Sunday, June 01, 2008

I applaud the three Metro councilors who oppose building a new bridge over the Columbia River (“3 suggest toll rather than new I-5 bridge,” May 27).The majority of drivers crossing the Columbia on Interstate 5 are commuters who live across the river to avoid the state income tax and land-use planning. I have nothing against Clark County or the state of Washington, but a new bridge would subsidize this kind of behavior.

Public policy and infrastructure need to encourage people to live near where they work. A toll on the Interstate Bridge is a step in the right direction.

GERSON ROBBOY Northeast Portland

While considerable attention is given to anti-car, anti-congestion, anti-Washingtonian, environmental considerations, I am surprised how little consideration is given to Washington commuters and the benefits they provide to Portland, the metropolitan area and Oregon.

Washingtonians working in and commuting to Oregon contribute considerable direct and indirect benefits to the local economy, quality of life and ability of government to spend. They are employers and employees; they spend money on this side of the river; they pay taxes and they get virtually nothing in return.

I would imagine if as few as 25 percent of those people and their dollars left for the Vancouver side, the economic impact to Portland, the metro area and the state would be devastating.

How much abuse do you expect these people to take before the cost of relocating exceeds the cost of the commute?

Also realize that making it more difficult to cross I-5 may divert more traffic to Interstate 205, and that will make for an even greater negative impact.

It seems to me that we owe them some direct benefit for their taxes paid. Consider financial incentives (for carpooling with four or more people, express buses, express light rail) in the mix of solutions.


Three Metro councilors have proposed that Interstate 5 travelers pay a toll to cross the existing, paid-for Interstate Bridge between Vancouver and Portland.

The Interstate Bridge isn’t the Oregon Zoo — people can’t simply “choose” to cross in the same sense that one can say “The Oregon Zoo is too expensive, so I just won’t visit it.”

To prove the point, I would suggest that the Metro councilors place a “toll” on any person (especially Metro employees and the councilors themselves) wishing to access the Metro Regional Center or any other Metro-owned facility.

Then, the Metro Council should report back as to how many Metro employees quit their jobs because they have “chosen” not to take the daily required trip to their workplace, or were fired for not showing up to work because of transportation issues.

It’s easy to force one’s choice on others while not accepting the challenge themselves.

ERIK HALSTEAD Southwest Portland

Metro Councilors Robert Liberty, Carlotta Collette and Carl Hosticka should be commended for thinking beyond the “larger Interstate 5 bridge is better” paradigm. If we really want to get serious about addressing global warming, we need to encourage less vehicle travel, not more.

By proposing to charge tolls on the existing bridge and using the funds for earthquake improvements, safer on-ramps and greater mass transit, the councilors are building a more sustainable bridge to the future.

MARK RALSTON Southwest Portland

To delay the construction of the solution for the Columbia River Crossing is to increase the cost of that solution exponentially. This issue has been talked about and studied enough. How many more decades does anyone think it will take to arrive at the conclusion that it needs to be fixed?

Most citizens realize that already. The Metro councilors who want to wait and do more studies are simply sidestepping their elected duties to wrench out the truth. This needs to be done now.

To the elected officials of all the involved agencies, for the sake of the citizens of the West Coast, please take your responsibility to fulfill our infrastructure needs to heart.


More than a decade ago, I decided to escape Portland, my hometown, and its inexorable progression toward auto-hating, overpopulated urban density, removal of key arterial streets and grossly overinflated property values and taxes promulgated by Vera Katz and her ilk.

I found to my great pleasure that Southwest Washington still holds dear the values of suburban life, with ample greenspaces and large lots in which children can play.

Now I learn, with no surprise but great dismay, that certain Metro officials want to put the brakes on the much-needed new Interstate 5 bridge.

A letter to the editor (May 27) hit the real issue — Metro Councilor Robert Liberty is garnering votes on “his side of the river.” Another letter correctly emphasized that this is an “interstate” bridge, part of an interstate freeway system — not the pawn of the city of Portland, Metro or any other local entity.

Frankly, I don’t care if Portland builds a wall around itself and bans cars altogether, but let’s call this Metro posturing what it is — a feeble, chauvinistic attempt of a few elected officials to aggrandize their power and influence at the cost of the greater good.

ROGER VAN HOY Washougal, Wash.

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