CRC Dead? Or Just In A Coma, Again?

by lewwaters

I-5 Bridge 02I can’t say it is unexpected, given strong citizen opposition and poor support in the Oregon legislature, but news is out that Oregon Governor Kitzhaber’s Sunday, March 9 deadline for funding an “Oregon Only” CRC plan to ram their financially failing light rail onto Clark County will see the demise of the project, again.

We heard this before, though. Just last year the Washington Senate failed to bring a funding measure to the floor, effectively ending Washington State’s involvement in the boondoggle.

But special interests hell bent on forcing light rail across the Columbia River, thereby enhancing their bank accounts, revived the project under an ill-advised “Oregon Only” plan, where the state of Oregon appeared to take on construction by themselves and funding to be placed on the backs of Clark County commuters with expensive tolling.

But, declining support and the knowledge that tolls likely would not achieve the needed funding to pay for the project and eventual cost overruns saw the Oregon legislature adjourn today without voting to approve the newly conceived plan.

House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), one of the CRC strongest supporters, issued a statement conceding the death of the CRC and can be read at Willamette Week.

A statement released by ODOT claims “We will issue stop work orders on consultant contracts on or before March 15, 2014” and “The project will shut down completely by May 31, 2014.”

But we heard all of that last year when the Washington Senate listened to Clark County citizens and dropped involvement in the project, only to see downtown special interests dream up cockamamie notions to revive it, even seeing the C-Tran Gang of Five hastily approve a contract with TriMet for light rail, completely ignoring multiple votes by citizens declining to approve of it.

Earlier this week saw Democrat State Senator Annette Cleveland (49) in a futile attempt to amend a transportation bill to return Washington’s cooperation with the CRC, complete with all of the disproved platitudes.

While Senator’s King, Rivers and Benton each made excellent rebuttals, the rebuttal by Sen. Doug Erickson hit the nail on the head, “remove light rail that Clark Citizens continue to object to and let’s build a bridge,” especially if it really is “all that all-fired important.”

Upon hearing of the CRC’s latest demise, Republican State Senator Don Benton (17), a long-time critic issued a press release stating, “It’s over. The misguided Columbia River Crossing plan Oregon lawmakers were asked to support is an expensive proposition that threatens Oregon’s economy more than it solves legitimate transportation concerns. It is costly, ineffective and detrimental to Oregon taxpayers and leaders in that state were wise to let it die once and for all.”

Benton went on to add, “I will continue to oppose funding for any CRC project as long as light rail is included against the will of Clark County voters. But if that non-starter is removed, Washington lawmakers – including myself – would welcome the opportunity to work with our Oregon neighbors to find a way to move forward with a plan for a third Columbia River crossing.”

This blog previously showed how the bridge was held hostage to light rail and that their claims of “unsafe” and “move freight” were just smokescreens.

Even the Oregon Supreme Court stated in 2012 that the CRC project was wholly a light rail project with abridge attached as a carrot to entice Clark County to accept it against their will.

And now, over 10 years in the making and $180 Million spent, once again it is declared dead.

I only hope it remains dead this time, but will not hold my breath.

I call on Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler to fulfill her words to me and have a full federal investigation of this project. It stinks to high heaven and if criminal activity is uncovered, all involved in that activity should see prison time, in my opinion.

But don’t let your guard down. I suspect we will soon be hearing the whining and gnashing of teeth from the Lazy C editors and Identity Clark County is no doubt busy dreaming up another cockamamie notion to once again revive it and ram it down our throats.

In the interim, I give you Democrat Jim Moeller’s whining and sniveling over the latest announcement.

Moeller, CRC Shutdown 2014

Glad to see Moeller will continue his efforts to thwart the will of his constituents.

UPDATE: With Oregon announcing the CRC is dead, for now, the question becomes, what becomes of that 40-page hastily signed contract the C-Tran Gang of Five foisted on us last September?

12 Comments to “CRC Dead? Or Just In A Coma, Again?”

  1. Any local citizen could approach the U.S. Attorney (Federal Prosecutor) for our area. Perhaps someone with more info and data about the possible corruption in the CRC process could contact the US Attorney and suggest an investigation. Some hard facts demonstrating possible criminality would be required — it’s pretty obvious that there are numerous potential conflicts of interest surrounding a number of the proponents of the project. (I’m not familiar enough with the various personages to do this myself.)

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  2. Thanks Lew. The shutdown, permanent or not, would not have happened without you. The citizens of this County cannot thank you enough.

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  3. A good time to point out that Moeller’s support or opposition is meaningless. It didn’t matter this time, and it won’t matter next time.

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  4. Thanks CCVoter, but no one person gets credit. This has been several years of steady work from several people and blogs.

    And should they revive it again, it will be killed again until they listen to what taxpayers truly desire.

    As Doug Erickson said, if it is really all that important to replace the bridge, drop light rail and let’s move forward.

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  5. March 7th 2014 will now be known as bridge freedom day. It is the day that the people finally got control of the I-5 bridge away from Trimet,

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  6. Lew, I’m pretty sure that CCVoter commends you for your written (and vocal) work on the CRC, due to the fact that you have provided balanced reporting on the CRC project as well as voiced your outrage to the fact that certain powers that be showed vested interests in the I-5 improvement and they hadn’t the least bit of understanding for the people of Clark County…just their wallets. Sir…you deserve credit where credit is due and I thank you for going the extra mile for opening up your wordpress blog in order to increase awareness to all of us who would have been affected by the CRC nightmare. Like you, I am skeptical about the supposed “death of a crossing” advertisement by the local media. Now…more so than ever, we must remain vigilant as to what it is they are cooking up in their political kitchen. Our county, our state as well as transportation departments/transit departments within the State of Oregon have cost the taxpayers far more than what was originally intended on various projects. Clark County cannot afford a potential financial disaster.

    You know…to this very day, politicians in Oregon who supported the CRC with LRT, claim the current structure and traffic flow substantially impacts interstate commerce negatively. So what was the reasoning behind the Glenn Jackson Bridge??? That substantially impacted interstate commerce positively. Is the third bridge on the east side the necessary improvement before even considering any improvements to the historic I-5 bridges or should we still consider improvements on the rail bridge location west of I-5 and include a bypass bridge for all commercial traffic into and around St. Johns in Oregon??? I guess only time and more political grandstanding and tax revenues will tell all.

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  7. Yes Goldie, i am sure that is what he meant and I do appreciate it.

    I couldn’t begin to list all of the people who contributed in this effort or how long some have been at it, well before me.

    Now as our focus turns to BRT, we also must remain mindful that there is a 4-=page contract sitting there that although pretty much null & void at this time, might it come back to haunt us in the future if a termination is not achieved?

    I’m not a lawyer, so I am unsure whether or not it can.

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  8. Lew, what you said about BRT…that’s exactly the problem. It WILL bite us in the backside and I only hope the people at the state level come to realization that C-Tran has done what I perceive as an unthinkable and illegal move by allowing Oregon the right to Eminent Domain in a state other than their own, and I hope they reverse C-Tran’s decision. There’s a reason why this county was fought for by the Washington State government and why it was removed from Oregon Territory way back when and was named as part of the State of Washington. C-Tran has done their damnedest to hand it back to Oregon on a silver platter and have gotten away with murder for now. What the majority of the C-Tran board had accomplished…they truly need to be penalized for their actions. Heck, if they could remove certain members of City Council from voting on C-Tran’s board of directors in years passed, why not now???

    Something has to be done about those who have made the worst decision of their political careers…supporting out of state transit entities rather than listening to their constituents!!!

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  9. Don Benton, hated as he is, introduced a bill that would deny Oregon eminent domain rights in Washington and it passed in the Senate. I imagine Moeller is doing what he can to block it in the House.

    Yes, those who pushed this should be held responsible, but it won’t be by city council or C-Tran Board. They are who removed Jeanne E Stewart for siding with us. It will have to be voters removing them and not electing the likes of Mike Briggs or Maureen Winningham in the 18th.

    Moeller and Wylie need to go in the 49th, but as we know, that is a tall order.

    We’ll also have to see who runs for Stuart’s seat on the County Commission.

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  10. I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to learn that the 49th is full of former Portland residents who fled the Tri-County area to escape onerous taxation. What I find hard to understand is why those same people would elect political miscreants like Moeller, Wylie, and Cleveland.

    I agree with the assumption that this is not the last we’ll hear of this ‘dead’ project. Campbell won’t let it go and neither will ICC. I expect you’ll see a lot of out of state donations going to anyone who opposes Benton in 2016. The donations will be coming from Multnomah County and the donors will be Tri-met principals and employees.

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  11. Uh boy…just read an article on oregonlive by Joseph Rose which concerns me. Sorry to Mr. Rose, but the article is yet another propaganda act filled with misguided information used to sway the disbeliever into believing that mass transit is the best mode of transportation. The information by APTA, claiming national transit ridership is up is undeniably false as to this day, they don’t take into consideration the fact that BOARDING numbers is not the actual RIDERSHIP numbers since most riders have to acquire multiple transfers in order to reach their destination. And that APTA and their members??? GEEZ, we thought ICC was a crowd to deal with. Check out their clientele!!!

    http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2014/03/americans_are_using_mass_trans.html

    https://www.aptagateway.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Webcode=membType&Design=No

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  12. A response from Jeff Hamm concerning the contract, forwarded to me

    “I have not received the transmittal referenced below from Representative Pike, but in any case the C-Tran – TriMet agreement for the operation and maintenance of the CRC light rail extension is predicated upon the project being built. If the project is not built, the contract is not in force. There are no obligations for either party.

    Jeff”

    Like

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