A Little Bit of Multnomah County Road History

I’ve been reading Jewel Lansing’s “Multnomah”, a history of Multnomah County, and found a few juicy tidbits of early road history:

  • A Multnomah Deputy Sheriff, Peter Rexford, proposed painting a yellow line down the middle of the Columbia River Highway, to make it safer – a practice that gained some popularity.
  • The first Interstate Bridge was overseen by the Interstate Bridge Commission, a joint project of Multnomah County and Clark County. The bridge was not turned over to ODOT for several decades.

Maybe would should put the County in charge of Oregon’s participation in the CRC?

3 responses to “A Little Bit of Multnomah County Road History”

  1. It was suggested very early in the project that a local bridge would be a better idea. But the DOT’s, and WashDOT in particular, considered any discussion of local solutions as hijacking the process. Local solutions were considered only as problems to be managed away.

    The idea was dismissed by WashDOT with words to the effect, “If Portland and Vancouver want to build a local bridge, that’s fine. But that isn’t what this discussion is about, its not our job, and it wouldn’t be our project.”

  2. I’ve thought for years that Metro and the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council should be in charge of the project. Let ODOT and WashDOT do a freeway-only project if that’s really important to them, and let the regional governments deal with local access, transit and bike crossing.

    In fact, I’d be happy if Metro and SWRTC went ahead with an arterial/transit drawbridge project on their own. If an economically efficient local project undermines the rationale for the mega-bridge, so much the better.

  3. When it was suggested that long-distance freight issues would be better resolved by railroad improvements, the DOTs gave the same response: “that isn’t what this discussion is about, it’s not our job, go away”.

    Given that the motivations for the project were
    (1) local road transport
    (2) long-distance freight transport
    (3) Shipping clearance (the current proposed project fails to improve that problem at all)
    (4) light rail to Vancouver, WA

    The project as designed by WSDOT/ODOT has failed to consider alternatives. Improvements to freight rail bridges and intermodal yards, a local road bridge, and a separate light rail bridge would solve everything, and could not help but be cheaper than the monstrosity currently proposed.

    All the evidence on the CRC is that someone in power at WSDOT simply really really wants more general purpose expressway lanes. God only knows why. Sexual fetish?

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