Growing CRC Opposition Amidst Oregon Wanting to Take Clark County’s Jobs

by lewwaters

I-5 Bridge 02The Columbia River Crossing project, an ambitious effort to force Clark County citizens into accepting Portland, Oregon’s financially troubled light rail by holding a new bridge to replace the aging spans currently crossing the Columbia River between the two states evokes a lot of emotions.

Supporters raise their blinders and refuse to even look at critical studies while opponents continue to pour over documents, studies and ambitious claims, revealing their findings to any willing to listen.

An indication of just how troubled the project is was seen recently by the newly elected Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee sneaking into town to hold a private meeting with selected supporters, urging them to “increase the decibels,” meaning to drown out opponents.

Such an urging only serves to see increased efforts from opponents who continue to point out fallacies, untruthful claims and hidden data to expose what I can only describe as ‘corruption.’

Unfortunately for supporters, the efforts of opponents are paying off as we see more and more, businesses and citizens joining in and lending their voices to the opposition.

Along with concerns expressed for some time by Thompson Metal Fab, Greenberry Industrial and Oregon Ironworks, a March 25, 2013 letter to the U.S. Coast Guard from Houston Equity Corporation added their voice to business opposition due to the proposed bridges inadequate height.

Houston says, “As aptly stated by others previously, limiting clearance ‘would hamstring the greatest river in the United States, in perpetuity” after comparing the heights of other bridges up river.

That makes four larger businesses expressing deep concerns over the current design being pushed by the CRC, Thompson Metal Fab having filed a lawsuit to halt the project that has been dismissed.

However, a date has not yet been set to hear other claims from the suit, so it is not entirely dead just yet.

We also see a new report out from Economist Joe Cortright showing that the projections of future traffic crossing the bridge that would pay the tolls needed to repay the bonds to be sold to fund construction fall far short of projections.

Some of the data he reviewed reveals, “About half of all users will stop using the I‐5 bridges when they are tolled” and “In 2030, fewer people will use the new I‐5 bridges than use them today.”

Cortright’s paper states,

“Up to half of all current users of the I‐5 Bridges will divert to other routes when the bridges are tolled, according to the preliminary traffic estimates prepared as part of the CRC “investment grade” analysis by consulting firm CDM Smith. These users will divert to other routes—probably clogging traffic on I‐205, I‐84 and SR 14, and delaying travel to and from Portland International Airport—but the CDM Smith Report doesn’t address how traffic will be affected on these arterials. In 2030, according to CDM Smith, it is most likely fewer vehicles will use the new $3.4 Billion I‐5 Bridges than use it today. These new traffic forecasts contradict the forecasts the CRC has been using for several years, and invalidate the analysis contained in the project’s environmental impact statement.”

As opponents have long seen, disinformation and exaggerated claims have fueled supporters’ claims of how beneficial this project would be to Clark County.

Along with the strong opposition we see in the State Senate from Senators Ann Rivers (R. 18th) and Don Benton (R. 17th), we see Representative Liz Pike (R. 18th) introducing a bill that would halt CRC funding.

As can be expected, arrogant, staunch supporter Rep. Jim Moeller (D. 49th) says of Liz Pike’s effort, “it will not see the light of day again for the two years of this legislature and only serves as a bully-pulpit for transportation critics,” adding “I had hoped for a more bi-partisian approach on a transportation revenue package.”

Moeller, who may possibly be the most tax happy person in the legislature later says, “I believe I’m acturately representing the majority of my constituents who want that bridge built – yesterday. BTW, I fear only God – and you or the people are not.”

Forgotten by Jim Moeller, apparently, is that the majority he only thinks he represents has continually rejected funding measures placed before the people for a vote, the latest being the 2012 Proposition 1 to increase the sales tax for light rail operations and maintenance. Even within a previously gerrymandered sub-district, the measure was rejected by a 13% margin and within just his legislative district it was rejected by an 8% margin.

In a delusional manner, proponents claim this latest rejection, as with others before it was only for the mode of funding, ignoring the will of the people who have been denied promised votes and vote down funding measures as a proxy on light rail itself.

For some time now it has been said that the businesses that will affected by the inadequate river clearance will be ‘mitigated,’ likely meaning taxpayers will be left on the hook to pay for either their lost profits or to help their businesses move to another location.

This is of grave concern to taxpayers in Clark County as we not only see Oregon officials supporting and approving of the inadequate clearance in the current bridge design, but their support becomes very suspicious as we see Oregon State Rep. Caddie McKeown (D. Coos Bay) gleefully looking forward to enticing Thompson Metal Fab to relocate the current facility to her area in Reedsport, Oregon.

McKeown says,

“The possible resettlement of industries affected by the proposed Columbia River Crossing, a new bridge over the river between Portland and Vancouver, may mean opportunity for coastal businesses.”

“There are some businesses, east of the bridge, that build very large components and they tow them to their final destination. I had some of them in my office as we were trying to move this forward. One of the businesses fabricates drilling-rig components [and] it may be difficult to move those parts if the proposed bridge is built.”

“My thought was, well, if you make the components in Corvallis, and they’re trucking them over to Washington, why don’t you put them on a rail car and bring them down to Reedsport. Then, you could do your final preparation down here and launch them from a dock down here. It makes sense to me. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility to reach out to these folks and see if there’s some kind of potential.”

Apparently, Oregon officials not only wish to take advantage of still struggling middle class taxpayers in Clark County Washington to pay for their deep in debt light rail, they are also content with taking hundreds of family wage jobs away from the County when we have seen over 4 years of double digit unemployment.

All so Portland can succeed in forcing Clark County into accepting their light rail?

It is little wonder opposition continues to grow and those of us who see the folly of this current design must continue speaking out, contacting our state legislators and reveal how this project will definitely do more harm to our community than provide any of the benefits claimed by proponents.

Support of the CRC must be a campaign issue and any who will support it must not be voted in or if an incumbent, they must be voted out.

Each of you reading this needs to speak to your neighbors, friends, family and we must stop this insanity now.

12 Comments to “Growing CRC Opposition Amidst Oregon Wanting to Take Clark County’s Jobs”

  1. Moeller, moron that he is, reserves the right to “represent” his constituents, while simultaneously denying that same right to Rep. Pike.

    Hypocritical scummery.

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  2. Just what constituents is it he is representing?

    The majority within the 49th voted against Prop 1 and for the 2/3 super majority.

    More than once he has commented how we must look out for that “economic powerhouse south of the river” and now we see that as he and Oregon officials work diligently to stick us with a bridge too low, along with tolls, tax increases, fee increases and more, they seek to take hundreds of family wage jobs away from Clark County, moving them 200 miles south.

    Jim Moeller is, in effect, striving to send jobs far away from the very district he claims he represents.

    And he keeps getting reelected?

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  3. Lew, May God keep his blessings upon you. Once again you hit upon the correct CRC focus: “corruption.” I’ve just finished reading the book, “McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld” by Misha Glenny (2008). My very first impression of the CRC linked the Project to organized criminals and illegal drugs, specifically marijuana, the so-called most safe of them all. When I first mentioned this connection, certain opponents of the CRC begged me not to mention this secret part of the Project. I told one person I could not be against the CRC without exposing all of my reasons and my deepest concerns: organized crime and criminals. Lew, I have to tell this part of the Project. Right before he went to Olympia, “staunch supporter Rep. Jim Moeller (D. 49th)” said to all of us present at that Town Hall that he was going to Olympia to find the $480mil necessary to build the CRC Project. He blamed the bridge, which cannot defend itself, for causing the lone roadblock in trade between Canada and Mexico. If you recall, I strongly advised him that should he find $480mil, he should give this money to fix State Medicaid, and not a bridge that is not broken. He was not happy with my direct challenge. So Mr. Moeller actually reinforced the organized crime aspect of the CRC Project. Back to “McMafia.” Tension between U.S. and Canada over marijuana and the “dangerous aspects of global organized crime” is explained at page 220. In 2003, the Federal Canadian Government announced “its intention to decriminalize possession of cannabis.” (Page 222.) Marijuana accounts for “6 percent of British Columbia’s GDP.” (Page 224.) The Commerce Department’s confusing outlay of the U.S. GDP can be found here: http://www.bea.gov/. Under the Chapter “Buddies,” page 217, we learn that: “Of the many things British Columbia has in abundance, space and electricity have been decisive in transforming it into one of the world’s great marijuana farms…. And as for electricity, the lamps feeding the cannabis need huge amounts of power by normal domestic standards, but by the standards of British Columbia’s vast hydroelectric capacity, the amount is negligible.” British Columbia’s Marijuana trade to its Southern neighbors and its competitors in Mexico not only runs into a roadblock by the border with Washington, but with the laws of the U.S. and the I-5 bridge lifts, which exposes its precious illegal cargo to other organized criminals. So the conspirators get their illegal Marijuana legalized by the States of Washington, Oregon and California. They eliminate the bridge lifts over the CRC. With these four tasks completed, they are positioned to legally service their Southern neighbors, AMERICANS, and with their sheer criminal power, stamp out any American grower/competitor. Add to this the fact that the current administration has said it will look the other way when it comes to the innocent use of Marijuana. What we are witnessing today Lew, is the building of a giant trade war in our own backyards involving illegal drugs originating in Canada’s B.C. and Mexico’s Baja California, fueled by “Operation Fast and Furious” and the CRC Project. So Lew, your gut instinct of “corruption” is well-placed. At page 80, “McMafia” makes the following point: “The ETG [Eural Trans Gas] scam remains a mysterious, inscrutable affair. Whoever conceived the idea was determined to remain anonymous. It is hard to ascertain whether it was gross corruption or simply criminal, or, indeed, where the boundary between the two lies. But what is does demonstrate beyond doubt is that if a syndicate persuades a powerful state to acquiesce or cooperate in its schemes, then it has found the magic password to Aladdin’s cave. For no organized criminal is as successful as the one who enjoys the backing of the state.” In closing, we all must agree that the CRC Project must be looked at from the eyes of criminals and corrupt persons in order to best understand our injuries and damages and the harm we will allow to come to those who will follow us if we do not oppose this Project. That this illegal drug trade route is so important to the success of global criminals can be seen directly from the statements made by our elected officials in Washington and our unelected officials in Oregon who support shoving this Project down our throats at all costs and using all tricks in the lawmakers’ arsenal, including forcing us to sue their britches and mini-skirts off of them. God Bless the CRC Opponents and their noble cause and fight. We are up against some of the most powerful forces in the world. Lew, Carry on my wayward son! There will be peace when you are done. Trust me. You must admit: the I-5 Bridge being broke is just an “illusion” once we rise above the noise and confusion of elected officials and their supporters. Carry on Lew. Carry on my son. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB17uWuBrL0.

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  4. It is most interesting that both Canada and Mexico have a “B.C.” (British Columbia and Baja California). Coincidence or a prophecy unfolding before our very eyes? Wow!

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  5. B.C. Can also mean Between Countries or Between Competitors. In both instances, Americans are between them both.

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  6. The draft environmental impact statement stated there are about 134,000 weekday vehicle trips across the bridge as of 2005. Crossings by bus in 2006 were a tiny fraction of that, 3300 trips , only 2.4% of bridge crossings. ODOT tracks vehicle trips, and for 2011, the weekday vehicle trips declined to 128,100. Even though the Final Environmental Impact statement was not submitted until 2011, updated data was not included. The cost to the public for this stale data and too low bridge design that would kill thousands of Clark County jobs is about $ 170 MILLION so far. Some businesses would be displaced by the sprawling project. Other Vancouver businesses, especially downtown, won’t be able to survive the years of construction, followed by tolls on their (former) customers.

    OR is also pushing tolling 205 as the solution to the inevitable traffic diversion.

    What is needed is a truly open process where alternatives are reviewed.

    The one vendor, (is that even legal?) leading to one option- replacing a functional bridge to add no new thru lanes and light rail for a few makes no sense.
    Our bridge works well, and accommodates river traffic. Our bus system easily manages the limited transit ridership across the bridge and can expand routes and crossings if the demand grows. solid info here: http://www.crcfacts.info

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  7. 500 Million Dollars from the States of Oregon and Washington, 850 Million from the Federal TRANSIT Administration, and 3,000,000,000 plus on the backs of commuters, virtually forever, while they scheme on how we can toll 205, too, fool the folks and still end up with only 2 bridges (one too low) to cross the river! 100,000 trips per day X $5 each is 500k per day, or 180 million per year. How long to pay off $3Billion plus costs of tolling plus interest on bonds plus Oregon would like to attach their half a BILLION to it, too. Today the legislature is potentially approving another 50-80 million FOR CRC? I thought we had a budget crises? 50 million is 8 dollars from every citizen in the state, no big deal, right? Bid a small local bridge to Hayden Island and dump the 5-10,000,000,000 DOLLAR plan, now!

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  8. In a comment which Emanuell Mccray stated “He blamed the bridge, which cannot defend itself, for causing the lone roadblock in trade between Canada and Mexico.” Oh yeah, we’d heard that and not just from Rep. Moeller but from the entire crowd of CRC propaganda mongers…and this is one of the biggest false statements in this project! Number One Reason…Interstate 205. There’s no lone roadblock over the Columbia River. The roadblock they claim existed was reduced when I-205 was constructed. The traffic numbers are far below the estimates by those doing the study. Right there, that should be a red flag to the people and the powers that be that this entire project needs to be reviewed by someone who has no absolute ties to any profits from the project. Either that or scrap it till a better plan which we all can agree upon is settled…BY THE VOTERS!!!

    Furthermore, Federal Funding should go to widening I-205 in the stretch from 134th Street to Fourth Plain so that the trucks who must continue past Portland can still maintain a straight thoroughfare without hitting a bottleneck as they do from Fremont to the Marquam Bridge. Any future design of an 18th Street exit should be scrapped. We don’t need another I-5 merging nightmare (something which needs to be addressed before any bridge is built).

    Anybody get a load of that “Factbook” the folks at CRC paid to have published??? Factbook my back side. Right away when I read the signatures, I found my first error. Mr. Walstra signed as a “citizen” yet he used to be Director of Planning and Development for the Port of Camas/Washougal as well as a representative of NW Natural Gas…now, he’s an economist and is currently VP of the Cowlitz Economic Development Council.

    The rest of the farcebook…just the same old, same old schpiel we’ve been fed by the CRC and Representative Moeller for far too long. Sorry, Jim. You’ve got to do better than that. How can you live with yourself? Do you truly believe what it is you’re preaching to the masses???

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  9. Moeller thinks that he’s God’s Gift” to himself, Goldie

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  10. Interesting comment in tonight’s Oregonian concerning yesterday’s turn-out of citizens to testify before the legislature.

    “Opponents of the Columbia River Crossing project dominated a public hearing Thursday on the newly-released transportation budget proposed by Washington House Democrats.”

    But Moeller, who sits on the House Transportation Committee and was present during the hearing, said he’s heard it all before, and so have his fellow legislators. Moeller said his colleagues weren’t exactly thrilled to listen to the project’s opponents say their pieces.

    “They were bored to tears,” he said. “They were quite honestly disgusted with the testimony.”

    Suing constituents to invalidate their votes isn’t enough, now constituents “disgust” Jim Moeller?

    Columbia River Crossing adversaries push for project redesign

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  11. So the Judge tosses Greenberry’s attempt to join in a class action because they waited too long to join in the suit, limitations made by statute invalidating the claim. But in addition no environmental harm was alleged in their complaint, only economic harm. NEPA does not recognize economic harm. So the advocate of the bridge too low was inspired by the possibilities, willing to spend more taxpayer money to move the business out of the area. what a horse’s rear end.

    Bored to tears, and disgusted by the truth, still offering no good rebuttal still granting no possibility that his constituents and the people of Clark County deserve better than what his feeble negotiation has wrought.

    I tire of his lack of representation, and am disgusted by his basic dishonesty in dealing with the citizens. He is no leader, he is no better than the slavers to which he alludes in smearing the GOP with the old worn notion of Dixie-crats. He proves correct in every detail the use of a donkey as symbolic of democrat party.

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  12. Uh oh…watch out, Oregon. Integra is opening up shop in the old HP facility on the east side our town…the little karma train just pushed them away from your little choo choo train!!! Could this be a trickling sign of “opening the flood gates” that Mr. Madore talked about???

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