The Morning Press: CRC shutdown accelerates, Obamacare, preps football

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The weather was great this weekend. Check on how the upcoming week looks here.

Weekend's top stories and news you may have missed:

Columbia River Crossing shutdown continues

As the shutdown of the Columbia River Crossing accelerates, dozens of workers packed up and left the project's downtown Vancouver office for the final time Friday.

Their departure marked the first significant wave of CRC staff to be relieved of their duties. More will follow in the coming weeks. The closeout will conclude by Sept. 1, state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson wrote in an email to lawmakers on Friday.

By then, only pending public records requests -- already deferred to the Washington State Department of Transportation -- and contractual obligations will remain, Peterson said.

"There won't be a lot of activity," CRC spokeswoman Mandy Putney said Friday. "Already the office is quite changed."

The Sept. 1 shutdown date is much sooner than initially estimated. CRC officials earlier indicated the process may last until the end of the year.

Read the full story here.

Affordable Care Act will have broad reach

On the Web:

For more information on the Affordable Care Act, visit

www.hhs.gov/healthcare

Related story

See the first story in The Columbian's ongoing coverage: 'Health homes': Effort aims to improve care for Medicaid clients, save money

Some of the most significant changes to the U.S. health care system will go into effect in January, following more than three years of planning and incremental implementation.

The changes are the result of the Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.

Read the introduction to the continuing series here.

WSDOT delays Highway 502 project

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A longer-than-expected property acquisition process has delayed a planned expansion of state Highway 502 into Battle Ground, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The decision means the project schedule will be pushed back one year, said WSDOT spokeswoman Abbi Russell. Instead of beginning construction this summer, contractors will begin widening the highway in 2014, she said. The project is now slated for completion in 2016, she said.

"We just don't have the property we need. That's the driving issue," Russell said. "We have to have all of the properties before we begin."

The $88 million project will widen Highway 502 to four lanes between Interstate 5 and Battle Ground, and install a median barrier along that stretch. Planners say they hope the result eases congestion and improves safety.

Read the full story here.

Jean-Baptiste helps Timbers to stunning victory

PORTLAND — Andrew Jean-Baptiste was busy all night Saturday, working to keep the dangerous Los Galaxy offense from doing damage.

Then, with the game in the final moments of extra time, the second-year defender delivered a stunning goal to give his Portland Timbers an improbable 2-1 win over Los Angeles.

Jean-Baptiste drove a header into the goal off of a corner kick from Diego Valeri in the final moments to give the Timbers their eighth win of the season in a match that easily might have gone the other direction.

Ryan Johnson also scored for the Timbers, who rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to shock the Galaxy and turn Jeld-Wen Field’s 43rd-consecutive MLS sellout crowd delirious.

Read the full story here. Check in with our Timbers blogger here.

Independent theaters on epic quest for secret success formula

Show the customers exactly what they want. Dazzle them with something different. Be dependable and affordable. Be innovative and exciting. Welcome children and be like Disney. Or serve beer and wine and get funky, like Portland's McMenamins.

Staying alive is an epic 3-D quest for Clark County's independent, historic movie houses. People get sentimental about venerable theaters for their classy feel and community history, but that doesn't mean they prove their love with trips downtown and ticket sales. The formula has to be just right, local theater managers say, because the public is famously fickle and its multiplex habit is hard to break.

Read the full story here.

Freedom Bowl Classic struggles to fill out rosters

The Freedom Bowl Classic, an all-star high school football game that has been a summer standard since 2002, wants to come up with a different way to attract players.

The event, featuring recent high school graduates from Southwest Washington, has had seen some difficulty getting in touch with would-be all-stars, of getting the athletes to commit to the contest.

This year's game — scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Kiggins Bowl — had a rough start to the week when about a dozen players showed up Monday for the West team's first meeting.

By Monday night, players and coaches worked the phones to get the word out, and the West team had roughly 25 at practice by mid-week. The game will be played.

Read the full story here. See a report of the game here.