First Major CRC Hearing at Legislature – Monday Afternoon

The legislature has created a joint committee to deal with the funding bills for the Columbia River Crossing (in search of $450M for Oregon’s share of the funding). This appears to be designed to expedite getting the bill(s) to the floor of the respective chambers for a quick vote.

The joint committee has scheduled a six hour public hearing for Monday (3-9pm), and project skeptics and opponents are making an effort to get a large turnout.

There’s a Facebook page for the effort, including a carpool form.

Whether or not you can make it down, please consider contacting your legislator to make your feelings known. Directions from the Facebook page:

Whether you come or not, please write your legislator:
http://bit.ly/findmylawmaker and CC patrick.h.brennan@state.or.us so your comment is entered into the record.

This is crunchtime…

28 Comments

28 Responses to First Major CRC Hearing at Legislature – Monday Afternoon

  1. Ron SWaren
    February 9, 2013 at 9:23 am Link

    I think ODOT needs to be put on the spot to answer how many other projects do people want funded around the state. The N/NE Quadrant is working its way up through the agencies, and should be presented in the near future. Will there be enough money to pay for that, after the CRC? What about projects in E. Oregon , on the Oregon Coast or in Southern Oregon? Why should Portland get such a huge chunk of funding? Are these policies undermining the economic prosperity of smaller communities, causing people to leave them and come to Portland?

    Kitzhaber is asking for special bonding for the CRC. For how long? How do we know this money won’t be used to bail out other projects, such as with Tri Met? Are there intercity transportation projects that could be funded instead? If I were a legislator these are questions I would ask.

  2. m
    February 9, 2013 at 9:53 am Link

    Waiting for you to post the article from today’s Oregonian demonstrating what we have known for sometime: you can walk faster than the streetcar. Buses are faster, more versatile and significantly less expensive.

    And the property development comes not from the streetcar but from tax abatements and zoning changes.

    The streetcar is the biggest SCAM going. Expansion of the streetcar needs to end and the PDC needs to be shutdown.

    The city needs to return to a focus on basic services.

  3. EngineerScotty
    February 9, 2013 at 10:16 am Link

    M,

    We commented about Joseph Rose’s streetcar race in the Open Thread.

  4. bjcefola
    February 9, 2013 at 10:24 am Link

    What difference does it make if you get your comment in the record? Also, does it matter if a residential address is included?

  5. Chris Smith
    February 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm Link

    What difference does it make if you get your comment in the record? Also, does it matter if a residential address is included?

    If you’re leaving a message with your representative, an address will help confirm that you are one of their constituents. And representatives do pay attention to how many constituents contact them pro and con on bills.

  6. jimbobpdx
    February 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm Link

    Regarding the Streetcar, and how terrible it is, I often wonder why, then, do so darn many people ride it? Maybe it’s like the feller said – “Nobody goes there anymore – it’s too crowded.”

    Tho I observe the westside line, and understand that ridership on the east line is not great.

  7. chrisw443
    February 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm Link

    I ride the streetcar and MAX any chance I get, why? Because I hate the crappy buses trimet has. Not to mention the buses are always late and the trains most of the time I ride aren’t. If I wanna go to lloyd center from beaverton TC, I take the MAX and streetcar. I wouldn’t take a bus. I come from a town with nothing but bus service, guess what? Less people use it. Some people might like riding the 58 down the west hills every day. I personally prefer MAX over that roller coaster bus ride any day I can. Along with the streetcar up grand than the over crowded number 6.

  8. Lenny Anderson
    February 9, 2013 at 5:02 pm Link

    I don’t think the 12K people who ride Streetcar every day feel scammed. They feel well served!

  9. Nick theoldurbanist
    February 9, 2013 at 9:37 pm Link

    And if streetcar had the same fare as everything else? how many people would ride it then?

  10. m
    February 9, 2013 at 9:55 pm Link

    “I don’t think the 12K people who ride Streetcar every day feel scammed. They feel well served!”

    1. They don’t call the eastside line the Ghost Train for nothing. Check it out sometime.

    2. They may feel “well served”, but that is because they have no idea the cost to this city for that very short line that most can travel faster by walking. The politicians and developers are relying on that ignorance when it comes to building the Scamcar.

    3. It’s all part of the plan. Next step: we need developments to support the scamcar, so let’s give away MILLIONS of dollars in tax abatements to developers. The problem is: at what cost? Sam Adams ran the finances of the city like he ran his personal checkbook and ignored the issue but Hales at least is a grown up and is realizing the sober reality: the city is going broke and we can not keeping increasing our debt load.

    The PDC needs to be shut down, Urban Renewal needs to end (just the like the very liberal Jerry Brown did in CA), the scamcar needs to stop expanding, and bus service needs to be restored.

    We need a return to basic services.

  11. Lenny Anderson
    February 10, 2013 at 11:26 am Link

    Give the Eastside line some time for heavens sake!
    Just looked at my collection of Powell’s walking maps of Downtown. In 1992, it ended at NW Hoyt; there was nothing beyond that to the north. Katz had just been elected mayor. Next edition extended to Lovejoy, showing the Lovejoy and 10th Avenue ramps to the Broadway Bridge; Weinhart Brewery was still there. It was the late 90′s, and the name “Pearl District” was there along with a few loft conversions. Since then a whole new city district with jobs, housing (including affordable), and many small businesses has come into being in inner NW Portland. When the River District URA is retired as it should be, (and the new mayor has promised to do just that), City tax roles will get a real boost. I think there is no denying that Streetcar was a significant factor in the huge amount of private investment (not all tax abated) that has built (and is still building) this new district. What would you folks have prefered to have occured in inner NW?
    Will that kind of development happen in Lloyd, Rose Quarter, CES? Hard to say, but I would argue that Streetcar may not be sufficent for this, but it is necessary. Please tell me about an entire new district somehwere that was built around a new bus line. Never heard of it.

  12. Ron Swaren
    February 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm Link

    Hey….this thread is about the CRC project.

  13. Ron Swaren
    February 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm Link

    I don’t think there is inherent value for the people of this state in having so many big ticket projects localized in the Portland area. Don’t the towns east of the Cascades and south of Eugene have important projects, too? Hogging the state’s money and pouring it in to the metropolitan area will, of course, guarantee that people will desert the smaller communities. And cause people to come here seeking jobs. Seems like an endless cycle, However, it can be stopped.

    If there were a worthwhile project for Oregon government to initiate, I would say a statewide bus service would be the most helpful, for the size of the investment.

  14. EngineerScotty
    February 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm Link

    Ron,

    There are plenty of big ticket projects going on elsewhere. Much concrete has been poured modernizing Eugene’s freeway system, including a new I-5 bridge across the Willamette, and numerous rebuilt interchanges along Belt Line Highway. Eugene also has the state’s only rapid transit lines outside the Portland metro area (i.e. anything better than local bus service); with two EmX lines built so far, and a third in the planning stage.

    A new alignment of OR-62 is being built in Medford; US-199 is being expanded west of Grants Pass; the US20 project near Eddyville has gone WAY over budget; US97 is slowly being turned into a freeway from Sunriver all the way to Redmond. And of course, there are miles and miles of roadways serving Oregon’s farms, ranches, forests, parks, and small towns that hardly see any traffic.

    That said, a statewide bus service would be a fine idea.

  15. Dave
    February 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm Link

    @Lenny;

    Please tell me about an entire new district somewhere that was built around a new bus line. Never heard of it.

    Hmmm, let’s look at Division, Alberta, Williams/Vancouver, Mississippi, Hawthorne all totally revitalized over the past few years without a streetcar line. Plus the bus goes down each street!

    I’m actually a big fan of the westside line but I would have never built the eastside line. The character of that area is so much different than the westside line. The westside line does a great job tying existing neighborhoods together with new ones. Not so much on the eastside.

  16. Aaron Hall
    February 10, 2013 at 11:56 pm Link

    But Dave, all of those districts developed along streetcar lines, not bus lines. They’re strong corridors today because of that earlier investment. Buses didn’t come along till later. You just proved Lenny’s point.

  17. Chris I
    February 11, 2013 at 7:57 am Link

    Ron,

    Most government services (including infrastructure) effectively act as a rural subsidy. Rural parts of this state see more spending than they pay in gas tax revenue. It is more expensive to serve communities that are sprawled out like Pendleton or Burns. Saying that the metro areas are “hogging” money is the opposite of reality.

  18. m
    February 11, 2013 at 9:39 am Link

    “all of those districts developed along streetcar lines, not bus lines. They’re strong corridors today because of that earlier investment.”

    And who paid for those earlier lines? The DEVELOPERS themselves.

    When they couldn’t afford to run them, the developers then turned the lines over to the city. The difference today is that public transportation dollars are being spent on development tools such as the Scamcar to enrich private developers and our tax base is shrunk due to huge property tax abatements.

    If the developers of today want to increase the value of their property, let THEM pay for the scamcar.

  19. Nick theoldurbanist
    February 11, 2013 at 10:48 am Link

    “But Dave, all of those districts developed along streetcar lines, not bus lines. They’re strong corridors today because of that earlier investment. Buses didn’t come along till later. You just proved Lenny’s point.”

    >>>> NO, you DID NOT prove Lenny’s point. These REVITALIZED districts developed along major bus lines, which is much the same thing as a brand new district.

    And, as the previous poster said, the DEVELOPERS paid for the original streetcar lines, as at that time there were no motorized buses.

  20. Ron Swaren
    February 11, 2013 at 10:57 am Link

    ” Rural parts of this state see more spending than they pay in gas tax revenue. It is more expensive to serve communities that are sprawled out like Pendleton or Burns. Saying that the metro areas are “hogging” money is the opposite of reality.”

    I have a hard time seeing how you could fall 200 ft tall Douglas fir trees in the Portland Metro area. At least on a regular basis. And as far as I know the tuna don’t run in the Willamette River…..Mrs. Ladd did have a cow pasture on SW Jefferson Street, but that was a long time ago.

  21. Joseph E
    February 11, 2013 at 11:25 am Link

    “I have a hard time seeing how you could fall 200 ft tall Douglas fir trees in the Portland Metro area. At least on a regular basis. And as far as I know the tuna don’t run in the Willamette River…..Mrs. Ladd did have a cow pasture on SW Jefferson Street, but that was a long time ago.”

    It doesn’t require ANY gas tax money for private citizens to log trees or pasture cattle. Back before gasoline, the timber companies used to build their own roads – first logging railroads, then unpaved truck logging roads. Most of the privately funded freight short-line railways are going bankrupt due to competition by government-subsidized paved rural highways. Cattle used to be driven cross-country to market, then later taken by train on private railways, then on unpaved roads.

    I’m glad that rural roads are now paved (makes it easier to enjoy the coast and mountains, for me, and I like road cycling better than off-road), but it is a real subsidy, same way that transit and bike paths and sidewalks are subsidized by government taxes or regulations.

  22. Chris I
    February 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm Link

    One could make the same argument about services that cities provide. Is Jeb going to design and build his own tractor? I worked next door to a company in Milwaukie that designs chainsaw chains. We need them, and they need us. The government should only subsidize things that citizens view as “essential services”. Is it essential that we pave a rural road that might serve 12 tax-paying farmers? Is it essential that we build a 12-lane mega-freeway across the Columbia river?

  23. Lenny Anderson
    February 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm Link

    None of the revitalized close-in commercial districts were built from scratch on abandoned rail yards and brownfields. A big piece of the N/S Streetcar line was paid for by an LID (Local Improvement District). I think you will find that developers and property owners had a lot of scratch in the deal, and that the public will get a hell of return on its investment as well. A highrise condo pays a lot more in property taxes than an empty warehouse. Do the math.
    back to CRC: Just toll the current bridges now, and all will be fine. $5 seems about right. Use the dough to improve transit, underwrite rideshare and build a new HCT bridge with a good bike/ped facility.

  24. dave
    February 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm Link

    None of the revitalized close-in commercial districts were built from scratch on abandoned rail yards and brownfields.

    What difference does that make? The PDC helped cleaned those brownfields up. Alberta, Williams/Vancouver, Mississipp, were areas far worse off and were the center of gang activity in the 80s and 90s. The streetcar is a nice amenity but is not the reason why the Pearl is the success it is today.

  25. Lenny Anderson
    February 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm Link

    I guess you have to stand at the corner of 10th and Lovejoy and remember the ramps to clearly understand the transformation that occurred in inner NW, and there is no question that the streetcar project, a vision of a broad planning effort (Central City Plan of 1986) and funded largely by local commercial property owners, gets a piece of the credit for that transformation. Let’s move on to something else.
    I heard via M. Andersen that the Washington legislature is pretty cool to the CRC. Anything to that? Is that our best hope for scaling this thing down to a decent size?

  26. John Reinhold
    February 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm Link

    I oppose the CRC in its current form. I was one of the only members of Metro’s TPAC to vote against it. That’s a matter of public record if you don’t believe me you are welcome to look it up. I have testified against it at the city of Portland, at the state legislature, at Metro, at the CRC itself, at public comment hearings… I have written letters and made phone calls. I have even debated my friends and coworkers who live in the Couve. The CRC as currently planned is just plain wrong for the region…

    But even though we here mostly agree with the need to oppose the current CRC I wanted to respond to this concept:

    Why should Portland get such a huge chunk of funding?

    Because Portland is such a huge chunk of the population, tax base, and economic engine for the state?

    Maybe?

    Or do we want to pretend that the metro area of Portland exists because ODOT builds roads there?

    Now for the off-topic parts. I ride east side streetcar occasionally. It’s not empty but it’s not full either. However there is a lot of change coming both in the Lloyd district and down near OMSI. We should wait to pass judgement until some of those things are built out.

    Also – how come no one complains when roads are empty – calling them “ghost roads”? We spend a lot of money building lane miles for peak periods which go underutilized much of the day…

  27. Ron Swaren
    February 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm Link

    “Is it essential that we build a 12-lane mega-freeway across the Columbia river?”

    Exactly, when is this happening?

  28. Chris I
    February 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm Link

    Ron,

    Take a look at the CRC documents. The project is “10 lanes” at the narrowest point, but the shoulders are large enough to add 2 more in the future. And look just north of the river, near the Evergreen Blvd crossing: 14 lanes.

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