The CRC:  Columbia River Crossing Project in Oregon
RIP - the Lies and Liars

The proposed (now defeated) CRC Freeway  would not have improved safety in the Interstate 5 CRC project area.  

What would improve safety and congestion? We should update the nearby BNSF rail bridge and apply much better safety fixes to the existing freeway bridge. These updates would add car capacity and reduce 90% of bridge lifts for boat passage.


The CRC freeway was sold with lies.  It was called a Bridge Replacement project but only 30% of the budget was a bridge.  

 Public questions were never given honest answers.   That's why it was killed by the WA State Senate.

- 2015 ODOT and CRC   Are they lying or incompetent?  I say both.  

Quotes from former Metro President Bragdon:   "It did not add up..They continually stonewalled and through either incompetence or dishonesty at the highest levels of ODOT just refused to acknowledge"

"When mistakes become chronic"   "not simply accidents that are happening"    "plan for the CRC was implausible" 

45 Democrats also stonewalled CRC concerns for many years.  In 2013 only 3 Democrats voted NO on the final and only CRC vote in Oregon.  45 Democrats voted yes to the lies, stonewalling and incompetence of ODOT's CRC.   Here is the roll call and fast track bill.

For 8 years CRC questions were not answered.  The public did not like the answers because they were lies.   House Speaker Tina Kotek ( democrat ) defends the ODOT  lies, stonewalling and incompetence saying "it (CRC) solved the problems"

- ODOT deleted reports that the bridge will last 60 years:

2013: "These CRC bridges need to be replaced,”

2005: "With ongoing preservation, the bridges can serve the public for another 60 years."

 Here's the 2005 Data that was deleted by ODOT but saved by the Tides Foundation Project

and click here for the propaganda that replaced the 60 year report


- The project was never sent out to bid, and became a massive pork project for contractors who created a very flawed design.   The Oregon Department of Transportation picked a design based on opinion of a few people who would also gain from the design. There was no bid process. There was no cost analysis of many designs.    ODOT engineers used only their opinion to pick a final design.  No facts were used to pick the current design.  

See the document below for more details on ODOT opinion.

- Here is the CRC law passed by the Oregon House and Senate.   It’s full of loopholes and only funds the startup of the project.  See the law HB 2800 see the law & analysis.    The law has a variety of loopholes.  The law does not fund the project, because it only funds startup funds.  This is a risk to safety, jobs and our ability to pay the full price of construction plus interest plus operating costs.

- Most of the State's economic data was wrong, and wrongly underestimated state debt and construction costs.   Even if this bridge was a free gift from France, we need a design that’s better for business and the environment.   The one Representative who spoke against this stated “we need to do something to move people and freight better” (Rep Frederick ) The children living near this project have the highest rates of asthma in the State.   Here's the post mortem from a well respected economic analyst Joe Cortright  Click here.

- The designers do not have realistic drawings to show lawmakers.  Senators are demanding pictures, artwork or computer videos to show what the final project would look like.  One Senator stated:     "I have neither seen nor been able to obtain anything other than vague conceptual renderings of the proposed bridge and interchanges. Our latest briefing were during the noon hour today when the presenter was unable to provide the requested visual renderings.  I have deep and ongoing concerns regarding the potential total cost of the project, the funding sources, and the detail of how the debt will be structured ….(once started it’s) highly unlikely that it will be abandoned due to cost overruns regardless of the total final cost." ( Source )


- This bridge does not need replacement, it is far safer than the politicians say.  Other stretches of I-5 are more dangerous, and seismically, the Columbia Interstate Bridge is sturdier than others, including the Interstate 5 Marquam bridge near OMSI.

- $50 million can prevent 95% of river boats halting interstate traffic:  We don’t need a 18 lane bridge to reduce traffic.   Fixing and re-aligning the rail bridge downstream would eliminate 95% of the bridge lifts. Ramps on Haden block traffic, and can be moved.   See video.

- The project cost of $3.5 billion is a myth, and this myth has real safety risks.  When this project runs out of money it will cost lives, jobs and environmental damage due to added delays.   The real cost is $10 billion  $3 to 5 billion for construction, $5-6 billion for interest and operational costs.  The massive debt it creates will mean less money for other bridges over other rivers.   Even with tolls, traffic projections show the bridge will not payback its $10b cost. That type of debt is not good for business unless you’re a bank.  . See economic analysis video

- This is not a bridge project, it’s spending only 30% on the bridge, whereas  41% of costs are for ramp replacement.  There are 6 on/off ramps stretching over 3 miles of land based freeway,  We might as well call it the “overland ramp replacement project” (see the color chart below)

- It’s risky financing.  The plan is buy now, pay later.  The project risk inspection remains unfinished.   Would you buy a home with no money down and the home inspection “in progress”?  The investment grade risk  analysis on tolls and bond safety won't be completed in time. Banks and Bond traders require this.    It would be unwise to vote yes on the CRC without knowing how it would cover its costs.  links

- The media have been fooled by the $200 million we've spent to design and market this project.    OPB radio, the Oregonian and the Associated press failes to check basic facts about the law.      The law does not state a $450 million contribution from WA state. The law only states that WA state must add "sufficient" funds to what Oregon does not fund.  That's a giant loophole "sufficient"   The OPB news director refused to correct the errors.  Here’s who’s received all that marketing money.    

- Traffic has been decreasing since 2004.  The CRC does little to address congestion in other parts of the region that will be made worse by promoting cars from Washington State.  Links 

- When the project was canceled by WA state, the Oregon lawmakers attempted to pass a law that would force Oregon to build the freeway to WA state with no support from WA state. Here is why that Oregon Only plan was illegal and costly:

  • Lack of Legal Authority for Oregon to Spend Money in Washington
  • Lack of Legal Authority of Oregon to set Tolls for  Washington
  • Huge Financial risks to fund the project
  • Other Critical Infrastructure questions have no answers
  • An “Oregon Only” plan makes risks higher than a dual state plan
  • Political Consequences in  Oregon
  • Less Costly Solutions Are Available                                                        
  • How much of ODOT’s flexible funding of $95million for this fiscal year does the Legislature want spent on a CRC plan that is going nowhwere?
  • Think of the unborn jobs.    Road projects all over the state can’t be built due to the CRC Debt. There are 109 eligible local construction projects will it divert money from.

Click here for the full document of these bulleted items by activist Ron Buel

Detailed news clips below

Joe Cortright gives a great economic analysis of HB2800

The official state of Oregon website 

There’s an alternative design called the CSA.  

It’s both cheaper and more environmentally friendly, and it’s called “The Common Sense Alternative”.    The CSA design costs $1.8 billion and it would meet the same project goals with less environmental impact.  Watch the video on the alternative.


Oregon is ready to spend:  “(Oregon’s) proposed 2013-15 budget includes $450 million for the CRC. That’s roughly the share Oregon is expected to come up with”

"I met with legislative leadership last week and they agreed to prioritize this project in 2013," Kitzhaber told the assembled throng of business leaders and elected officials.

The total cost over 30 years is $10 billion.

Watch  economic analyst Joe Cortright explain the $10 calculation in this video.$25_billion_bribe.html

Criminals change their name to hide their crimes.  Lawmakers are trying to change the CRC project name to the IBRP - Interstate Bridge Replacement Project (Pronounced: I Burp ) 

Cost Chart

This is not a bridge project, it’s spending only 30% on the bridge, whereas  41% is replacement of 6 on-ramps, ( $1,6 billion )    We should call it the on-ramp replacement project.  

This video breaks down the  3.6b construction costs ( does not include all costs )

In 2013 The Governor celebrates saving 100 million in potential savings, yet he plans a freeway costing $10,000 million. “our Coordinated Care Organizations …. will save $100 million in the general fund in 2013-15"


Fund freeways, and cut education? Yes. "Kitzhaber has already said he’s not in favor of new taxes for education this session, and he’s asking for cuts to public pensions and prisons,"


A bridge too false, the myths of the CRC data

Traffic is decreasing & the existing bridge is safer than others.   “more than two dozen I-5 bridges in Oregon in worse shape than the Interstate Bridge, including the Marquam Bridge ...rated a lot lower for its ability to withstand a big quake...No one seems in a big rush to claim that (Interstate 5) bridge is unsafe or to replace it.”  …. “independent review panel found the massive project will shave exactly 60 seconds off the peak morning commute.  And here’s why: The Interstate Bridge and nearby interchanges are just one bottleneck. The project does nothing to fix the choke point at the Rose Quarter, five miles south, where I-5 narrows to two lanes.”


“Induced demand” explains why  this bridge will make things worse for other freeways and neighborhoods.  Watch this video.

An Investment Grade Analysis is far overdue.

Banks are eager to make $5 billion in bond interest on this project.  Those banks will want an investment grade analysis to verify income.  The on loans  to pay back a Seattle bridge will grow.   Quote “ it’s likely the CRC’s investment-grade analysis will show more diversion and lower toll revenue, just as the one for Seattle’s Highway 520 shows up to half of traffic moving from that span to Interstate 90.”

Maps of lawmakers and the project area:

Map of Senate and House members near Portland.  Each sentate district has 2 house districts.

2.2 miles North into Washington State 

1.2 mile bridge span 

.7 miles South into Oregon State 

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Report the results of your call in public, let others know what lies are being sold to you.

Portland Lawmaker’s phone numbers and reporting tool


Help edit this document, call me,  Joe,  

Activists have permission to use this art from Mr. Singer

In conclusion.....

There’s an alternative design called the CSA.

The total cost over 30 years is $10 billion.

Here’s a simple cost chart

A bridge too false, the myths of the CRC data

An Investment Grade Analysis is far overdue.