Latest to endorse I-5 bridge talks: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

The Oregonian - Local News
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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Monday that regional officials should renew talks about replacing the Interstate Bridge, making him the latest of many officials to endorse a new round of discussions.

Latest to endorse I-5 bridge talks: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

"I think we should talk about it," Wheeler said. "I think we should engage."

The mayor stopped short of endorsing any particular plan.

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, said last week that it is her goal for Oregon and Washington officials to begin talks in 2019.

The Port of Vancouver commissioners voted earlier this month for a resolution asking Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and the state's Legislature to "provide adequate funding" to "materially advance project development for an Interstate 5 bridge replacement project." And the Vancouver City Council unanimously endorsed a restart to talks.

The about-face by Washington officials comes five years after politicians there backed out of financing the state's share of the Columbia River Crossing project. That sparked a lasting bitterness toward Oregon's northern neighbors by several powerful politicians, including Peter Courtney, president of the Oregon Senate.

Yet as The Oregonian/OregonLive has reported, the change of heart by Vancouver officials led Courtney to say the states should "put the history on this project behind us and begin working together again.