- Photo by Adam Wickham
If you've read this week's cover story on the messed up Morrison Bridge (and you absolutely should if you haven't), you know there's... a lot going on.
In part: It turns out the people who designed and manufactured the bridge's new deck were privately very concerned the stuff they were selling us wasn't up to snuff, but put on an upbeat public face that everything was fine, assuring Multnomah County officials they'd be ecstatic with the results.
No one's ecstatic. The deck is three years old and already damaged beyond repair.
Anyway, the whole fiasco is the subject of a lengthy and involved court case scheduled to go to trial next week. And as that kicks into gear—even as parties say they're hoping to reach a settlement—we at last have a concrete idea of how much the Morrison Bridge debacle set us back.
In an amended court complaint [pdf] filed Friday, the county now says it's owed more than $6 million for the shoddy work and defective product it purchased for the Morrison. That's almost $1.8 million more than the county initially hoped to pay for the bridge project, a 41 percent increase over the planned $4.3 million price tag.
It's also much larger than the number officials gave the Mercury as the final cost paid for the bridge project, including a settlement with the contractor over an earlier controversy. That number was $5.27 million.
Presumably the difference lies in the county's tacking on hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on repairing the Morrison to keep it partially open for use—work that continues to this day. Officials are also apparently at least partly figuring in money spent on high-end attorneys the county's retained for the lawsuit—costs the county has refused to provide to the Mercury, saying they are exempt from public records law while the suit plays out.
"The County has incurred other damages including but not limited to lost personnel time, consultant costs and fees, and attorneys’ fees," the complaint says. "The total damages the County will incur as a result of these defects will be in the amount of $6,071,408."