Washougal will revisit CRC opinion later

Critical resolution tabled for two weeks

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

Published:

 

WASHOUGAL — The Washougal City Council will take another two weeks to mull a resolution opposing the Columbia River Crossing.

Councilors had been poised to vote on a broad, highly critical 21/2-page resolution Monday but decided to table it after Councilor Jennifer McDaniel presented a truncated version, which she said more directly addressed issues facing Washougal.

She said she wanted to give people enough time to review her version of the resolution, which was presented to councilors only in the half-hour between a workshop and the city council meeting Monday night.

It looked likely that the city's original resolution wouldn't have the support to pass.

That resolution elicited strong criticism from a number of councilors, who said it was too overreaching and inflammatory in its criticism of the CRC, touching upon everything from bridge height to light rail.

Others viewed the entire debate over the CRC as a poor use of the city's time.

"I'm surprised we think we have enough time to dedicate to this issue," Councilor Paul Greenlee said. "I mean, don't we have enough other things to think about?"

He pointed to ongoing sewer and road projects in Washougal, along with questions about how a planned long-term consolidation between the Washougal and Camas fire departments would play out.

"I think we have plenty on our plate," Greenlee said. "This is a distraction and, frankly, a waste of time."

Councilors David Shoemaker and Connie Jo Freeman, both critics of the CRC, disagreed, saying the project would directly affect Washougal residents.

The Columbia River Crossing would cost Washougal residents in the form of tolls and increased congestion by diverting traffic from the Interstate 5 bridge to Interstate 205, while spending money that could be used on completing improvements to state Highway 14, they said.

Washougal's discussion was the second time in a week that a city in Clark County proposed a resolution touching on the CRC, only to pull back at the last second.

Last Monday, Battle Ground voted 3-4 against a resolution on a preferred option for the bridge project.