BY THE ARCHITECTURE FOUNDATION OF OREGON
Among many values being passionately voiced in political arenas all over the world at present, if you are invested in the future of the Portland-Vancouver region, you'd better speak up now.
The Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation just made their recommendations to our governors on February 25 to place “another Marquam Bridge” (composite deck truss bridge type) across the Columbia River at I-5.
We urge you to immediately join us in telling our governors that the public wants a bridge which will embrace our landscape and catalyze opportunities for our communities’ vitality and economic growth via excellence in urban planning and design. Of the three bridge types that the governors will imminently choose among, the cable-stayed bridge type is the one that Portland, Vancouver and the larger region deserve. Furthermore, we advocate that efforts begin immediately for the project to engage a talented and experienced architect to lead the design process of a world-class bridge. This massive investment by our community deserves no less of a return.
The DOTs' recommendation is based on a report by an expert Bridge Review Panel, but it appears to leave out some important information, and has its own takes on other aspects. We would encourage you to read the BRP report.
Some information that may be helpful to you:
The DOTs say their recommended composite deck truss is the most affordable. In truth it is: it would save less than 2% of the total $3.2 to $3.6 billion Columbia River Crossing project over the cost of a cable-stayed bridge. That's less than half of what the CRC Project has spent developing the idea the experts said would not work. Is that enough to make us live with “a Marquam Bridge” over the Columbia forever?
They say their bridge type maintains the project schedule. In fact, the Bridge Review Panel’s study shows an identical ranking for construction schedule for both the composite deck truss and the cable-stayed bridge types.
They completely ignore the fact that the cable-stayed outperforms the composite deck truss seismically.
They say the composite deck truss minimizes environmental impacts. In fact, it does result in an 8,000 square foot smaller footprint in the water; but that footprint lives in 10 piers, as compared with the cable-stayed’s 3 piers. Surely, there will be greater marine disruption in installing all of those piers!
They say the composite deck truss honors commitments that have been made to communities in both states. In fact, the commitments to the City of Vancouver and the residents of Hayden Island were based on the discarded open-web box girder design. With improved landings that consolidate the footprint of the interchanges, the cable-stayed bridge type could provide far greater benefit to both sides of the river.
They completely ignore the Bridge Review Panel’s assessment of public support for the bridge types, which shows Cable-Stayed as number one, and Composite Deck Truss at dead last of all four bridge types. And we thought this was a public project!
Please -- WE URGE YOU -- take a few minutes to write to your elected officials and ask them to BUILD THE RIGHT BRIDGE NOW – one that will bring the greatest return on our investment in the Columbia River Crossing.
We have provided some draft language, below; please adapt it to represent your views or write your own letter, and send it to your governor with copies to the official representatives listed. You may also submit your comments to the CRC online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please plan to attend one of the official CRC Bridge Type Recommendation Listening Sessions on March 10 or another of these events:
- Tues, Mar 8, 7:30am – CRC Urban Design Advisory Group Meeting ,Vancouver Center Community Room
- Tues, Mar 8, 11am – CRC Community Meeting, American Society of Civil Engineers, Portland State University Engineering Building
- Tues, Mar 8, 1pm – CRC Freight Working Group Meeting , Vancouver Center Community Room
- Wed, Mar 9, 9am – CRC Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting, Vancouver Center Community Room
- Wed, Mar 9, 4pm – CRC Portland Working Group Meeting, Jantzen Beach SuperCenter Community Room
- Thur, Mar 10, 12noon –CRC Bridge type recommendation listening session, Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center (Expo Center)
- Thur, Mar 10, 6pm - CRC Bridge type recommendation listening session, WSDOT, SW Region Headquarters
- Wed, Mar 23, 6:30pm – CRC Community Meeting, Esther Short Neighborhood Association, Hilton Vancouver Washington Hotel
Here is a sample letter that can be sent to Governor Gregoire or Governor Kitzhaber
As your constituent, I urge you to BUILD THE RIGHT BRIDGE NOW at the Columbia River Crossing.
As you are poised to make a crucial decision that will determine the CRC project’s path forward, please consider the communities most affected by that decision, the potential for positive growth in the region, and the legacy that will be left for future generations.
Among the three options, the Cable-Stayed bridge type is the most desirable because it:
- costs $40 million less than the original plan. It is less than 2% of the total $3.2 to $3.6 billion Columbia River Crossing Project more than the composite deck truss. That's less than half of what the CRC project has spent developing the idea the experts said would not work.
- is as fast or faster to build than any other bridge type
- is the most earth quake resistant of any bridge types considered
- is potentially less harmful to the fish that swim the Columbia due to fewer piers in the waters
- can accommodate less intrusive interchanges both in Vancouver and on Hayden Island, leaving space for long-term economic development, not just short-term jobs
- can be designed as a graceful, complementary structure to the river, the City of Vancouver, the gateway to Portland, and the surrounding landscape and view corridors
The Columbia River Crossing will serve as a daily reminder of your leadership to thousands of residents and visitors of this region for decades to come. As a nation, we are in a heated debate about the legacy we will leave our children and grandchildren with respect to many important issues. This bridge will boldly influence the sustainability and future development of the region. Our great responsibility to future generations is to build the best bridge and concurrent transportation infrastructure.
This is a profound opportunity to unite our region, embrace our landscape, and catalyze opportunities for vitality and economic growth on both sides of the Columbia River via excellent urban planning and design. Please don’t disappoint us.
Please select the cable-stayed bridge type and immediately begin the process to engage an experienced and talented architect to lead the design process of a world-class bridge. This massive investment by our community deserves no less of a return.
The Architecture Foundation of Oregon advocates the enhancement of our built environment, the livability of our communities, and preservation of our rich architectural heritage.