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Thursday, March 27, 2014

CRC staff closing up shop after a decade

The Columbian


The CRC's demise also leaves in its wake a set of unfinished financial and legal proceedings that likely won't be resolved as cleanly.
Last fall, C-Tran and TriMet inked an agreement spelling out how the two agencies would operate light rail in Vancouver as part of the CRC. The swiftly approved contract sparked outrage among CRC opponents, who said the agreement represented a bad deal for Clark County, as it advanced a bad project.
But the contract only applies if the CRC materializes. With no project, the agreement isn't active, said C-Tran community outreach manager Katy Belokonny. And while the two agencies could agree to terminate the contract, no conversations to that effect have happened, she said.
Last year, the CRC also signed mitigation deals to pay three large manufacturing companies who would be hurt financially by the project's bridge height. Officials agreed to pay a combined $86.4 million to Thompson Metal Fab, Oregon Iron Works and Greenberry Industrial, which all operate facilities at Vancouver's Columbia Business Center.
Like the light rail contract, those deals only apply if CRC construction actually happens. They can be terminated by the manufacturers after 2016, or by the states at any time. But no further work is planned on those agreements, said CRC spokeswoman Mandy Putney.
At least two lawsuits also remain in limbo. Oregon Iron Works challenged its mitigation payout after details of all three were publicly released; Portland neighborhood groups and others challenged the project's environmental review as inadequate.
"We thought that the project was going to be a disaster economically and fiscally," said Steve Cole, acting president of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
 

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