Sellwood Bridge is falling down. Clackamas county commissioners recently voted to enact a $5 vehicle registration surcharge - to take effect January 2012 - in order to pay their fair share of replacement costs for the decrepit bridge, which is located in Multnomah county.
A lot of folks in Clackamas county are irked by the fee, much to the bemusement of commissioners and their pals. Part of the problem, here, is that Tri-Met has just approved funding for a new bridge over the Willamette River - for light rail, streetcars, buses, bikes, and pedestrians. Everything, in other words, except cars and trucks. Metro, Tri-Met, the City of Portland, and various county commissioners are dead-set on building yet another light rail line that the citizens don't want, and at a cost north of $1.5 billion for a seven mile "extension".
Further, they are fully cognizant of the fact that the funding scheme is structured specifically to channel funds to this light rail line; Portland's pervy little "mayor" has already indicated his intent to divert $20 million from Sellwood Bridge replacement to the light rail line. Moreover, Portland has already designed a replacement structure without input from Clackamas county residents, and that design moves no more vehicular traffic than the old bridge - it does, however, accommodate bicycles and pedestrians ; allocating thirteen feet more to them than is accorded vehicle lane space.
This, in addition to the fact that Tri-Met's new anything-but-cars bridge is specifically designed for so-called "active transport" (bicycles, pedestrians). One can hardly blame the good citizens of Clackamas county for being more than a wee bit miffed at the way these "processes" are being played out.