Battle of the Bridge Begins

The notice is out that a serious development plan is underway for the Columbia River Interstate 5 bridge in North Portland, blocks from Northeast Portland.  My home is about 5 blocks from the Interstate 5, just south of the crossing on the Oregon side.  Two groups I used to serve, the Coalition for a Livable Future and the Environmental Justice Action Group are center stage in participating and advocating for community interests.  The Coalition has some excellent talking points, notably the heavy air and ground pollution impact from vehicles and diesel, and the need for a neighborhood improvement fund of at least 1% of the budget (perhaps 50 million?).  Please take the Government Survey to express your opinion.Crc_map_200

Talking Points from Coalition for a Livable Future

  • Acknowledge the
    historic impacts on communities from past I-5 development (division of
    the N/NE Portland neighborhoods and exposure to unsafe levels of air
    toxics) and establish a fund of at least 1% of the total project cost
    for the enhancement of affected neighborhoods.
  • According to the
    Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the diesel particulate
    levels in the North Portland I-5 Corridor are 787 times what is
    considered safe! It is absolutely essential that any transportation
    investment in the corridor include light rail connection to Vancouver,
    bicycle and pedestrian improvements and programs to reduce single
    driver commutes and unsafe pollutant levels. The EIS process should
    also use the most conservative public health benchmarks available to
    assess air quality impacts. Our kids and our health are too important!
  • Focus the EIS
    analysis on meeting the travel needs of people and goods, not cars and
    trucks. Department of transportation staff admit that adding more lanes
    will not provide a long-term solution to congestion, so we should
    instead think creatively about what the problem is that we are trying
    to fix and work toward solutions that actually address this problem.
  • More at www.clfuture.org
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