[Re: “A Bridge Too False,” WW, June 1, 2011]:  Governors Gregoire and Kulongoski convened a panel of national transportation experts in 2010 to review the Columbia River Crossing. The panel was unanimous that the Columbia River Crossing Project (CRC) must move forward and a new crossing built at the earliest possible date. The panel confirmed that the replacement bridge over the Columbia River is an essential project for two states and the West Coast and, if done correctly, will bring substantial long-term benefits to the region and local communities.

Recognized as a project of national significance, this five-mile corridor started with studies in 1999. Since the project officially began in 2005, stakeholders, citizen volunteers, CRC staff and ODOT representatives have appeared more than 20 times before Oregon legislative committees, and made 85 appearances at local government bodies.

An essential element to the project's design continues to be the CRC's public outreach. The project team has attended 900 stakeholder meetings and public events and engaged in 27,000 face-to-face discussions to gather concerns and ideas. All of this work has informed the development of the CRC and resulted in "a forward-thinking multimodal project that will not only serve area residents, but create jobs, spur economic development and help ensure that the region's economy continues to thrive," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on April 25, 2011.

We are ready to move the CRC forward. It is past time to replace the old and outdated bridge structures, add three miles of light rail to connect Portland and Vancouver, and improve dangerous interchanges adjacent to the bridge.

Governor Kitzhaber and Oregon legislators have made it clear that they will review every element of this project and provide oversight and accountability. That's as it should be. This is a project that must meet the needs of this metropolitan area and the state for the next 100 years. 

We urge you to get involved and learn more about the problems and the solution. More information is at columbiarivercrossing.org.

Matthew L. Garrett
Director, Oregon Department of Transportation

"…The fundamental misunderstanding is that the real technology success stories of America were organic, and in most cases, the results of sheer luck. Real, meaningful technology companies are the result of a combination of genius, extraordinary hard work, and luck. You don't 'manufacture' a business sector with 'incubators' and 'market clusters'….

And let's be real—many of the "startups" are different versions of either fart apps for your phone or the 100th variation on software that already exists. It's like watching the dot-com bubble of a decade ago, but with even stupider…ideas (mobile apps will save us! Web 2.0 will save us! Something to do with databases and the Web will save us!).… —"Wish Hard"

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