A seemingly tame 2011 construction project aimed at making the Morrison Bridge safer in wet conditions wound up snarling city traffic for far longer than officials had anticipated. Looks like it's also about to be one more thing clogging local court dockets.
The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on Thursday will take a break from the drama surrounding Chair Jeff Cogen to consider filing suit in connection with the project, which switched out steel grating on the 55-year-old bridge for skid-resistant polymer.
But it's unclear from a county document explaining the agenda item just what the proposed litigation's all about.
"Issues associated with construction of the Morrison bridge are apparent and the County
needs to take action to secure its legal rights," the document reads. It notes costs for the suit "will be paid from project funds and the risk fund as appropriate." County Spokesman Mike Pullen said he wasn't exactly sure what problems the staffers had identified—he's checking with county attorneys—but that they "probably" have to do with workmanship on the project.
UPDATE, 4:56 pm: Pullen says the county's not going to publicly comment on the possible suit, but that it's related to a "recent construction project" on the Morrison Bridge. The most-recent project on the bridge was the deck replacement.
Original post:That "issues" have arisen is perhaps not surprising. The project was marred by extensive controversy—most of it having to do with concerns toxic debris was falling into the Willamette River. The county at one point suspended construction work, and even considered pulling its chosen contractor, Washington-based Conway Construction, from the $4.3 million job.
David Conway, the company's president, declined this afternoon to speak about the matter, referring the Mercury to his Portland attorney, Joe Yazbeck. Yazbeck has not returned a call for comment.