Crunch Time for CRC on Friday

Friday is D-day! This from the Coalition for a Livable Future:

Protest and Testify at the CRC Project Sponsors’ Council meeting

When: Fri, Dec 4
9:30 am – action before the meeting
10am – public testimony

Where: Port of Portland
121 NW Everett St, Portland


Cuts have been made to the Columbia River Crossing megabridge project, but the total cost is still a whopping $3.6 Billion. The project is still taking an approach that harms our communities and fails to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect health, or support vibrant, walkable, livable communities.

The Project Sponsors Council is meeting this Friday to discuss and possibly vote on these changes. (See the cost-cutting recommendations at the first bullet here).

What We Can Do

Join grassroots opposition group Stop the CRC! on December 4 at the CRC Project Sponsors’ Council meeting to demand that we start over with a smarter project built upon shared goals.

Some Things To Consider for Testimony During the Hearing

About the project

  • We shouldn’t waste more time and scarce transportation funds cutting elements one by one from an unpopular plan that we can’t afford.
  • This region deserves a real choice about how to fix I-5, not a false choice between nothing at all and this still-a-megabridge project.
  • This project still does not advance regional goals on climate, livability, transportation and equity.
  • There has been no real, proactive engagement of the public about what average citizens want from this project.

About the project changes

  • Ten lanes is still a major expansion that fails to meet our needs, and the new design is still wide enough to restripe at 12 lanes at any time.
  • The project has also made major changes that appear to harm livability on Hayden Island, plus several other significant changes.
  • Major project decisions should be based on what leads to the best outcome for the region, not avoiding environmental review. The project has admitted that they decided the hundreds of millions of dollars in changes based on what they thought would get them out of having to do additional environmental impact analysis. That’s just wrong.
  • The project needs to do an environmental analysis of these changes. The changes may lead to additional impacts, and the public deserves to know and comment on them.

5 responses to “Crunch Time for CRC on Friday”

  1. Chris,

    There is an “unbridgeable gap” between opinion in Portland and that in Vancouver. The vast majority of people in Vancouver think that Max is “Loot Rail” and believe that it will be used by criminals to invade their homes. They’re lunatics, but they vote.

    On the other hand, the sentiment in Portland is “no bridge unless it has Light Rail”.

    But there serious technical objections to bringing light rail to Vancouver as currently planned. There is insufficient capacity on the Steel Bridge for the number of trains necessary to haul the number of people required to justify a 3/4 billion dollar investment, and the MOuSe goes just one mile and ends two blocks short of Clark College.

    There is insufficient money to build even the ten lane bridge to which I gather you object without tolling, and Vancouver just elected a “no tolls” mayor, so you can see the sentiment.

    Personally, I think that the elected leaders who serve on the Columbia River Crossing Council are whistling past the graveyard. There will be no agreement on funding and Senator Murray will not be able to plug the gap.

    If we could all agree on “half a loaf” by just adding a four lane supplemental bridge for southbound traffic and restriping the existing bridges to two lanes and a small breakdown lane each northbound, forget the interchange rationalizations, and say the added lane must go only between SR14/downtown Vancouver and Marine Drive, we would have something that we can afford and matches the capacity of the freeways to the north and south of it. One lane each way would be HOV in the peak direction at the peak hour.

    If car fever seizes Oregon sometime in the future and ODOT widens I-5 on the Oregon side, the old bridges can be replaced with a new bridge having six lanes including a separated HOV section and the periodic HOV lanes would become general traffic all the time.

  2. IMO, the problem with the project is it’s been a good 4 years (at least), and the overall region still disagrees. The whole thing has been studied and re-studied to death, while every other alternative (third bridge at a different location, increase in sustainable career-paying jobs in Clark Co., social re-engineering that people should work close to where they live and do a majority of their shopping within their local communities, etc.) is summarily dismissed as not meeting the project parameters.

    Anyone can use language and wording to say something is safe vs. unsafe (current Interstate Bridges vs. current Sellwood Bridge, for example).

    If it were up to me, I’d say ‘the public has spoken: stop wasting money and shut down the continual studying now.’

    FYI: As I type this, there’s a problem with a tag on this post causing the rest of the posts in the main center column of the homepage scrunch together.

  3. Jason,

    The problem with all the “third bridge” proposals is that they don’t connect to north/south highways; they lead into urban arterials. That won’t wash with the communities affected on either side of the river.

    I think Clark County has really tried to increase employment here, but as we see, it has been only temporarily successful. Kyocera is gone, HP is a skeleton of its former self, SEH is severely shrunken. Maybe the Port expansion will help, but so far it hasn’t been the source of much optimism.

    You can forget the social engineering idea in “Washington’s Orange County”®. A polity that elects Helicopter Don over and over is not going to go for anything that has the root word of “Socialism” in it.

  4. Why are they having testimony at 10:00 am on a workday? Most of the people that cross the I-5 bridge from Vancouver (like me) are at work then. I get paid by the hour, have bills to pay and can’t take off time from work to go testify at a hearing.

    I hope that the council doesn’t get the impression that if all the people that show up are against the bridge, then everyone is against the bridge. The people that use the bridge on a daily basis are at work during the hearing.

    To chime in on the third bridge: I still don’t know why people think this is an option. The whole north side of Portland near the Columbia is a “wasteland” west of I-205, meaning, there aren’t any destinations. There’s nothing on Marine Drive and Jantzen Beach is the only place that has shopping or employment. We need to keep moving people and freight on the Interstate because there is nowhere to go on arterial roads.

  5. only 10,000 jobs in Rivergate and more still in the Columbia Corridor, and that is where lots of Clark county commuters are headed alone in the cars in the peak.
    Connecting MLK with the extra wide streets of downtown Vancouver via Hayden Island is a no brainer for people traveling only a few miles.
    Why does Portland have eight arterial bridges? so we aren’t all trying to cross on the freeway bridges on short trips. Same should apply across the Columbia; one should not have to get on a “vital interstate freeway” to get a drink at Shenanigans.

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