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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Election Update! What the Hell is the Sellwood Bridge Going to Do Now?

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 12:26 PM

First things first: In the most recent election returns, the $548 million schools bond is inching closer to victory. The current tally is 49.3 percent YES, 50.7 percent NO on the measure that would fund overhauls of Portland's school buildings. There's still about 23,000 ballots to count, so this could go either way.

Second things second: WTF CLACKAMAS COUNTY? You so crazy! Commuters from Clackamas County make up 72 percent of the vehicles on the Sellwood Bridge, which is currently falling apart. Multnomah County residents, which make up only 17 percent of the traffic across the ailing bridge, will be covering 43 percent of the bridge's $291 million replacement cost with a new $19 vehicle registration fee. But last night, Clackamas County overwhelmingly voted down a measure that would have them cover only 14 percent of the bridge cost with a $5 vehicle registration fee.

Sellwood Bridge: What a CLACKAMESS
  • Sellwood Bridge: What a CLACKAMESS

Opponents of the $5 registration fee state, “We take care of our roads, we take care of our bridges and people from Multnomah County use them. And Multnomah County should take care of their roads and their bridges, and we use them. That’s how the state works."

But Clackamas's refusal to pony up to pay for any share of the bridge they overwhelmingly use throws the entire replacement into trouble. In a statement of the official bridge site, Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury outlines the options: "Now that Clackamas County voters have spoken we will roll up our sleeves to try to complete this important project without their help... Our choices now are to pursue funds at the state and federal levels, identify further cost savings, or delay portions of the project."

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