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February 15, 2019

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SBS uses bullying, insults, and deceit to try to achieve their goals. This latest ploy fits right into their program.

Someone needs to start a petition drive for West Salem to incorporate. Let's see how adamant they are about the damn third bridge when the cost burden is more fairly apportioned to them.

After 13 years of wasted expense and efforts, rationality has finally emerged. At the 2/18 WSNA meeting, a new and improved understanding of the nature of the problem and what should be done became apparent. The 3rd bridge never had a chance without significant federal funding. Due to the facts that other Oregon projects were more in need of financing, it was known that fewer federal dollars would be available for future state transportation projects, and Salem lacked the political clout to obtain meaningful support, this project has always been "dead in the water". Salem residents would never willingly provide sufficient funds for a 3rd bridge that would only have a significant impact on a small proportion of them. The cost would approximately equal all of Salem's road improvement budget for 20 years. Salem simply could not afford it. Most everyone agrees that there will eventually be sufficient public frustration that will compel action so there will now be, after the symbolic clubbing that supporters received when Council killed the existing proposal, a revised approach that takes reality into account. Evidence of this came from Mike Evan's statement that they had broad political support. While there does not seem to have been any solid financial commitments, one can assume that the support was merely rhetoric but the recognition (by Evans and others) that political support is important is a good sign. Also, Representative Paul Evans has introduced a House Bill to form a taxing district. While this gesture is probably going nowhere, it also suggests that there is now a recognition that financing is the real problem and that Salem residents can only be counted on to make contributions commensurate with the anticipated overall benefits. Representative Evans should be primarily focused on lobbying for state and federal financial support. Unfortunately, the game has changed. Now that the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) has been reanimated and the legacy of the new Director of ODOT (Matt Garrett is retiring) will be defined by the CRC, it will be nearly impossible to get ODOT's enthusiastic support. Finally, as one speaker suggested, it is time to go to ODOT and be more insistant that they help. This is absolutely appropriate. It has been and will continue to be their responsibility to provide safe and efficient roads to facilitate public travel and to support commerce. They have failed abysmally. As to recall efforts, Councilor Kaser need not fear. Her charisma, character, and honest attempts to represent all of her constituents will overcome any threat posed by those who will have, hopefully, become aware that the best thing to do at this point is to move forward. (This is getting too long - even I am getting bored - maybe, in a subsequent writing, I will provide more about ODOT's negligence and failures and the role of the local estate industry. Thanks for the forum, Brian)

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