Back in November, we asked you to contact the Metro Council and demand that they prioritize climate as they move forward with an MTIP amendment to give more funding to the Interstate Freeway Expansion (they’re calling it the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program, or IBR, even though they are hardly “replacing” anything.) As Joe Cortright has relentlessly documented, the current iteration of the IBR will produce 100,000 tons of carbon emissions a year, ODOT’s traffic projections are older than some of the Sunrise youth, Metro’s falling woefully short of their carbon goals, and the project is directly antithetical to the planning process that Metro actually exists to undertake.
Y’all responded, big time. Metro received 300+ emails from across the region, each of you demanding that the elected leaders demonstrate their commitment to reducing carbon emissions by asking ODOT tough questions about how the proposed freeway expansion would impact carbon emissions, air pollution and traffic congestion.
Unfortunately, the Metro Council didn’t hear you, and therefore needs to hear from you again. Metro wrote to advocates in a letter this week stating that they believe the proposed budgetary allocation included in the MTIP amendment is ultimately necessary for ODOT to have the resources to study the climate impacts as the advocates have been demanding.
We’re skeptical of that, to say the least. There are deep flaws in ODOT’s process and proposal. Allowing this to proceed now and failing to ask tough questions now, will make it far more difficult to insist on getting honest answers later on. We need our leaders to hear from us how we expect them to hold ODOT accountable to not setting the planet on fire before their vote on Tuesday.
We need you to contact the Metro Council and urge them to commit to drawing a line in the sand and opposing any iteration of a proposed Interstate Bridge Replacement that increases vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Simply put, we cannot spend billions of dollars to encourage more driving with more lanes of freeway as the planet slides into climate chaos. The region desperately needs to invest in transportation infrastructure to connect Portland with Vancouver and SW Washington; ODOT and WSDOT are not proposing anything but the failed status quo of continued freeway expansion they’ve delivered at great cost for decades.
Here’s three ways you can help, right now:
1 – Attend today’s YouthVsODOT climate strike outside Metro.
Today (Wednesday, January 5th), the Sunrise youth’s bi-weekly climate strike moves across the river. The YouthVsODOT strike (garnering plenty of local and national attention lately) will be held outside the Metro Council building. In attendance will be members of No More Freeways, testimonials from the teenage climate activists with Sunrise PDX, and Beaverton City Council candidate Kevin Teater. We will be handing out postcards to write to the Metro Council pleading for climate action.
Bring a K95 mask; we hope to see you there!
Wednesday January 5
Metro Regional Center (we’ll meet in the Plaza)
600 NE Grand
Portland OR 97232
2 – Testify to the Metro Council during the hearing Thursday morning.
Want to speak to your elected officials directly? Metro Council will be taking public testimony before their vote on the morning of Thursday, January 6. Metro’s website has the link to the zoom, and provides information on how to sign up to testify virtually:
Those wishing to testify orally are encouraged to sign up in advance by either: (a) contacting the legislative coordinator by phone at 503-797-1916 and providing your name and the agenda item on which you wish to testify; or (b) registering by email by sending your name and request to testify on AGENDA ITEM 4.3 to email@example.com. Those requesting to comment
during the meeting can do so by using the “Raise Hand” feature in Zoom or emailing the legislative coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals will have three minutes to testify unless otherwise stated at the meeting.
3 – Write the Metro Council an email asking if we can trust them with our future.
Can’t make it to either event on Wednesday or Thursday? You can still send the Metro Councilor an email before their vote Thursday morning. Use our form below to remind the Metro Council that we are counting on brave, unapologetic climate leadership, and that climate leaders don’t widen freeways. No More Freeways is asking Metro to
- delay approving the MTIP amendment for additional funding until ODOT provides a public hearing to learn more about the project, and
- pass a resolution about Metro’s vision for the bridge proposal, with specific language detailing how the agency will only support a project that reduced carbon emissions and vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
Thanks for your support – let’s make sure Metro knows we’ll have their back when they side with the planet over the freeway-builders!
Fill out the form below to email the Metro Council: