The Zombie Westside Bypass Marries Godzilla

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Tue, 03/07/2017 - 9:45am

A new bill has been proposed to create a toll based highway, cutting north/south across Washington and Clackamas County.  

HB 3231 authorizes cities and counties to form a special taxing and revenue district to undertake everything involved with financing, designing, building, and operating a limited access tollway. The bill authorizes the tollway district to use eminent domain to acquire land, and to establish, collect, and enforce tolls. The tollway on which this idea was modeled is in the Denver area, and charges (according to the Oregonian) tolls up to $17.45 for cars and $69.80 for trucks.

HB 3231 also authorizes the district to override designation of rural reserves, thereby allowing this to pave over Washington and Clackamas County farm land. Rural reserves have been agreed to by the three counties, Metro, and the state in Washington, Multnomah, and Clackamas counties. Rural reserves protect the best farm and forest lands and natural resources from development for 40-50 years. Therefore, this toll district can pave farm, forest, and natural resource areas across the most resource-rich areas in the state, including the Tualatin Valley and French Prairie. 

Although no route is described in the bill, HB 3231’s chief sponsor unveiled a map showing a tollway extending from Woodland, WA, crossing to Highway 30 in Oregon at either Columbia City or Portland just west of the I-5 bridge and then through Forest Park, both intersecting with Highway 26 at Cornelius Pass, then paving a swath across the Tualatin Valley and French Prairie west of the current UGB and joining I-5 somewhere around Donald.

HB 3231 takes the long-dead Westside Bypass Freeway, which would have plowed pavement through the fertile Tualatin Valley, and extends it on through French Prairie, which has the most productive soils in the world, and tearing across natural areas and the Columbia River into Washington. Hence, the Zombie marries Godzilla.

HB 3231 has not been assigned to a committee yet.  Please contact your state Representative or Senator and express your opposition to this bill. Once the bill is assigned to a specific committee in the Legislature, we will provide additional information as to where concerned Oregonians can send their views. For more information on to support your objections, read Mary Kyle McCurdy's rebuttal to an op-ed from this summer suggesting that we revive the Westside Bypass idea.