Clark County postpones anti-CRC resolution

Citizens frustrated by unveiling of new draft

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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Clark County commissioners on Tuesday postponed action on a resolution admonishing the Columbia River Crossing and its sponsors for a "lack of integrity" and calling for a defunding of the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement.

The county had posted an earlier version of the "integrity resolution" on its website last week. But County Commissioner David Madore, who authored the proposal, brought a new version to Tuesday's meeting. That prompted some frustration from citizens who had come prepared to speak to the previous draft, only to have it replaced during the meeting.

Commissioners ultimately voted to delay a decision on the resolution until next week. The latest draft will be reviewed by the county's legal staff and posted online Thursday. A public hearing on the subject will continue next Tuesday at 10 a.m. during the commissioners' regular meeting.

Several citizens made it clear Tuesday that they weren't impressed with the effort to declare opposition to the CRC. One person called the resolution "a temper tantrum on paper."

"I just ask that we stop with the frivolous waste of time. It's ridiculous," said county resident Jodi Parker. "I ask that we do the business of the county."

C-Tran authorization

Clark County does not have direct authority over the CRC. County commissioners do, however, sit on the board of C-Tran, one of the project sponsors. In September, C-Tran authorized a contract with TriMet to operate light rail in Vancouver as part of a pared-down $2.7 billion CRC project.

Two of three county commissioners, Madore and Commissioner Tom Mielke, had voted against that agreement. Commissioner Steve Stuart joined a narrow majority voting in favor of it.

Madore's resolution calls for the light rail contract to be invalidated, and asks that the CRC not be funded. The document includes lengthy background clauses and 20 references, among them a definition of the word "integrity."

Madore has unsuccessfully tried to withdraw support of the CRC at C-Tran. He has introduced multiple transit-related resolutions at the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council. On Tuesday, Madore refuted the notion that the issue is outside the scope of Clark County government.

"The reason that this is relevant to Clark County is that it will profoundly influence the citizens of Clark County," Madore said.

County commissioners already approved a resolution opposing the CRC earlier this year. Planners continue to pursue the project as an Oregon-led effort to replace the I-5 Bridge and extend TriMet's light-rail system to Clark College.

Eric Florip: 360-735-4541; http://twitter.com/col_enviro;eric.florip@columbian.com.