Archive | Sellwood Bridge

What’s that About the Sellwood?

An alert reader pointed us to this section of HB 2001, the much-discussed transportation bill. Section 40 creates the ability for Multnomah and/or Clackamas counties to adopt registration feeds to help pay for the bridge. But there’s an interesting twist (in bold below):

  SECTION 40. ORS 801.041 is amended to read:
  801.041. The following apply to the authority granted to
counties by ORS 801.040 to establish registration fees for
vehicles:
  (1) An ordinance establishing registration fees under this
section must be enacted by the county imposing the registration
fee and filed with the Department of Transportation.
 { - Any - }  { + Notwithstanding ORS 203.055 or any provision of
a county charter, the governing body of a county with a
population of 350,000 or more may enact an + } ordinance
establishing registration fees   { - that is enacted by the
governing body of a county must be submitted to the electors of
the county for their approval. - }   { + for the purpose of
designing, replacing, acquiring necessary property for,
engineering and constructing a bridge and its approach that
crosses the Willamette River in the City of Portland. Except for
motor vehicles registered as government-owned vehicles under ORS
805.040, the bridge shall be restricted to motor vehicles with a
gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or less. + } The
governing body of the county imposing the registration fee shall
enter into an intergovernmental agreement under ORS 190.010 with
the department by which the department shall collect the
registration fees, pay them over to the county and, if necessary,
allow the credit or credits described in ORS 803.445 (5). The
intergovernmental agreement must state the date on which the
department shall begin collecting registration fees for the
county.

Why is the Legislature interested in restricting weights on a County-owned bridge?

One speculation is that this is a swipe by AAA at the truckers, but I’m scratching my head…

Portland to Fund Sellwood?

Update: I mis-labeled the meeting below and have corrected it.

As one reader wrote to us “You guys have to cover this”.

This being the idea that the City of Portland should kick in some of its transportation funds, to the tune of $8M per year, to generate much of the local match for the Sellwood Bridge project, even though the County owns the bridge.

The rationale is that Portland has a vital interest in the bridge, and Multnomah County is simply never going to have the necessary revenue given how transportation funds are distributed.

To be clear, the proposed $8M is based on the assumption that Portland will receive a substantial increase in transportation funding from the State under the Governor’s proposed transportation package. No new funding, no deal.

I was at the Mayor’s transportation cabinet Safe, Sound and Green Streets meeting where this was discussed and I can tell you no one was happy about the idea (because Portland has so many unmet needs of its own) but there was general recognition that this may be inevitable. But there was considerable interest in negotiation a contribution lower than $8M.

Sellwood Community Breathes a Sigh of Relief

Saturday’s Oregonian (annoyingly, the article does not appear to be on OregonLive) reports that the steering committee of politicos overseeing the Sellwood Bridge project agreed with the citizens committee and affirmed the choice of a two-lane replacement bridge, compatible with the street network in Sellwood.