This article was originally published on Blue Oregon.
Another week, another 180° change of policy coming out of the mayors office. Like many Portlanders who supported Charlie Hales’ opponent in the election, I committed to giving Charlie the benefit of the doubt as he took office. I was even excited when reports that his alleged focus on auto-centric infrastructure might yet give way to transportation values more in line with our city’s reputation as a national leader in manifesting active transit and designing complete streets. Sadly, only one month into his first term as mayor, Charlie Hales has been an absolute disappointment.
During the campaign, Jefferson Smith ran on a platform of intelligent opposition to the Columbia River Crossing and coal exports via trains and barges through our region. So much so, in fact, that after initially refusing to take a stance, Hales was finally forced to start mimicking Smith’s talking points, claiming “I sure am” against coal by way of a press release. When asked if Hales would push for state and federal funding for the CRC, Hales stated firmly, “No. I support a fundable, buildable project and I don’t believe the current proposal meets those tests.” During a debate hosted by KGW and the Oregonian, Hales confessed, “I don’t think the current version is fundable or buildable…let’s right size the thing. 17 lanes across Hayden Island is probably not the right number.”
At least there was hope, probably.