Supporters of the cable-stayed design for the replacement Columbia River Crossing bridge are not giving up without a fight. Transportation departments of Oregon and Washington have recommended a composite deck truss design similar to the Glenn Jackson Interstate 205 bridge. They argue that it is the cheapest option and would not require the approval of the Federal Administration Agency because it has no above-deck structures interfering with air space for Portland International Airport and Vancouver's Pearson Field.
But on March 10, the project's Urban Design Advisory Group sent a packet of information to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire arguing in support of the cable-stayed design, which features towers that hold cables supporting the bridge deck. Among other things, the packet argues the actual cost difference between the two designs will be insignificant and states the FAA will have to review whatever design is chosen for the replacement. The group also argues there is far more public support for the cable-stayed design, suggesting their will be fewer legal challenges if it is selected.
Kitzhaber and Gregoire are expected to announce their choice for the estimated $3.6 billion project soon.
Wu challengers get energized
David Wu, the embattled Democrat who holds Oregon's 1st Congressional District seat, now has a couple of challengers for the 2012 nomination.
Political gadfly and perennial candidate Pavel Goberman sent an e-mail Monday telling potential supporters that he planned to run for the Democratic nomination next spring against 'useless and corrupted' Wu.
'I'm honest, incorruptible, with faith, integrity and high moral principles and do not accept any donation, contribution from no one, and will not lose my dependency on We the People,' Goberman wrote.
Hillsboro businessman Stephan Andrew Brodhead plans to seek the GOP nomination for the U.S. House seat.
Goberman grew up in Russia and was a member of the Soviet Army in the late 1950s. Today he runs a health and fitness program called 'Get Energized!' from his Beaverton home.
In the past 10 years, Goberman has campaigned unsuccessfully for a post on the Beaverton School Board, the 1st Congressional District seat, the state labor commissioner's job, the U.S. Senate in 2008 and, in 2010, the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Ron Wyden. Goberman's 2010 campaign committee was called 'Stop the Media and Political Prostitutions.'
Water users oppose rate increase
A group that successfully opposed Portland water rate increases in the past is fighting the most recently proposed increases. The Portland Water Users Coalition represents such large water consumers as breweries and industrial manufacturers. It came back together in January after learning that the Water Bureau is proposing to increase rates 85 percent over five years, in large part to fund around $500 million worth of projects urged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The group broke up in 2007 after the city went to court to fight the EPA requirements. The city lost the case, however, and is now making plan to build a treatment plant in the Bull Run reservoir and replace the five open reservoirs with new underground storage tanks.
Coalition spokesman Kent Craford argues that the city's water is so safe the projects are not needed. Water Commissioner Randy Leonard largely agrees but argues that the city has no choice but to prepare to comply with EPA rules.
School measures could pass
Pollster Tim Hibbitts is suggesting the Portland school measures on the May 17 ballot are poised to pass. Hibbitts told the Portland Business Alliance breakfast meeting on Wednesday that he has polled voters about whether they support the local option operating levy and $548 million construction bond.
Although Hibbitts did not release any figures, he said, 'Portland is a liberal city and liberals support government programs and are willing to pay higher taxes for them.'