Comment of the Week: Politics of a megaproject
“If you are looking to have a popular uprising against the bridge, Washington is probably the place to start it.“
Welcome to the Comment of the Week, where we highlight good comments in order to inspire more of them. You can help us choose our next one by replying with “comment of the week” to any comment you think deserves recognition.
BikePortland has run 14 “Comment of the Week” features since we recommitted to doing them earlier this year. Is it too soon to repeat a commenter?
No it is not, not when their comment is as good as Ross Williams’s.
We post a lot about the Interstate Bridge Replacement project, most recently last Friday with No one’s happy with the I-5 bridge project. And that’s a good thing? Your comments in response to the IBRP posts are an impressive show of knowledge and information—about bridge design, climate change, induced demand, and so on. But Williams’s comments keep jumping out to us because, well, he understands politics.
Here’s what Ross Williams had to say about the politics of winning:
I think [Metro Council President] Lynn Peterson’s list of “everyone” includes people whose support is necessary for the project to move forward and people who have the ability to prevent it from moving forward if they are unhappy enough with the proposal. She may believe, or at least hope, that the activists who oppose the design don’t fit into that second category. She needs to be proven wrong. That is not an issue of intellectual discussion but power.
Since most Oregonians rarely use the bridge the folks with the largest stake in the outcome are in Washington. So if you are looking to have a popular uprising against the bridge, Washington is probably the place to start it. Unfortunately opposition to tolls and light rail are far more likely to kill the project than concern about a climate change inducing highway expansion.
Thank you for that bit of realpolitik Ross! You can read Ross’s comment and the whole comment thread under the original post.
Lisa Caballero has lived in SW Portland for 20 years. She is on the Transportation Committee of her neighborhood association, the Southwest Hills Residential League (SWHRL) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.