Live from Post-CRC Clark County‏

by lewwaters


By Professor Robert Dean


Ring Ring!

Brancaccio: Columbian, sup?

Stuart: Lou, Steve Stuart.

Brancaccio: Who?

Stuart: Steve Stuart – Clark County Commissioner.

Brancaccio: Baby! Sup?

Stuart: Commissioner Marc Boldt and I would like to take you on a tour of post-CRC Clark County, or rather, of I-5, from Woodland to the Tim Leavitt Bridge.

Brancaccio: You mean, outside – in the field? Sounds like fun.

Stuart: We’ll pick you up in one of our county limos at your office Downtown.

Brancaccio: We’re not Downtown any more – moved out to Hazel Dell. 9 years of construction on the Waterfront, light rail, I-5, and the bridge just got to be too much.

Stuart: Us, too. Moved the Courthouse out here to Battleground a few years back. Just made sense to move the public services building, too.

Brancaccio: I remember that. You couldn’t get jurors to venture through the construction zone and show up for duty.

Stuart: That wasn’t really the problem. We could just fine them. And, it wasn’t even the judges – they’re always late. No, it was we couldn’t get the defendants and their attorneys to show up on time. It just made this big backlog that was worse than I-205 is now.

Brancaccio: What time?

Stuart: Let’s wait till the morning traffic clears. How about 2:30?

Honk, Honk!

Stuart: Here he comes.

Brancaccio: Hi, guys! This is fu… ooh! Ouch!

Stuart: What’s wrong?

Brancaccio: Something in the pocket of my trench coat. Oh, it’s my spare IBM Selectric type ball.

Stuart: You still got an IBM Selectric?

Brancaccio: No. Sold it on EBay. Say this is a cool ride!

Stuart: Yeah! It’s a $617,000.00 hybrid bus from C-Tran.

Brancaccio: Feels weird, this big bus with just three people and the driver in it.

Stuart: Nah! That’s normal. Maybe you’ve seen our new C-Tran slogan – “Every seat a window seat!”

Brancaccio: Where are we?

Stuart: This used to be the exit to La Center. Marc, make a note to call weed control, will you.

Brancaccio: Didn’t there used to be a casino over there?

Stuart: Yeah, they moved it closer to Seattle after the Portland market dried up.

Brancaccio: Tolls?

Stuart: Yeah, we tried giving people the option of paying double and pulling a lever for a chance at the jackpot. That worked OK for a while until people just ran out of money.

Brancaccio: I remember that. And there was that Joe Cortright economist who did the math and people figured it out – spoiled the party.

Stuart: OK, those strawberry fields off to the left used to be our golf course.

Brancaccio: What happened to that?

Stuart: We’ll show you when we get to the Amphitheater. Basically, we gave it away to a big developer – generous fellow. He sold it to the farmer, who has a contract with Haagen Daas, for market price. First time in decades the property has turned a profit. It was a win, win, win!

Stuart: OK, this is the mini-golf exit. This used to be the amphitheater.

Brancaccio: You’re using it for mini-golf?

Boldt: That was my idea.

Stuart: We had to do something. We miscalculated on the tolls. First, we thought more people would use it. Then, we didn’t take into account the cost of collecting the tolls, financing costs for the bonds, plus that we’d have to pay it all back with interest. Then, the Euro zone collapsed and… well, you know the rest.

Brancaccio: But the Amphitheater?

Stuart: The Amphitheater, Hilton Hotel, Ballpark, parking structures, everything. Nobody living in Portland would come across the Tim Leavitt Bridge if they had to pay a toll. We tried doing away with toll booths and taking down the signs so they wouldn’t know they were no longer on a freeway. We’d photograph the license plates and bill their debit cards directly. That worked at first but that was expensive, too. So, we added a $20.00 late fee automatically and that worked for while until people started closing their electronic on-line banking accounts. We used to be able to just deport them if they did that but now it’s everybody. Anyhow, then the Portland market collapsed and we‘ve been struggling ever since.

Brancaccio: You did your best.

Stuart: I could have been a congressman, you know.

Brancaccio: They should have named the bridge after you instead of One-Term Tim.

Stuart: I know.

18 Responses to “Live from Post-CRC Clark County‏”

  1. Why is everybody always pickin’ on me?


  2. Sorry Lou, but that is Charlie Brown’s line 😉


  3. Does not sound too far from the truth to come, eh Professor?


  4. Good morning Professor,
    Could you please update the county on status of the county owned Tri- Mountain golf course in Ridgefield where Commissioner Stuart is from? Is it still losing money every year? How many years total and what is the total $ loss to the county so far? Also, I read about a rumor to do with bad management at the golf course that was part of the reason for the losses. What are the facts there?

    Also, do you think they will revive the hockey rink/professional team idea too? After all, there was a study that proved that would be a real winner, and it was supposed to be next to the Hilton. I’m guessing that land is now slated for a CRC parking garage? I understand there is a study for the baseball stadium that says it’ll be a home run. My question on that is, for who? The private investors or taxpayers? I look forward to any reports you have on the above questions and look forward to your next online class.


    Sports Fan


  5. PS. maybe Vancouver should take a second look at a hockey rink now that the economy is booming. If they use the CRC empty parking garages, it could be a real winner.

    ” Lawmakers have taken out a sales tax provision in a bill that would provide the Wenatchee area a $42 million state bailout.

    Starting on Monday, lawmakers will begin pushing a bill to financially help the Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District, which has been unable to pay off short-term debt for the Town Toyota Center arena, a 4,300-seat facility completed in 2008 that hosts hockey games and other events.”


  6. Many folks who’ve been grumpy ever since we converted to indoor plumbing and women got the right to vote are also still angry about the idea of a professional hockey team in Downtown Vancouver.

    Beware, the assault on your precious status quo is getting worse!


  7. Thank you for your thoughtful question. I always tell my students there is no stupid question; just unasked ones. I need to know where you are at so I can know how much to dumb down my lectures.

    To answer your question – yes the hockey rink idea is still very much alive. Two reasons: one, if there’s tax money to be had it will be had; two, the carbon footprint objections have been answered.

    My good friend, and colleague, Dr. Andreas Schmittner from Oregon State University, has revised downward estimates for global temperature increases due to anthropomorphic CO2 atmospheric concentrations.

    The latest studies of trends indicate that by 2015 they will be able to just spray water over one of the decks of a parking structure, even in August, and it will freeze solid and ready for the hybrid zamboni machines I hear CTran has on order.


  8. Sports Fan,

    Don’t believe rumors. I have a masters degree – ask me.

    The Tri-Mountain Golf Course was operating just fine according to the Peter Principle. Then, the County started laying off employees. Because Clark County is a union shop, laid off employees in one department would bump lower seniority employees in another department. This had the effect of completely disturbing the natural Peter Principle progression. So, you see, it is unfair to blame poor management of the various Clark County departments on the individual employees or managers. Think of a house made of cards or a sand castle at low tide. Some things are just inevitable.


  9. So Sports Fan, would you accept that loot rail parking garage if there was a hockey stadium on top of it? Think “multi-taking”. How about if it came with a dedicated loot rail stop and valet parking paid for with another grant from “The Feds”??

    How about if we let the Cowlitz build their Casino on the condition they pay for the bonds to build a loot rail line all the way up to the North County line?? Screw the card rooms, we could have The Monkees revival tour…

    And naming the bridge after Mayor Progressive is a bit presumptuous and very premature, don’t you agree??

    Besides, don’t you think the “Rolls Royce Pollard Gateway” has a much nicer ring to it?

    And if the County simultaneously charges an entertainment fee for the privilege of riding that off ramp from the Pollard Gateway Bridge onto SR-14 that will be steep enough to accelerate you to the speed of heat in order to fit underneath the “land bridge”, while installing a speed camera at the foot of the ramp that mails your $250 speeding ticket to you automatically, (along with a handsome color portrait of the horrified look on your face) and we could be talking some serious money here for not only a Parking Garage/Hockey Arena but a combination AA Baseball Stadium and Composting Facility as well…

    Now if we build that Vancooter Trolley to service it all, we can justify building a combination hot water and electric generating wood burning furnace…..I MEAN biomass plant….


  10. Funny stuff…

    But seriously folks, if there was a countywide popular vote that authorized ANY sport, club, light rail, whatever – even if I had no interest in attending, I’d go with the flow ’cause that’s what democracy/mob-rule/majority means.

    It’s this 2 commissioners “own” me that I can’t stand.


  11. YESSS!!! The CC Commissioners voted down on the Admissions Tax!!! Oh Happy Day! A little pie in the face for ICC, wouldn’t you say???

    And Professor…keep up the GREAT stories. They are truly enjoyable!


  12. Sportsfan, Clark County already has an ice skating rink. Many moons ago in Portland, I used to be a figure skater at Silver Skate Ice Arena. The Facility had two rinks…one for figure/dance skating and public skating and the other for Hockey practice for the Portland Winterhawks as well as minor league teams.


  13. I was watching the whole thing go down. One of the reasons Marc said he would not vote for the stadium is that he got several email messages from 5 different City of Vancouver councilers saying that they would not VOTE for the stadium if it came in front of them.

    Steve didn’t even get a SECOND for a vote. It died a flat death in the commissioners chambers.

    Guys, if you want to see some thing GREAT Marc did, watch tomorrow when CVTV posts the video of the Board’s hearings.


    Bob, Robert, Molly and all the other incantations, thank YOU for giving me another story to laugh with.


  14. Fantastic if the prodigal has returned! Robs me of some good material, though. Let’s be sure to thank him!


  15. Robert, you still have the City of Vancouver and other city councils in Clark County? 🙂


  16. Now I’m awaiting for more editions from Bob & Robert Dean. At least they have some cogent thoughts on the goings on in Clark County.



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