Contact: Martha Richmond 503.415.6061

Statement from Bill Wyatt, Port of Portland Executive Director, regarding the Columbia River Crossing Status

On the heels of Washington State’s decision not to take up a transportation gas-tax proposal that would have paid the state's $450 million share of the Columbia River Crossing Project; we want to start by saying how disappointed we are that Washington failed to support this critical infrastructure project.

However, we are anxious to begin work with the Oregon Department of Transportation on plans for I-5 improvements such as the Rose Quarter and Marine Drive interchanges on the Oregon side of the river.

Our interest in the bridge all along was to alleviate traffic congestion in the I-5 corridor which affects freight mobility overall, the economic viability of the region’s businesses as well as access to our industrial properties, marine facilities and the airport. At some point our region will need to address a replacement bridge to ensure continued economic vitality and ensure safety for citizens on both sides of the Columbia.

While the bridge has relevance to future plans for West Hayden Island, it should not be viewed as a determining factor of whether or not to proceed with annexation. In fact, the Washington decision has little or no impact on our continued work toward annexation as some have inferred. The key reason is that any proposed marine development on the island would be rail dependent.

Project traffic studies have shown that, because of this rail dependence, full development (three terminals on the 300 acre site) would represent less than 4 percent of the interchange traffic in 2030. In addition, the annexation agreement with the city requires that traffic impacts will be addressed, including a cap on truck movement.

To be clear, the Port is a major supporter of the Columbia River Crossing project, its associated interchange improvements, light rail and the arterial bridge, but our interest is fully centered upon the need to keep freight moving at our existing facilities—both air and marine—as well as through our entire region.

We remain committed to furthering the West Hayden Island annexation process which is essential to the Port’s ability to be able to market 300 acres of the property for future development, estimated to be seven to ten years out, while preserving 500 acres for habitat restoration and recreation purposes.

Contact: Martha Richmond 503.415.6061

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