May 2, 2012
Authored and submitted by Professor Robert Dean
Nothing much gets by “The Hounds of Whinerville.” A recent letter from Columbia River Crossing Director, Nancy Boyd, addressed to Shari Hildreth, Deputy District Director to Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who asked 28 pointed questions on behalf of constituent, Professor Robert Dean, makes it clear that Downtown businesses will not be financially compensated for general loss of access to their establishments or for diminished incomes during 6.3 years (or 5 years or 15 years) of construction on the CRC project. The letter also reveals that the problem was not studied for the $150 million Environmental Impact Statement.
CRC critic, and master “ankle biter,” Larry Patella, likes to ask the rhetorical question: “who is minding the store?” How prescient and appropriate have his observations been when it comes to the impacts of the CRC and light rail on Downtown Vancouver? It turns out that nobody has accounted for the indirect impacts on businesses during 6.3 years of construction.
Didn’t Downtown businesses flock to the City Council with concerns about disruptions to commerce during construction?
Didn’t the City pass resolution M3663 back in July 7, 2008 instructing the CRC to study “possibly severe” disruptions to commerce during construction of the bridge, I-5, light rail and the three parking garages?
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March 15, 2012
Time and again the utter incompetence surrounding the Columbia River Crossing project is revealed to the public. This blog, the Willamette Week, other blogs and even both the Columbian and the Oregonian have run articles exposing the sheer incompetence we still see pertaining to the CRC.
Supporters and those involved with the CRC just continue burying their heads and plowing ahead, though.
Accounting irregularities were poo pooed by an “internal audit.”
Traffic predictions being much less than anticipated were ignored.
The Oregon Supreme Court finding that light rail was the driving force behind the bridge, after years of denials from CRC, was swept under the rug.
And of late, the refusal of the US Coast Guard to grant a permit to the CRC for the bridge was all blamed on the US Coast Guard.
And now, concerning the fact that the bridge is designed with too little clearance to handle river traffic, we read in the Columbian LaHood: CRC height won’t derail plan, “LaHood” being Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
We read that Washington Senator Patty called upon LaHood to intercede between the CRC and the US Coast Guard, Murray saying, “It’s an issue everyone frankly thought was solved years ago.”
It is just another display of incompetence for Murray to claim “everybody thought it was resolved years ago.”
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March 7, 2012
After years of “studies” and planning, not to mention sinking nearly $150 Million of taxpayer money into the abyss we call the Columbia River Crossing project, revelations previously marginalized, if not hidden, seem to be coming forth in a rapid pace. By all appearances, more and more it shows that we “Hounds of Whinerville,” citizens and business owners who have spoken against this boondoggle have been largely correct in their warnings.
The appearance of gross incompetence of this project is almost unimaginable. That anybody would even attempt to defend this high level of incompetence is even more unbelievable. But, with every revelation that has come out, that is exactly what some elected leaders and directors of the WSDOT and CRC continue to do.
How can we forget the abysmal treatment of forensic accountant Tiffany Couch after her independent audit of what documents she received from CRC pertaining to the finances of the project raised several red flags? Questionable payments, unaccounted for funds, questionable accounting practices all swept under the rug as WSDOT used two of their top level people to review her findings before writing them off and claiming theirs was an “independent review.”
Tie that to the claims of 49th legislative district representative Jim Moeller who said of her findings, “In a project of such huge scale and complexity, at least some errant billing and bookkeeping is inevitable,” before demeaning Ms. Couch with, “I think that Tiffany is doing the job she was hired to do, and that’s stop the project” questioning her objectivity due to her being hired by successful businessman David Madore, a critic of the project.
But who questions Moeller’s “objectivity” what with the project being in his district?
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