-5 bridge?

      Recommended Thumb up 41

    • nuovorecord July 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      No, it doesn’t mean that at all, sadly. HB 2800 basically gave ODOT the green light to borrow the $450 M for the CRC. Assuming that project is dead, the authority to borrow dies with it.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • 9watts July 3, 2013 at 6:29 am

        I am not surprised to learn that tolling won’t automatically happen (without some additional authorization), but what’s keeping us from pursuing or demanding that the necessary steps be taken?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • nuovorecord July 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm

          The Federal law which restricts tolling existing Interstate highways is a pretty major obstacle. I don’t think there’s any interest in Congress currently to overturn it.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Scott June 29, 2013 at 11:47 pm


    Recommended Thumb up 11

  • Lisa Marie White June 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    So incredibly (and hesitantly) happy to hear that WA was able to accomplish what Oregon could not: the end to a costly, unnecessary, and community damaging project.

    And a moment of celebration and appreciation for everyone who has worked so hard against seemingly impossible odds. Thank you CLF, HILP, Cascade Bicycle Club, Lew Frederick, Jackie Dingfelder, Jefferson Smith, Bike Walk Vote and our volunteers, Jonathan Maus (for continuing to cover this issue!), writers at WWeek who have exposed the corruption behind the project, and many others.

    Now able to stop wasting energy fighting for a transportation vision/budget beyond 1950, it’s onward towards creating the future of active and public transportation for Oregon and the region. So much work to be done, but so much possibility 🙂

    Recommended Thumb up 29

    • 9watts June 30, 2013 at 7:12 am

      “Similar to the BTA, Miner said 1000 Friends simply hasn’t been in the lead in opposing the CRC and that they have other priorities.”
      “…a sense that the CRC is so big and the political power behind it is so strong, that resistance is futile.”

      In hindsight these attitudes seem even more embarrassing. I’m so proud of the scrappy activists who kept up the fight.

      Finally, what do Washington legislators know that (most) Oregon legislators have missed?

      Recommended Thumb up 20

      • Craig Harlow July 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm

        Seems like the answers include: conservative-led opposition to 1) light rail and to 2) massive spending without a demonstrated benefit, and 3) not being hamstrung by Oregon liberal politicians’ hunger for labor union support in the next election cycle.

        It’s embarrassing that our own state’s leaders seemed to blindly put re-electability in front of intelligently advocating for Oregonians in the bigger picture.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Jeff Bernards June 30, 2013 at 12:59 am

    I spoke at 5 or more public forums for the past several years, gave a little money, so happy to see this thing go down in flames. We need to raise the gas tax and call it a carbon tax. The idea that it went down because they didn’t have the courage to raise the gas tax .10 cents is ridiculous. But if it means no CRC so be it. This is another defeat for the Oregonian along with the fluoride thing. The Oregonian needs to support things that most Oregonians believe in.
    Would ODOT please rebuild SE 82nd NOW! Please. It’s a commerce road too!
    Thanks Hart for your vocal efforts
    I just need Kitzhaber to admit it was the wrong project at the wrong time, that we had NO money for.

    Recommended Thumb up 17

    • Concordia Cyclist June 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      “The Oregonian needs to support things that most Oregonians believe in.”

      Never happen as long as they’re owned by an East Coast holding company most interested in sucking money out of our community while giving little back to that same community it should be serving.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Ted Buehler June 30, 2013 at 1:40 am

    All along the DOTs were committed to the bridge in part to mitigate the dangerous driving conditions on the existing bridges.

    I wonder if they’ll make any safety improvements and HOV upgrades to the existing bridges?

    Safety improvements:
    * Speed limits 35 or 40 mph (that’s all the faster its safe to drive, given limited visibility on curves, narrow lanes, etc).
    * additional changeable message signs on the approaches to the bridge on both sides alerting drivers of slow traffic ahead.
    * repair the concrete decks of the bridge to improve adhesion in wet conditions — studded tires have removed the surface layer of concrete and all there is to drive on is slick pebbles in the concrete.
    * enforcement of existing speed limits.

    Capacity improvements:
    * Transit-only use of shoulders on approaches to bridge
    * improved bike facilities from Hayden Island to N/NE Portland
    * Park and Ride lot at the old rest stop by Clark College
    * direct through traffic on I-5 to use I-205 instead (ODOT took down their signs in Tualatin that directed traffic to use I-205 if they’re going north to Seattle).

    Most of this package could be paid for with one year of CRC planning funds.

    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 18

    • KD July 1, 2013 at 10:26 am

      none of these “improvements” you are suggesting actually FIX anything – you’re proposing band-aids that will require continual expenditure of funds that accomplish NOTHING. We need a new bridge. Have you even READ the SI&A rating sheet for it? I can’t believe both spans are still standing at this point…

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Ted Buehler June 30, 2013 at 1:41 am

    I’m not convinced its really dead — watch for a Zombie CRC to re-emerge, with the light rail cut from the project. Be prepared to respond accordingly…

    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 37

    • Ted Buehler June 30, 2013 at 1:46 am

      “Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said he and his colleagues were unified in their opposition to the plan this session. They plan to work over the coming months to help develop a proposal that lawmakers could consider next year, Tom said.”

      “He also said the list of projects funded by the package would need to be focused more on improving congestion.”

      “That Columbia River bridge was widely opposed by Republicans in the state Senate, who said the current proposal for the bridge was too low and should not include light rail transit.”


      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Ted Buehler June 30, 2013 at 1:48 am

      Because its the Washington folks that have folded, the Oregon folks will be looking to offer concessions to get them back in the game. Tolls and light rail are the hot-button issues on the north side of the river.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Nate June 30, 2013 at 6:41 am

      Doesn’t the funding package in Oregon sunset if WA doesn’t fund by September? And federal money (which mostly pays for light rail) is continent on local money.
      Maybe it’s overly optimistic of me but I can’t see Tina Kotek wading back in with a project that doesn’t contain light rail.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Champs June 30, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Don’t people know anything about zombies? They’re not dead unless you destroy the head.

      This won’t be the last of CRC. The status quo is unsustainable, and as long as the Interstate Bridge needs fixing, someone will come along to pitch this “well-studied, shovel-ready” devil we know as the “sensible alternative” to the devil we don’t. And yes, it will be cynical enough to co-opt the terms of its opposition.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • matt picio July 1, 2013 at 10:16 am

        Actually, it *might* be – we just can’t count on it. This project had some hella timing hurdles to jump through. The window on the Federal side is just about closed, and without Federal funds the CRC will never happen. Not even Kitz and “the woman behind the bridge” can sell $1B+ in state funds.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Hart Noecker June 30, 2013 at 1:49 am
  • Kevin Wagoner June 30, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Lets take all that money we saved and invest in active transportation! That would be awesome.

    Recommended Thumb up 13

  • Vanessa June 30, 2013 at 8:05 am

    One of the photos says “This isn’t Houston” So true, but thank god Washington State is acting like it is. Let us hope another 12 lane insane proposal doesn’t get this far again. Think of what could have been done with all the monies spent on this already. I am super happy this failed! Thanks to all who stepped up and were vocal in their opposition.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Chris Smith June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Let’s not drop our guard just yet. I’ll bet anyone five bucks that we’ll see an Oregonian editorial this week calling for the Governors to revive the process somehow. But I’m relieved 🙂

    Recommended Thumb up 35

    • Hart Noecker June 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Is there anyone left at the O to write it?

      Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Paul Cone June 30, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I think @steveduin put it best with his tweet yesterday — “I won’t believe the #CRC is truly dead until @GovKitz rotates Patricia McCaig over to his reelection campaign”

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • former CRC engineer June 30, 2013 at 10:05 am

    please consider this as you celebrate:

    tell me how glad you are that I’ll need to find a new job that can support my two kids, handicapped live-in mother and make my upsidedown mortgage payment in a economy that is short on quality opportunity for highly trained civil engineers. just pointing out, that i’m probably as biased as you, but this move has real-world implications for many regular people in YOUR community, maybe even your neighbor.

    Recommended Thumb up 14

    • younggods June 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Lots of people are unemployed/underemployed. Collect unemployment while you’re looking for a new job, same as everyone else.

      Also stop paying your mortgage.

      Recommended Thumb up 15

      • Help July 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

        Not many comments scream I don’t care about other people more than this one.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • Caleb July 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm

          I’m not so sure I would agree with you there. When one tries to care for EVERYBODY, it can be hard to justify a project on the basis of an individual’s or group’s jobs.

          Recommended Thumb up 4

    • nopityintherosecity June 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      You know what else has implications for people in our community? Tolls. The loss of industrial jobs upstream. Increased traffic on I5 through Portland. The loss of Hayden Island’s only grocery store.

      Also, one very ugly bridge.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • mas June 30, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      I understand that it may difficult that you are losing your job, but given your experience this cannot be the ONLY job that you can do. There must be other jobs, other opportunities.

      There are many many people who would be adversely affected by the project moving forward (significantly more adversely affected than those benefitting from the project), and there are NO good reasons for the community to support this particular project. With funds saved from this boondoggle, other, better, projects will move forward, will be more in line with what the community wants, and will need your expertise.

      Recommended Thumb up 17

      • KD July 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

        Please name ONE project that funds “saved” from this will support? I mean a real project, not pie-in-the-sky thinking like “oh, we can now support bike infrastructure”. What specific infrastructure project now has a green light? Name just ONE.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • davemess July 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm

          This was all hypothetical money, therefore you can’t just name a bunch of new projects that are going to replace it. That said, common sense would tell you that if you save funds one one project (unless you just don’t spend that money all, which seems completely unnatural for ODOT, etc) that money will be able to fund other projects.

          Recommended Thumb up 5

        • Anthony Buczek (Metro) July 1, 2013 at 5:05 pm

          Metro’s Regional Transportation Plan contains billions upon billions of projects that could be advanced. But you said one. How about reconstructing (pick one: 82nd Ave/122nd Ave/McLoughlin Blvd) as a road that doesn’t get so many people killed every year?

          Recommended Thumb up 4

          • J_R July 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm

            The important thing about the Oregon $450 Million is that it would have been a match against $450 from Washington, 1.25 billion of federal money and another $1 billion from toll revenue. It’s not the same as just allocating straight money; it would have been a 1:8 leverage ratio. That’s a big difference.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Help July 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

        “There are many many people who would be adversely affected by the project moving forward (significantly more adversely affected than those benefitting from the project)”

        That’s an opinion, not a fact. I think the project is a net positive although I’m aware that it’s not a full positive. And I would think just about any Clark County auto commuter thought it would be a net positive as well.

        “and there are NO good reasons for the community to support this particular project.”

        Good jobs aren’t a good reason to support a project? And these are GOOD jobs that pay well with benefits. This isn’t barista in a coffeeshop making 8 bucks an hour stuff.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • longgone July 1, 2013 at 11:34 am

          Barista’s with skill, in the right environment, make minimum plus tips, Mr. Smug.
          That can be upwards of 50-65 thousand a year job on a 30 hour hour week.
          I know many that do, btw.
          Not too shabby…
          How many hours do you work a week for your pay?
          One barista, who is an old friend, that grew his business, was featured in the NT times for killing Starbucks in a property right next to his.
          He has a beautiful house in his home town, the community equivalent of Ladds, and if were in Portland, would be worth around 750,000.

          Recommended Thumb up 5

          • longgone July 1, 2013 at 11:34 am

            NY Times, oops.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

        • davemess July 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm

          No, “good” TEMPORARY jobs are not a great reason to move forward with a questionable and controversial project.

          And what just happened (what this post was about) shows that Clark auto commuters were not all behind the CRC.

          Recommended Thumb up 6

    • i ride my bike June 30, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      theres no shortage of transportation needs in this state and now theres a huge pot of available money for other projects, im pretty sure with your experience on this huge project youll have no problem finding work on another major transport project in Oregon

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Help July 1, 2013 at 10:24 am

        Talk about out of touch. This is an on-going 5 year recession and “recovery” that isn’t bringing good jobs back to the economy. What pot of money? It was being borrowed for this project and the Fed money is gone. And what project is this engineer going to work? Show some compassion instead of just advising him/her to clap louder.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • i ride my bike June 30, 2013 at 10:07 am

    This is anything but dead. Stop patting yourselves on the back for this, this was stopped by people who hate bikes, transit and cities and want a free 12 lane bridge imposing all their out of state traffic on Portland. Now comes the real Houston design proposal designed exclusively to Clark County tastes: an un-tolled 12 lane freeway bridge with no multi-use path a good distance from traffic (like under the freeway) and no MAX. Maybe there will be a very narrow 5′ path shared for bikes and peds directly adjacent to the heavy auto and truck traffic comparable to the one on the Glenn Jackson Bridge. This traffic funnel from this Clark County approved CRC bridge will be their opportunity to then make I-5 through North Portland 10-12 lanes wide. There are too many invested interests like unions and industry who want a new bridge for it to simply die now.

    Recommended Thumb up 41

    • Jeff Bernards June 30, 2013 at 10:22 am

      The Feds require MAX be included to get any money. My big question is if this is for shipping industry where is the diesel tax? It’s almost a corn subsidy type arrangement . They’ll claim that’s inflationary and that’s exactly what the bridge does, it raises the cost of everything and only benefits a chosen few.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • longgone June 30, 2013 at 10:28 am

      You have the same exact thought I had last night, when I read this before anyone had commented.
      You are the first to point it out. People who hate bike killed this, NOT P-town bike activists.
      Clark county fears the light rail creep, for some reason… sad.

      Recommended Thumb up 20

      • davemess June 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm

        Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my friend?

        Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Marid June 30, 2013 at 11:34 am

      The bridge is a strategic asset. The feds will not let it die. If the feds pay 100%, we won’t get anything we want. Enjoy.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • kittens July 1, 2013 at 3:54 am

      I love a good conspiracy therory as much as the next guy, but there’s no way the current CRC can be revived. Oregon’s money has a sunset and both governors have conceded defeat and have spent a lot of political capitol. Federal approval is contingent on both states pitching in. Plus, the Coast Guard will weigh in sooner or later and it doesn’t seem like they were going to approve this design. Hell, the CRC offices themselves will be closed because there is no further funding.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • dwainedibbly June 30, 2013 at 11:31 am

    It will be back. When have we ever known the media NOT to overstate and sensationalize in order to cause fear, etc, as a way of increasing readership?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Editz June 30, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Not being from Portland I haven’t followed this too closely. Does Fed money require the CRC to have light rail running from day one, or does the bridge design simply have to show that light rail can be easily added at some point in the future when it’s actually needed?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Chris Smith June 30, 2013 at 11:42 am

      The intended Federal funding is in two buckets, a highway appropriation and a Federal Transit “New Starts” grant. Obviously without transit there can’t be an FTA grant.

      Also, the entire Environmental Impact Statement is based on a combination of highway and transit, so that process would need to go back several steps to do a highway-only project.

      Finally, all the Oregon land use approvals were done under a state law specific to light rail projects (essentially the freeway is an ‘accessory’ to the transit project). Those approvals would need to be re-done through a process with significantly higher bars without transit in the project.

      I don’t think the risk is a highway-only project, I think the risk is the rebirth of the current EIS scope in some form.

      Recommended Thumb up 26

      • kittens July 1, 2013 at 4:03 am

        I don’t understand how this is possible. The legislature is not in session. I am not an expert but it was my understanding that the transportation bill failed to pass in a special session. And both Governors made no mention of continuing to beat the drum.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Schrauf July 1, 2013 at 11:56 am

          That’s part of the scheme. Play dead, and then announce some “special deal” when it is too late for opposition to re-organize.

          Stay on guard.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Dick Schouten June 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

    We need our construction trades working on transformative transportation projects that turn away from large, new highways and instead include at their core: effective, high capacity transit; truly useful and user friendly active transportation facilities; and most importantly great land use outcomes including attractive, affordable new homes, a cleaner environment, less energy and carbon dependence and good paying jobs.

    The Southwest Corridor COULD be such a transformational project.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • Chris Smith June 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Dick, how quickly do you think we could assemble local match for Southwest Corridor? All I hear so far is hand waving about several (many?) years from now? What can Washington County put in the pot?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • AMA June 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Just because this thing looks dead, it doesn’t mean my state rep is off the hook. Jules needs to be held accountable for his yes vote. So disappointing.

    Recommended Thumb up 28

    • spare_wheel June 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      I am definitely voting for ABB (anyone but Bailey) in 2014.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • dan June 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm

        Me too! He never did respond to my e-mail asking him to explain his reasoning for voting yes.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Jim June 30, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    And Oregon still has a light rail to nowhere. Good going portland leaders, should have be finalized approved plans before you did that.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • davemess July 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Can you elaborate on this confusing comment? Is downtown nowhere?

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Scott Mizée June 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    To the former CRC Engineer: I can empathize with you, and I’m sorry you will lose your current job. However, if you were put to work with the same funds but instead engineer Active Transportation facilities, we would ALL be better off.

    I have been in your shoes. You will find another job, and this time, I hope it will be one that benefits us ALL, instead of only some of us.

    I wish you and your family the best and a speedy job search!

    Recommended Thumb up 32

    • Help June 30, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      “However, if you were put to work with the same funds but instead engineer Active Transportation facilities, we would ALL be better off.”

      But he/she is not going to be put to work with the same funds for Active Transportation facilities.

      Whether you liked the project or not, it would have put to work thousands of people in the local region with very good jobs. Now . . not so much.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Scott June 30, 2013 at 9:50 pm

        “However, if you were put to work with the same funds but instead engineer Active Transportation facilities, we would ALL be better off.”

        But he/she is not going to be put to work with the same funds for Active Transportation facilities.
        How do you know he/she is not going to be put to work engineering Active Transportation facilities? Or was your point that the same funding will no longer be available?

        Whether you liked the project or not, it would have put to work thousands of people in the local region with very good jobs. Now . . not so much.
        It would have put to work thousands of people in the local region with very good jobs for a period. I’d like to see the quantification of how long those jobs would last and also to weigh them against the mal-effects of destroying Hayden Island and a large part of Downtown Vancouver.

        Recommended Thumb up 8

        • Help July 1, 2013 at 10:18 am

          Yes I was talking about the funding being available. You’re right, maybe he/she is going to be engineering Active Transportation facilities. The comment written by him/her didn’t make it sound like that was the case though.

          The fact the jobs aren’t “permanent” doesn’t make them less valuable, particularly when the economy is still in major recovery. If you were unemployed, I think you’d take the job now and worry about your 2020 job prospects at that time.

          “I’d like to see the quantification of how long those jobs would last and also to weigh them against the mal-effects of destroying Hayden Island and a large part of Downtown Vancouver.” The quote of someone with zero empathy for those who are unemployed. And “mal-effects” to you are someone else’s “beautification” project. It’s an opinion. The loss of jobs due to the end of this project is a fact.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • mas July 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm

            Yes, some people will lose their jobs. But those people are not ONLY able to do those specific CRC-related jobs. Certainly many people (who’d been counting on the CRC) can land other jobs. Besides, the CRC jobs would be temporary, in any case.

            I don’t know if your comment about “no empathy” was related to a previous post I wrote, but I certainly was not my intent to show no empathy.

            the bigger and perhaps simplistic picture for me is this: if some activity is shown to be more harmful than good (as Joe Cortright and others have shown), then it should not be pursued. On the other hand, you seem to be focusing on the loss of future benefit that would have accrued to a small segment of the population that would have benefitted from that “bad” activity. This is very dangerous, I believe.

            To use an admittedly extreme example, your logic would deem it ok if the state wants to set up a torture facility, since they’d’ be employing people to design, build and staff the torture facility. the loss of the staff’s future benefits (salaries, health insurance, etc.) does matter, but hopefully you’d see that it doesn’t matter as much as the harm done by pursuing that project.

            So, I am empathetic to those who will not work on the CRC and hope they can find employment that is good for them and not bad for everyone else.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

    • KD July 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Your wishes are nice but with lack of highway planning projects in the NW that’s all your wishes are. Highway planners and engineers have a tough time getting work out here as there are few projects on the table.

      SW corridor will plow through a lot of controversial areas and is WAY more impacting to the environment than a new bridge across the Columbia. 🙁

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • GlowBoy July 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

        “lack of highway planning projects in the NW that’s all your wishes are.” -KD

        I don’t think there’s a lack of highway planning projects in the Northwest. One of the main reasons the WA Lege failed to fund CRC is because they’re already spending numerous billions on the downtown Seattle tunnel project and the SR520 bridge replacement.

        I’m sorry that this is costing some people their jobs, but the primary function of government is to provide valuable services to the community it serves. Jobs are an important, but secondary, function. We don’t keep projects that don’t make sense alive just so we don’t have to lay people off. CRC was not, in the opinion of me and many others here, going to deliver good value to the community for its cost. There are far more effective ways to invest in infrastructure which also will provide good engineering and planning jobs. I do hope that we step up and invest more heavily in more balanced transportation projects, especially in Oregon where it will probably benefit more of the people from the CRC office who can’t take advantage of the opportunities up in Olympia and Seattle, and that most of those folks find work on such projects.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

  • TOM June 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I regret voting for Kitz , only ’cause the other guy was worse 🙁

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Bill Stites June 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Even with some risk of revival … this is VERY GOOD NEWS!!

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Spencer Boomhower June 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm


    I would have liked to seen it stopped because Portlanders saw it as not being in their best interest to respond to sprawl-induced freeway congestion with the expansion of sprawl-promoting freeways. And not, as was apparently the case, because folks on the other side of the river wanted all the freeway expansion without what they seemed to think was the blight of light rail. But I’ll take what we can get.

    Recommended Thumb up 18

  • zefwagner June 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    If it comes back in any form, I really hope they just retrofit the existing bridges and then add a third local freight/transit bridge for Hayden Island. I’m fine if light rail is eliminated. C-TRAN can just run their new BRT line across the bridge to connect to the existing Yellow Line.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Joe Cortright June 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks to Jonathan Maus for his tireless efforts to cover the CRC. The more people learned about this project, the harder it became for it to move forward.

    Thanks, Spencer, for your videos.
    Thanks, Chris, for your thoughtful and balanced commentary.
    Thanks, Hart, for sticking it to the man.
    Thanks, Jeff, for your tireless and outspoken efforts.

    The readers of this list and the bike community in Portland have played a pivotal role in raising hard questions about this project. Now that its apparently history, I’m looking forward to having a much more positive and forward looking discussion of how we should be investing in a transportation system that is consistent with our values and aspirations, and not squandering multiple billion dollars on a monument to a bygone era of excess.

    Recommended Thumb up 27

    • Help June 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      “The more people learned about this project, the harder it became for it to move forward.”

      With all due respect, I don’t think Republicans in Washington state were reading BikePortland to get their CRC opinions. They didn’t want to spend the money.

      And let’s not forget Salem passed this thing in a breeze earlier this year.

      Recommended Thumb up 17

    • Spencer Boomhower July 1, 2013 at 11:49 am

      Thanks Joe, and thanks back atcha. For, among other things, constantly supplying reporters doing stories on the CRC with real financial data in a quotable form.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Johnnie Metso June 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    CRC is dead – I wish
    What comes next is mega-bridge minus light rail.
    Revisit the common sense approach from some time ago
    Oregon should immediately use the 450 million to reconfigure the Oregon side. Build a bridge between Hayden Island and Marine drive and eliminate the ON/OFF ramps at Janson Beach.
    Secondly rebuild the rail bridge to put the lift part inline with the high part of the I-5 bridge. This will eliminate the S-curve maneuver that causes most of the bridge lifts . Do light rail at the same time with a better solution for bike movement.
    We either get pushing on this now or an even worse bridge will rise from the flames.

    Recommended Thumb up 13

  • Scott June 30, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Great comments Johnnie. How do we get the momentum going in this direction?

    How do we persuade the influencers and decision makers that this is the RIGHT THING TO DO?!?

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Paul in the 'couve June 30, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    I’m glad it’s dead and I don’t believe the Zombie version will be very dangerous. Here is why.

    Yes this bill was killed by the Republicans largely for the wrong reasons. Also yes, there will be Republicans who support an non-lightrail bridge proposal and may even make one, and there will be Dems who try to resurrect the current scope. Niether of these efforts is likely to go anywhere.

    1) WaDOT is going to have such massive debt from projects in Seattle that it is going to be very difficult to find money for any big project in the next decade. Within 2 years the cost overruns will start rolling in from the tunnel project to replace the Alaska Way Viaduct. The SR 520 project is already a sad story of mismanagement and cost overruns. Then, they will find out the tolling plans for those projects aren’t producing the projected revenue.

    2) As mention by Ted Beuhler above, a GOP proposal without light rail would require a new EIS from scratch.

    3) the GOP is very unlikely to enough votes in either WA or OR much less both the get support going for a no-transit bridge. Then they have to get both Governors to sign on… it won’t go anywhere.

    4) the FHWA is also broke and for now so is the US Legislative branch. The current political environment is not going to enact a new funding stream for highway building. Obama’s stimulus may have been the last gasp of freeway building. This may change in 2 to 6 years depending on politics, but even if FHWA funding gets fixed, it may very well come with a re-prioritization on maintenance, and retrofitting, vs. building more interchanges.

    The only thing that might have a shot would be a simple bridge replacement like this project should have been. Only the directly affected hwy 14 and Jantzen beach interchanges being rebuilt, and even the with at least provision for an easy addition of light rail later. However, this won’t get the freight companies and Kroger foods excited enough to push the project forward.

    So, I’m not saying we should ignore or not be vigilant, but I think we can really celebrate. Although someone will introduce I-5 Interstate bridge replacement projects probably every year, they will be pretty short lived and easy to put a stop to.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • Paul in the 'couve June 30, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      #4 should read “The FHWA is broke and the US legislative branch is BROKEN for now too.”

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • kittens July 1, 2013 at 4:17 am

      Though I agree with you on all your generalizations, you fail to consider a shocking development like the Marquam Bridge falling into the river or a catastrophic major bridge failure somewhere in the US. This would focus the public to issues of infrastructure. (Just to be clear, the current I-5 bridge is not as structurally deficient as everyone seems to think)

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Paul in the 'couve July 1, 2013 at 8:00 am

        You are correct, a major event like an earthquake or a terrorist attack or the I-5 getting taken out by a runaway barge would change everything.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

    • KD July 1, 2013 at 10:40 am

      1) “WaDOT is going to have such massive debt from projects in Seattle that it is going to be very difficult to find money for any big project in the next decade”. Spot on – WashDOT is already hurting from lack of funding and cost overruns on SR 520. They may recoup quite a bit from suing the contractors, however, so I wouldn’t put all your eggs in that basket.

      2) “a new EIS from scratch”. The whole EIS wouldn’t be “new” – you can recycle a few portions from the old EIS, but you will have to update every section. Likely the P&N statement will remain quite similar.

      3) “the GOP is very unlikely to enough votes in either WA or OR much less both the get support going for a no-transit bridge”. True.

      4) “it may very well come with a re-prioritization on maintenance, and retrofitting, vs. building more interchanges.” FHWA’s current mantra is “fix it first” – which will only get you so far.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Ted Buehler July 1, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Paul — interesting insight, I’m somewhat relieved that it will have big hurdles before it can materialize as a zombie.

      The overruns from the Alaska Way tunnel are a nice touch. What an asinine project! Rebuild a redundant freeway as a tunnel below sea level? The spin they spent on that one must have made the CRC lobbying budget look like childs’ play.

      & that was Chris Smith, not me, that pointed out it would require a new EIS if they dropped Light Rail.

      Ted Buehler

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • J_R July 1, 2013 at 6:25 am

    The CRC project may be dead, but the problems it was designed to correct haven’t gone away. Poor safety, awful facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists and seismic vulnerability are still there.

    The project that eventually replaces it will be far different. It will not include light rail transit. It will not include good facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. It will not include good connections for bicyclists and pedestrians in Vancouver, Hayden Island, and North Portland. It will not include extensive mitigation that make Hayden Island, North Portland, and Vancouver less impacted. It will, in fact, be a “real” highway bridge like the current I-205 bridge. It will emphasize getting traffic through the corridor and will eliminate the features so hated by TEA Partiers because they think those things detract from what they think are the “real” transportation needs.

    If you disliked the CRC project, you will really hate the new project that is eventually built at higher cost and with fewer features you think are beneficial.

    And none of the money “saved” by ending the current project will be spent on active transportation.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • 9watts July 1, 2013 at 6:31 am

      You are not including the scenario whereby history overtakes the Eisenhower/Robert Moses freeway expansion mindset and (a) the demand for more capacity disappears and (b) we run out of atmosphere into which to dump carbon.
      I’d be inclined to agree with you if this were the sixties, and for a few years here it was starting to look like the sixties again, but every year this sort of boondoggle is delayed or set back or pronounced dead is one fewer year in which to pull this off before the shit hits the fan.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • J_R July 1, 2013 at 6:04 pm

        I agree, we’re not going to see the same growth we had in the ’60s. That was a period when we had lots more women entering the labor force and we became a nation of two-worker households. But, we will have growth. Metro expects in the neighborhood of one million new residents of the metro area in the next 30 or so years. Even if it takes 40 years, that will mean more traffic, even if the per capita driving goes down. And, what if we transition to electric vehicles? That’s more traffic.
        The question is whether the existing bridge will last forever. In my view, it’s better to get working on it. Maybe the project’s not perfect; maybe the timing’s not perfect, but killing the best chance we have for a multi-modal solution is, in my opinion, shortsighted.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Paul in the 'couve July 1, 2013 at 8:33 am

      I agree that proposals and requests for these options will be frequent. They will have a long process to get going. A bridge between Camas and Gresham might not even be a bad idea. I agree with most people on BP that big freeway projects like a West Side Bypass are usually terrible for a lot reasons that are not directly related to my cycling interest.

      I think your comments get at the bigger picture. We one this one. Now we need to work to make changes in the whole political beast that is the freeway lobby.

      First, (since most BP readers are in OR) you folks in OR should get realistic about politics in your own state and particularly in the Democratic Party (STOP saying this was all WA or GOP driven). Democrats like to build freeways. OR transpo activists need to move on from advocating for peanuts from the DOTs and educate the Portland area Dems at least that freeway projects do not pay financially. Work on educating the public. Use the City Club report as a launching pad.

      Second, in WA I need to do some of the same. They bought the cycling groups off to support the $10 Billion dollar transpo bill in WA with $335 M of cycling projects (in the house version) which would probably have been cut in negotiations if the senate had passed a bill at all.

      In WA advocacy groups have a real opportunity. The debacle of big projects in Seattle is going and the state political divide is going to provide opportunity. Seattle area has a lot of progress on biking as more than sport. When the failure to collect enough toll revenue to pay off the SR520 and Alaskan Way projects hits home in Seattle it may well be the national poster child for why freeway expansion isn’t the answer. Politically, WA residents east of the Cascades hate paying for massive Seattle project which is why the Dems crossed over to oppose the Transpo bill. Neither east side WA politicians, nor Seattle politicians really care about South West WA problems. So the reasons the transpo bill failed this year remain. The need for more revenue just for maintenance remains. This is real political opportunity to educate lawmakers and expose the insanity of the “build more roads” mindset.

      On a national level same thing. And don’t forget, the Dems aren’t allies in this. The Democrats in WDC from both Oregon and Washington have been pushing the CRC and “bringing home the bacon” too.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Panda July 1, 2013 at 7:07 am

    I hope we can fight the freeway expansion through the rose quarter, too.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • KD July 1, 2013 at 11:51 am

      Rose quarter expansion has “independent utility” in relation to the CRC, but expansion of I-5 portions may be dropped. Surface street improvements may still occur.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Terry D July 1, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Kitzhaber in saying that he will “Look at congestion related fixes on the Oregon side of the border” leads me to believe that there will be several targets coming from this side:

    1) Look at retrofitting the railroad bridge to prevent the “S” turn that is hated so much by shipping
    2) Fix the lower stream bottle neck FIRST as this was one of the major criticisms….thus assuming that a second run new bridge will be easier down the road.

    So…the push by PBOT and ODOT will be to fund the N/NE Rose Quarter expansion project to eliminate the last “two lane section of I 5 between Mexico and Canada.” This bottleneck downstream was another big criticism of the CRC,….that it would just push the problem to another part of the city.


    The big push from the Highway Lobby will NOT be on a new replacement I 5 bridge. They know that the political environment in Portland is too toxic….their push is going to be for TWO new highway bridge crossings. One in EAST Multnomah county to Connect Camas with Troutdale and I 84 and the…..WESTERN BY-PASS ….that would somehow connect western Vancouver and SR 500 with Beaverton and Wilsonville, thus by-passing Portland completely.

    Clark County does not want to deal with the “Keep Portland Weird” crew AT ALL…..by fall the Western By-Pass will already have a committee formed to look into it for “congestion, safety and economic reasons.” The suburban political culture here would be much more amenable to new highway construction…especially on the west side where the mayor of Hillsborough has already petitioned the governor to look into the “Western By-pass” again without going through normal channels…since Portland would veto it.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Paul in the 'couve July 1, 2013 at 8:55 am

      I mixed some of my thoughts on your comment in with my reply to J_R above…

      I agree with you though that this is where the push will come. In Washington State I think the politics and finances will be such that unless I-5 congestion is much worse, they won’t go anywhere. It’s time to work hard to reform the whole USDOT, FHWA, and especially WA and OR road building. I think especially in WA the time is ripe politically.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • matt picio July 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Good luck with #1 – that in itself would be a very expensive project, and difficult to sell to both BNSF and Union Pacific.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Paul Souders July 1, 2013 at 11:29 am

      The Western Bypass gets floated a lot as an idea. It’s intriguing. First b/c it makes sense for commercial traffic. Second b/c it would trash a lot of my favorite rides in Washington co. (boo-hoo me)

      But I have trouble seeing it, I mean literally, where would it cross both rivers, North Portland, and then the far west hills?

      These are not rhetorical questions. Where would this theoretical western bypass go?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • kittens July 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm

        The plan i have seen roughly extends north near Cornelius pass ends up on the East side of Vancouver Lake. It will never happen.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Stretchy July 1, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Now to see if the BikePortland crowd has any follow-through on their anger over the Oregon vote. Will you still turf out your representatives who voted for this boondoggle? Or, does the Washington vote become an excuse to let them off the hook?

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • AndyC of Linnton July 1, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Good. Nice to see this version is gone.
    Now what is the next 170 million dollars in planning going to come up with? Or should it be 340 million? Start “planning”, planners!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Justin July 1, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I’m interested to see what happens now, whether we have broken the implicit compact: that we will do what it takes to keep commute times down for people in Clark County suburbs. I wonder how land-use patterns will respond.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Pacforth July 1, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Progressives made a deal with the devil to kill this thing. Celebrate all you want but when the sole reason this was defeated was because Republicans in WA wanted the ten lane monstrosity WITHOUT light rail or tolling (and honestly couldn’t care less about expanded bike/ped provisions), don’t be surprised if your jubilation is short-lived.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • RJ July 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

      Exactly right. This wasn’t killed by progressives, but by people who want to keep or expand all the worst parts of the CRC but get rid of tolling, transit, and active transportation components. The next iteration of this project will come in due time, and it will be much more objectionable than the project that just died.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Peter W July 1, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Pacforth, +1 for your call for caution. There are huge systematic problems that progressives and active transportation advocates need to be aware of — look at the role of people like Tom Imeson and his circle, the influence of the ports and a few other players with tremendous political power, the lack of transparency that allows corporate entities to wield great power in nearly untraceable ways, the highway-centric thinking so pervasive at ODOT (still! ask Jason Tell and Rian Windsheimer at Region 1 why they’re not supporting the Barbur road streamlining/diet), etc. If we don’t fix those things, we’ll be rallying to fight CRC2 at the Rose Quarter within a couple years.

      But a couple other quick things. I know it is a figure of speech, but a first step toward finding common ground with others might be to not start out calling them devils. Also, note that while light rail and tolling were big issues, I also heard a lot from the conservatives about the cost and the fact that this poorly designed facility would be bad for businesses (the big businesses on the river, but also the small businesses downtown). So there are definitely things that aren’t hard to agree on.

      ~ P

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Paul in the 'couve July 1, 2013 at 10:46 am

        Great comment. Thanks for taking the time to write that.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Stuart July 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

    While you are all cheering, Seattle transit riders must now prepare for a 17% cut in services next year. I know this isn’t a Seattle blog, but not even mentioning the immediate negative impacts for active transport that in Seattle? I’m glad ya’ll didn’t get a bridge you didn’t want, but maybe a little sympathy for those folks who won’t be able to get to work next year?

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • matt picio July 1, 2013 at 10:24 am

      I think a lot of folks have sympathy for Seattle’s plight – celebrating a major (hopefully permanent) setback to that project doesn’t mean we in Portland don’t care about your issues.

      There’s a lot of impacts in Washington due to this – transit is another big one.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Paul in the 'couve July 1, 2013 at 10:41 am

      We in WA need to move out of the box of bundling transportation projects into massive bills at the state level. I am sorry for Seattle transit. Really. However, I am happy this bill failed, and not just for the CRC. The old way of doing politics and transportation needs to die. The SR 520 expansion and the Alaskan Way tunnel and the CRC are all examples of why. They put 20% money (in a good year) towards smart projects and 80% towards perpetuating the problem. Activist groups for transit and cycling and complete streets have been trying to play the game, but the time is NOW for being a game changer.

      So it will be rough but with work it will get better. Seattle transit needs to sell itself and get funded on the up-and-up as the alternative to building massive debt ridden projects instead of begging for a 4% cut of the pie when a big project is built.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Alan 1.0 July 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

        And besides those points, Seattle and King County have repeatedly–many times!–turned down mass transit proposals. I’ve watched that happen over and over since the early ’60s. Stuart, I have loads of sympathy for all cities with monocultural car transpo systems b

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • Alan 1.0 July 1, 2013 at 12:06 pm

          …but that doesn’t mean the cities themselves have always made the right choices. (dang fat fingers)

          Recommended Thumb up 2

        • GlowBoy July 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm

          “Seattle and King County have repeatedly–many times!–turned down mass transit proposals” – Alan 1.0

          Whoa, whoa, whoa. Bash King County all you want, but hold your fire when it comes to Seattle proper. King County might have voted down mass transit repeatedly, but Seattle voters (myself included, in a previous century) voted FOR the proposals every single time. Overwhelmingly. Unfortunately the car-dominated suburbs outweighed the urbanites. Let’s not kid ourselves: If Oregon politicians had been as stupid as Washington politicians and kept putting mass transit projects up for public regional votes, every single rail line we’ve ever built would have been killed, and we would currently have NOTHING.

          Politically, frustration with suburban veto power was the main reason the ill-fated Monorail expansion project ever got voted for in the first place. It’s not that the project was such a great idea. It’s that urban voters got sick and tired of mass transit getting killed over and over again by the suburbanites, and finally said “Screw the effing suburbs! We’ll build our own transit system!” That was my thinking when I voted for the first monorail iteration (after watching regional transit go down in flames AGAIN), and it was also the thinking of Every Single Person I Knew.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

          • Alan 1.0 July 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm

            That’s a fair enough distinction and is largely why I included King County as I glossed over the transpo history. I’d be interested in some actual historic references, particularly ballot measures from the ’60s -’80s. I also seem to recall that at least in a couple cases the transit proposals were dropped before they went to a ballot. Please believe that I don’t mean to tar all Seattle voters (or even all KingCo voters) as being anti-transit.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Stuart July 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm

          This wasn’t a rejection by King County residents of mass transit. This was the state Senate preventing King County from enacting local taxes to prevent cuts to current survice. Not only was it rejected as a part of this bill, but it was prevented by the GOP from being voted on separately.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • mgt July 1, 2013 at 10:18 am

    *news tip*
    A reporter should look into whether ODOT or Oregon government already made contracts on the CRC build-out and what the financial repercussions of those failed contracts are.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Spencer Boomhower July 1, 2013 at 11:40 am

    With all due respect, I don’t think Republicans in Washington state were reading BikePortland to get their CRC opinions.

    Probably not, but I bet they were reading something like couv.com. And Mr. Cortright here, in addition to constantly delivering to the media cold hard facts about how the CRC’s financial numbers just didn’t add up, did as much as anyone to reach across the river and share his knowledge with skeptics in Washington. Case in point: http://couv.com/featured/very-big-risks

    They didn’t want to spend the money.

    Well, if it had been purely a freeway project, and they could have funded it without raising the gas tax, I could have seen them being OK with spending the money. But there was also the issue of the bridge being too low, and the damage that could do to commerce was a very real concern. They also objected to light rail, of course, for both the “crime train” obnoxiousness, and also out of concerns about being connected into Tri-Met and its troubles. And of course because it was the underslung bike/ped and light rail deck of the bridge that contributed to it being too low.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Spencer Boomhower July 1, 2013 at 11:43 am

      Hmm, not sure what happened to my HTML tags there! But the “Probably not…” and “Well, if it had been…” paragraphs are supposed to be my responses to quoted text. If someone could fix this, that would be great.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Alan 1.0 July 1, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Glad you mentioned the Tri-Met issue. I feel that was a strong negative to this light rail plan and had a strong negative influence on Clark County citizen’s opinion of the plan (which was more closely split than some seem to recall). How would some other joint management/ownership structure have worked? There must be examples of jointly operated transit systems elsewhere?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Paul in the 'couve July 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm

        I agree, the vocal opposition to light rail focused mainly on the public transit and the cost directly, but the overall negativity to light rail in Vancouver is much more nuanced.

        First, for many Vancouverites it isn’t about transit or light rail in general but MAX in particular. Like plenty of other Bikeportland commenters, I don’t like MAX. The cost / value equation doesn’t work IMO. The implementation of MAX is poor thinking. It may work better as portland grows dense along the MAX routes, but for moving people “commuter” distances it is just too slow. There is no third track for an express.

        Second, being tied to Tri-Met and PDXMetro so directly in the management and finances. Don’t forget about the Debt.

        Third, devils in the details, but routes and change, neighborhoods and streetscapes. It is a tough sell when you need to go right through downtown Vancouver and dramatically change the very heart of the city (even if it is a very sick heart on life support).

        Anyway, Alan 1.0 is right, the strong negative polling and voting on light rail wasn’t just extreme anti-transit or anti-light rail ranting. Vancouver residents, even many who poll or vote in support of MAX or light rail, want the opportunity to have a full community vision and discussion about what this is going to look like and how to make it work in Vancouver. Just shoving Portland’s solution across the river and sticking it where the State DOT’s say it should go rankles a lot of folks.

        Recommended Thumb up 6

      • kittens July 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

        I do not think the citizens of Clark County give a rip about transit agencies and who would do what. Their main contention was that the transit component of the bridge was too costly and failed to serve their needs. I agree on service; four stops in dt Vancouver and one at Clark College is not a great boon to the majority of folks in Vancouver. Frankly, I do not think lightrail could ever positively affect the majority of Vancouver, it is too sprawlly.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • KD July 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

    that’s nice.. HOw much does a cup of this Barista’s skill cost? Because not everyone can afford that much for a cup of fancy coffee.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • kittens July 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    The project asked the wrong question based on the flawed premise that vehicle miles will increase into perpetuity: how big should the new bridge be? This is just insane. Instead of funneling all the traffic onto two freeway bridges (205 and 5) why are we not having a discussion about arterial bridges? Imagine if Portland had just two crossings of the Willamette. Multiple bridges would encourage the sort of commuting habits and small scale development along both sides of the river and help the cities knit together. There is no reason Washington and Oregon could not get the same generous funding from the feds, it could be phased, and each crossing could have its own unique and beautiful design. Basically this is the plan put forth in the Common Sense Alternative which has been floating around for a few years.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • J_R July 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Kittens: You claim there is “no reason” why the feds wouldn’t be as generous in funding of multiple bridges. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Funding was applied for under the Federal Transit Administration’s “New Starts” program and from Federal Highway’s Corridors program. These are very specific, competitive programs. Al the stars were aligned with support from Sen. Murray and Sec. of Transportation LaHood. You are not going to find any federal money beyond the “normal” state allocation of federal funds for your proposed “multiple bridge” proposal.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Jayson July 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    A replacement bridge project will go nowhere without light rail or BRT. If it is BRT, it will need separate lanes for transit only. Or it could include a transit and toll lane so that people can pay to get through the gridlock (and help fund the whole project). I personally have no qualms paying $5-10 to save 20-30 minutes of travel time. I would also support a third bridge.

    In an ideal world, Oregon would focus on fixing the freight rail bottleneck (a boon for intercity passenger rail and freight interests). This new RR bridge could include ped/bike facilities unencumbered by massive freeway interchanges and off-ramps…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dick Schouten July 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm


    At this point I can only speak as one on a five member Washington County Board of Commissioners.

    A good SW Corridor Project (or a bad one for that matter) is going to have a large price tag. And I am assuming the SW Corridor Project will include no more than a 50% Federal capital share to build high capacity transit in the Corridor. I, for one am willing to vote for significant Washington County funding, if that would timely advance a positively transformative SW Project. (See my comments yesterday as to what such a Project would look like from my standpoint.)

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Chigger Mortis July 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I suspect the majority of people against the project seldom drive the bridge. If you did, you might have a different opinion.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Joe Adamski July 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      When I ride over I5 on my way home, I see a sea of single occupant cars,generally bogged down from horizon to horizon. Folks got sold a bill of goods predicated on good roads and cheap fuel. Those days are gone, but more of the same is what CRC stands for.
      I do drive I5 for my work frequently. But I have never seen capacity increase without sprawl increasing. They could build a 15 lane bridge and it would be congested and slow in relatively short time.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Ted Buehler July 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Whoa — they have a full 3D model of the new bridge on display at the CRC offices? How come this wasn’t paraded all over Portland to help sell the project?


    Also says WA gov. may consider another special session to pass a transportation bill — aint dead yet, folks.

    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Paul in the 'couve July 2, 2013 at 11:19 pm

      I’ve been trying to keep an ear to the ground for any murmor of another session -which would be the third session. I thought you might be right because of the bind Seattle is going to be in over transit and no ability to raise revenue in either Seattle city limits or King County.

      This is the best I’ve found today as for info [Discussion with Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom http://washingtonstatewire.com/blog/sessions-end-nixes-a-gas-tax-kills-a-bridge-and-ties-up-other-loose-ends/ ] :

      If support was weak among House Democrats, the Senate coalition wanted nothing to do with it. As Inslee noted, the Senate could have flung a counterproposal back in the direction of the House, without the bridge and including a referendum. But members of the majority caucus said they aren’t ready to go to the bargaining table; certainly it is going to take more than a few days to come up with a plan. Exactly which reforms they want, they haven’t decided – a study of transportation cost drivers is due this summer, they note. And they say the project list forwarded by House Democrats was designed more to curry political support than to solve congestion problems; they’ll want to rethink that, too. “Let’s take the next five or six months and see what kind of a program we can develop,” Tom said. “But this will need to have strong leadership from the governor’s office.”

      It sounds like even Dem leadership is taking the view that going back quickly would be unproductive. I think this is a good sign we won’t see a special session. I posted a long quote because it supports my claim above (and elsewhere) that cycling groups were being played with the $335 M. Dems were packing that bill with pet projects to keep the “allies” in line and hold their coalition together knowing full well that large portions of that was going to go in negotiation.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Cathy Hastie July 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Washington opposed this for the very reason I supported it – lightrail to Vancouver.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Webster July 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I wonder if they would let you look at the 3D model now that the CRC is toast. Is that model in their offices across from Esther Short Park?

    And regarding another special session to pass the $450 million state funding. Does anyone know the exact date the door will be closed on the $1 billion federal funding?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ted Buehler July 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Just to reinforce the safety issue, the national highway fatality map shared by Kristi Finney on the Carnage thread shows it well — http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-30/ncsa/STSI/41_OR/2011/Oregon_Map_1_GIS_DATA_2011.HTM

    0 — # of fatalities on I-5 and its intersections, 2009 – 2011 anywhere in Portland city limits, including the I-5 bridge and south approach.

    7 — # of fatalities on NE Columbia/Lombard/Killingsworth, I-5 to I-205, 2009 – 2011.

    Definitely a disconnect here. Fix Lombard, not the I-5 bridge.

    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • LL July 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    As a Clark County resident, I had mixed feelings about this project. We need light rail in Vancouver, but I wasn’t crazy about how this project was designed. I will echo comments of others on this blog: don’t feel too good Portland progressives because the likes of Ann Rivers, Don Benton et. al. opposed this project because of light rail. They WILL return with either a proposal for a third and/or fourth bridge and/or an automobile-focused I-5 bridge. When they do, Oregon tell them NO! Washington Republicans do not share the interests of active transportation activists, do not kid yourselves.

    Recommended Thumb up 1