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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

14 Groups Back Local Leaders' CRC Criticisms

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Fourteen environmental, transportation and public health groups in Oregon and Washington released a letter (pdf) just moments ago demanding the two state governors reconsider local leaders criticisms of the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project.

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  • Jon Sperry
Back in January, four major project leaders (Mayors Sam Adams and Tim Leavitt, Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart and Metro President David Bragdon) penned a letter to the governors saying the CRC project would create unacceptable impacts on local communities and cannibalize funding for other important transportation projects. The politicians asked the governors to commission a six-month independent review of the plan to replace the I-5 bridge, wondering if there is a smarter solution for the corridor than at 10-lane, $2.6-$3.6 billion freeway.

The two governors thanks the local leaders for their input but said, in their own letter last month, no way. Instead, Governors Ted Kulongoski and Chris Gregoire said they would appoint an "expert panel" similar to ones used on Seattle's divisive Viaduct and 520 bridge project to review the CRC.

Now 14 organizations say they've got the local leaders' backs.

"The governor's response was not adequate. The local leaders have asked some really important questions and it's important for the governor to know that our community wants," says Mara Gross, of Coalition for a Livable Future, one of the 14 groups to sign on to today's letter. "We are concerned about safe and healthy neighborhoods. This project will lead to increased traffic congestion and unplanned sprawl."

Having a strong coalition behind them certainly helps the local leaders' demand for the states to take a second look at the CRC. But Governor Kulongoski, at least, has seemed impervious to criticism on the CRC. Whether this sort of effort is enough to budge his stubborn position on the project will remain to be seen.

Coalition Members:

Coalition for a Livable Future (OR)
Transportation Choices (WA)
1000 Friends of Oregon (OR)
AORTA (OR)
Bicycle Transportation Alliance (OR)
Cascade Bicycle Club (WA)
Columbia Riverkeeper (OR)
Environment Oregon (OR)
Futurewise (WA)
OPAL Environmental Justice (OR)
Upstream Public Health (OR)
WASHPIRG (WA)
Climate Solutions (WA)
Community Health Partnership (OR)

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