Adams, Cogen Work Out Deal On Bridge And Lightrail Funding

OPB | Oct. 7, 2010 8:44 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:06 a.m. | Portland, OR

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The top elected officials in Portland and Multnomah County say they have a deal to cover much of the funding shortfall for two major construction projects. But as Rob Manning reports, the mayor acknowledges it’s a gamble.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams and county chair, Jeff Cogen, are optimistic they can find savings in the $330 million Sellwood Bridge project. 

Adams is betting on finding at least $40 million in savings – $20 million for the Sellwood Bridge, and $20 million for Portland-Milwaukie light rail.

But he’s committing the money now – before the savings have been found, because the feds need that, to put up their money.

Adams says if savings don’t materialize, it’ll come out of the city’s hide.

Sam Adams: “It’s a risk I think that’s worth taking, in part because both projects have been on South Portland’s wish list. They’ve been needed for decades.” 

There’s one other hitch. Adams wants to find savings in the westside approach to the Sellwood Bridge, which represents nearly half the project’s cost.

But that’s state Highway 43, meaning any changes have to go through the state Department of Transportation. 


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