In the open thread, I mentioned that a Clark County legislator (Republican Liz Pike) wanted to “restart” the CRC project. The Columbian has the scoop–and not surprisingly, Rep. Pike’s opening bid is to get rid of light rail. Obviously, such a proposal isn’t going to be acceptable to those of us in Oregon–a state of affairs which was rather confusing to the folks in the combox, mostly Vancouverites, and mostly opposed to MAX expansion (but more than eager to have a wider freeway).
Part of the reason the debate gets so heated–and there’s plenty of bashing of Vancouverites that goes on in Oregon (including, unfortunately, in our combox), is that the two sides don’t understand each other and empathize with each other. Rural Clark County (and Clackamas County) is full of people that don’t really care to live in urban environments–thinking them to be nasty, crowded, and full of crime. (Sometimes such attitudes are informed by racism, though certainly not always). That people who live in Portland may like it the way it presently is, and may view freeway expansion as a threat to urban living, does not commute. Of course, the reverse is also true–many Portlanders like to snark about “Vantucky”, and engage in all sorts of stereotyping about “white trash” and such, and can’t imagine that someone might actually prefer to live in Battle Ground or Woodland (or for that matter, Canby or Molalla or Banks), completely dependent on the automobile, and far away from the action here in the city. Many people who live in rural or semi-rural areas like it that way, and are terrorized by the thought of waking up one morning and finding that the Big City has come out to them. Right or wrong (and certainly, a LRT line to Clark College poses little threat of upzoning in Battle Ground), people on both sides of the river fear change, and often see “foreign” infrastructure as a threat, not as a benign (let alone beneficial) improvement.