Lazy C Misrepresents Washington State Wire Article

by lewwaters

PinocchioWe have long known that the Columbian mouthpiece, better known here as the Lazy C, is deep in the tank for the Columbia River Crossing light rail project. We have seen them marginalize legitimate concerns of citizens and elected officials who scrutinize the project and at times, just not report revelations that may shed light on it.

Their blind devotion to forcing Clark County’s middle class taxpayers into bailing out Portland’s financially failing light rail competes with that seen from Representative Jim Moeller (D Portland/Vancouver) who would like nothing more than to see every middle class taxpayer broke, paying excessive taxes and receiving what he deems they may through his legislation.

But the Wednesday, May 22, 2013 editorial, In Our View: Inslee Turns Up The Heat contains one of the most flagrant out of context mispresentations that border on outright dishonesty as I have seen then publish to date.

The editorial concerns the desperate and foolhardy act of Governor Jay Inslee in vetoing the compromise off of $81 Million to “keep the lights on” at the CRC by the bipartisan Senate Majority Coalition, pending the decision to be issued by the U.S. Coast Guard concerning the inadequate bridge height for the proposed light rail carrier.

They reported on the veto in the pages of the Lazy C as did this blog at Gov Inslee, “It’s All or Nothing” in Bankrupting the Middle Class. Both the Lazy C and my post reference a Washington State Wire article by Erik Smith, Governor Takes Breathtaking Gamble on Columbia River Bridge Project with one difference being, I actually link back to Erik’s article where the Lazy C doesn’t.

But, the fourth paragraph from the end includes a partial quote from Smith’s article on the design, falsely giving the impression that Erik Smith supports the CRC light rail project.

What they quote,

“There is ‘no drawspan (in order) to allow the passage of barge loads that require high clearance. There is no rise in the center, thus allowing the Portland-area light-rail system to gain entry to Clark County via the new bridge. And the overall bridge height has been kept low enough to avoid trouble for the flight paths at a nearby civil aviation airfield on the Washington side of the river’.”

The Lazy C cleverly leaves out the first half of that paragraph that says,

“The bridge design, years in the making, aims to replace a bridge whose earliest segments were erected in 1917, but which, it should be noted, was substantially expanded and rebuilt in 1958. While the Interstate Bridge is of the steel-truss type that was common a century ago and its design makes its age apparent, its soundness hasn’t been so much an issue as the traffic jams that come at peak hours and whenever the lift segment is raised.

Also completely ignored by the Lazy C is the next 2 paragraphs,

“An early artist’s conception for the new bridge illustrates the salient features: Low clearance, no drawbridge, and a flat design that works for light rail but makes limited accommodation for river traffic.”
“Critics say it is the wrong design in the wrong place. The bridge would make it impossible for major fabricators upstream of the bridge to ship bulky loads downriver, and they say it would do little for traffic congestion as there are no current plans to widen the freeway approaches. At the same time it has sparked political debate in the greater Vancouver area about the extension of light rail, because it would obligate Clark County residents to pick up part of the cost for operating the Portland-area Tri-Met system. That idea has been shot down repeatedly at the polls. Opposition also runs high to tolling, with some estimates indicating that Clark County residents would pay as much as $8 to make their daily commute to Portland. About $100 million has been spent on bridge planning so far, most since 2006, but critics say cautionary voices have been squelched.”

Smith also wrote a little further down,

“But even without the bridge as a sticking point the tax plan has proven difficult for lawmakers to swallow. Senate leaders have balked at the idea of passing the taxes in the Legislature rather than sending them to the ballot, and they are doubly skittish regarding any plan that would commit the state to the new bridge as currently designed. As recently as last week, Senate leaders, in a meeting with reporters, reiterated their opposition.”

Obviously, the Washington State Wire has been at best non-committal when it comes to the CRC light rail project and rightfully so, considering they are based in Olympia. But it has caught their attention, Erik telling me in an email correspondence weeks ago,

“outside Vancouver this has been seen as a local light-rail issue. But it gets statewide traction as a river-navigation issue – and people simply haven’t seen it until now.”

One of the main reasons it hasn’t been seen is due to the bias of the Lazy C, who has not seen fit to report on the many troubles and legitimate concerns raised by opponents, businesses and elected officials. To the Lazy C, those of us who see through the smokescreen of the CRC light rail project are “Hounds of Whinerville,” “Ankle Biters” and “Cockroaches.”

I doubt the Lazy C spoke to Erik about his article and if there is any doubt that he disagrees with Gov. Inslee’s veto or the Lazy C’s attempt to create an aura of support that was cleared up yesterday when I corresponded with him about his article.

He said,

“I think Inslee is going to lose this one – it was a stupid move. Even if the CRC wasn’t injected forcefully into the debate by the veto, the idea of a transportation package without a public vote is too much for the Senate majority to swallow. But what this really does is to create a sense of drama, make Inslee appear to be a leader for a couple of weeks. When it fails, he will be able to blame the “troglodytes” in the Senate. Maybe that’s the ultimate strategy.”

And fail it should since Inslee is engaging in a strong-arm tactic to force taxpayers into supporting a project that will not benefit our region and most likely will due great harm to taxpayers who see jobs dissipate, taxes and fees increase dramatically and river navigation hampered from now into the future.

The Lazy C also says,

“The CRC’s locally preferred alternative was approved five years ago by six key agencies on both sides of the river and is endorsed by the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, not to mention two governors and federal transportation officials.”

If you note, left out of the list of backers is TAXPAYERS who will be on the hook paying for this boondoggle for generations into the future.

We voted it down in 1995 by a 2 to 1 margin and have defeated every single funding measure presented since as they ignore the will of the middle class taxpayers and blindly push ahead.

And now, we see them getting close to dishonesty by lifting words out of context to give the impression of support when there is none.

Can this really be such a good project if supporters must stoop to such levels to promote it?

A reputable newspaper, given the many missteps, cover-ups, failed designs and efforts to circumvent the will of the people would be running the headline below, not the one the Lazy C has up.

CRC Kill 2

30 Comments to “Lazy C Misrepresents Washington State Wire Article”

  1. We all must have been cursed in a pass life to have a cancer on our community like the democratian as our daily newspaper.

    Imagine how much good they could do if they fought for the people… instead of fighting against the people.

  2. Hopefully they will be bankrupt soon.

  3. Someone help me out here. I don’t understand why it has taken years for the Coast Guard to say what they would accept as a minimum clearance. I understand that they will still take until September. Why?

  4. As I understand it, the Coast Guard is not a direct player in designing the bridge. They have little involvement until the final design is presented for permitting.

    I also believe, if memory serves, CRC was warned, or at least told, about the inadequate height many years ago and ignored it until they began looking at getting the Coast Guard permit.

  5. They actually cannot rule on it until they are presented with the design. However they did send a statement regarding the crossing clearance needs about three years ago if my timeline memory is correct letting the engineers know what the minimum standards would be for them to accept this project upon completion of design. Interesting enough is the fact that there is NO design just a concept. I could have had the “dream” and they could have paid me 1/2 the money to get to this same place.

  6. Greed and corruption, that’s what it is all about.

  7. The so-called “locally preferred alternative” that was selected by officials “worked” by the CRC pushers in 2008 has always required a vote on light rail. In Camas, the CTRAN rep told the city council that she believed Washougal supported light rail, but there is no public record of any action or motion by the city of Washougal to indicate support for light rail as the “locally preferred alternative”.

    The CTRAN rep at the time, Linda Dietzman went on to explain to the Camas City Council in a workshop , “Dietzman stated that her recommendation is to go with the replacement bridge, but had some reservations on whether the replacement bridge should include light rail or bus rapid transit and explained why. …Dietzman commented that funding is less likely to come if they do not vote for light rail. (Camas) Council supported Dietzman’s recommendation on voting for the replacement bridge with light rail transit.”

    As the new Camas/Washougal CTRAN rep Washougal City Councilor Connie Jo Freeman explained, the “locally preferred alternative” isn’t light rail. The required vote on light rail was delayed, and finally held In NOvember 2012 and the majority of CTRAN voters REJECTED the CTRAN proposition to raise taxes to extend TriMet light rail into Clark County.

    When CTRAN asked voters to raise taxes in 2011 for bus and C-van service, this was in the ballot measure “fact” piece.
    “Will this sales tax increase pay for the rail? Answer No.”
    Citizens expressed concern at the time that the vote was really a ploy to gain financing to be used for light rail.
    Yet last night we heard CTRAN Director Jeff Hamm explain that one of the financing options he will research is using CTRAN funds for light rail.

    The cure for what ails us is honest and true leaders at every level in every city, in our state, and in our nation. Right now, honesty is in the minority.

  8. PS. Any mass transit option qualifies for various federal funding. The buses CTRAN has today are funded in part with federal grants. Bus Rapid Transit can qualify for other federal programs in a similar way to light rail.

  9. It still amazes me the idiocy of those in the media, in the community and in political leadership on the Washington side of the Columbia River who support the loo rail invasion into Vancouver…especially when the company who runs the loo pull stunts like this:

    There’s a reason WHY TriMet no longer drove bus 6 into Vancouver after the Bus Mall was no longer in downtown. why should we bring TriMet back???

    Columbian…you should be ashamed of yourself! You too, Representative Moeller, Representative Wylie and Senator Cleveland. DOUBLE shame on the three of you. You were voted in by the people to represent the people…NOT special interests.

  10. Additional people who should be ashamed of themselves are those who sit on the Vancouver City Council and have shown support for the loo…Mayor Leavitt, especially. Shame on YOU Mayor Leavitt. At least you did the right thing last night at the C-Tran meeting…FOR ONCE!

  11. Speaking about turning up the heat…

    In a legislative move today, Representative Herrera Beutler advised the U.S. Coast Guard against approving a permit for a new Columbia River bridge that restricts river traffic.

    The USCG should have complete accessibility upstream of the I-5 bridges, especially with the Portland International Airport being situated directly between both interstate corridors (I-5/I-205).

  12. All I hear is, “We have spent a bunch of your money on a concept and if we don’t try to force people in other states to help pay, this year, then you will be forced eventually to bear the costs all by your lonesome on something you have clearly stated you don’t want”. Sound about right?

    Down here in Clackamas County, Pamplin just bought about 6 of the local town newspapers, mostly in or around the regions of Clackamas County, where either Max is going or Blumenaur’s district extends to. You think your media is biased.

  13. Continuation from my 1:08 pm comment:

    It is reported that TriMet’s $485 million dollar budget includes money for new buses but no fare hikes, according to the Oregonian’s website. In the link below, it states an array of budget priorities which includes $9.8 million for light rail improvements on the Steel Bridge.

    Wait a second…

    Isn’t TriMet requesting $343,936 from the CRC budget for the very same project as well???


    I’m curious…did Rep. Herrera-Beutler ever get a response from Ms. Boyd?

    Yeah…the current CRC project…it’s a rumblin’ and a crumblin’…and there isn’t even an earthquake bringin’ down the “House.”

  14. I hope that everyone here understands that Herrera’s little episode of self-flagellation does absolutely nothing about the CRC. .

  15. Of Herrera’s effort, our ‘pal’ Jim Moaner says, “Fear does some strange things. Fear of money and fear of a primary challenge…and Rep. Herrera-Beutler is astute enough of the workings of Washington, DC and Clark County to understand which side her bread is buttered and exactly her role in all of this. Perhaps I’ve been in this too long but I see politics, not policy, at work here. And it’s a good thing we have Sen Murray, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee and CRC supporter to “handle” this proviso by the junior representative from the 3rd CD.”

  16. The Coast Guard gave instructions to the CRC Wa-a-a-a–ay back when. The CRC was instructed to perform a survey of all current river traffic and reasonable future traffic, in order to set the height of the bridge and any other requirements the bridge design would have to accommodate. The Survey as performed did not include the Corps of Engineering’s dredge nor did it uncover the current size of the TMF output, and certainly did not account for future size and possible use. Or should it be said that the survey results covered up future need and ignored current height requirement, even the current traffic at the time of the survey would not fit under the bridge as designed. The law is clear on land based commerce crossing navigable rivers. It may not interfere with water borne commerce.

    The bridge design is too low. The CRC hopes by mitigation to skirt the law. As near as I can tell there is no workable mitigation plan possible , short of sending jobs out of the region, possibly Overseas. The congresswoman’s request is exactly on the mark, without dictating a political solution, just an insistence on obeying the law and following lawful instruction.

    There simply is no wiggle room, no matter how many Cabinet Secretary’s are bought in or over priced lawyers retained or how many of our local tax dollars the CRC commits as a salve to their under-sight. By leaving the dredge and barge traffic off of the survey the CRC in effect perjured themselves before Congress, and the Coast Guard in seeking to build a light rail bridge. There is no other conclusion possible.

  17. Regarding Ms. Boyd’s statement…

    Thank you for presenting that, Lew. Funny how the bird cage liner of Clark County never mentioned it!!!

    My response to anybody (in this site or beyond) who supports Loo into Vancouver –

    There will be NO new LR vehicles into Vancouver which need storage in Gresham. It will be the same tin-bucket loos that currently exist on the Yellow Line.. The request for the maintenance facility at Ruby Junction as well as the Steel Bridge improvements are no more than TriMet’s way of passing the buck to the people in Clark County to pay for an already pre-existing Loo Rail Line…implementing “OUR” share of the costs for something the majority does not want (as evidenced by 4 individual elections in Clark County). These “improvements” should have been done the day the Yellow Line was constructed. Now, with a total of 5 miles extension on an already existing line, they’re struggling to find funding any way they can in order to prevent putting the costs on Oregonians through increased taxes and fares. They’ve passed their 2013-2014 budget with the assumption that the loo rail will make it into our city, bringing in an easy $64.04+ million for their pet projects…even before the crossing would open. So any time you’d commute across the bridge and pay your tolls, remember where the funding went. Any time you ride the Loo, remember your neighbors as they struggle to keep from losing their homes or their jobs or their businesses!!! I hope you will be able to live with your conscience!

  18. Let us not forget, Goldie, not receiving a lot of mention or attention, but at the beginning of the Voters Pamphlet Statement for Prop 1 last year, “a proposition which authorizes the
    imposition of a 0.1 percent sales and use tax, one penny on a ten dollar purchase, available under Chapter 81.104 RCW to the Clark County Public Transportation Benefit Area (C-TRAN) for the purpose of funding the C-TRAN share of maintenance and operations costs only of the Columbia River Crossing project light rail extension between Expo Center and Clark Park and Ride and the local capital share and maintenance and operation costs for the Fourth Plain Transit Improvement Project.”

    Of note, we will be expected to pay full O&P costs from the Expo Center north.

    Why must we pay for what is inside Oregon when we don’t even want the extension?

    It’s just more ways to drag money out of Clark County for Portland’s use.

  19. We won’t forget, Lew…but will the local leadership??? Seems to me some of them have already forgotten that wittle itty bitty, teeny tiny, insignificant RCW 81.104. No matter how you try to re-word it to the Attorney General for multiple interpretations, it still states the same thing…even emphasized the need for voter approval in several places “8.104.010, 81.104.030, 81.104.090, (referring back to 81.104.010), 81.104.110 2(a), 81.104.40, 81.104.200 and 81.104.210.”

    Seems to me, it’s cut and dry. We voted NO to LRT in ’95 and no for LRT operations funding in I think it was ’96 and ’97. The CRC established themselves in 2005…well supported by our previous mayor and by other elected officials. The LRT was decided as the main HCT in the locally-preferred option of the crossing by the CRC in 2008 without voter approval. In 2008, this should have gone to the voters to make a final decision. Instead, they continued on with the planning process and not a word by them FOR Clark County citizens. Then in November of 2012, C-Tran had to ask for sales tax to fund m & o for the loo as well as BRT and the voters said NO. Today, they have put on hold, any support for loo funding till the State Senate and the United States Coast Guard makes their decisions.

    Yeah…it’s VERY cut and dry. Our rights as citizens of Clark County and the beautiful Evergreen State have been grossly violated by the underhanded backdoor tactics of the promoters of the LooRail Crossing. If for some reason, they get their way and go ahead with loo into our state, you might as well kiss any voter’s rights good bye!!!

  20. Golden, the reason it’s not “cut and dry” is because there’s no case until there’s harm, and the judiciary cannot pre-review the actions of the State. These CRC folks intend to build the light rail THEN put the maintenance up for a vote.

  21. Molehill’s problem?

    He fails to understand how Congress works.

    If Herrera wants to defund the CRC, that’s easily done. And in reality, there’s not squat that the State Cow, Sen. Murray, can do about it.

    Unfortunately, since Herrera has been and remains a HUGE CRC Scammer, she lacks the testicular fortitude to tell those who’ve bought her to go jump in the lake as she finally does the right thing.

    Nope. Worthless, do-nothing, go-nowhere crap like the Pearson Museum bill is the best we’re going to be able to get out of that wor5thless drone of a congresswoman.

    And Molehill? If Herrera is worried about a primary challenge, this garbage does nothing to stop that.

  22. Martin, every time they have spent a dime since the approval of the loo in the bridge design, it has been causing harm to Clark County’s economic climate. Funding to promote the project could very well have gone to something more useful…like retrofitting the bridges, improving the ramps, improving incentives to encourage jobs growth in the manner speaking of living wages, not quickie-7-marts (combo of course) and mini mall tat parlors and pawn shops.

    And yes, it is cut and dry when the RCW states “by voter approval” eight times. There’s no twisting the verbiage in this case. Our rights have been violated.

  23. Martin…the maintenance was already up for a vote and failed.

  24. Golden, I’m just revealing their strategy. Personally, I think it’s as dishonest, counterproductive, and reprehensible as you do. Those folks plan to make light rail a fait accompli. Don’t let yourself be distracted.

  25. Just a little background information for everyone. November 2, 2004…Clark County voters had a chance to increase sales tax at 3 cents per $10 spent. The voters denied this request in Proposition 1 at 53.67%.

    The statement in opposition to this proposition had mentioned this was a chance for C-Tran to acquire funding to support further studies on light rail after they’d spent $3 million already for studies. The voters said “No.”

    This was the year before the CRC began the long and carelessly-spent process of coming up with an LPA which went against the will of the voters.

    C-Tran backed down from their original attempt, the next year on September 30, 2005 when they asked for 2 cents sales tax per $10 spent…just to keep their operations intact.


    So Martin…please explain to me…how there’s been no harm to the voters, the taxpayers and how the Columbia River Crossing has not violated RCW 81.104??? C-Tran came close…till they postponed further support on the CRC.

    Since you are well versed in legal issues…maybe you could explain to me how Mayor Leavitt’s city council vote to prevent voters from having a say is valid, now that there’s a conflict of interest hanging over his head.

  26. Sorry Martin, I was doing some research on my statement which posted @6:19 pm. I see you have responded to me. Sorry if I misunderstood your intentions. Regarding their plan to make loo a “fait accompli as you said…” hasn’t Rep. Moeller been cheerleading that already…as well as Ms. Boyd???

  27. Hi Lew,

    Just catching up here … you know, I have to say that my observations of a few days ago about the politics of the CRC up here in Olympia have been changed rather dramatically. I’m not so sure it’s going to lose now. The collapse of the Skagit bridge has changed everything. In the last 24 hours, in the avalanche of press releases and communiques, I am detecting the idea that people are drawing a connection between the bridge collapse and the transportation package. For instance, yesterday we saw the state Republican Party pump out a news release saying the problem with the current tax proposal is that it doesn’t provide enough money for road and bridge maintenance. Hmm? A quibble with funding priorities is quite a bit different than outright opposition.

    The dynamic, up until 7 p.m. Thursday, was that the governor was saying, if you want this transportation tax package, you’re going to have to accept the idea that it will contain money for the CRC as it is currently designed. And the Senate was saying fine, we don’t need no stinkin’ gas-tax increase. But now I suspect there actually is pressure to get something passed. We won’t know about this for sure until lawmakers actually show up for work and talk about things, sometime after the long weekend, but I have been stunned by the outpouring since the Skagit bridge collapse. All bets are off.

    The fallback argument is that the Skagit collapse has nothing to do with the deterioration problems people are claiming at the Interstate Bridge. You know, that the bridge was taken out by a truck. This is a mostly-sound argument, but I don’t think it is going to get very far. For one thing, while a truck may have triggered the collapse, I’ll bet that investigators will discover that the decay of some component contributed to the collapse — I mean, a bridge ought to be more solid than that. it ought to be able to withstand a blow from a truck. Let’s be fair about this one — something is kind of strange here, and I am not so willing to write it off as the act of a semi. The argument now must shift to, is the Interstate Bridge truly unsafe? And can it be repaired at reasonable cost?

    Anyway, until this point, I think the CRC opponents in the Legislature had been on the offense, but now they are on the defense. It will be a very interesting thing to watch.

  28. Erik, of course the narrative has changed. When have they ever let a good crisis go to waste?

    But, still not said is if the safety of our bridges is of tantamount importance, why is the CRC still held hostage to Portland’s light rail?

    Yes, CRC supporters are yelling at the top of their lungs about moving ahead and are using the collapse to blind people to what is actually being proposed down here.

    But we do have very capable people up there that continue to shine light on just what is being proposed down here. I don’t know about others up there and whether or not they’ll fall prey to the disinformation, but I will continue speaking out and contacting them to hold steady and not be blinded by the collapse.

    As for upgrades to the I-5 Bridge, the CRC itself determined a few years ago it could be upgraded to meet current earthquake standards for a few million dollars. But I don’t know of any bridge design that will withstand an impact with no damage from outside forces, be it a truck with an oversized load or a barge unable to clear a structure because it is too low to the river.

    As for the Skagit Bridge itself, an article I found last evening claims it has been hit many times right where it collapsed by big trucks.

    “We do take hits on almost every single one of our bridges and make repairs as needed,” WSDOT secretary Lynn Peterson said during a Friday afternoon press conference.

    In fact, just last November a hard hit from a truck spurred an emergency inspection and another report noted damage and repairs to three sections on the south end of the bridge — not the end which collapsed.

    But the report also makes note of a list of eight sections where steel is bent or dented because of a hard hit caused by a load that’s too high for the bridge. That includes a section over the southbound right lane — right where the truck allegedly hit.

    “This is just bad luck of where it hit and how it hit,” Peterson said.

    Let’s spend money where it needs spent, not for forcing us to accept a deep in debt light rail system from Oregon nobody wants.

    As I have said elsewhere, if safety is the prime importance, stop holding bridges hostage to light rail. Light ail adds no safety to any bridge and in this case, makes it more unsafe an susceptible to impacts from river traffic due to inadequate clearance.

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