Gov. Inslee to talk CRC during visit

Governor, Leavitt to play hoops while he's in Vancouver

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

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Gov. Jay Inslee will make a stop in Vancouver on Friday to discuss with community leaders the now-defunct Columbia River Crossing project, Inslee's spokesman David Postman said Wednesday.

Southwest Washington leaders "wanted to close the loop with him," Postman said. "They want to have a chance to talk to him about what the current feeling is there."

Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said they had no choice but to pull the plug on the CRC project, after the Washington Senate declined to pass a $10 billion transportation package that would have committed $450 million to the Interstate 5 Bridge project. Since then, several lawmakers in Southwest Washington have called on state officials to come back to the table and talk about a new plan to address I-5 traffic and safety problems near the Columbia River.

Inslee's meeting to reflect on the CRC is tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Postman said. He said he didn't have details on hand about the meeting location. It will be closed to the public.

Other events planned

The governor also has a few other events planned during his Vancouver stop. According to a media alert, which is subject to change, Inslee plans to participate in a closed-door luncheon with VIPs as part of the Washington State Labor Council convention taking place this week at the Hilton Vancouver Washington.

Kathy Cummings, a spokeswoman for the labor union group, said the so-called President's Club Luncheon on Friday will allow some of the organization's donors to hobnob with the governor. Having a private meeting with the governor is "one of the perks of being in the President's Club," Cummings said this week.

Friday afternoon, Inslee plans to host a press availability at the Boys & Girls Club in Vancouver, where he will tour the facility and participate in a basketball shoot-out with Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt.

Postman said Wednesday that he didn't know yet whether any other parts of Inslee's visit would be open to the public, but that more details would be released before Friday. Late announcements of such events is partly a security measure, Postman said.

"Different groups set these things up differently," Postman said. "Whether it's open or not is up to the organization."

Inslee's visit on Friday will be state funded because Inslee will be conducting official business while in Vancouver, Postman said.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com