Senator Bill Hansell E-News #4

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From the Desk of Senator Bill Hansell  
R-Athena, District 29

Committee Assignments: Environment & Natural Resources, Ways & Means, and Ways & Means Sub Committee on Transportation and Economic Development

900 Court St. NE, S-423
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-986-1729

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March 8, 2013 

Dear Friends and Constituents:


Enjoying conversation with Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotsman, Councilman Dan Primmer and Mark Madden at a reception during the Oregon Cities Capitol Day.

The League of Oregon Cities hosted their “Capitol Day” last week and our office hosted officials from our district. These times of interaction with local elected officials are very valuable and provide important feedback from District 29 cities.

On Monday, a major public works bill HB 2800, often referred to as the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) since it replaces the I-5 bridge between Portland and Vancouver, passed the Senate by an 18-11 margin after passing in the House on a bipartisan vote. The bill has been worked on since the mid-1990s.

As I researched the pros and cons, I came to the conclusion voting yes was in the best interests of Oregon and District 29. Arriving at the same conclusion were Representatives Greg Smith, Bob Jenson, and Cliff Bentz from our area and several of the economic engines of District 29 including the Port of Morrow and The Oregon Wheat Growers League.


  • Evidence showed the existing bridges, one built in 1917 with wood pilings anchored in river sediment, would collapse in a seismic event. There is a demonstrated need for a new bridge; congestion, large numbers of accidents, volume of traffic, and safety of the traveling public.
  • The strong support for HB 2800 (the bill has seven “triggers” that protect Oregon) by both the Oregon Business Community and labor unions. Many told me that no project in recent memory had the overwhelming support of these two groups.
  • The timing was now. We had to fish or cut bait. Significant Federal-matching transportation funds would not be there in the future. If the project was abandoned, all of the environmental requirements, studies, and permits would have to start all over taking years to redo.

  Constitution Senator Hansell holding a copy of the Oregon Constitution that was ratified on November 9, 1857 and took effect when Oregon achieved statehood on February 14, 1859.

In closing I want to express my appreciation to those who took time to give input on this bill. My office would be happy to send to you the nearly 20 pages of material that Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) wrote on the CRC. This paper was instrumental in my research, and helped form the affirmative vote I cast.

Best Regards,

Hansell Signature

Bill Hansell, Oregon State Senator