Determined Pike still reaching across river

You might not agree with Rep. Liz Pike’s politics.

Perhaps you disagree with the way the Republican from Camas votes in the state Legislature. Or the way she’s running an underground campaign as a write-in candidate for the Clark County council chair.

But no matter your political leanings, you have to give the representative credit for being determined.

The same resolve she used to push for the demise of the Columbia River Crossing, she’s now using to revive the discussion about an Interstate-5 project.

First, there was the bi-state bridge coalition. She teamed up with Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, and hosted a luncheon with key lawmakers from both Oregon and Washington. This version of the coalition appears to have fizzled.

During the most recent legislative session, she teamed up with Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, to carve out $100,000 to hire neutral negotiators to facilitate conversations between Oregon and Washington legislators on the topic. The measure failed.

Now, Pike is teaming up with Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, a longtime Oregon lawmaker with a reputation of being independent and not afraid to vote against the party line. Pike and Johnson are gathering their colleagues for an “opportunity to meet other Columbia River Legislators representing both sides of the river,” according to a flier advertising the private luncheon slated for Oct. 28.

Pike knows if she’s ever to gain momentum, she needs Oregon’s House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, on board.

Last time Pike reached out, she received a rather cool response from the Speaker who reminded Pike: “In 2013, the Oregon Legislature passed legislation that would have enabled our states to move forward with a replacement to the I-5 Bridge across the Columbia River and upgrade the adjacent intersections on both sides of the river.”

Adding later, “Unfortunately, Washington failed to join Oregon in taking the requisite next steps.”

Pike is not deterred.

“Generally speaking, in my lifetime when I set my mind to something, I get it done,” she said. “It might take a while … Things worth doing are difficult.”

Pike is convinced she will sit down with Kotek someday and make it clear she’s not a “four-headed monster.”

The legislator’s determination could be attributed to the days spent as a child working on a farm in Brush Prairie with her parents and 12 siblings. Or maybe it’s a focus she attained training for the Ironman World Championships in Kona (2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run).

Or perhaps it’s simply blind optimism.

Whatever it is, Pike does not plan on stopping.

“This luncheon is the first step, an ice breaker,” she said.

“Well, maybe the second step.”

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or Follow her on Twitter .

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