Feds to “Mediate” CRC Incompetence

by lewwaters

Time and again the utter incompetence surrounding the Columbia River Crossing project is revealed to the public. This blog, the Willamette Week, other blogs and even both the Columbian and the Oregonian have run articles exposing the sheer incompetence we still see pertaining to the CRC.

Supporters and those involved with the CRC just continue burying their heads and plowing ahead, though.

Accounting irregularities were poo pooed by an “internal audit.”

Traffic predictions being much less than anticipated were ignored.

The Oregon Supreme Court finding that light rail was the driving force behind the bridge, after years of denials from CRC, was swept under the rug.

And of late, the refusal of the US Coast Guard to grant a permit to the CRC for the bridge was all blamed on the US Coast Guard.

And now, concerning the fact that the bridge is designed with too little clearance to handle river traffic, we read in the Columbian LaHood: CRC height won’t derail plan, “LaHood” being Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

We read that Washington Senator Patty called upon LaHood to intercede between the CRC and the US Coast Guard, Murray saying, “It’s an issue everyone frankly thought was solved years ago.”

It is just another display of incompetence for Murray to claim “everybody thought it was resolved years ago.”

It was revealed by the Columbians Andrea Damewood that Vancouver, Washington mayor Tim Leavitt was fully aware of this “glitch” as she wrote, “Obviously, the CRC staff and the Coast Guard knew what was up, but the CRC had also been quietly informing those “in the know” about the problem. A Vancouver city official was among them. So was Mayor Tim Leavitt.”

A letter dated December 07, 2011 from the US Coast Guard to the CRC, obtained by Couv.com dispels that notion in the first paragraph. It reads as follows

You may read the letter in its entirety here

Of note in the paragraph is, “Extensive discussions at several levels of our organizations have substantially exhausted the dispute resolution measures set forth in Section IV.B.9 of the 1981 Memorandum of Agreement between the Coast Guard and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). As previously stated, the Coast Guard cannot determine if the preferred 95 foot bridge clearance will meet reasonable navigational requirements based on the information provided for review.”

That Ms. Murray now says she thought it was all solved years ago just shows how little attention has been paid to this project, incompetence in other words.

LaHood, who states he is “totally committed” to this boondoggle adds, “We’ll get the Coast Guard, the (Departments of Transportation), and the two states, and make sure everybody’s on the same page to make sure there are no delays.”

Whether or not that means he intends to strong arm the Coast Guard into granting the permit, ignoring the needs of adequate clearance under the bridge for river traffic remains to be seen.

He also described the project additional cost of $150 Million to iron out this incompetent oversight as a “little hiccup that will not stop the $3.5 billion project.”

Nancy Boyd, director of the CRC stated, “we do not expect the permitting process to affect our schedule.”

That this project continues unabated, drowning in incompetence while sucking up Millions of tax dollars before even one shovel of dirt is overturned is a travesty.

Citizen support for the project is decreasing and was never well supported; raising fears in elected officials to deny a vote of the people, obviously fearing it would be denied, again.

Mr. LaHood as well as other federal elected officials should bring this project to a screeching halt and launch a Justice Department investigation into every aspect of it. Prosecutions should follow if warranted.

There is just no way to mediate incompetence.

11 Responses to “Feds to “Mediate” CRC Incompetence”

  1. Simple explanation: Murray is an idiot and LaHood is also an idiot.

  2. Then there is this entry in the DEIS from April 2008:

    January 25, 2007 CRC meeting with USCG
    USCG has jurisdiction over channel modifications. They agreed that 95 feet of clearance above zero (Columbia River Datum) CRD was in the ballpark of what may be acceptable.
    The USCG cannot accept or reject proposed clearances until a Record of Decision (ROD) is issued for the project. Recreational vessels that cannot meet this clearance at all times of year must justify why they need to have this clearance at all times of year. Likewise, cranes unable to make the proposed clearance must justify why they need clearance all times of the year.
    from: CRC Navigation Technical Report, page 3-2

    Note the use of “ball park” “may be acceptable”

    AND the FEIS (Sept 2011) contains this:

    The USCG, which would approve construction or alteration of the bridges, has stated that navigation conditions cannot be made worse than existing conditions if the CRC project designs are to receive permitting. They have requested at least a 300-foot navigation clearance between bridge piers, which would require bridge spans greater than 400 feet. The LPA design includes spans of 465 feet.

    from: CRC_FEIS_Chapter 3_S2 Aviation and Navigation.pdf:

    Note the phrase: “navigation conditions cannot be made worse than existing conditions”.


  3. Clark County voted against light rail in 1995, as did Oregon the next year.
    In OR, officials circumvented the voters after it was apparent their votes were not in support of costly light rail.Tri-met and public officials pushed the Interstate, Airport and Clackamas Town Center MAX lines without public votes.

    In Clackamas County, citizens still hope to vote on light rail, and have petitioned for the right to do so.

    In Clark County, the C-Tran Board meets Tuesday March 20 at 4 PM at the Fisher’s Landing Transit Center. Ctran representatives from around the county will discuss whether or not Ctran will hold a light rail vote, and who will be permitted to vote.(the 1995 Clark County vote on light rail was county wide, now the CTRAN district has been gerrymandered down and excludes many county voters. Further gerrymandering is on the table now, specifically for the light rail vote. )
    Citizens can contact their city councils or county commissioners to insure their right to vote is upheld and are welcome to Ctran open public meetings as well.

  4. I stand by my position that the only purpose for demosishing a perfectly good bridge is to replace it with a platform that will allow the CRC Conspirator to bring Portland’s Financially Failing Light Rail the the Gravy/Crime Train to Vancouver..

    And it is easy to understand to the most casual observer that everyone from our Small Town Mayor, Governor, Departments of Transportation from Both State, up to and including the secretary of Transportation Lahood and higher, that this boondoggle was going to go forward no matterwhat the people want or the cost.

    No one, repeat no one could be as stupid, ignorant, ill informed as those supporting, financing or managing the CRC Project for some 17 years unless they were part of a conspirancy. They have acheived their goal. That is to ignore all the facts, the people and spend so much money so fast that they can say to the over taxed public, with a smile on their face,

    “We have spent so much time, so much money and worked so hard that it is impossible to stop the project now”.. I can just her them saying:

    “how’s about that guys we really put one over on the taxpayers this time.”.

    And so it goes

  5. Read pages 53-55 of the report on the agenda for this March 20th C-Tran Board meeting you guys. Warning it will make you angry!
    By the way if you want to just get an immediate case of the stomach flu watch this mornings state of the city address. Penny and I went. It too will make you angry and nausious as you listen to no real meat and alot of fancy trappings and lies as Leavitt speaks to a partially filled Kiggins Theater of mostly his cronies.

  6. Reading Stephanie Rice’s live blogging was enough to make me laugh, Carolyn.

    I have to wonder how he can stand and speak with a straight face.

  7. Craolyn, I listened to it over the replay stream at 7pm tonight and watching via twitter. I have to agree with Lew, someone has a case of “blowing” some pipe dreams. 😀

    Don’t get angry Carolyn. GET ACTIVE! 🙂 And believe after ten plus years of this, anger doesn’t suit you well in front of people, it just turns them off to listening to you. And honestly, if you put head into it, you could easily outduel Steve Stuart or David Madore. I know you are quite capable woman!

    Anger just turns your resolve and motivation off, then turns you into Royce Pollard with a steam roller. Fight with facts, fight with integrity and you beat any argument non-emotional Tim tries to lay on you.

    And believe me, Tim has his emotional crutches…. People just haven’t seen them yet. 🙂

  8. I love this from Mr Karlock,

    “Note the phrase: “navigation conditions cannot be made worse than existing conditions”.”

    And the solution is, “Feds to “Mediate” CRC Incompetence”??

    Really makes me feel warm and fuzzy!


  9. You just have to wonder about these people running CRC that they fail to design a bridge that even the dredge won’t fit under.

  10. 🙂 can’t they lower the ballast in the floating part so that it fits lower into the water?


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