Battle Ground nixes stance on CRC

City council remains neutral on bridge project

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

Published:

Updated: March 19, 2013, 6:52 PM

 

BATTLE GROUND — The Battle Ground City Council’s official stance on the Columbia River Crossing is an anticlimactic one: It will take no position at all.

On Monday night, the council voted 4-3 against a resolution that would have supported a “locally preferred option” for the proposed megaspan. With the vote, the city effectively stays neutral on how the $3.4 billion project moves forward.

Although local governments have little say in how the bridge takes shape, or how it’s funded, Battle Ground had toyed with the idea of taking a position on the project as a way of guiding the C-Tran Board of Directors. Battle Ground, like Clark County’s other cities, has representation on the board.

The city had gathered feedback from residents last month so it could take a stance on a bridge that best represented the views of residents.

Councilor Mike Ciraulo, who voted against the resolution, said “the silence from residents was deafening.”

A lack of local interest convinced him the city should “move on” and focus on local issues.

“This is more of a Portland and Vancouver issue,” Ciraulo said.

The city’s resolution supported replacing the bridge and making improvements to the Mill Plain and Fourth Plain Boulevard interchanges. It also stated that if additional money is requested by any agency to pay for the maintenance and operation of light rail and bus rapid transit from Portland to Clark County, the request should go to the voters.

Councilor Bill Ganley, a member of the C-Tran board who represents Battle Ground and Yacolt, said he may “ask for more clarification” on what position he should present to the board, if the city feels that’s necessary.

Ganley was one of three councilors to vote for the resolution, along with Philip Johnson and Alex Reinhold.

Ganley said he believes any decision on extending light rail into Clark County should be taken to a vote.

Battle Ground isn’t alone in broaching the topic of the Interstate 5 replacement bridge.

The town of Yacolt unanimously passed a draft resolution opposing CRC earlier in the month.

Washougal could take a position on the CRC at its next city council meeting at 7 p.m. March 25.