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Madore sets meeting on proposed east county bridge

Commissioner leads effort to build new span

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Clark County Commissioner David Madore is inviting the public to attend an informational meeting about a proposed bistate bridge spanning the Columbia River from Southeast 192nd Avenue.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, July 25, at the Clark County Commissioners hearing room. It will be the first look anyone in the community has had at the work that’s been done.

Representatives from FIGG Engineering Group, the Florida-based company working on schematics of what the project could look like, will unveil a design and cost estimates at the meeting, Madore said Tuesday.

The meeting will be televised on CVTV and open to the public, although only “bistate community leaders” will participate in a question-and-answer session, Madore said. While it’s unclear exactly which “bistate leaders” will be in attendance, proponents of a third-bridge option, including state Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, say they plan to make it.

The county will also hold a public hearing on the proposal at the board’s July 29 meeting.

That’s when commissioners will take public comment and decide whether to place another advisory vote on the November ballot. It will ask voters whether, based on FIGG’s design and cost, they’d want to pursue the project.

While FIGG is the only firm currently working on the project, Madore said the county will welcome proposals from other engineers.

Madore was quick to call FIGG the “best bridge builder” in the country. The company has been widely recognized for building the replacement span for the I-35W bridge across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minn. The span replaced the one that collapsed in 2007, killing 13.

Earlier advisory vote

Talk of the proposed bridge has been ongoing since a nonbinding advisory vote in November showed roughly 58 percent of voters supported looking into a toll-free east county bridge. Few details have emerged about the bridge in the ensuing months, even as Madore — the longtime Columbia River Crossing opponent who is spearheading the project behind the scenes — has promised to unveil more information about a proposal over the summer

“We are doing what the community said we should do,” Madore said. “We take our orders from the community. They said to do it; we’re doing it.”

He has said the bridge could relieve bistate congestion at a far lower cost than the CRC.

It is not without opposition, however.

Commissioner Ed Barnes, a labor leader and longtime proponent of the CRC, said he continued to oppose the proposed east county bridge, saying it would likely face insurmountable legislative hurdles. Nonetheless, he said Tuesday that he supported further discussions about the bridge proposal.

Another opponent of the bridge is Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, who said he would not be attending the July 25 meeting about what he called a “bogus bridge.”

The launching point in Clark County, Southeast 192nd Avenue, is within Vancouver city limits.

The landing point in Oregon, after crossing Government Island, would be an area of light-industrial parks.

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