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Letter from ECNA about Bridge replacement

East Columbia Neighborhood Association

2209 N. Schofield Street

Portland, OR 97217

Kayla Dunn 18 February 2022

Interstate Bridge Replacement Program

Kayla.Dunn@interstatebridge.org

Dear Ms Dunn,

Thank you for the ongoing opportunity to review and comment as plans evolve to replace the Interstate Bridge that carries I-5 traffic between Oregon and Washington. Public involvement is a key component of developing a project like this but it comes at a cost. Public participation involves many hours of open community discussion and relies on many individuals being focused on values and goals, while being guided by past personal experiences.

Replacing the Interstate Bridge is much more than removing on old structure and adding an improved new one. It is an opportunity to improve the livability of our greater community. The Environmental Impact Study, Purpose and Need statement, produced for the original CRC project included:

  • Growing travel demand and congestion
  • Impaired freight movement
  • Limited public transportation operation, connectivity, and reliability
  • Safety and vulnerability to incidents
  • Substandard bicycle and pedestrian facilities
  • Seismic vulnerability

It is difficult to decern how the present Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) project addresses these. To date involved public participants have asked for traffic flow and congestion study information. Apparently, they are not yet available. Information on the bridge size and layout have been requested but this information is also not available. Elements from the Common Sense Approach, CSA, promoted by George Crandall and mass-transit advocate Jim Howell, and Robert Liberty, offer interesting solutions to acknowledged transportation ills created at the Interstate Bridge and adjacent highways. Though rejected in the past, elements of the CSA should be placed back on the table for consideration. The present IBR process feels too much like a redo of the failed Columbia River Crossing project.

Those of us that live in the area are greatly impacted by incredible traffic congestion and the air pollution associated with it. Congestion alone, impacts general livability as trips are planned or canceled based on traffic conditions. Local and interstate commerce is hampered by congestion influenced travel times. Routinely, north bound I-5 traffic is backed up between Marine Drive and Rosa Parks from 8am until 10am and again from 4pm until 7pm.  East bound traffic on North Marine Drive, at the MLK, I-5 interchange is impassable daily from 4pm to 7pm

The East Columbia Neighborhood Association is unable to recommend any of the proposed IBR plans due to a lack of factual information. Specifically, we need to understand traffic flows, congestion expectations, and related functional information. We believe that the right IBR solution solves the traffic congestion at peak hours, limits backups that impact neighborhood travel, and routes freight traffic onto appropriate roadways at Columbia Blvd. and Lombard Street.

Sincerely,

Gary M Kunz, Chairman

East Columbia Neighborhood Association

cc:

Mayor Ted Wheeler mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty joann@portlandoregon.gov

Commissioner Mingus Mapps Mappsoffice@portlandoregon.gov

Commissioner Carmen Rubio comm.rubio@portlandoregon.gov

Commissioner Dan Ryan CommissionerRyanOffice@portlandoregon.gov

Representative Travis Nelson Rep.TravisNelson@oregonlegislature.gov

Bi-State Legislative Committee – Oregon

Co-Chair Senator Lee Beyer Sen.LeeBeyer@oregonlegislature.gov

Co-Chair Representative Susan McLain rep.susanmclain@oregonlegislature.gov

Senator Brian Boquist Sen.BrianBoquist@oregonlegislature.gov

Senator Lynn Findley Sen.LynnFindley@oregonlegislature.gov

Senator Lew Fredrick Sen.LewFrederick@oregonlegislature.gov

Representative Shelly Boshart Davis Rep.ShellyBoshartDavis@oregonlegislature.gov

Representative Karin Power Rep.KarinPower@oregonlegislature.gov

Representative Greg Smith rep.gregsmith@oregonlegislature.gov

Bi-State Legislative Committee – Washington

Co-Chair Senator Annette Cleveland Annette.cleveland@leg.wa.gov

Co-Chair Representative Brandon Vick brandon.vick@leg.wa.gov

Co-Chair Senator Lynda Wilson Lynda.Wilson@leg.wa.gov

Co-Chair Representative Sharon Wylie Megan.Walsh@leg.wa.gov

Senator Steve Hobbs steve.hobbs@leg.wa.gov

Senator Ann Rivers ann.rivers@leg.wa.gov

Representative Jake Fey jake.fey@leg.wa.gov

Representative Paul Harris paul.harris@leg.wa.gov

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