Why Is A New York Firm Supporting Raising Clark County Taxes?

by lewwaters

As matters concerning the I-5 Bridge project and extending Portland’s financially failing Loot Rail into Vancouver heat up, we now see a group started up to support the project and “campaign for a pair of C-Tran ballot measures to boost the sales tax in Clark County to improve bus service and operate an extension of Portland’s light-rail transit system on a new I-5 bridge” according to a Columbian article, Group forms in support of new I-5 bridge.

No problem with a group supporting the project, that’s the way our system works. We have NoTolls.com headed by successful Vancouver businessman David Madore. And now, we see Keep Clark County Moving started by Tim Schauer, president of MacKay & Sposito engineering firm in Vancouver and philanthropist Ed Lynch.

A new group that I am unable to find a web page for so far and who, we are told, has raised “$14,525 in contributions as of Thursday” to launch their campaign to entice us to pay more in taxes to drag Portland’s Loot Rail over and fund C-Trans buses.

What concerns me is not so much that they have formed their group; they have a constitutional right to do so. I’m not even concerned that will do what they can to get us to agree to pay higher taxes at a time we continue double digit unemployment and are economically repressed. No, what concerns me is seeing that their number one contributor to date hails from New York City, clear across the country.


PB’s America Inc web page says they are

“a leader in the development and operation of infrastructure to meet the needs of communities around the world. The firm provides strategic consulting, planning, engineering, and program and construction management services to both public and private sector clients.”

Looking over their projects page, I find one that says for the Portland area,

“The Portland metropolitan area sought to implement mixed-use regional and town “centers” as identified in the Region 2040 Growth Concept land use and transportation plan. These centers are higher-density areas of employment and housing, located inside Portland’s urban growth boundary, that are well served by transit to form compact areas of retail, cultural and recreational activities in a pedestrian-friendly environment.”

Sounds an awful lot like what we are told Loot Rail does, doesn’t it?

I also find another one saying for Washington State,

“A study to assess the economic and engineering feasibility of implementing high-speed rail passenger service in the Western Washington Corridor between Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland, Oregon.”

Quite an active company and I am sure a reputable one as well. But, why does a New York City based corporation donate the highest amount of a start-up political group that wishes to entice Clark County taxpayers to part with more of our money that so many oppose currently?

I see nothing illegal or even unethical in them making donations to the group, but I do see a trend starting that outside money is going to be used to entice us to give up more of our paychecks and quite possibly, send a decent amount of our taxes back to New York City in the form of payment for services, maybe even part of the construction on the bridge project and Portland’s financially failing Loot Rail.

I think I’ll keep that in mind in the weeks ahead when Keep Clark County Moving starts telling me that I am not paying enough taxes and should pay more to fund a project they too appear will be profiting from.

14 Comments to “Why Is A New York Firm Supporting Raising Clark County Taxes?”

  1. PB is an old engineering company that built the NYC subway and is currently whoring for light rail all over the place.

    They also have been implicated in some bribing of politicians as in “pay for play”.

    PS: Light rail is NOT about transportation – it is about money!

    see: http://www.publicpurpose.com/ut-pblie.htm

    ” The other meeting, he wrote, would be about Columbia Crossing, a proposal to revamp Interstate 5 between Portland and Vancouver. Imeson and Goldschmidt’s consulting firm was representing two large engineering and construction companies, Bechtel and Parsons Brinckerhoff, in connection with the project. ”
    from: The Oregonian, “Tom Imeson has the governor’s ear as both a public adviser and private lobbyist, records show”, Friday, January 14, 2005, DAVE HOGAN and JEFF MAPES

    AND Metro Counciller worked for Parsons-Brinkerhoff:
    ““I’m going to miss serving on the Metro Council. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. But I just couldn’t pass up the career opportunity,” said Newman, a professional planner who works at the downtown Portland office of the Parsons Brinckerhoff planning firm.”
    from: http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=118911415224644200

    They gave $20,000 to the pro light rail side for the election in Oregon in 1998. See: http://www.portlandfacts.com/transit/whowantsrail.htm

    “responded by saying that they discourage their employees and associates from making political donations.*

    “Parsons Brinkerhoff, which is under investigation by state Campaign Spending Commission for excessive political contributions, is one of the primary contractors on the BRT project and has overseen more than $5 million spent on the BRT, and has outsourced some of this work to many of the subcontractors listed in this story.”
    from: http://www.smallbusinesshawaii.com/2003/Oct2003-2.html

    From The Tribune, 12/04: “Goldschmidt’s firm set up two meetings between Kulongoski, his staff and two large construction firms — Bechtel Corp. and Parsons Brinckerhoff — angling to build a major Columbia River bridge connecting Portland and Vancouver, Wash. The Oregonian had previously reported that Goldschmidt lobbied Kulongoski to make the bridge a top transportation priority.”
    From: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/steve_duin/index.ssf/2010/09/jeff_cogen_and_the_columbia_ri.html

    In 2005 Parsons had an office in Portland at:

    Parsons Transportation Group Inc. 4 full-time employees in Oregon
    9320 SW Barbur Blvd., Suite 135
    Portland, OR 97219
    phone (503) 892-8217
    fax (503) 452-3853
    e-mail: Christina.bui@parsons.com <mailto:Christina.bui@parsons.comweb: http://www.parsons.com http://www.parsons.com/

    I think they were an invsstor in Identity Clark County a year or so ago (and maybe still)


  2. I think that the negatives of the project are so glaring that anybody shouldn’t have any problem shooting down to the people whatever these clowns come up with.

    I’m quite sure that The Columbian will be on their side, though. It’s funny to see people from outside the area post in the comments. They’re easy to spot.

  3. Comment submitted by Margaret Tweet:

    C-Tran hires bus rapid transit planning manager
    By The Columbian

    Friday, January 28, 2011

    C-Tran has hired a project manager and will spend the next year and a half honing its plan for a bus rapid transit line along Fourth Plain corridor.
    Chuck Green, who has worked for the past 13 years as a transportation planner with the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff in Portland, began his new job as C-Tran’s bus rapid transit planning manager at the start of the year.


  4. I look forward the day when I can jump on light rail and attend business meetings in the Portland metro area unencumbered by traffic or parking problems. The I-5 bridge replacement needs to be built and it needs to be built with light rail.
    Our predecessors who built the current bridge had the foresight to connect Portland with Vancouver to the mutual benefit of both communities. Tolls were part of that project.
    “When both bridges were opened in 1960, tolls were reinstated at $.20 for cars, $.40 for light trucks, and $.60 for heavy trucks and buses, until removed in 1966 after the construction expenses were paid off.”*
    Everyone driving across the bridge today would not be able to do so without tolls being paid by the people who went before us.
    The I-5 bridge replacement is a minimum 100 year project. Everyone driving across the bridge 50 years from now would be stunned to think we did not have the foresight to include light rail.

    I support the I-5 bridge replacement with light rail and the political action Committee “Keep Clark County Moving”. You should too.


  5. Bill, I’m pleased to see you wish to send more of our money to Portland and New York, ignoring the dire economic conditions of our own community. Why worry about Clark County when Portland Oregon and New York City need our funds more, right?

    I guess all of that “buy local” stuff is just an empty slogan, huh?

    I hope you enjoy the choo choo train ride and pay an appropriate fare so others don’t have to pay for your desires.

    After all, that’s only fair, right?

  6. Why does “Bill” sound like an out-of-state “plant”? Hey “Bill”, we just don’t need a new bridge at this time. The current bridges can handle as much traffic as the freeway running up to and away from the bridges. A new bridge won’t make that any better.

    Light rail is totally inflexible. As the populations spread out, businesses will move. Busses can follow the businesses easily, light rail can’t.

    This isn’t like back East where you live.

  7. Lew, did you see that donation by the CEO of C-tran for the pro-lightrail group? I thought C-tran was supposed to remain neutral and out of this debate on light rail??

    And isn’t that hiring by c-tran of a former Parsons Brinckerhoff staff person kind of smells?

  8. Bill Says ——I look forward the day when I can jump on light rail and attend business meetings in the Portland metro area unencumbered by traffic or parking problems.

    JK——- Please answer these questions:

    How many people currently ride transit across the I-5 bridge each day on average?

    How many people currently drive across the I-5 bridge each day on average?

    How many people currently bike across the I-5 bridge each day on average?

    What is the construction cost of the proposed LRT link to Vancouver in cost per daily transit rider.

    What is the construction cost of the proposed Bridge (only – no interchanges) cost Vancouver in cost per daily driver.

    What will the travel time be from downtown Vancouver to downtown Portland by LRT?

    What IS the current travel time be from downtown Vancouver to downtown Portland by bus?


  9. Yes, Jeremy, I saw the donation. I also noted that Jack Burkman and his wife each donated $50 on the bottom of page 2 of the PDC report.

  10. Poor John Laird kind of got his butt handed to him over his “elitism” column yesterday. I don’t think The Columbian will be whining any more about people labeling The Columbian “elitist”.

  11. Gee Lew, now The Columbian just posted an article that says we can’t have an “advisory” vote. Maybe they’re trying to give their new “moderator” a workout.

  12. I’ll have to go look at that. I hope the kid has a thick skin and knee pads too, LOL

  13. If the City and the County wanted to take an “advisory vote”, I’m quite sure they could. If the City, the County, and The Columbian would say in a loud voice: “WE DON’T WANT IT!!”, you would have no new bridge built. I think that’s pretty obvious.

    What is also obvious is that the City, the County, and The Columbian would never get together and say it even though it’s definitely what the community wants them to say.

    So the problem isn’t with the community, it’s with the elites in office and The Columbian.

  14. My goodness. It looks like the elitist city council is “irked” by a lot of things that citizens do:

    “Vancouver mayor, council members irked by wide-ranging public records requests for emails” – The Oregonian


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