Last Friday night’s public event in opposition to the Columbia River Crossing saw some 150 to 200 concerned citizens show up to Cránk bike shop for an evening of food, drinks, and democracy hosted by Bike Walk Vote.
Billed as ‘We Can Do Better: A Night of Information & Democratic Action to Stop the CRC’, arriving attendees were encouraged to fill out postcards to mail to their state representatives, sign up to host and attend future anti-CRC house parties, and were offered a wide range of factual reading material regarding the wasteful freeway expansion project. Members of numerous citizen groups were present, including the Hayden Island Livability Project, as well as several media outlets that have been closely following the $4 billion dollar boondoggle.
Throughout the evening, stickers, buttons, handshakes, hugs, pizza, and beer were all shared. Donated materials for the event were generously provided by Mississippi Pizza, Vino winery, Ninkasi, Clever Cycles, Crema Bakery, and The Bus Project.
Once the room had packed full and conversations had carried on for about an hour, several speakers brought the crowd up to speed as to where the project currently stands, which corporations are profiting from it, which citizen groups are opposed to it, and what we as a community must do to make sure the CRC is stopped for good this year. Speakers included Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods president Chris Lopez and Coalition for A Livable Future board president Jo Ann Hardesty, both of whom stressed the social justice implications of the freeway expansion and the need for continued grassroots organizing and outreach.
Ron Buel, who was deeply involved in defeating the Mt Hood Freeway, spoke at length about project details and where state legislatures stand regarding a funding vote. Buel discussed Oregon eco-activists working together with Washington republicans opposed to the CRC, joking, “We call our collaboration the Green Tea Party.” Local activist Dan Kaufman announced several direct action bicycle rides he’ll be hosting with PDX Bike Swarm in the coming months.
Most impassioned was former 1,000 Friends of Oregon executive director and current METRO councilman Bob Stacey, a long-time critic of the project, who amped up the crowd’s enthusiasm to keep fighting against the nightmare 12 lane project, and to continue building the kinds of livable, complete streets that create Portland neighborhoods worth caring about.
While the overall mood of the event was social and celebratory in nature, it was clear that the community left armed with a sense of empowerment and a solid set of instructions for the next necessary steps to shut down the CRC.
•Stay tuned for updates through OMG CRC WTF?
•Learn more about CRC myths and facts here: A Bridge Too False.
•To attend or host an anti-CRC house party, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
•For all things freeway/fossil fuels/ austerity related, follow Mismanaging Perception on Facebook.
Contact your legislator and tell them to vote NO to funding the Columbia River Crossing.
All images taken by Hart Noecker
See you in the streets.