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Fact-Checking the Metro Conversation
It was surprisingly hard to find major disagreement between the three candidates for Metro council president for the first 20 minutes of today's Primary Conversations show. When it did come, not surprisingly, it was over the Columbia River Crossing. Rex Burkholder and Bob Stacey were talking over each other, but this is a pretty close transcript:
REX BURKHOLDER: "When Bob announced his candidacy, he actually said, 'I oppose the CRC bridge, we don't need it, and we shouldn't do anything here.' And that's changed during this campaign—"
BOB STACEY: "That's absolutely not true, Rex. I've never said that."
BURKHOLDER: "Well I have a tape of your kickoff speech."
STACEY: "Good. Let's play it. Let's play it."
BURKHOLDER: "You said you don't need the bridge. 'We don't need to fix the bridge. It's not broken.'"
We didn't play the tape on the show — we didn't have it — but a transcript of Stacey's kickoff speech is available on his campaign website. Here's the relevant excerpt, with emphasis added:
Do we think that it would worsen our quality of life to see a 50 percent increase in driving across the Columbia River on I-5, threatening North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods with cut-through traffic, threatening the region with more car-dependent low density sprawl, and threatening the planet with more global warming pollution? Then we have a choice. We can continue to pretend that the emperor has $4.2 billion dollars, and we can just let the departments of transportation continue to spend tens of millions of dollars trying to justify a twelve-lane bridge. Or we can say no to the “Columbia River Crossing,” restart the process, and identify a cheaper, better alternative that won’t build our way into even more congestion.
It seems to me that Burkholder's claim was inaccurate: Stacey did say no to the CRC, but called for a "better alternative," not for complete inaction.