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Mega-bridge will never be green

Readers' Letters
by: Courtesy rendering, Architect William Badrick says a park roof over the planned Columbia River Crossing would attract worldwide visitors. Readers weigh in on the idea.

It is good to think green, but actions to reduce our impact on nature must stand up to analysis. William Badrick's idea for a green roof over the proposed Columbia Crossing Bridge does not (Creating our 'green golden gate' bridge, July 8). He suggests that the roof would require 'no additional load cost' because '[b]ridges are engineered to be three times stronger than needed.'

There is a reason for bridge design loads - engineers are not out to waste our money. So the 23 pounds-per-square-foot load of the green roof will require three times that in additional design load. That would be expensive.

Also, treating runoff from the bridge, although important, is a small part of the carbon footprint of a project that will lead to many more fossil fuel-burning, vehicle miles driven and even more CO2-creating suburban sprawl in Southwest Washington.

Green features cannot make green an infrastructure project that will motivate decades of unsustainable behavior. If we want a green bridge, we need a design that reduces miles driven by fossil fuel-burning cars and freight carriers. Green transportation means buses, trains, bikes and walking to move people and water transportation for freight.

Green economy means more people working close to home and more products produced close to where they are used. Mega-bridges are not the way to sustainability.

Tom Civiletti

Oak Grove

Pedestrian area will solve runoff problem

I like the idea (Creating our 'green golden gate' bridge, July 8). Rather than add an additional bridge, why not cap the bridge with a nice pedestrian area that avoids runoff problems? Maybe the hopes for eco-tourism are a bit much, but it's not a bad way to reduce future costs and impacts of the bridge.

Dave Hogan

Northwest Portland

Green bridge fits sustainability theme

Following the whole Interstate 5 bridge ordeal over the years has been fascinating, and I for one believe it's been studied and debated long enough. After reading the 'Creating our 'green golden gate' bridge' (July 8) article in the Sustainable Life section and the 'Talk of compromise lifts I-5 bridge' (July 15) article that essentially says 10 lanes could also function adequately, I think maybe a partial re-look is appropriate.

William Badrick's green bridge idea warrants further consideration and analysis and fits so well with the area's sustainability theme. A new bridge is needed that will address the aging existing crossing and one that better addresses congestion and going green. This makes sense, and once again our area would be leading the way in going green.

Scott Moore

Northwest Portland

Why not just widen the freeway?

When will it become clear that this emperor has no clothes (Talk of compromise lifts I-5 bridge, July 15)?

I don't travel I-5 to Vancouver very often at peak hours, but recently did for a fireworks excursion. And it was just as I'd remembered: slow, creeping congestion from the Rose Garden area all the way to the bridge.

But 'to the bridge' is the key phrase.

The congestion was south of the bridge, as all the traffic from North Portland, Marine Drive and Columbia Boulevard had to merge into three lanes before the bridge.

But my experience then, as every other time, was that once at the bridge I was home free. Traffic moved smoothly over the bridge, which itself is not the bottleneck! Why don't we spend a fraction of the billions a new bridge will cost, and widen and redesign the few miles of I-5 just south of the bridge? This is the real locus of the problem.

Jim Gardner

Southwest Portland

Blame humans for pet carbon footprint

I understand that Mr. Colt doesn't hate dogs and cats (The real poop on dogs, pet owners, June 10).

I don't hate people. But we are the real problem. Our pets are extensions of ourselves, the bond is deep and, I feel, necessary for many people. To call them 'a luxury' displays a profound ignorance of the nature of both humans and non-humans.

We are in the middle of an incredibly complex biosphere gyre that is, seemingly, impossible to control. Momentum is certainly not on 'our' side. I sympathize with Mr. Colt's heartfelt concern and appreciate that the pet carbon footprint is much too large. However, I think that the human population is where the focus should be. We are the problem. Anything else is the tail wagging the dog.

Jim Stewart

Southwest Portland

Curb your own pet, not mine

It's so much easier simply to let each of us pollute in his own way (The real poop on dogs, pet owners, June 10). I'm an American. If I want to pollute with a Humvee, or with a dog, or both - by golly, I'm going to do it.

The problem is other people's pets. It's not possible that my choices have environmental consequences.

Tax Man, there's money to be made from obscenely frivolous, selfish, urban behavior. Consider carbon tax credits. Pet owners understand that a pet-less life is less polluting than a pet-ful life. The current dog/cat tag system can be modified to document the tax has been paid.

Or, (place) a simple metropolitan tax on pet owners who can't entertain their pets and process pet excreta on their own properties. Apply the monies to mitigating degradation of Forest Park by dogs, canine fecal pollution of the Tualatin River, pet poop on the slopes draining into the Mt. Tabor reservoirs, etc.

John L. Crull

Southeast Portland

Pets, kids make life worth living

Rarely has a news article made me howl with such disbelief as your article about Pete Colt, who would like fewer, if not no, pets in Portland (The real poop on dogs, pet owners, June 10).

According to his logic, I presume he would also like no meat or material consumption by humans, no factories and no biologic children, as they all increase carbon footprint.

I myself rarely eat meat, adopted a child, rescued a dog from a shelter, and drive a 16-year-old car because of little public transit (near my home). Unfortunately, my and my dog's very existence adds to the destruction of the planet. Zero carbon footprint is near impossible by Pete Colt's standards if one loves dogs.

I conclude that we should all kill ourselves to save the planet and not be so self-centered as to love ourselves, our children and our pets, who make our life worth living.

Christine Wynne

Lake Oswego

No facts to back footprint claims

There are no scientific facts to back up any of Pete Colt's claims (The real poop on dogs, pet owners, June 10).

Talk to any biologist or water purification engineer. Bacteria does not leech from feces to the water table - it does not live that long. Top soil is 90 percent manure. All our crops are grown in manure-based soil. Feces is the chief source of nitrogen for all plants in nature and cultivation. Bacteria is what breaks down feces. Disease comes from rotting feces before it has been broken down by bacteria, not after the fact.

This is a classic case of someone who is obsessed and paranoid about an aspect of society to the point he feels it is his personal mission to save society. He is driven by his fear complex to rationalize what to others would be absurd. This is no different than germ phobia and other such things.

Robert Hudson

Keizer