Herrera Beutler Sets Leavitt Straight on Pike and I-5

by lewwaters

Herrera Smile 2As we all know, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt ran for his first term on numerous promises to fight against tolling the now comatose CRC light rail project, flipping his position soon after defeating incumbent Royce Pollard. The flip left Pollard to state in a radio interview, “I want to puke.”

Pollard went on to say that Leavitt had “duped the citizens of America’s Vancouver” and that he had “checked his honesty and integrity at the door somewhere way back down the line … people bought that bull … this was a campaign based on a lie.”

In his 2013 bid for reelection, all was forgiven by the Lazy C editor, Lefty Lou Brancaccio when Leavitt merely admitted to him in an interview, “I was wrong.”

As we also know, the CRC was stopped by the diligence of involved citizens and legislators that saw the folly of forcing us to accept Portland’s financially ailing light rail against our will.

But stopping the bloated boondoggle did not cure our congestion problem between the two states.

Fast forward now and we are seeing an effort led by 18th Legislative District Representative Liz Pike and joined in by numerous other elected officials from both parties and other legislative districts in Clark County to begin anew discussion with Oregon counterparts to address the problem. Hopefully this time Oregon will see Clark County residents as equal partners and not just a new source of cash to fund their bloat down there.

Apparently not getting his way on the CRC left Leavitt miffed, a bit perturbed if you will, as he sent a letter to the legislature “blasting Liz Pike’s involvement in the process.”

Leavitt claimed, “Pike’s participation results in an immediate recoil from the political, business and community leadership who are desiring to reach a collaborative and realistic resolution to this regional transportation challenge.”

I take that to mean he refers to the very ones that tried to strong arm us into light rail, promised an up or down vote and blocked every effort for a vote and generally ignored the will of the majority of people in the county, once telling us we were getting light rail and paying for it, “Like it or not.”

After Leavitt sitting on his duff doing nothing since the project was put to sleep, he now has the unmitigated gall to say, “Quite frankly, (Pike) can’t be trusted not to do the same thing she did before. And that’s subvert the public process that occurred for years; public hearings, public votes and a lot of money studying an improvement on the I-5 corridor that would have improved congestion and mobility choices for Southwest Washington. … I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody that’s following politics and following issues in our region that Liz Pike has become toxic in her efforts to move things forward.”

Somehow, that “public process” succeeded in shutting out the very taxpayers that would have stuck paying for generations of debt for a light rail we did not want.

Enter 3rd Congressional District Representative, Jaime Herrera Beutler who today posted a letter she sent to Leavitt that says in part, “Dear Mayor Leavitt, As you are well aware, the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) failed in large part because so many Clark County residents felt excluded from the process and railroaded toward a project they did not support. Elected officials can either repeat the mistakes of the past and fail to fix the I-5 crossing again, or learn from them and build support throughout the County for a new solution.”

She also wrote, “In yesterday’s Columbian newspaper, you attacked one of the founding members of that coalition and implied that she should not be allowed to participate in the process. This is exactly the attitude that proved fatal to the CRC project. If we go into this process carrying grudges, clinging to the past, and excluding the people we disagree with, we are dooming ourselves to many more years of gridlock.”

Apparently, Leavitt still thinks he should once again try to strong arm us into taking what we do not want and pay for it. Jaime is correct, that led to the failure of the project and a waste of some $200 Million tax dollars.

Leavitt needs to swallow his pride. Time he put on some big boy pants and listened to the people, other than when it suits his narrow view.

Such rants and tantrums on the part of a Mayor do not resolve any issues or bring relief for the problems we face.

He can be part of the solution or continue to whine and cry like a spoiled rotten brat.

Your choice, Tim.

Choose wrong and citizens will roll right over you once again.

6 Comments to “Herrera Beutler Sets Leavitt Straight on Pike and I-5”

  1. What is most problematic on this subject is that given Leavitt’s complete lack of credibility, how can anyone believe anything he says now?

    He had his chance. He blew it. I would venture to say that he’s gotten worse instead of better when it comes to matters of integrity and telling the truth.

    However, in the past, when Herrera has “written a letter” (and face it, her staff is great on writing letters) all that’s happened is that Leavitt has verbally hit Herrera in the mouth.

    Nothing changes. Nothing is adjusted. Herrera legislates nothing to address this issue. The result?

    The confusion of motion instead of action.

    It LOOKS like Herrera is doing something in this election year… but that aside, the letter, as great as it sounds… accomplishes… what, exactly?


    It takes more than words. It takes ACTION. And she’s as guilty as any democrat in failing to take any action to resolve this issue… and start the process from the federal level ion down to resolve the problems not only surround this INTERSTATE bridge… but to address the need for additional bridges in additional locations across the Columbia River.

    For all the good it did us, she might as well have taken another selfie of her and Russell Wilson.


  2. Since the GOP cannot come up with a better candidate, unless we are ready to give the seat back to the Democrats and their absolute pro CRC stance and support, she’s what we have to work with.


  3. Ms. Herrera-Beutler may be all we have — so it is necessary that citizens take a very active role in the development of transportation improvements for the cross border connection to Portland.

    While the Interstate Bridge may be “functionally obsolete,” a term that simply means that the bridge does not meet current road design standards (e.g. no shoulders, lane widths, etc.) it is not physically deficient, and with proper maintenance could last another 50 years (or more). I note that there is a current issue with stress fractures in axles that raise the lift-section of the bridge(s) … due to “refurbishment” incorrectly made some years ago … but this required repair, while expensive, is not an indication that the bridge is at or near it’s physical end-of-life.

    More important than an “immediate” replacement of the Interstate Bridge is to build additional cross-river capacity. It matters little where such capacity is added … be it in the eastern part of the county, east of the I-205 bridge, in the center of the county, crossing near the west end of the Portland Airport, or west of the current Interstate bridge. (Building crossings at two or all three of these locations would be best of all…) Hopefully, some of the errors in design of the freeways and access ramps associated with the current Interstate Bridge will be avoided in new bridge designs. (The design goofs, include (southbound) the WA-14 merge onto I-5 right at the beginning of the bridge, and (northbound) the busy on-ramps where Hwy 99E / Marine Drive join I-5. While this design situation is not that uncommon, the proximity to a structure (such as a bridge or tunnel) can cause considerable congestion from the merging traffic at just about the same time most drivers slow down as the road transitions into a structure.

    Once additional cross-river access is built … then possible replacement of the Interstate Bridge (perhaps 25 to 40 years in the future) might make sense.

    As for trolley cars … Clark County does not need them. “Light Rail” is very popular with middle class riders, who receive subsidies from all the tax payers… and tends to “starve” transit services for the most impoverished who have no alternatives to public transit. (In other words, trolley cars crowd out the available funds, and leave less for necessary bus transit.) As a simple fact of the current housing patterns in Clark County, there are actually few neighborhoods with sufficient density to make trolley cars particularly efficient. Rail transit systems are “best” when there is very high density, high rise rental housing within walking distance of the transit stations. There is nothing in Clark County that has any resemblance to such housing … and it is extremely unlikely that any such housing will be developed here for many, many years. (I note that in the San Francisco BART area, the suburban communities “resisted” building such housing near the BART transit stations, significantly lowering the “promised” utilization. Of course, BART has failed to deliver a single one of the many promises made before it was built. I would not expect anything different from an extension of Portland’s system into Clark County.)

    In the no longer very distant future, self-driving (autonomous automobiles) will become available. Private transportation services, such as Uber and Lyft, are working with automobile manufacturers … and doubtless, sooner than we might think, a private, independent transit system of self-driving cars will be on the roads, potentially making the inefficient and slow “public transit” systems a thing in the past. Indeed, with computer-app dispatching, the self-driving cars might easily assemble ad hoc “ride share” groups to lower the cost of individual rides. (I note that “casual carpooling” became quite popular in the SF Bay Area, when drivers had the incentive to each carry two passengers to gain access to HOV lanes and toll-free crossing of the Bridges in the Bay Area.)

    If our various elected officials can focus on the local driver’s needs rather than assisting rent-seeking contractors and unions who wish to make “big bucks” building unneeded and unwanted transit facilities, we might be able to improve the cross-river access and have an attractive and modern roadway system in Clark County. Of course, Portland will also need to have some common sense in allowing the construction of necessary physical structures to support the traffic arriving across the new bridge(s).


  4. Light rail seems to be losing its appeal to many

    Billions spent, but fewer people are using public transportation in Southern California

    Seattle saw a shooting on a bus just today where one man whose wife was on the bus, but unharmed said, “I’m going to have to buy a car. My wife is never going to ride the bus again.”

    It is pure folly for any of the CRC supporters to try again to hold out and force it upon us. Maybe gradual, but more people seem to be moving away from public transportation.


  5. Friend of John Galt

    I have to disagree with you partly on the Interstate Bridge. One of the trinions is falling apart which upholds the lift and needs to be seriously replaced. The bfidge is also on a underground fault line like the san andreas in calidornia. One side of the bridge is 50 years old and the other is 100 years old.

    Are you going to tell me that they should not replace that bridge with the knowledge gained during the ill faited CRC process?

    The bridge needs to be replaced with some thing better and stronger than a every 5 year paint project to keep it rust free. John, I can keep going on and on about what I learned but I won’t keep peddling in the muck. I have read your commentaries here and there was some good thought process behind it. But most of your commentary was from San Francisco – Oakland from many years back.

    I know some of the Bart problems, but the system isn’t light rail. I believe its a fixed system from the 1970s while light rail is electrically driven rail car driven by union wage seated people that make great wages than your average person does???

    Keep up the great Dreaming, I still want to see you post here. But remember, not every thing you read from the Bay Area is appropos to the Pacific Northwest.


  6. Jeremy, the safety of the bridges was not the issue special interests desired us to believe. If safety was ever any honest consideration, we wouldn’t have repeatedly heard “no light rail, no bridge , no kidding.”

    You are right about the age of the spans, but most forget the older span was refurbished when the new span was built.

    ODOT had on their web page, until the CRC got hot and heavy that bridge had a functional life of some 50 years with maintenance. It somehow disappeared as the push for the CRC increased, imagine that.

    The bridges will need replaced one day, but I’ll ask you what I ask others and never receive an answer. What is the plan to deal with the increased congestion during the period of construction alongside the current spans? I-205 cannot handle the increase as we have seen when an accident closes the I-5 Bridge. If you think it is unbearable now, just wait.

    As for light rail, there is a reason special interests did everything they could to deny us in Clark County a fair up or down vote on it and in spite of promises of a vote, ramed it forward while refusing to actually give us that vote.

    Former County Commissioner, Steve Stuart, a strong CRC supporter, go it right when quoted in the Lazy C, “Stuart has endorsed a vote on light rail, and said Monday that if Clark County residents don’t support it, ‘then the states have the wrong project’.”

    Yet, we were never asked?


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