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Help Stop the 12-Lane I-5 in Portland

Take easy action against the Columbia River Crossing, a $4billion project to demolish the I-5 bridge to Washingon and build a nasty 12-lane concrete megabridge in its place.
Hey everybody. If you are among the many people who are opposed to the idea of a $4billion, 12-lane freeway expansion project in North Portland for the benefit of Vancouver, please take a few minutes to copy and paste this letter I wrote, modify as you please, and send it to as many politicians as you can. I would also suggest calling our reps if you have time, especially the state legislators.

The CRC won't get anywhere without money from Salem, so contacting state reps could be a very effective tactic in stopping this insanely foolish and wasteful project.

Comments on the letter are welcome.


Mayor Sam Adams
Commisioner Nick Fish
Commisioner Randy Leonard
Commisioner Dan Saltzman
Commisioner Amanda Fritz (already opposes current plan)
Metro Council

Oregon State Senators
Suzanne Bonamici
Ginny Burdick
Richard Devlin
Diane Rosenbaum
Margaret Carter
Jackie Dingfelder

Oregon House of Representatives
Mitch Greenlick
Mary Nolan
Jules Bailey
Chip Shields
Tina Kotek
Michael Dembrow
Ben Cannon

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkely
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden

U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer




suggested CCs:


"Project Partners" on the CRC website:

"John Benson, Piedmont Neighborhood Association, Portland"
"Steve Kayfes, Kenton Neighborhood Association Board Member,
"Nikki Williams, Boise Neighborhood"


Dear Elected Representatives,

I'm writing to urge you to oppose the massive freeway expansion project known as the Columbia River Crossing.

As you are probably aware, the CRC proposes to demolish the existing historic I-5 bridges from Portland to Vancouver, Wa (which are structurally sound and valued at around $1 billion), and replace them with a 12-lane concrete mega-bridge at a cost of perhaps $4 billion, probably much more.

This project is a massive waste of money, and a huge step in the wrong direction for this region.

Oregon and Washington have both passed laws mandating a reduction in climate-changing carbon emissions, and the federal government will also likely begin to regulate carbon dioxide in the near future. The 20th-century thinking of the CRC, however, pays no mind to climate change, pollution, or urban sprawl. In fact, one estimate of the 12-lane CRC's impact puts the increased carbon emissions as a direct result of its construction at a shocking 320 million additional pounds per year.

Just last year, Oregon voters passed Measure 49 by a large majority, with the specific intent of limiting urban sprawl. Yet in analyzing the CRC, planners actually completely ignored new development as a factor! Now, the CRC asks Oregon taxpayers to pay over a billion dollars to directly subsidize urban sprawl - in another state! - by building a 12-lane freeway for the convenience of long-distance solo commuters.

As a resident of North Portland, I cannot accept this project. It is inevitable that a 12-lane freeway across the Columbia will lead to a massive expansion of I-5 in my neighborhood. Portlanders simply do not want more freeways - we want dense infill development and investments in public transit and repairs to our existing infrastructure.

Clearly the 12-lane CRC cannot be rationally justified. But how can you justify political opposition to such a large, lucrative project? Simply: the CRC is already destined to fail in court.

On July 10, 2008, the Oregonian reported that the EPA has found that the Enivronmental Impact Statement for the CRC failed to adequately examine several critical issues. The EPA found "deficiencies" in the EIS's analysis of induced sprawl, pollution of Clark County's water supply, bridge piling construction's effects on endangered salmon, and perhaps most devastatingly "whether the combination of air toxics, noise and other pollution will punish North Portland communities living close to the I-5."

Further quoting the Oregonian, 'the agency's critique underscored concern about the bridge's health effects on poor and racial minorities living nearby, and its impact on children living or attending school near the I-5 - subjects receiving less public attention.

"There was no indication (in the CRC environmental impact statement) of how these vulnerable populations might be impacted by air pollution, noise, diesel construction vehicles and increased traffic," the EPA wrote. '

In other words, the Bush Administration EPA believed that the CRC was ignoring the health of North Portland's minority communities, Clark County's drinking water, the salmon of the Columbia, and the induced demand of suburban sprawl.

Does this sound like a successful lawsuit to you? If the Final EIS for the CRC is a plan for a 12-lane freeway bridge in North Portland, the CRC will be in court for years, and major modifications will be forced upon it.

Please tell the CRC backers that a 12-lane bridge across the Columbia is a dead idea - unacceptable to Portland, unacceptable to Oregon, and illegal under federal and state law. There are better and cheaper alternatives out there, such as an arterial bridge to Hayden Island and Vancouver that is separate from the I-5 altogether. Another excellent idea is to start construction of high-speed rail to Seattle now, instead of waiting another 20 years. And if congestion on the I-5 must be relieved at any cost, let the people who are causing the congestion pay that cost with tolls on the existing bridges.

Any further planning of a new 12-lane bridge on the I-5 is an inexcusable waste of taxpayer money.


(Your name and address)

"EPA: I-5 bridge impacts on pollution, growth unexamined"
The Oregonian, July 10, 2008

"Columbia River bridge plans ignore effects of growth"
The Oregonian, June 28, 2008

CO2 emissions figures from 1000 Friends of Oregon's CRC DEIS Comments, 7/1/08, available by request from Bob Stacey ( bob@friends.org)

Letter writing campaigns have no power over corporate interests 10.Apr.2009 10:12

Exile portlander_in_exile@yahoo.com

This project is designed to make corporations money. Quite simply, the money talks. letters from concerned citizens are merely background noise.

Please don't be mislead 12.Apr.2009 09:43

a bicyclist and an environmentalist

Please don't get mislead regarding the new I-5 bridge. I will continue to stress, the bridge will only have 6-through lanes, 3 in each direction. The other lanes will be used as auxiliary lanes to provide for better merging and diverging from traffic between the entrance and exit ramps. These auxiliary lanes allow better mobility and safety for drivers on I-5. For example, the northbound entrance ramp from Jantzen Beach (aka Hayden Island) has no acceleration lane before the existing I-5 bridge. Vehicles using this entrance ramp do not pick up enough speed running the risk of getting into a crash or slowing down vehicles on the highway that creates a domino effect forming congestion.

By allowing these auxiliary lanes, the new bridge will have better air quality and then the existing bridge because less people are idling due to the short merging areas. Sprawl will not occur from this new bridge. Both Oregon and Washington State land use laws only look at the operations of the ramp terminal, the intersection with the cross-street and ramps, and not how many lanes the Interstate has. If you want to prevent sprawl, work with your city and county officials to have tougher zoning codes and ask Metro to stop expanding the urban growth boundary.

I-5 in Portland between I-405 and the Columbia River will never be widen more than six through lanes, 3 in each direction. No politician working for the City or State would allow a project at this magnitude that would tear down people houses.

I got this photo from the Portland Tribune. I think it provides a good visual regarding the proposed project.
The Proposed Bridge
The Proposed Bridge