Concrete Jungle and a Choo Choo Train

by lewwaters

Concrete JungleWhile not exactly the imaginary city of Mayberry, the city of Vancouver, Washington has long had a degree of rustic charm missing from the larger megalopolis south of the Columbia River, Portland, Oregon.

But, if city leaders, city government, Democrats, Developers and the city of Portland get to have their way, that rustic charm will be soon be buried deep under a Concrete Jungle built along the northern banks of the river and catered to by an eight-story monstrosity of a bridge built only to carry Portland’s light rail to Vancouver to ferry citizens, and their money, to Portland, leaving Vancouver with an ever dwindling revenue for her citizens.

This blog is just one that has written on the folly of the Columbia River Crossing light rail project over the years, but little has been said about another Portland envy dream of city leaders and developers, a Waterfront Project along the banks of the river that will offer high end shops, apartments and condominiums for the more wealthy, leaving the struggling middle class in Vancouver floundering and hoping to somehow gain employment as either housekeeping staff, wait staff or grounds keeper for those wealthy who would live there.

Indicative of how the middle class in the city is looked down upon, the local paper of record, the Lazy C as this blog refers to them, editorializes in favor of this concrete jungle that will increase the wealth of special interests while opposing the creation of good paying, family wage jobs at the Port of Vancouver with the construction of a terminal to receive and ship crude oil to other parts of the country.

Special interests pulling many strings in the city have long worked to stack city council with rubber stamp politicians blindly doing their will and have succeeded in all but one city council seat.

But their efforts to rape the citizens of Vancouver with this envy of Portland and transformation of the city away from the rustic smaller city charm to that of a sub-division of the concrete and asphalt jungle of Portland with light rail and a massive high scale concrete jungle blocking the river is being thwarted, thanks to the efforts some State elected officials.

One such official is Republican State Senator Don Benton who has been fighting for the middle class and against these downtown special interests for some 20 years now and from the minority position.

Benton has been joined by another Republican State Senator, Ann Rivers who has been an outspoken critic before her election.

Benton has been tireless in his efforts to protect the middle class from this onslaught of Portland envy at their expense and deserves much credit for his recent successful passage of a bill that would thwart the hastily agreed upon granting of eminent domain rights to Portland’s Trimet through our C-Tran bus system.

Vancouver’s State Representative for the 49th district, Democrat Jim Moeller has already vowed to kill this middle class protective measure once it reaches the House and as those downtown special interests continue working through officials in the Democrat Party.

Forcing the light rail into Vancouver, even though it has been rejected numerous times by voters, is a major spoke in this wheel of corruption special interests have designed and was thought dead after Sens. Benton and Rivers led an effort last year to block a funding measure for it.

But the State of Oregon, eager for sucking more revenue from Vancouver to pay for their many follies, resurrected it with a silly notion of they would “go it alone” and bypass voters, the Washington Legislature and with the aid of the rubber stamp city council, build it anyway while slapping high tolls on the bridge, necessitating Vancouver citizens that work in Oregon to pay for the privilege of driving to work every day and home again.

Senator Rivers received many well-deserved kudos for her testimony by phone and letters written to the Oregon Legislature in opposition. She has let them know that “the Washington State Department of Licensing has not, and will not, enter into any toll-collection agreement with Oregon,” that would leave Oregon citizens at risk for any and all cost overruns.

Showing utter cluelessness, 49th District State Senator Annette Cleveland abandoned her post during session to drive to Salem and testify in person, relying on tired, old and disproved talking points from downtown special interests.

Cleveland claims to be “mortified” and “angry” that the project has not moved forward and displayed her disconnect when she assured Oregon “the majority of the state’s residents supported its construction,” completely disregarding that every single funding measure put before voters over nearly twenty years was rejected by respectable margins, even within her legislative district.

Lesser known was a letter sent to the Oregon legislature authored by Sen. Benton and informing them,

“Three legislators from SW Washington testified in favor of the CRC project. I understand that one of these legislators said that the majority of Washington legislators support this project. This is not accurate. There are 15 legislators in SW Washington; the three legislators who testified in favor of the CRC project yesterday are the ONLY supporters of the CRC project. The rest (including myself) would like to see the I-5 Bridge replaced but oppose the CRC for a multitude of reasons.”

After listing key problems with the project, Benton goes on to say,

“The citizens of Clark County would be harmed the most if the CRC is built. Thousands of local permanent jobs will be lost. Downtown Vancouver would be destroyed by the bridge’s construction.”

Not mentioned is that it is Vancouver’s middle class targeted for paying for this as well as the desire to link it to the concrete jungle to house and cater to wealthier citizens, likely Portlanders wishing to escape the smudgy atmosphere of Portland that would benefit at our expense.

That is what is envisioned to be forced upon you, Vancouver Citizens. Whether you want it or not, you are going to pay for it by increased taxes, lower paying jobs, if there will even be many jobs left and Democrats are laughing all the way to the bank at you.

In the meantime, much needed middle class jobs are being heavily opposed by both downtown special interests and Democrats who continue ignoring the truth of such a terminal, relying on pure hype and fearmongering while citizens struggle and are forced to seek employment in Portland, where they will soon also be forced to pay even more just to go to work.

Officials like Don Benton and Ann Rivers have led the way in protecting the middle class against wealthy special interests seeking to bury us under a concrete jungle and paying for Portland’s folly.

It is now up to you to do your part by supporting them and electing like-minded officials beholding to citizens instead of those downtown special interests.

It’s in your hands, Vancouver. Better stand up soon.

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10 Comments to “Concrete Jungle and a Choo Choo Train”

  1. I think very differently about a privately funded mega-project like this, than a publicly funded one like CRC. So long as taxpayers or other property owners don’t get screwed in the process, I say let them build it. I like having more affluent folks live over here to spend their money in the local economy, and If it doesn’t work out, it’s their problem, We’ll still have the improvements, the added property-tax income, and the construction jobs.

    And as I’ve posted elsewhere, I don’t see any reason we can’t have both the oil-terminal project and the waterfront project, assuming the architects of both projects incorporate common-sense design elements, at their cost, to make them compatible with each other.

  2. I am not sure how much ‘private’ money would be in, and what % or how much of it would be ‘public’, (tax property owners, raise sales tax to the limit). Like I say, I really don’t know. I noticed the view from my new condo has the old Interstate Bridge in the foreground.

  3. Scott Campbell is all excited about the project because he can unload his otherwise worthless properties in downtown Vancouver for big bucks. Of course his mouthpiece Brancaccio is singing the company song.

    I don’t have a problem with the project though as long as it’s not contingent on lightrail or public money.

  4. Vancouver has already had to commit itself to the construction of a park before the project even begins.

  5. I remember sitting down with the gentleman from the City of Vancouver regarding the Waterfront project and I raised several concerns regarding the project. I couldn’t figure out why anybody would consider such a location for upscale business, especially since it is withing walking distance of a very active port. I’d suggested to him that a portage for smaller boats as well as the riverboat and MAYBE 2 or 3 story buildings housing a retail market would be feasible, along with focusing on a parkway with a grander scale than Esther Short Park which could accommodate a large number of people for activities such as the 4th of July, the Lady Washington as well as several boating groups who could utilize something similar to the Convention Center for various activities.

    He claimed he took my ideas into consideration and moorage would be accepted into the project. For the life of me…I do not see that moorage in the development process and it’s obvious…the buildings are much taller than 2 or 3 stories…obviously to try to gain some kind of visual enhancement or perspective of a mountain which nobody except the most elite of the renters could afford.

    As far as I’m concerned…it should become a community parkway with river access for boaters and fishermen…that is, IF the fish are any good in that area with all the waste from the ships and the old Boise Cascade operations.

  6. One exception to the “upscale business” comment. I could see companies that run business in the port utilizing office space…even though it might be a bit out of the way for customers…and parking could be an issue.

  7. I love it that the film uses the current interstate spans. for the up river shots. I guess the visionary’s vision is clear after all. There is the matter, once a commerce choking bridge is installed, of what to do with all of that industrial space adjacent to the Kaiser ship yards. I suppose more white mausoleums and monuments to foolishness. These office spaces and living towers are reminiscent of the burial chambers of ancient Rome, which became outrageously expensive monuments to the conquests and achievements of Romes citizen soldiers. It has been established that such a monumental waste of treasury was a major cause of the collapse of the Roman Empire.

    Call it Moeller-vile, or Leavitt-ton or Barracks Brancaccio or what ever moniker you like, it would be a monument to focused policy making, The kind of focus induced on horses by the imposition of blinders and tempting offers of a food bag and drink.

    Some one spent a lot of bucks on the animation though;

  8. “””Some one spent a lot of bucks on the animation though;”””

    Of course, you know where that “lot of bucks” had to come from…right???

    Nice write, Dennis. A great visual which you hit dead center on the bullseye! Now the folks presenting the video are up in arms about improvements to the rail line and the port and claim it’s not going to be good for business…kind of their way of saying they want out of the deal and screw the potential for more jobs which DON’T include retail.

    Have you noticed the latest trend regarding business in the city limits along major surface streets??? You’d think the local powers that be in city government are purposefully killing our historic town…possibly out of retaliation against the voters of Clark County who will not back down and are refusing to allow MAX into our midst as long as we have a say in the matter. They’ve tried to undermine our voter rights HOW MANY TIMES, NOW???

  9. A bit off subject, although it’s still talking about Washington’s Concrete Jungle and tolls…and it’s regarding the Alaska Way Viaduct tunnel project. Is anybody aware that WSDOT is reviewing (at taxpayer funding, I’m sure) the possibility of charging a $1 toll for use of the tunnel when it opens??? It’s obvious they’ve overdone it on the budget for this project. A great lesson for us in SW Washington and state/interstate highway improvements…and how the taxpayers have to fork out for the engineers’ mistakes.

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