How to spend $500 million in Clark County

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance

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What exactly could $500 Million buy right here in Clark County?

For one thing, it can buy you a mountain -- and then some. Real estate broker Terri Eklund lowered the price of Tumtum Mountain, a symmetrical, cone-shaped hill in northern Clark County, to $649,900 last week. That’s down from an initial price of $1.4 million last year. There’s been interest but no sale yet, she said Wednesday.

The jackpot would also pay for all programs and services provided by the city of Vancouver for about 15 months, according to Vancouver Chief Financial Officer Lloyd Tyler. The city’s biennial budget is $800 million.

It wouldn’t go quite as far in Clark County, where the biennial budget is $886.2 million, according to the county website.

And for those of you who live and breathe Columbia River Crossing:

The half-a-billion dollars would match the entire hoped-for contribution from the Federal Highway Administration to the $3.5 billion CRC project.

Or it could pay to operate a light rail system in Vancouver for 194 years, according to C-Tran numbers. That is, assuming the $2.57 million per year costs don’t increase over time.

Columbian reporters Andrea Damewood and Eric Florip contributed to this report.