There's one thing we can all agree on with the Columbia River Crossing. It's ugly.
There are too many people involved and yet no real leader. There is no world-class architect or engineer leading the design process, and the powers that be seem to also dispute the need to even have a lead designer at all.... Rather than seeking out a great designer for the CRC, design of the project has been left to transportation engineers. It's not to say these people at the Washington and Oregon transportation departments are bad at doing their jobs, but traffic engineering is much more about moving cars than about creating the kind of landmark this location calls for.
Governor Kulongoski has put his foot down last year on discussion of the bridge design, calling a press conference at the EXPO center to say, "We could debate this bridge and what it should look like until 2012. We will never see the benefits if the conversation remains mired in discussion of design."
Designers, architects and transportation nerds are meeting up tonight at the PNCA campus to kick-off a show exploring the CRC, including other ideas for crossing the river than the current fat, flat freeway. The reception starts at 5:30pm, more details here.
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