Those in the know knew CRC too short


For a project like the CRC to go without a hitch would be “Disneyland,” Mayor Tim Leavitt said last week.

When The Columbian broke the story about the Coast Guard’s concerns that the Columbia River Crossing was too low, it blindsided a lot of people, like a boat into the bottom of a bridge.

But not all.

Obviously, the CRC staff and the Coast Guard knew what was up, but the CRC had also been quietly informing those “in the know” about the problem.

A Vancouver city official was among them. So was Mayor Tim Leavitt.

When I mentioned it to him during a coffee meeting last week, he said that with a bi-state, multi-agency project, it would be impossible to not have setbacks.

“To expect that everything is going to be smooth sailing is Disneyland,” said Leavitt, an engineer in his private job.

He said opponents were “grasping at straws” for reasons to hate and kill the CRC. I pointed out that an impasse that could result in $105 million to $150 million more in costs may not be a “straw” to most people.

“100 million to a $3.2 billion project, that’s almost a rounding figure,” Leavitt pointed out.

But Councilor Jeanne Stewart, a frequent critic of the project, called to say the issue has “not been handled directly, has not been handled forthrightly, and it’s not been handled competently.”

“I’ve sat in at least two meetings where this issue came up and the CRC’s attitude was, ‘Well we know we need to keep the bridge low enough for air traffic, but high enough to accommodate river traffic,'” Stewart said. “They thought they had a magic wand or something. They never said, ‘this is a critical issue — we need to get serious about this.'”

Scroll to top