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July 22, 2017

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Thanks Brian. This is a great analysis. You are so right about the 3rd Bridge debate. The Salem Bridge Solutions folks are classic hedgehogs — ideologues. "Build it NOW" they demand. It's the only solution. How to pay for it? They don't know. Just Build it NOW. I think many of their loyalists are totally ignorant of the plan and where it will go and how it will work. Just Build it NOW. On the other hand, the No 3rd Bridgers (I am one) don't have the silver bullet. There isn't one. But there are lots of things we could try to reduce rush hour congestion. Lots. Everything from asking the State to make a serious effort to stagger employee work hours (wouldn't cost a dime), to creating a "Park n' Walk/Bike" free parking lot for commuters in Wallace Marine Park and promoting it (wouldn't cost a dime), to asking all major employers in Salem to do like the State of Oregon does and charge for employee parking (are you listening Salem Hospital?) to discourage single occupancy commuters. Then there are the solutions that would cost money. We hope that with their new revenue, Cherriots figures out a really slick way to offer a commuter bus from West Salem (maybe for free?). By trying lot of little things (some will work and some may not) we know we can fix our traffic congestion problems and we can do it right away and not years from now. Yes, a foxy approach!

Another very well thought out discussion. As to the third bridge, I think that a more simplified presentation to the public may be the most effective because, if Salem voters come to understand the simple realities of the financing, the complex environmental and social effects will become secondary concerns. The Oregon State Transportation Plan clearly spells out that the connection between Bend and the coast, via Hwy 22, is a specified goal of the legislature. The intent is to facilitate movement of traffic and to support commerce. This means that the financing should be provided by the state (actually with federal dollars). The citizens of Salem should not only not be asked to fund any third bridge, but they should probably be compensated for all of the negative effects that would come from its construction. Communicate this simple message to the public and watch as all of the Chamber's efforts to establish an unstoppable course of actions within the city government will dissolve away just as in the case of the expensive original police facility plan.

Brian

I'm struck by your comment that you are somewhat hopeful hearing that some people are calling for more discussion between opposing political sides. The painful truth for many is that there IS no significant opposition in Washington. There is the appearance of opposition but in fact, one side wants unlimited power and the other wants unlimited money. The voters rejected both in favor of a housecleaning. So when you hear unexpected voices pleading for discussion, what you hear is simply the rustling sound of a mask coming off. It is just one big corrupt uniparty and I believe it is dead.

One glaring fact that is completely ignored by the voices (of the uniparty) calling for discussion is the reality that for eight years, no discussion was permitted. It was eight humiliating, vicious years of force-feeding of unrepresented Americans that caused a violent vomiting response.

I'm left wondering: why is anyone surprised?

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