Mike Francis’ opinion section feature about the Columbia River Crossing is a refreshing break from the “we must do this no matter what” drumbeat of the editorial page of our local daily:
You don’t have to be an architect, artist, bicyclist, urban planner, academic or environmentalist to fear that the Columbia River Crossing is a process that is careening toward an unfortunate outcome. Just look at the schematic.
And the Jack Ohman cartoon is not to be missed.
My favorite quote from the piece:
But, notes Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt, “It’s not like there’s an obvious Plan B. We can do what we have in front of us, or do nothing for quite a while.” If the Columbia River Crossing is scuttled now, he predicts, it will take “another 10 or 15 years” before the stars are aligned this way again.
Reading that, I alternate between laughter and anger, because it has been the clear intent of the DOTs, aided by the Ports to, by hook or by crook, make sure that no viable alternative emerges from the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process for this project.
5 responses to “Someone at the Oregonian Has a Clue About the CRC”
It’s not like there’s an obvious Plan B.
No, there are probably about a half dozen obvious Plan B’s. Just dig up EVERY SINGLE REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE that was dismissed out-of-hand during the scoping process, brush them off, and give them a fresh look.
Francis still fails to critically examine two of the axioms on which this project is going forward: 1) The existing bridges need to be replaced. 2) It is “a rare opportunity to get federal and state money.”
So long as you take these on faith, you are likely to end up with something like the current project. Both of these ideas must have some inherent psychological appeal that prevents an objective evaluation.
I really don’t know about the suggestion (also floated by Chris a few days ago) that more input by the legislatures would improve the bridge. Unless by “improve the bridge” we mean “just kill the whole thing already.” Seems to me that when a project’s core problem is that everybody has someone else to blame for its failings, adding people to the table will not help.
By the way, I’m not actually sure what any of the Clark County legislators’ positions on the bridge would be. Though somehow I’m pretty sure Don Benton is still against a light rail extension.
Francis still fails to critically examine two of the axioms on which this project is going forward: 1) The existing bridges need to be replaced. 2) It is “a rare opportunity to get federal and state money.” So long as you take these on faith, you are likely to end up with something like the current project. Both of these ideas must have some inherent psychological appeal that prevents an objective evaluation.,/i>
Uhhmmm…would that be called “job security?” Just wondering. Not that I’ve seen it happen before anywhere else, of course. Such as in the construction world. :)
O, wait…this is the construction world.
Two things are frequently asserted about the project, and I have a hard time believing that both are true:
1) The project is a national priority–that national interests are at stake because traffic (presumably freight) gets stuck in traffic a lot on I-5.
2) If we don’t act now to get our turn at the federal trough, we get sent back to the end of the line; and don’t get another shot for a decade or more.
If #1 were true, I would think that funding would be made available whenever the project was ready. I suspect, though, that it’s #1 that isn’t true. I’m not familiar enough with the appropriations process in DC to comment on the veracity of #2–though given that far less important things get funded through the appropriations process. Given that I don’t expect major changes to either state’s congressional delegation this November–there will be a new rep from the Couv replacing the retiring Brian Baird, and Kurt Schrader in OR-5 will probably get tested, but the rest of the seats are probably safe–I find it hard to believe that federal funding couldn’t be obtained.
And of course, there’s always the HSR card: Rather than adding transit to I-5, add it to a future HSR crossing. Which is one reason, I suspect, that many in Portland and Vancouver are perfectly happy with a no-build as far as the CRC is concerned.