Commissioners talk and talk and talk on new river crossing and zombies

Earlier this week, commissioners talked next steps on transportation projects now that the Columbia River Crossing is dead.

And that 25 minute discussion might be one of the most substantial and thoughtful the board has had on the issue since Madore joined in January.

The discussion was still prickly at times. That’s kind of the norm at meetings these days. But it sure seemed like they were all listening to each other.

You can find the discussion on the county website under the July 10 Board Time audio. The talk starts just after the 34 minute mark.

And while it is of note that commissioners are having a frank talk on the matter, it’s perhaps more interesting to listen in for the amusing verbosity of your elected officials.

At one point, Commissioner David Madore finds the new bottom rung for completeness of a rough draft when he describes suggested language as “a very, very drafty draft.”

Commissioner Steve Stuart declares his ability to “speak both languages” in reference to the different and divisive views on each side of the Columbia River in regards to transit options.

“The Clark County, sprawl loving, car loving, commuters who come in and take their jobs. That’s demonization from one side,” Stuart said. “Then there’s the demonetization from this side of all of those that would support the hippie, latte swilling, those people on high capacity transit.”

Commissioner Tom Mielke, serving in his normal role as the only commissioner who doesn’t enjoy talking a lot, eventually asked ,”can I call for the question?”

But perhaps the greatest part of this whole thing came after Madore summed up the worry that the CRC would see new life.

“The zombie will live again,” Madore said.

Stuart said that’s an example of the divisive language he’d like the commissioners to move away from.

And then this happened when Madore started to jokingly protest:

Madore: “Zombie movies are…”

Stuart: “Are zombies good ever? Are there good zombies? I haven’t watched a lot of zombie movies because I don’t like horror movies but, I mean, I haven’t seen a lot of positive zombies.”

That got them all laughing, and it should be interesting to see if they can keep that levity about going forward. Commissioners intend to bring proposed resolutions, which voters may see on the November ballot, to next week’s meeting.

Erik Hidle

Erik Hidle

Erik Hidle covers Clark County government for The Columbian. He can be followed on facebook at, on Twitter at @col_clarkgov or contacted by email at

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