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March 27th, 2013 MARTY SMITH | Dr. Know
 

Dr. Know: A Bridge Too High

They say the CRC is designed to be too low. Would legalized pot in Oregon fix it?

drknowILLUSTRATION: Hawk Krall

The folks planning the Columbia River Crossing bridge made it too low for big cargo carriers. Would legalized pot in Oregon fix this? Imagine: The bridge absorbs enough second-hand smoke to actually get “high.” Everyone’s happy!

—Curious

Everybody’s a comedian. I’ll thank you, Curious, to leave the drug and masturbation references to me. (I know you didn’t say anything about masturbation; I just happened to be thinking about it.)

But enough about your mom. There are three kinds of public-policy controversy: the kind only policy wonks have heard of, the kind that a few City Club types might notice, and the kind that actually penetrates the thick cloud of marijuana smoke and Kardashian trivia encircling the consciousness of the common man.

If my readers—a group who routinely fall asleep face-down in a pot of Western Family macaroni and cheese—are hip to your urban-planning snafu, congratulations: You’ve hit the big time.

As you note, several companies on the Columbia make and ship things too tall to fit under the proposed 116-foot bridge. Oops.

It’s true that you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. But the way the issue has been handled (and the fact that the original design had a meager 95-foot clearance) invites speculation that this decision was less a calculated sacrifice than a massive oversight.

Bridge planners’ response can be summed up as (a) we can pay off the companies affected from our limitless pot of CRC money, and (b) we already spent $165 million on this design, so shut up.

It’s like your dad built a boat in the living room that won’t fit through the door, and now he wants to knock down a wall to get it out. Sure, it might work—but you gotta wonder if Dad’s really the man for the job.


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