Third Bridge - Rivercrossing

The Salem River Crossing is a proposal for a highway bridge between Hope Ave. NW and the Pine/Hickory NE couplet with an on-ramp system and connections to the Salem Parkway and OR-22.

It's a highway bridge, for highway speeds and dust
not for pleasant walking
Here is the general scale and footprint (though in some details this has been superseded).

You can see a very large (12mb) map here of the "Salem Alternative."  Additional notes here.

Currently the "Preferred Alternative," the so-called "Salem Alternative," is in process between draft Environmental Impact Statement and final Environmental Impact Statement. Current City action has put the final Environmental Impact Statement on hold.

Current Action - Early November 2018

After the Land Use Board of Appeals remanded the land use and urban growth boundary decisions back to City Council (see just below for more on that), the current City Council does not have the appetite to schedule a new round of formal Public Hearings and to revisit the decision.

The most recent schedule (May 2018) has lots of TBD
In May, the SRC team finally published a new schedule that at least obliquely recognizes the LUBA remand, and equally obliquely recognizes that there is at present no path to a Record of Decision other than for a "no build" conclusion. It's all very open-ended with the "to be determined" bits, but at least there's no more of the charade with actual dates.

Meanwhile, for much of 2018 the Congestion Relief Task Force has been meeting and in October landed on a list of 16 short- and medium-term projects as lower-cost things we can do right now.

Summary of 15 out of the 16 recommendations
Depending on the seriousness with which Council chooses to implement them, they could be very promising. But they could be watered down very easily also.

The Task Force also considered a suite of "longer-term" actions for widening the Marion and Center Street bridges and their approaches, and while there was not consensus on them, Council may take up these also.

(The City's page for the Task Force is here, and blog posts are here.)

Urban Growth Boundary Analysis (2016-2017)

On December 5th of 2016 Council voted 5-2 for the Urban Growth Boundary expansion to fit the bridge and for a set of amendments to the Transportation System Plan for the bridge.

That decision was appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals, and early in August of 2017 LUBA remanded the decision back to the City for a do-over.

Here was an analysis of the Preferred Alternative and the proposed UGB expansion. Councilors who supported the bridge did not engage the critiques in any way. (The list has been updated with new posts.)
Additional Background (mostly pre-2014)

Much earlier in the process, the Task Force was deeply split, however, far from agreeing on the bridge alignment.

No Consensus
Additionally, eight out of 18 neighborhood associations voted on resolutions saying "no" to the "Salem Alternative," which is a variation of Alternative 4D. (Three of them repeated opposition on the UGB expansion in October 2016. No neighborhoods were in favor.)

Task Force Assessment, Pro and Con
Here's the official Rivercrossing FAQ.

Whether you think a bridge like this is necessary or a bad idea, it would be the largest infrastructure project in a generation here and therefore should receive exceptional levels of scrutiny.

(All of the significant Breakfast Blog pieces on the bridge are tagged "Rivercrossing - Third Bridge" and can seen here.)

Needless to say, many of us think it's a bad idea. Here's why:*

The Case Against the Highway and Bridge

Modeling and projections for future demand are wrong

For health we should be encouraging active transportation, not passive driving
  • Obesity and diabetes are increasing (national and state reports, also nice summary here at The Atlantic)
In the face of terrible budget crises, we can't afford it
Because they are harmful, cities are taking out elevated highways, not building new ones
* This will be updated from time to time as here and elsewhere more of this is discussed an analyzed.