When the Oregon House rubber-stamped a $450 million appropriation for the Columbia River Crossing project on Monday, two voices missing from the debate were former Reps. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland) and Katie Eyre (R-Hillsboro).
Both raised hard questions about the CRC in the 2011 session and were part of the reason that a toothless House Joint Resolution urging Congress to help fund the project was never scheduled for a vote.
Smith gave up his seat to mount an ultimately unsuccessful run for Portland mayor. Eyre lost her seat to Ben Unger, in a race where some business interests deserted her for daring to criticize the CRC.
Now, on a day when The Oregonian's editorial board praised House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) for ignoring her constituents' disapproval of the CRC, which will be built in her district, Smith and Eyre are featured in a new radio ad blasting the project. (The "Let's Build a Better Bridge Coalition" paid for the ad but has not yet filed financial disclosure forms with the Oregon Secretary of State.)
The Oregon Senate, which is closely divided on the CRC, is expected to vote on the project on March 4.