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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 8, 2008 9:54 AM. The previous post in this blog was If there's one thing we don't need right now.... The next post in this blog is What's worse?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The gal who brought Portland the aerial tram...

... is now going to bring us a "beautiful" light-rail bridge. If the city doesn't go bankrupt first, of course.

Comments (20)

Crazy idea, how about running it underneath the Sellwood bridge and fixing that at the same time?

Sigh . . . if they'd actually spend all this effort and money on the Sellwood . . . Mark my words . . . this will be an epic boondoggle.

Portland needs another bridge, like it needs more overcast days. But at least this bridge serves a public purpose.

Every single one of those renderings has the bridge deck about 50' off the water.

Every other bridge on the lower Willamette is either a lift bridge, or has a deck at sufficient altitude above the water.

They expect barges to never need to get under this thing when the river is running high? How about the odd sailboat with a mast? I know someone with a fishing trawler that needs the lower deck of the Steel lifted in order to get through...

Follow up: of all the bridges, I like the curved arch suspension design the best - reminds me of all the historic bridges on the coast, such as Alsea Bay.

I notice that the poll accompanying the OregonLive article doesn't include the most rational choice, which is to kill this sucker now! Portland needs to fix the Sellwood Bridge, not spend $1.2 to $1.4 billion on a 7-mile light-rail line to Milwaukie.


You are right, of course, but the shell game being played is that Multnomah County owns the Sellwood bridge, and all the other bridges in the city limits save the Marquam and Fremont.

Multnomah county is broke. They couldn't fix the Sellwood if they wanted to. And they can't get Portland or anyone else to take the bridges off their hands.

It is nonsensical that Portland owns the streets up to the bridges and the county owns the bridges.

Somehow we have to get to the realization that these transportation assets are regional assets, not county or city assets. Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties all need to work together to improve and maintain these assets.

I guess maybe that was what Metro was originally intended for...

but they are too busy figuring out how to turn us into a feudalistic agrarian society to spend any time worrying about roads and bridges.

"There's something very Portland about that, too," she said. "We're modest people, and I think doing something small scale that is elegant but sort of understated is not a bad thing."

There is something very Portland about ignoring needs. The bridges we already have need attention. The roads we drive on are declining. Yet the same people who strive to build shiny monuments to their utopian vision are telling us we need this.

How about throwing us rubes a bone and sacrifice one of these silly projects to the real needs of the people who end up paying the bill. It would go a long way with me if they would just say we need to improve the way that simple ordinary commuters can use.

I wish I could commute with mass transit. It doesn't go where I need it to. But I do get to experience what happens when the priorities of the in crowd rule the day.
Congestion, more fuel wasted idling in jams, and more frustration in knowing that it will never change.

1. Kill the bridge

2. Send the head of the study committee (Vera Katz) back to New York, so she doesn't have to continue turning Portland into New York.

I guess maybe that was what Metro was originally intended for...

but they are too busy figuring out how to turn us into a feudalistic agrarian society to spend any time worrying about roads and bridges.

A feudalistic agrarian society with a huge, expensive Convention Center hotel.

Why should the Sellwwod bridge get neglected till some distant time when MAYBE it becomes a "regional asset" that requires "Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties to work together to improve and maintain it"?
The light rail bridge didn't have that problem. How's that?
Why isn't the light rail bridge waiting for that same sort of fat chance/future tri county regional effort?
All it took was for the legislature to fork over $250 million lottery dollars in seed money.
So I don't buy the pitch that the Sellwood bridge will require a tri-county effort.
All it needs is politicians to want it like they do light rail.
If it were up to me I'd shift that $250 million from light rail to the Sellwood bridge and lay off every working on light rail.

No disagreement. You just don't understand the "pots of money" here.

The Sellwood bridge belongs to Multnomah County. They don't spend anything on light rail. The city, state and feds do.

I totally agree with you, as would any rational being. But what we are up against is the separation of these pots of money between different governmental entities. They can't use light rail money to fix the Sellwood bridge, any more than they can use police pension money to fund the schools.

Just to elaborate:

Government sees money in colors. Blue money us for schools. Orange money is for transportation, Brown money is for parks. These colored currencies cannot be intermingled.

Of course, to us taxpayers, money is just one color: Green.

I fully understand the pots of money and the Sellwood bridge being owned by Mult Co.
But my point was meant to focus on the ease at which the lottery money was prioritized and sent to the light rail and that the same thing could have been done for the Sellwood bridge instead.

The Sellwood bridge replacement could have been easily cast as an economic development investment or any number of other twists similar to whatever they used to justify the light rail appropriation.
That $250 million could still be reversed by the legislature in these hard times.
And it should be.
If not for the Sellwood bridge than to hold for even greater needs as our economy slides.
If we had any elected officials with any spine or common sense it would be proposed.
To move forward with spending $1.4 Billion==Plus on another light rail line/bridge is pretty crazy IMO.

Ben is right, Dave. Why didn't or hasn't Wheeler, Katz or Adams advocated for lottery dollars to be spent on the Sellwood Bridge. Each end is within the Portland city limits.

Why can't a collaborative effort be made by local governments. Who needs the collective Metro commissioners. The taxpayers have figured out the true agenda and priorities of our regional politicians, and generally it doesn't reflect the major majority of their constituents

Sorry Dave, "hasn't" above should be "won't".

A bridge from nowhere.

To us.

But we don't go there.

Government sees money in colors. Blue money us for schools. Orange money is for transportation, Brown money is for parks. These colored currencies cannot be intermingled.

When politicians sell us a scheme they tell us that the different money colors go into separate ironclad lock boxes.

Once they get the money, it goes into one big pot.

Exhibit A: Tobacco settlement funds.
Exhibit B: Car rental taxes.
And the list goes on.

The different colors of money is the story we get when it serves their agenda. Like every other rule, it only holds when it prevents them from doing the boring, unsexy stuff like providing basic services. The message is still the same: Rules are for chumps.

If the City Council wanted to do the obvious, honorable thing, and lay the biggest share of the Sellwood rehab price on the table, they could find a way to do it, just like they've found ways to spend City funds for private developers, OHSU, Metro, school districts, and more.

We can build a new HS in Reynolds SD but not contribute to rehab of the Sellwood Bridge? Oh, please.

We just need Rojo de Steffey to throw a real tantrum about the Sellwood Bridge with tears before she leaves her Multnomah Co office. Then we'll get a new bridge.


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