Resolution in support of 3rd, 4th bridges not far enough for Lentz

When it comes to planning and building for third and fourth bridges across the Columbia River into Oregon, the Clark County Council is passing the buck. At least that’s what Councilor Temple Lentz told the council during its meeting Tuesday.
Lentz’s comments came shortly before the council passed a resolution in support of the additional travel corridors.
“I still feel this resolution doesn’t deliver. I’d hoped that the loudest proponents on this council would recognize that leadership is more than simply saying that somebody else ought to go do something,” Lentz said.
Lentz said, unfortunately, that’s exactly what the resolution does, ask others to do the hard work.
“It fails to demonstrate even a rudimentary understanding of land use and the process and collaboration that would be required to take something like this on,” Lentz said during the meeting.
During prior reviews of the resolution, Lentz had asked for the language to be changed to show the council was stepping up as a leader in the process.
The resolution says the county “urges all parties to simultaneously begin work to expeditiously construct a third bridge crossing the Columbia River …. and to begin planning for a fourth bridge corridor.”
It also asks for planning to begin, with all jurisdictions joining the county in integrating the additional bridges in comprehensive plans and transportation planning maps.
According to the council, replacing the Interstate Bridge won’t be enough to solve the county’s traffic problems and additional bridges will be needed. A 2008 study by the Regional Transportation Council found the county’s growing population would outpace infrastructure improvements and recommended additional bridges be built connecting west Vancouver to the St. Johns area in Oregon and in east Vancouver connecting to Gresham and Troutdale.
Because planning, design, permitting and construction work for additional bridges could take years, the council said it wanted to get a resolution on the books to help kick start the effort. Councilor Karen Bowerman, who proposed the resolution initially, said the sites identified in the study may not be the best locations now.
“Where that will be is unknown at this time. It is to be studied beyond what was done in 2008 because things have changed since then,” Bowerman said.
Bowerman said the county is hoping for a smooth planning process that involves neighboring cities and jurisdictions.

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