Archive | November, 2009

CRC Keeps Throwing Supporters Under the Bus

First the Columbia River Crossing sponsors talked of an ‘iconic’ bridge as a gateway between the two states – we got a concrete slab.

A world-class bikeway was envisioned – instead the design looks like a dank cave.

Now the Trib reports that Hayden Island residents who were once told that this bridge would unite their community are up in arms that the cost-reduced version of the bridge will be a ‘Berlin Wall’.

How many more folks does this project have to alienate before we go back to the drawing board?

Local Streetcar Manufacturing At the Table for Obama Job Summit

Chandra Brown of United Streetcar (a subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works) is one of 100 business people who will be at President Obama’s December jobs summit. Here’s the press release from Congressman Blumenaur:

Blumenauer Announces United Streetcar President Chandra Brown to Join President Obama at Jobs Summit

Portland, OR -Congressman Blumenauer (D-Ore) announced today that, at his recommendation, the White House will invite Chandra Brown, President of United Streetcar and a resident of Oregon’s Third Congressional District, to participate in President Obama’s Jobs Summit on December 3rd, 2009.

Based on United Streetcar’s success in building the first American made Streetcar in 58 years, Congressman Blumenauer called on the administration to include Ms. Brown in the summit.

“Investment in America’s infrastructure is key to our economic recovery, creating jobs and laying the physical foundation for a stronger country. I am thrilled that Chandra Brown will have a seat at the table for the President’s Job Summit next week. Under her leadership, United Streetcar has emerged as a bright spot in American manufacturing. With each streetcar they build, they’ll not only employ people in my district, but will involve other manufacturers around the country in creating the parts they need to make each car,” said Congressman Blumenauer.

“I believe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so grateful in particular to Congressman Blumenauer for his efforts in making this happen. I look forward to representing American manufacturing and small businesses at the summit, and continuing work to create family wage jobs in Oregon and around the Country,” said Brown.

United Streetcar will build the cars for the Portland streetcar loop project, which was recently approved by the administration. The project is estimated to create 1,500 jobs.

United Streetcar, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works, Inc. (OIW). OIW is a specialized fabrication and manufacturing company founded in Oregon in 1944. United Streetcar’s mission is to provide modern, efficient, safe and reliable American-produced streetcars and to be a pioneering force in increasing urban transit options throughout the United States.

CRC Opposition Groups Gear Up for Protest

The coalition of folks opposing the CRC hope to make a big public showing at the next Project Sponsors Council meeting on December 4th (9:30AM at ODOT in Old Town).

This is the meeting where the Sponsors will review the proposed cost reductions. The central message for the activists will be to take the opportunity to review the project assumptions at a more basic level.

Details at the BTA blog.

Funding Bikes Through Transit

Last week, in a post about bike funding, I alluded to a proposal to allow more bike facilities to be funded as part of transit projects. Now Congressman Blumenaur’s office is urging advocates to comment on the proposal:

Dear Transit, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Friends and Colleagues,

As Jonathan Maus posted in the Nov. 16 edition of, the Federal Transit Administration is currently accepting comments on a new policy that would extend and more clearly define the ‘catchment area’ for bikes and pedestrians around transit stops and stations.

I urge you to comment on the proposed policy. After all, who knows more about transit, bicycle and pedestrian behavior, needs and facilities than you? Communities across the country would benefit from your comments and recommendations.

You can find the policy, as well as the procedure for comments at The deadline is January 12, 2010; contact names and addresses and requirements are listed in the document.

A final request: please cc me on any comments you submit, so I can share them with my colleagues in DC.


Meeky Blizzard
Advisor for Livable Communities
Congressman Earl Blumenauer