Key CRC decision coming Friday

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Mayor Adams (L) and Vancouver
Mayor Royce Pollard before a
CRC meeting in February 2007.
(Photo © J. Maus)

On Friday, the Columbia River Crossing Project Sponsors Council will meet to solidify the lane configuration of the new I-5 bridge. According to a press release sent out by the CRC project, the meeting will result in “a recommendation on the number of add/drop (auxiliary) lanes on Interstate 5 in the CRC project area.”

There has been a lot of public and media attention given to the CRC lane decision after Mayor Adams and Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard put forth a compromise lane proposal last week.

That proposal was supported 4-1 by the Portland City Council, giving Mayor Adams the authorization to vote “yes” on a bridge that could accomodate up to 12 lanes (although there’s no specific mention of 12 lanes in the CRC press release).

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CRC rally planned for April; Commissioner Fritz will attend

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Joe Kurmaskie-2.jpg

Joe Kurmaskie, seen here at the
“We are All Traffic” rally held in
November 2007 after two
bike fatalities.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Mayor Sam Adams’ support of a proposal that would authorize the construction of a new I-5 bridge that could “be built to accomodate up to 12 lanes” has sparked a new level of opposition to the current direction of the Columbia River Crossing project.

Adams’ decision to compromise with Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard on this issue has provided a spark for citizen activists to organize and rally in opposition to the project.

A loose coalition of activists has come together and is planning a rally at 12:00 noon on April 5th in Waterfront Park (which is, fittingly, the site where the Harbor Drive Freeway was once located before it was removed, thus sparking Portland’s green transportation planning legacy).

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Adams gets council support for his 12-lane CRC compromise

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Commissioner Fritz voiced many concerns
before voting “no” on the proposal
last night.
(Image: City of Portland)

At their meeting last night, Portland’s City Council gave Mayor Sam Adams authorization to vote in favor of a 12-lane Columbia River Crossing (CRC) bridge.

But, according to Adams’ office, the vote does not mean the Mayor (and council) have signed off on a 12-lane bridge.

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The Portland that might have been

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I recently came across this image again — it’s the map that might have sealed our fate, developed by Portland city planners in 1966 in response to freeway guru Robert Moses’ vision for the city.

Robert Moses’ freeway plan for the City of Portland

Moses was known for saying “Cities are for traffic,” and he dedicated his career to creating freeway networks inside cities, many of which cut across existing neighborhoods — often the poorest ones.

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Now it’s Metro’s turn to hear CRC lane debate

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Metro Council President David Bragdon.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Thursday at Metro, councilors are sure to get an earful when they host a public hearing on the contentious Columbia River Crossing project. The topic will be Resolution No. 09-4023, which Metro describes as:

“For the Purpose of Expressing a Sense of The Council on the Number of Lanes Proposed as part of the Columbia River Crossing Project, taking into Account Congestion Pricing, Capacity, and possible Induced Demand Effects.”

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Guest Editorial: Speaking up on the CRC

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[Editor’s note: This guest editorial was written by first-time BikePortland contributor Spencer Boomhower. Spencer testified in front of City Council during a hearing on the Columbia River Crossing held last Thursday.]

Spencer Boomhower

I’m sitting at a table with a microphone sticking in my face, and a little digital counter telling me how much time I have to talk. Or rather, telling the guy to my right how long he has to talk; I’m up next, after him. I recline in the polished wooden chair, cast my eyes down, and try to relax.

I look up and I’m faced with a who’s-who of local-politics luminaries straight out of my voting guide: Randy Leonard, Amanda Fritz, Sam Adams, Dan Saltzman, and Nick Fish. This doesn’t help.

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A conversation with Rex Burkholder: Part One; the CRC

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(Photos © J. Maus)

Last Friday, I had the pleasure to host Rex Burkholder here at Headquarters. We often cross paths at events and parties, and I work with him as a source on stories now and again, but it’s rare that we get the chance to talk uninterrupted for over an hour.

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Would you take the lane on I-5 to cross the Columbia?

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Tour of Tomorrow

Pretty tight, but it’s better than riding
on the highway — isn’t it?
(Photo © J. Maus)

Anyone who has attempted to ride across the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington knows that it’s not for the faint of heart.

The bikeway/sidewalk is barely wider than a cargo trailer and there’s an incline and descent to deal with while big rigs rumble past on one side and the river looms large on the other.

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Blumenauer brings up the CRC at City Club event

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Transportation activist, streetcar advocate, former City Commissioner candidate and blogger Chris Smith was at an event last night where U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer had some choice words about the Columbia River Crossing project.

Here’s an excerpt from Smith’s report:

Blumenauer said the the Columbia River Crossing was a metaphor for the lack of consensus for a transportation vision in our region, comparing it to “the desire for an eight-lane freeway from I-205 to Highway 26 that would turn I-205 into a parking lot and screw up the planning for the new City of Damascus”.

Read the whole post and the comments over on on

Guest Article: A view on the CRC from Northeast Portland

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[This article was written by Tony Fuentes. Fuentes is vice-chair of the Concordia Neighborhood Association, an avid outdoorsman, a father of two, and a small business owner. He is frequently called upon by city leaders and was a member of Commissioner Sam Adams’ Safe, Sound and Green Stakeholder Committee. Fuentes has a Masters degree in environmental and natural policy from Harvard where he also was a Teaching Fellow in economics.

In this article, he shares his view on how the Columbia River Crossing project would impact public health, natural areas, and our region’s economy.]

Tony Fuentes
(Photo © J. Maus)

I count myself among the many residents of Portland who wants the Council to reject, not embrace, the “locally preferred option” for the Columbia River Crossing. Something must be done, and the proposed mega-bridge is something, but it isn’t the something that we need.

Spending billions of dollars to support expanded use of single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) is a throwback to a simpler time when climate change was science fiction, air pollution was symbolic of a city’s industrial might, and growth was boundless. The reality is that we cannot build our way out of our present transportation challenges with more pavement for SOVs. We have learned this already and we don’t need to relearn this now.

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Concerns about the Crossing

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Columbia River Crossing Forum

[Transportation activist and
blogger Chris Smith questions
the Crossing at a
panel discussion on 1/4/07.]

Last night at my neighborhood meeting I heard two strange presentations. They both had to do with billion dollar mega-projects that are intended to increase capacity on Interstate 5 and thereby decrease congestion.

As I listened I couldn’t help but feel like I was in some sort of surreal nightmare.

I thought everyone knew that increasing highway capacity only encourages more use of motor vehicles while doing nothing to get to the root cause of the problems.

I thought we’d evolved beyond thinking we can build our way out of our addiction to oil and automobiles. I thought widening freeways and bridges was something planners looked back on in textbooks as what not to do.

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