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Irvington group gathers money for bridge legal fight

Neighborhood coalition expected to appeal Columbia River Crosing to federal court

Members of the Irvington Community Association agreed Thursday to begin putting money into a legal fund to fight the proposed Columbia River Crossing bridge project.

A final vote on the association's legal fund is planned at the group's next meeting. On Thursday, the association decided to put $1,000 into what is expected to be a $6,000 legal fund to appeal the massive bridge project to federal court.

The association is part of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods Inc., which includes of 12 inner North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods - Alameda, Boise, Concordia, Eliot, Grant Park, Humbolt, Irvington, King, Sabin, Sullivan's Gulch, Vernon and Woodlawn.

Association members came up with $1,000 for the first $3,000 of the legal fund, with another $1,000 expected if the fees exceed $3,000.

The Columbia River Crossing is a $3.5 billion project that will replace the aging Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver, Wash. Most of the money will come from the federal government, with the states of Oregon and Washington putting up funds and possible requiring a toll to cross the bridge.

The project includes expanding and rebuilding nearly five miles of highway leading to the bridge in North Portland and Jantzen Beach.

Members of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods are concerned about the highway expansion project, citing health, environmental and traffic impacts for their areas.