Posts tagged ‘Interstate Bridge’

June 4, 2013

Voters? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Voters

by lewwaters

Pile Driver 1Either the fix is in or someone has been given the word that construction of a new bridge is likely a sure thing.

I received word today from a well connected source that a “worldwide mega-corporation” is making calls locally to ensure there will be 800 pile drivers on hand by fall of 2014 to “begin construction on a bridge across the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington.”

This has not been confirmed by an “official” but the source is very well connected to be included in inside information.

It is unknown if this is a move to just be ready in case the CRC is funded or if the go ahead has been given at the highest of levels to build it.

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May 29, 2013

Trolley Cars, Dirt Roads and Coming Full Circle

by lewwaters

Moeller spinAdvocates of the Columbia River Crossing light rail project are pulling out all of the stops to coerce passage of funding to get moving on the project, ignoring citizen voices, pleas of the middle class to stop the bankrupting madness and throwing all caution to the wind that the current design calls for creating the lowest river clearance point on the Columbia River, making the new bridge more susceptible to collision from waterborne craft, unsafe in my estimation.

It didn’t take but minutes for proponents to grab hold of the Skagit River Bridge collapse to equate it to the need to replace the current Interstate Bridge with a light rail carrier. The Lazy C has run articles nearly every single day trying to tie the two bridges together and minimizing the collapse was caused by a semi-truck with an oversized load impacting and taking out structural support beams.

Waiting for results from the NTSB is out of the question when you have a crisis you don’t want to waste.

We even see the Lazy C running what can only be described as a ridiculous article claiming, Columbia River span could collapse if hit with big enough blow.

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April 24, 2013

Kitzhaber Puts On His Bully Pants

by lewwaters

Kitz BullyJust as opponents of the Columbia River Crossing light rail project have been saying all along, Portland, Oregon is calling the shots while Clark County Washington will be bearing the lion’s share of expense.

We have been saying for some time now that this is not a bridge replacement project, that is only the carrot used to force Clark County into not only accepting Portland’s financially failing, deep in debt light rail against our wishes and now we once again see the truth of that coming out of Oregon.

As published in the Columbian evening online edition, Kitzhaber: Without light rail, new span across Columbia is history and Kitzhaber: Removal of light rail will kill CRC project as our state legislature is going back and forth over funding and light rail on the project.

Even opponents agree a new bridge would be great, but as was indicated in the Columbian’s recent poll, 87% of county residents want a third bridge first.

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February 24, 2013

Jim Moeller Still “Doesn’t Get It”

by lewwaters

Moeller, SilenceJim Moeller, Democrat 49th Legislative District Representative is as liberal and arrogant as they can get. He has long shown that what voters think is irrelevant to what he thinks, between dreaming up ways to stick constituents with more taxes during a deep recession to joining in to sue to invalidate their votes, Moeller marches to his tune, not that of his constituents.

Nothing gives a better example than his continued support of forcing them to accept Portland, Oregon’s ill fated light rail, even with them repeatedly saying they do not want it.

In short, Jim Moeller just “doesn’t get it,” as he told me in comments under the Columbian article, C-Tran seeks direction on light rail

Apparently, C-Tran ‘doesn’t get it’ either as we have been telling them since 1995 that we taxpayers do not want to Portland’s light rail and do not want to pay for it.

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February 15, 2013

Changing Minds on the CRC

by lewwaters

CRCThe Columbia River Crossing Project, a bloated effort to replace the aging spans of the Interstate Bridge connecting Southwest Washington and Portland, Oregon and force Clark County Washington to accept extending Portland financially ailing light rail was considered a “done deal,” just accept it, it’s happening, regardless of how the taxpayers that will be forced to foot the bill for decades thinks of it.

For a long time we have heard from the likes of Mayor Tim Leavitt, former Mayor Royce Pollard, Representative Jim Moeller, County Commissioner Steve Stuart, Portland’s former Mayor Sam Adams, current Portland Mayor Charlie Hale end many more ego-inflated elected officials that our resistance to “modernization” was futile, “it’s coming, deal with it.”

While most of us agree replacing the bridges is a good idea, we in Clark County have long resisted the notion of we must accept Portland’s deep in debt light rail. And the tide just may be turning as more and more, we see former supporters switching to opponents as efforts to peel back the shroud of secrecy that has long enveloped the CRC is back and light is shined on some very questionable procedures.

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January 27, 2013

Oregonian, You Keep Your Light Rail and We’ll Keep Commissioner Madore

by lewwaters

This blog no longer supports David Madore and calls upon him to resign immediately!

Train 1Not even a month into his term as our newest County Commissioner and already David Madore is acting on his campaign promises, standing up for Clark County citizens and bucking the light rail swindle from Portland into our community, just as we asked him to do when we elected him.

As can be expected, that is not setting well with the ruling class elites pushing light rail in order to gain access to our revenues to bail out their deeply indebted transit folly, now sitting at about $1.6 Billion and growing every day.

We elected David Madore over keeping Marc Boldt and together with fellow conservative Tom Mielke, have a fighting chance to see some accountability where the CRC swindle is concerned.

Knowing now that our County Commissioners will stand on the side of citizens over the special interests of the CRC swindle, we can expect volleys of attacks aimed at the County Commission and they have already started.

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January 27, 2013

CRC – The Biggest Swindle Ever For Clark County?

by lewwaters

PickpocketIt is no secret that much of Clark County, Washington holds a very negative view of the Columbia River Crossing project (CRC). The more the layers of this scam are pulled back, the more we appear justified in our disdain for what more and more comes across as a massive swindle to suck revenue out of our own cash-strapped community and give it to Portland, Oregon to help with the massive debt, some $1.6 Billion and growing daily, associated with their bloated light rail line.

Even though Clark County citizens rejected extending their folly into our community in 1995, the push has continued to force Clark County to accept it, even to the point of gerrymandering a sub-district in 2005 in an effort to ‘fix’ the vote to approve a C-TRAN sales tax increase perceived to be a back door funding of light rail that was rejected county-wide in the November 2004 election.

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October 17, 2012

Columbian Caught Sandbagging CRC Reports, Says Red Flags “Not Newsworthy”

by lewwaters

It is well known in our community that the newspaper of record, the Columbian is wholly in the tank for the Columbia River Crossing Project and forcing Portland, Oregon’s financially ailing light rail into our community. We have all seen how they minimize red flags raised, such as the Coast Guard’s refusing to sign off on the design due to insufficient river traffic clearance and even comments left by supporters that barges and ships that may require more than 95 foot clearance, such as the Columbia River Dredge, should cut down their masts or whatever extends higher to clear the light rail planned to be hung underneath the new bridge on a lower level.

Recent revelations by forensic accountant Tiffany Couch of Acuity Group LLC has indicated, through her independent audit of hundreds of documents several red flags, including a potential violation of state law, huge cost overruns potentially not be handled properly and even Millions on cost appearing in CRC documents that appear to be marked to fund expansion and improvement projects inside Oregon, several miles outside of the CRC Transportation area.

This blog covered the first of the three reports released so far here and here. Additional coverage can be found at Couv.com as well as looking through Clark County Politics, both of whom have given the CRC as much critical coverage as I have, if not more.

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October 17, 2012

Columbian Ignores Appearance of Corruption Surrounding CRC

by lewwaters

Thanks to the work of forensic accountant Tiffany Couch and County Commissioner candidate David Madore, the veil wrapped around the Columbia River Crossing Project is gradually being peeled back, not that you will ever read of word of it in the local newspaper of record, the Columbian.

While the Oregonian, the Reflector and the Willamette Week have all published articles and reports critical of the CRC, the Columbian continues to provide cover, ignoring or minimizing recent reports and evidence uncovered and released by Ms. Couch, writing them off as “more of the same.”

They are not.

A previous report covered the potential violation of Washington State Open Meetings Laws, but a subsequent report released on October 12, 2012 delves even deeper into the darkness we have seen associated with the CRC.

Ms. Couch raises several questions that remain unanswered and, not even asked by the Columbian who proudly boasts on their front page, “Serving Clark County, Washington.”

Just who in Clark County is served is debatable.

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August 31, 2012

HOW MUCH FOR THE LOCAL CONTRIBUTION?

by lewwaters

 

Contributed by Professor Robert Dean

 

HOW MUCH FOR THE LOCAL CONTRIBUTION?

What are the direct costs of the CRC light rail project to the local community?

Frankly, I don’t concern myself too much about the projected $4.2 billion price tag[i] of the CRC light rail project. If the feds want to further squander our gas taxes, or borrow from China, there’s not much I can do or say that would dissuade them. I got a little more concerned, though, when, in 2010, Joe Cortright alerted us that the total 30 year cost of the CRC light rail project would approach $10 billion.

He published his report and it caught the attention of the public and the CRC. The CRC, by way of ODOT, posted a weak refutation, mostly arguing semantics; if you buy a house for $300,000 you don’t count up the mortgage payments and say you are living in a $600,000 house. To which Mr. Cortright answered: no, but you’d better be sure you can make those payments before you borrow to buy the house.

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August 10, 2012

Voters Are Talking. Is Rob McKenna Listening?

by lewwaters

Washington State Attorney General, Rob McKenna who can best be described as a slightly left of center moderate Republican, has wanted to become governor of Washington State for a very long time. To that goal, the Washington State Republican Party placed all of their electoral eggs in his basket for the 2012 election, edging any others out of his way and WSRP Chair, Kirby Wilbur declaring him “the only credible Republican” early in the race, mid-December 2011.

As expected, McKenna survived the top two primaries August 7, but is running well behind the Democrat, former Congressman Jay Inslee and slipping further back with each subsequent update as ballot counts are finalized, nearly 45,000 behind currently.

With party faithful lining behind their respective candidates, polls looked to independent voters early where McKenna was leading Inslee by 48% to 34% margin.

As we entered the August 7 primary, Inslee was leading by as much as 7%.

What happened?

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July 30, 2012

Why Won’t Tim Probst Take A Stand On The Largest Issue Facing SW Washington?

by lewwaters

Tim Probst and Sen. Don Benton

It has been the desire of the Democrats in Washington State to oust very effective 4-term State Senator, Don Benton, a Republican serving in the 17th Legislative District. In fact, he has been their target for several years and with the willing assistance of the Columbian, the local ‘newspaper’ that is actually more like the unofficial daily newsletter for the Democrat Party, Democrats feel the time is ripe to accomplish their goal.

They have pinned their hopes on 17th Legislative District Representative, Tim Probst, who by all appearances has been very carefully groomed by party leaders to something he is not to appeal to the conservative voters in the 17th District.

Probst, who will be leaving his 2nd term in the legislature, has been very coy ever since first winning the seat in 2008. He makes the claim, “Tim has fought spending, debt, and taxes for years.”

By all outward appearance, his voting record reflects his claim. But, I must ask if he really does stand against his party’s policies as he claims, why do they so strongly support him in his campaign and not treat him as they did Senators Tim Sheldon, Jim Kastama and Rodney Tom when they sided with Republicans earlier this year in what was called “The “9th Order” maneuver on the budget?

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July 13, 2012

Mayor Leavitt Declines Open and Transparent Discussion With CRC Skeptics

by lewwaters

Ask any conservative in Southwest Washington about the reliability of the newspaper of record in Clark County, the Columbian, when it comes to political coverage and you will likely be met with laughter. The blatant left lean of the paper has many of us dubbing it the unofficial daily newsletter of the Democrat Party.

Nowhere is this better seen than the papers continued promotion of the largest and most expensive boondoggle to ever hit Southwest Washington, the Columbia River Crossing being shoved down citizens’ throats to force acceptance of Portland, Oregon’s financially troubled light rail into our community.

In spite of 3 past votes in the county declining light rail, once directly in 1995 and twice indirectly in 2002 and 2004, it came out in a recent Oregon Supreme Court ruling that the sole reason for project is to force their light rail into our community along with the desire that Clark County residents pay for operations and maintenance of the new line all the way from Oregon’s Expo Center, across the state line and into our community.

In spite of costing so far nearly $150 Million in studies, several deficiencies continue to crop up that even though reported in the pages of the Columbian, are marginalized along with any who speak out questioning the validity of such an undertaking, skeptics often dubbed with such pejorative descriptions as “the Hounds of Whinerville” and “ankle biters” by Editorial Page Editor, John Laird.

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June 20, 2012

“We Can’t Afford the Local Contribution.” A Conversation Between Robert Dean and Mayor Tim Leavitt

by lewwaters

 

Presented in whole by request and as sent to me by Robert Dean:

From: Robert Dean

Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 8:07 AM

To: Leavitt, Tim

Cc: Smith, Larry; Holmes, Eric; Burkman, Jack; Harris, Jeanne; Stewart, Jeanne;

Hansen, Bart; Turlay, Bill

Subject: Funding for light rail – we can’t afford the local contribution

In the Columbian – “The project expects the federal government to contribute the $850 million needed to build the line.”

Sound enticing? Not if it’s going to cost us, the local community, Clark County taxpayers a minimum of $2.6 billion to get that $850 million from the feds (gas tax money we have already paid).

Tolls are slated to pay for the $1.4 billion local contribution. According to the CRC here we will have to pay $2.6 billion (46%) in tolls in order to raise the $1.4 billion principal on the bonds. Note, that does not include interest at 5% over 30 years, operation and maintenance of the bridge, highway and light rail system, cost overruns (usually 30%), and the fact that Oregon wants to raise its share ($750 million plus interest) with a TIFIA loan paid back by Clark County commuters with tolls.

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May 2, 2012

CRC: No Financial Compensation for Businesses

by lewwaters

Authored and submitted by Professor Robert Dean

Nothing much gets by “The Hounds of Whinerville.” A recent letter from Columbia River Crossing Director, Nancy Boyd, addressed to Shari Hildreth, Deputy District Director to Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who asked 28 pointed questions on behalf of constituent, Professor Robert Dean, makes it clear that Downtown businesses will not be financially compensated for general loss of access to their establishments or for diminished incomes during 6.3 years (or 5 years or 15 years) of construction on the CRC project. The letter also reveals that the problem was not studied for the $150 million Environmental Impact Statement.

CRC critic, and master “ankle biter,” Larry Patella, likes to ask the rhetorical question: “who is minding the store?” How prescient and appropriate have his observations been when it comes to the impacts of the CRC and light rail on Downtown Vancouver? It turns out that nobody has accounted for the indirect impacts on businesses during 6.3 years of construction.

Nobody?

Didn’t Downtown businesses flock to the City Council with concerns about disruptions to commerce during construction?

Yep!

Didn’t the City pass resolution M3663 back in July 7, 2008 instructing the CRC to study “possibly severe” disruptions to commerce during construction of the bridge, I-5, light rail and the three parking garages?

Yep!

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April 18, 2012

City of Vancouver Rejects Most Signatures On Anti-Light Rail Petition

by lewwaters

It comes as no surprise, in the ongoing melodrama from the city of Vancouver, Washington, that we now read Anti-light rail petitioners fall short of signatures, to include “Review costs city $31,000,” all in the effort to further denigrate citizens opposed to dragging Portland’s financially troubled light rail across the Columbia River into our community.

That a petition had to even be circulated in an effort to let taxpayers who will see generations into the future stuck paying for the bloated Columbia River Crossing Project is sad in itself. But, as we have seen explained on this blog and others like Clark County Politics, the powers that be, mostly under the direction of Vancouver’s Mayor Tim Leavitt, voters true input is not wanted, just our paychecks.

We read that some two-thirds of signatures on the petition were “invalid.” Further down in the article, we see that what makes them “invalid” is duplication or that some lived just outside the actual city limits.

Missed in this latest effort to deny taxpayers a voice in this boondoggle, is the taxpayer opposition to light rail, shown in how many people who felt they were within the city limits signed the petition.

Much is made of the claimed “$31,000 cost” to verify signatures, but I have to question the veracity of that being an actual cost. Since there were just over 9,000 signatures turned in, how does it cost nearly $3.50 per signature to verify? And, since it is City/County employees doing the verification, aren’t they on the clock doing what we already pay them for?

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March 15, 2012

Feds to “Mediate” CRC Incompetence

by lewwaters

Time and again the utter incompetence surrounding the Columbia River Crossing project is revealed to the public. This blog, the Willamette Week, other blogs and even both the Columbian and the Oregonian have run articles exposing the sheer incompetence we still see pertaining to the CRC.

Supporters and those involved with the CRC just continue burying their heads and plowing ahead, though.

Accounting irregularities were poo pooed by an “internal audit.”

Traffic predictions being much less than anticipated were ignored.

The Oregon Supreme Court finding that light rail was the driving force behind the bridge, after years of denials from CRC, was swept under the rug.

And of late, the refusal of the US Coast Guard to grant a permit to the CRC for the bridge was all blamed on the US Coast Guard.

And now, concerning the fact that the bridge is designed with too little clearance to handle river traffic, we read in the Columbian LaHood: CRC height won’t derail plan, “LaHood” being Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

We read that Washington Senator Patty called upon LaHood to intercede between the CRC and the US Coast Guard, Murray saying, “It’s an issue everyone frankly thought was solved years ago.”

It is just another display of incompetence for Murray to claim “everybody thought it was resolved years ago.”

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March 7, 2012

Is Congresswoman Herrera Beutler Paying Any Attention?

by lewwaters

Totally unbelievable that as more and more revelations of incompetence keep being revealed, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, in who’s district the bridge is located seems to be completely oblivious to what continues being revealed. A partial list can be seen in my recent posts here and here or simply scanning through current editions and archives of Couv.com and the Willamette Week, particularly articles by Nigel Jaquiss.

With all of the revelations of the bridge not supply sufficient clearance for river traffic, the Oregon Supreme Court admitting the prime reason for the project was to overcome Clark County’s objection to light rail, traffic estimates being wrong that proposed tolling is based upon, questionable financing and accounting and many more problems facing this $3.6 Billion boondoggle, what does our freshman 3rd Congressional District do?

Send out the following mailer, of course.

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March 7, 2012

CRC and WSDOT: Defending the Indefensible

by lewwaters

After years of “studies” and planning, not to mention sinking nearly $150 Million of taxpayer money into the abyss we call the Columbia River Crossing project, revelations previously marginalized, if not hidden, seem to be coming forth in a rapid pace. By all appearances, more and more it shows that we “Hounds of Whinerville,” citizens and business owners who have spoken against this boondoggle have been largely correct in their warnings.

The appearance of gross incompetence of this project is almost unimaginable. That anybody would even attempt to defend this high level of incompetence is even more unbelievable. But, with every revelation that has come out, that is exactly what some elected leaders and directors of the WSDOT and CRC continue to do.

How can we forget the abysmal treatment of forensic accountant Tiffany Couch after her independent audit of what documents she received from CRC pertaining to the finances of the project raised several red flags? Questionable payments, unaccounted for funds, questionable accounting practices all swept under the rug as WSDOT used two of their top level people to review her findings before writing them off and claiming theirs was an “independent review.”

Tie that to the claims of 49th legislative district representative Jim Moeller who said of her findings, “In a project of such huge scale and complexity, at least some errant billing and bookkeeping is inevitable,” before demeaning Ms. Couch with, “I think that Tiffany is doing the job she was hired to do, and that’s stop the project” questioning her objectivity due to her being hired by successful businessman David Madore, a critic of the project.

But who questions Moeller’s “objectivity” what with the project being in his district?

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February 29, 2012

UPDATE: Oregon Supreme Court Blows the Whistle on CRC and Metro

by lewwaters

Found in the Willamette Week, The $2.5 Billion Bribe Oregon’s Supreme Court says light-rail politics drove plans for a new I-5 bridge.

Of course, we in Clark County have known this, as CRC continues forcing us to accept the project with Light Rail, in spite of 3 past indications we did not want it.

In response to allegations filed by opponents to the Metro, the Oregon Supreme Court stated in their decision, “The massive Interstate 5 bridge and freeway project is a “political necessity” to persuade Clark County residents to accept something they previously didn’t want—a MAX light-rail line from Portland to Vancouver.”

The Willamette Week adds, “Chief Justice Paul De Muniz highlighted Metro’s land-use decision. In it, the regional agency explains the freeway bridge and associated improvements were necessary to get the light-rail line built after Clark County voters in 1995 overwhelmingly rejected funding for a new light-rail line.”

Or as Metro later summarized it: ‘There is no light rail without the freeway bridge[s] being replaced’.”

While the court decided in favor of Metro overall in the case, the glaring admission in the written opinion (pg 8, lines 9 through 12) is one many of us have stated and has been denied, that replacing the bridges is primarily to carry light rail from Portland to Vancouver.

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