Sunday, April 11, 2021
April 11, 2021

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Letter: Held hostage by contract terms

The Columbian

Washington state representatives, keeping faith with the people, cut off Columbia River Crossing funding in June 2013. The June 29 Columbian headline read: “The Columbia River Crossing is dead.” That should have been the end of voter-rejected light rail.

A few months later, Vancouver-led C-Tran betrayed the citizens by throwing a “hail Mary” pass to keep their light rail dreams alive. They conspired with C-Tran CEO Jeff Hamm and attorney Tom Wolfendale, crafting a disastrous contract enslaving C-Tran and Clark County citizens to the absolute control of Portland’s insolvent TriMet. To make the “secret” contract impossible to terminate, they made it absolute and irrevocable, adding a $5 million penalty for failing to follow every dictate. They executed the contract before citizens or C-Tran board members saw it. They forfeited eminent domain property rights to unelected Oregon TriMet bureaucrats, giving them possible authority to condemn our private property. C-Tran will be required to dismiss citizen appeals, as breach of contract with TriMet would trigger the $5 million ransom.

Oregon later abandoned its “go it alone” version of the CRC. Yet TriMet insists that they intend to use that irrevocable contract for a future light rail project into Clark County.

Clark County citizens are left exposed. We must terminate that TriMet contract to defuse the threat.

John Ley


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