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Three new bridges, no new lanes?

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, Some Portlanders do not believe the congested Interstate 5 bridge should be replaced because the project would mostly benefit Vancouver commuters, including those shown here enduring the afternoon rush hour traffic.

With three new bridges being planned for the metro area at what must be well more than $5 billion or $6 billion in tax dollars, guess how many new through-traffic lanes we will get?

You would think at least eight, maybe 10: two more on the new Sellwood bridge, four more on the new bridge by OMSI and two to four more on the new Columbia River Crossing bridge, right?

Well, get this - the answer is zero. That's right, three brand-new bridges and we get no new through lanes for traffic.

Am I the only one who sees the insanity of this? It seems that no one cares about this humongous waste of money and failure to plan and build for our future.

Joseph Kelly

Milwaukie

Vancouver full of tax evaders

Vancouver is the other Portland like scorpions are the other butterflies (Welcome to the other Portland?, Aug. 19).

'Vancouver has more tattoo parlors per capita than Portland.' I wonder if that is because Washington doesn't require tattooists to be certified, trained, licensed, to have gone to a qualified tattoo school or even to wash their hands.

Wow, am I supposed to be excited that Vancouver is flooded with unskilled persons who are permanently disfiguring people?

And the whole debate over who works in what state and who lives in what state is moot. The fact is, Vancouver residents are expected to pay sales tax to cover the cost for roads, schools, police and firefighters just like the rest of the residents of Washington - not to leave a burden on the rest of the state out of personal greed or simplicity of location.

These people are tax evaders pure and simple.

Finally, how is it I can tell a Vancouver driver from three blocks away? It seems they think Portland streets are their playgrounds: no turn signals, tailgating, excessive speeding, always on the cell phone behind the wheel.

Remember, these are the people who think they don't have to pay any taxes for the roads.

Wendell Cunningham

Southeast Portland

'Other' Portland is out toward Gresham

Gee, I thought this article was going to be about the neglected outer southeast part of Portland (Welcome to the other Portland?, Aug. 19).

Informative though. Nice to know that Vancouver has an abundance of tattoo parlors.

Dan Maher

Southeast Portland

Bridge plan isn't only alternative

It is disingenuous for the Tribune to accuse some community leaders who oppose building the huge Columbia River Crossing freeway project (of) saying 'no' to a solution to the traffic problem (Optimism returns for bridge project, Aug. 12).

No one suggests doing nothing, yet the promoters of this boondoggle ignore the alternative solutions presented by responsible leaders who want to solve the problem without degrading the region's livability.

Some of these alternatives are: local bridges for access to Hayden Island, navigational improvements to eliminate most bridge lifts, a new passenger rail bridge for intercity and commuter rail service and possibly a new truck crossing.

Most of these ideas have been ignored, although the latest proposal includes a non-freeway bridge to Hayden Island for local traffic and light rail, a proposal I made four years ago that was summarily rejected by the project team.

Jim Howell

Northeast Portland

Plan needs a two-bridge option

The public should read a fair review of the new Columbia River Crossing bridge design titled 'Concept No. 1' that was on display at the Jantzen Beach meeting on Aug. 5.

It's almost unbelievable: no entrance/exit ramps from Interstate 5 to Hayden Island - main access is via the North Portland interchange with a multi-lane ramp that lands on Hayden Island near Best Buy. It comes with two local bridge options to Marine Drive in addition.

This 'Concept No. 1' could best fulfill Hayden Island residents' wish for a Bridgeport-style center and supportive development. The MAX station could do transit-oriented development to a greater degree. Build landscaped hilltops next to Interstate 5 to deflect noise and hide its sight.

A least-cost bridge from Hayden Island to Vancouver is possible by building only the southbound I-5 bridge with MAX/Bike/Pedway just west of the old bridges left in place to handle northbound traffic.

In 20 to 30 years, when they've reached their useful lifespan, then replace them. Pair this with Concept No. 1 and you've got an affordable, least-impact project.

Arthur Lewellan

Northwest Portland

Invest in rail for future generations

This past June I graduated college and entered the real world. I'm quickly learning that the world I face as a grown-up in Oregon is scary - we have an economy in the tank, record unemployment, and a $2.7 billion state budget deficit. Gas prices are high, and an estimated 1 million people moving to Oregon in the next 20 years means more traffic and greater dependence on oil.

One important way to prepare for the future is to modernize Oregon's transit system with more fast trains, buses and freight rail - to make them more extensive, reliable, faster and efficient. Focusing on long-term transit solutions will not only get the economy and state budget back on track, but help Oregon meet new challenges and even prosper.

Given our limited resources, we won't be able to transform Oregon's transit system overnight. But with strong leadership from the next governor and our local elected officials, we can move past our current challenges. Increased freight and passenger rail can be Oregon's greatest infrastructure investment for my generation and the generations after mine.

Sarah Dobjensky

Northeast Portland

Keep a little wildlife habitat

It would seem we already have a compromise between the developers and environmentalists on Hayden Island (City will consider island's future, July 22). Half the island is developed and half is not. We should maintain this compromise.

The Port of Portland should redevelop existing port facilities and partner with the Port of Vancouver to meet its needs. We need to preserve the little bits of wildlife habitat that still exist in the metro area.

John Peterson

Southeast Portland

Grow smarter, but not bigger

West Hayden Island is entirely in the flood plain (City will consider island's future, July 22). In 1996, it was entirely under water. Not the best place to build industrial facilities, especially in an age of climate change. In addition, just the new bridge alone (yes, another new bridge!) to support this facility would cost more than $100 million in public funding.

We need to grow smarter rather than bigger, sprawling out onto flood plains and critical wildlife habitat. The Port of Portland should be looking to redevelop its existing land base using more land-efficient strategies that are now common in Europe and Asia. They should also be looking at better collaboration within the port and Vancouver and other ports along the Columbia Corridor to maximize the efficiency of our port facilities.

There is nothing balanced about the mayor's proposal - the Portland segments of both the Willamette and Columbia rivers are already heavily degraded. This proposal just adds to our legacy of degradation.

Bob Sallinger

Conservation director

Audubon Society of Portland

Northwest Portland