I last wrote about who is making money off the Columbia River Crossing in March 2010—I figure it's time for an update on the project's paychecks.
Oregon and Washington are slashing state budgets to the bone, with the governor’s budget slashing Oregon Health Plan coverage and eliminating almost half the state’s beds for juvenile offenders, and cutting 305 jobs. Even in that climate, Oregon and Washington have allocated $131 million dollars for the CRC project to spend so far. The project has spent $117 million of that, with $4.9 million going to public relations firms (including $50,000 to a company called “Wongdoody”) and pollsters.
(Sidenote: I want to add that for all the legitimate criticisms of the CRC, their communications people are excellent at complying with the Oregon's public records laws. State law says that public agencies have to release public info "in a reasonable time period" if someone requests it, but groups often take weeks or even months to fulfill reporters' requests. The CRC got me these new figures within a week, proving that even if the big bridge's decision-making process isn't transparent, at least its checkbook is. Okay end sidenote.)
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!