Bridge replacement story, explained

Last week, Clark County Councilor David Madore took to what he calls his newspaper (and most people refer to as a Facebook page) and called out The Columbian for, he wrote, having substituted editorial opinion for fact when writing about a bill that would create a bipartisan, bicameral state group to discuss a crossing over the Columbia River.

Madore urged people to call the publisher of the paper.

He also seemed to think this was the doing of the “silly editor” who was misleading the community.

I wrote the article about the legislative hearing discussing House Bill 2414.

Here was my process: I read the bill. I interviewed several of the lawmakers who are sponsoring the bill. I listened to the legislative hearing and wrote a short story.

We are not normally in the business of responding to Madore’s Facebook posts. But he raised a nuanced point I thought was worth addressing.

If the measure passes and a bipartisan, bicameral commission is created, could lawmakers discuss other types of crossings over the Columbia, rather than a replacement I-5 bridge?

Could they discuss, say, the no-toll east county bridge Madore is pushing?

Yes. Sure. Of course, several lawmakers said. Nobody is going to get strong-armed for bringing up an idea.

But the goal, the intent, the understanding of the measure is to discuss replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge, several lawmakers said.

In fact, here’s a direct quote from Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, who is on the committee and a co-sponsor of the bill: “The whole point is to talk about the Interstate 5 Bridge.”

That seems pretty straightforward.He followed with, “That is the bridge that needs to be replaced.”

He also noted that Washington lawmakers are unlikely to get Oregon at the table without speaking of this particular corridor.

Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, who is one of the main advocates behind the bill, said, “The intent is to start the conversation.”

About what exactly?

“We are talking about the I-5 Bridge,” she said.

Replacing it?

“Yes,” she said.

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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