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On The Scene: Fixing the transportation mess
On the Scene
Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Sellwood Bridge is deteriorating as questions arise over whether Multnomah County or Clackamas County is responsible for its replacement. The approval of funding for the Newberg-Dundee bypass is being criticized as a political maneuver. And the fate of the Columbia River Crossing remains unknown while the debate over its size, impact and whether it should even be built keeps its progress in limbo. In other words, the Portland area’s regional transportation governance is a big, gridlocked mess.

The City Club of Portland recently released a report titled “Moving Forward: A Better Way to Govern Regional Transportation.” Several members of the research committee – Leigh Stephenson-Kuhn, Peter Livingston and Richard Ross – presented the report this week as part of the “Crossing the Columbia: What Does It Mean?” forum held by PDXplore and the Architecture Foundation of Oregon. In front of a small crowd at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, the three representatives discussed the conclusions and recommendations the City Club had come up with to solve the tricky problem of moving people at the lowest cost and in the most effective way possible.

What’s tangling up transportation progress so much? The report found several problems with the current regional governance, such as the Oregon Department of Transportation’s control of most of the region’s transportation money (which gives the power to choose and fund projects primarily to state officials). A large chunk of the problem, the report says, also lies in the fragmentation of governance, with federal, state and local government and agencies all having an influence on transportation projects in the area. With so many jurisdictions with a stake in transportation, the result is a lack of clarity on which entity should be responsible for which parts of the system. Many decisions are made on a micro level, Livingston says, when transportation is really a regional issue.

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New headlight prevents bird strikes to planes
April 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Precise Flight, a Bend manufacturing company, started thinking in the late 1990s of ways to decrease the number of bird strikes to airplanes. The result is a headlight called the Pulselite that is specialized to bird vision.

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Toyota moves forward
High Five
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Repairs on recalled Toyota vehicles in the Portland area are about halfway through.

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Port payoffs in question
High Five
Thursday, March 18, 2010

The economy is raising questions over the payoff for the Port of Portland's costly projects.

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TriMet chief off the bus
High Five
Thursday, March 18, 2010

TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen says he will retire after 11 years of leadership.

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