The governors of Oregon and Washington will meet in Vancouver, Washington, on Monday to show their solidarity and commitment to restarting the long-discussed project to replace the Interstate Bridge.
Govs. Kate Brown and Jay Inslee have both expressed interest in reviving the project to replace the drawbridge spanning the Columbia River on Interstate 5. Monday’s meeting will be the first joint appearance specifically geared toward what in all likelihood would be a multibillion-dollar project.
The gubernatorial summit is the latest indication that momentum continues to build surrounding the bridge talks, which essentially died in 2013 after years of planning when Washington lawmakers declined to pay for the state’s share of the Columbia River Crossing project. Oregon walked away from the project the following year.
In a statement, Brown said the I-5 bridge is a major source of congestion and a seismic risk.
“The current interstate bridge is over 100 years old, and it’s showing its age. Replacing the interstate bridge is critical to the safety and economies of both Oregon and Washington,” she said. “Our states are more interconnected than ever, and by working together, we can make our communities and roads safer while we improve mobility and support the economic vitality of our communities.”
The governors are expected to make formal remarks, sign a “memorandum of intent” and take questions from media. Brown’s press secretary, Charles Boyle, said he didn’t have more information about what the memorandum of intent entails.
In the past year, Oregon and Washington legislators have ponied up money to restart a project office dedicated to the project. Combined, the states have contributed $44 million so far to reviving the bridge process, with Washington paying the larger share.
A bi-state committee of lawmakers is also meeting to revive bridge discussions. The lawmakers met first in Vancouver and most recently, as OPB News reported, at Portland International Airport this week.
The governors will meet at the Murdock Charitable Trust, 655 Columbia Way, Ste. 700, in Vancouver at 10:30 a.m. on Monday.