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PDX Update

News of Portland in brief

POLICE

New York City eyed PDX activists?

New York City police intelligence officers visited Portland while gathering information on protests planned for the 2004 Republican Party convention, according to Jim Dwyer, a New York Times reporter who broke the story Sunday.

Other than confirming that Portland was one of several cities visited by the intelligence officers, Dwyer did not disclose any other information about the trip or trips.

The story said, according to police records and interviews, teams of undercover New York officers 'traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention.'

Portland police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz said he was not aware of any visits by New York police intelligence officers before the convention.

The New York Civil Liberties Union has asked the federal district court in Manhattan to unseal all police records related to the surveillance effort, which occurred in the months leading up to the convention, according to The Times. The city of New York has asked that the records remain secret.

TRANSPORTATION

I-5 proposal advances

A proposal to keep the existing Interstate 5 bridge and build a second bridge between Portland and Vancouver, Wash., will be considered by the Columbia River Crossing Task Force today.

A subcommittee appointed by the task force approved the new proposal Monday morning. It calls for changing the existing spans to carry northbound freeway traffic and building an additional bridge that would carry southbound traffic and a new light-rail line between the two cities.

The task force already has agreed to conduct an environmental study on a proposal to replace the existing bridge with a new span that would carry all traffic over the river, including cars, trucks, some form of transit, bicycles and pedestrians. The committee was appointed to explore low-cost alternatives after the price of the new bridge was estimated at up to $6 billion.

- Tribune staff