The Oregon Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation so far has held two public hearings for HB 2098 the sprawling legislation with funding for the Interstate Bridge Project, and has announced a THIRD hearing on Thursday May 4th at 5pm. No More Freeways and the Just Crossing Alliance have opposed the -2 and -4 Amendments and expressed support for the -3 Amendment introduced by Representative Khanh Pham. So far, over 220 comments have been submitted opposing the -2 Amendment (4x the number of comments in support from the freight and business lobby!) and testimony at the hearings has included remarks from our pals in the Just Crossing Alliance including Neighbors for Clean Air, Verde, 1000 Friends of Oregon and others. Check out highlights from last week’s hearing on KGW, OPB, The Portland Tribune and Oregon Capital Chronicle.

After impressive turnout the last two weeks, this newly scheduled public hearing has given us an extension on the public comment period – so we’ve got one final IBR-related ask this legislative session. If you haven’t already, No More Freeways and the Just Crossing Alliance are asking you to sign up to testify at the JCT hearing this Thursday, and to submit written comment before Saturday. Legislators are clearly listening to us – now’s the time to make sure we show that Oregonians are eager to replace this bridge and do so in a way that allows us to continue funding crucial state initiatives on affordable housing and education, without forcing future legislative sessions to figure out how to close budget gaps.

Here’s How you Can Help.

1 – Sign up to testify at thursday’s meeting, virtual or in person in salem

Last Thursday the 27th, Oregonians from across the state called in to ask that the legislature prioritize funding this replacement bridge and securing federal funding without overspending on an oversized bridge that would bankrupt the state. Now, we need to show that last week wasn’t just a fluke. We expect to hear testimony from numerous legislators on Thursday, and we want them to hear from supporters of the Just Crossing Alliance and No More Freeways to back them up in support of a right-sized bill.

The public hearing is at 5pm on Thursday, May 5th in Salem. You can register to testify virtually or in person

Here’s how you can help.

  1. Register to testify on the OLIS webpage – (see image).
  2. Mark “oppose” for your position on the measure—supporting a right-sized bridge means opposing the -2 amendment!
  3. Prepare to be present (in person or virtual) and ready to speak during the hearing: Thursday 5/4, 5-6:30 PM. We want to be a visible presence; don’t forget your yellow vests!
  4. Testifying in person? Make your travel plans to Salem! If you need transportation assistance reach out, we can set you up with a carpool.)
  5. When writing your testimony:
    • Address the committee chairs to begin:
      “Dear Co-Chairs McLain and Frederick, Co-Vice-Chairs Boshart Davis and Boquist, and committee members…”
    • Introduce yourself
      My name is ______, I live in _____ and [if you’re comfortable, state a few details about yourself, like your job, if you’re affiliated with an organization, about your identity, etc.]
    • State Your Position: Say that you:
      • support building the bridge and want the state to be eligible for federal funding,
      • oppose the -2 and -4 amendments to HB 2098, and 
      • you support amendments (optional: including the -3 amendment) that are aligned with a right-sized bridge, right now.
    • Explain your position: Why do we need a new amendment for a right-sized bridge?
      • Make a direct request of one (or more) of the following changes:
        • No Blank Check for $1B general fund bonds: Phase project funding like Washington State to preserve funding for education and affordable housing
        • Build our communities while building this bridge, No to Section 7: ensure this projet invests in good local and union jobs, apprenticeships, and environmental justice, secures community benefits for North Portland. 
        • No Freeway Expansions: Direct IBR to explore smaller bridge design options and choose a plan that is less polluting and more financially responsible.
        • No Fiscal Free-for-all: Refresh and recommit to financial safeguards and accountability measures in existing law. 
    • Tell a story that backs up your position: Remember that you only have two minutes, so it’s best to focus on one specific topic that you can back up with a personal story.
    • Thank chairs, members for their consideration
      “Thank you Co-Chairs McLain and Frederick, Co-Vice-Chairs Boshart Davis and Boquist, and committee members, for your time/consideration/work on this measure.”

You should also check this resource from the Oregon Legislature on how to testify if you have other questions. You can also email us at No More Freeways – we’re happy to help you with your testimony!


We need your help telling legislators to review and support this proposal and forthcoming amendments to right-size this bill and right size this bridge.

After two “informational sessions” that excluded public comment or testimony, Joint Committee on Transportation is hosting a public hearing on HB 2098 on Thursday, April 27 at 5pm. We have until Saturday April 29 at 5pm to get as many written comments on the record expressing our concerns about the bloated proposal and instead proactively demanding the legislature use the power of the purse string to right-size this bridge.

To submit testimony, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Click on THIS LINK to visit the Testimony Submission Form for HB 2098.
  2. Fill out the information requested, including being sure to click that you OPPOSE HB 2098 and click “Text Testimony” to open up a box to write your testimony.
  3. At the beginning of your testimony, please write these lines:

    “I support replacing this bridge, but oppose HB 2098 -2 and -4, because this legislation as currently written jeopardizes a right-sized Bridge Replacement, right now. I support the -3 Amendment (and the policy recommendations offered by the Just Crossing Alliance) that ensures this replacement bridge project moves forward smoothly with a right-sized design, explicit pro-labor provisions, financial guardrails, and major investments in mass transit. We need a clean bill focused solely on the replacement of this bridge so we secure immediate federal funding and prepare to hold hold a statewide conversations about the rest of our transportation system in future years. “
  4. After that, feel free to write whatever you’d like about why you’re concerned about the idea of spending billions on oversized freeway projects instead of addressing our state’s other concerns. The talking points above are super helpful for whatever you want to write. We encourage you to be supportive of a right-sized replacement bridge with excellent transit, but also we encourage you to write why you are worried about the impacts of a bloated bridge. Here are some prompts:
    • Are you concerned that HB 2098 uses General Fund resources to pay for a new bridge instead of bonding against existing Highway Trust Fund dollars, a maneuver that directly pits this bridge project against other statewide budget priorities like investing in affordable housing or education?
    • Are you angry that ODOT’s projects are seemingly always significantly over budget, and concerned that this bloated freeway expansion will rob Oregonians of the desperately needed funding for basic maintenance and safety projects on ODOT roads across the state?
    • Are you frustrated ODOT has billions for freeway expansions but barely a dime for any safety projects while the state is experiencing an epidemic of traffic fatalities, including on streets like SE Powell, SW Hall and TV Highway?
    • Are you surprised to see that HB 2098’s -2 Amendment currently has no language in support of unionized labor-friendly practices including the required establishment of a Project Labor Agreement or Community Benefits Agreement?
    • Are you concerned about what a freeway expansion means in terms of more cars, more traffic and more air pollution in North and Northeast Portland?
    • Are you terrified of the climate emergency and frustrated that ODOT wants to spend billions on a freeway that will increase emissions instead of investing in better local and statewide transit options, when 40% of Oregon’s carbon emissions come from transportation?
    • Does it seem weird to you that ODOT is defiantly disinterested in studying potentially-significantly-cheaper options like a tunnel under the river or a lift-bridge that would save billions of dollars?
    • Are you a transit-dependent Oregonian frustrated that the state isn’t prioritizing investments in passenger rail, basic bus service, and other ways to get around for the 1 in 4 Oregonians who can’t or don’t drive?
    • Are you worried about the state spending $7 billion dollars on a singular seismic retrofit when ODOT’s own studies report that Oregon has over 700 seismically vulnerable bridges across the state that need to be replaced?
    • Are you baffled that policymakers still don’t seem to understand the basic principles of induced demand and seem dead set on spending billions of dollars to learn that adding lanes to freeways only leads to more traffic jams?
  5. Once you’ve written a few sentences of why you’re concerned about this legislation (be respectful, friendly, and positive in your message!) click send and refresh the OLIS page to see your posted testimony. Yay, you did it!

3 – Submit your Testimony to The full legislature

If you really like what you wrote and want to share it widely, you can use our handy form submission below that will email your comments to all ninety legislators in the Oregon House and Senate. You can also choose to send it directly to your Representative and Senator, too – use this link to look up your representatives.

    This form uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your data is processed.


    COMMENTS ARE DUE BY SATURDAY APRIL 29 AT 5PM, but the hearing is Thursday and the sooner you submit comments the more likely legislators are going to see them. So submit your remarks ASAP!

    Please share our content on twitter, facebook, instagram, and whatever other platforms you use.

    How did we get here?

    No More Freeways is a member of the Just Crossing Alliance, a coalition of 33 organizations who have been closely watching the effort to replace the I-5 Bridge between Portland and Vancouver over the Columbia River. One of the two spans is over 100 years old, built on rotting wood, and likely to collapse whenever we get that Big Earthquake we’ve been promised. It’s time to replace the bridge, and add an excellent transit connection while we’re at it. Oregon and Washington are right to aggressively pursue a plan to replace this bridge before it collapses and to line up a plan for a replacement that leaves the Pacific Northwest well-situated to receive billions of dollars in federal support. As covered in BikePortland, earlier this month the Just Crossing Alliance organized a lobby day in Salem and brought nearly sixty Oregonians from across the state to Salem to talk to legislators about the importance of building a replacement bridge.

    Photo from the Just Crossing Alliance’s Lobby Day in Salem, April 13, Photo Credit BikePortland

    Unfortunately, ODOT and the Interstate Bridge Replacement team aren’t asking for a mere replacement of an existing facility. Instead, the current $7 billion proposal includes a bridge over twice as wide as the existing span, with enough room to add at least two additional freeway lanes across the river (thereby making this project by definition a freeway expansion, despite ODOT’s Orwellian public relations language). Even more concerning, ODOT and WsDOT are currently proposing a 15-story tall megabridge instead of a substantially cheaper, smaller option including a drawbridge. ODOT’s current design is so massive that to accommodate the size, the agencies are proposing to replace seven (!) massive freeway interchanges north and south of the river in addition to the new bridge. In typical ODOT fashion, they aren’t even considering alternatives that don’t include these interchanges and every IBR design proposal adds significant new road capacity.

    Needless to say, that’s a preposterously stupid and very expensive idea we simply cannot afford. This Thursday, April 27th, the Joint Committee on Transportation held a public hearing on HB 2098, a sprawling bill that not only would allocate $1 billion (with a b!) towards this bridge but also includes language supporting future funding for the proposed Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion and language opposing basic best practices for encouraging ODOT to hire union-organized workers to build the bridge. BikePortland has a great summary of last week’s hearing, and Joe Cortright documented in City Observatory the numerous concerning lines of legislation contained in this bloated piece of legislation.

    Photo Credit BikePortland

    It’s hard to overstate how much the current proposed design is orders of magnitude larger than any “replacement” of the existing bridge, and how screwed we’d be if ODOT was given the greenlight to attempt to build what they are proposing. Noting the lack of enforceable budget caps and the total lack of fiscal guardrails, NMF co-founder Joe Cortright wrote last week in City Observatory that HB 2098’s -2 Amendment was “perhaps the most fiscally irresponsible legislation ever to be considered by the Oregon Legislature.”We fear that without significant oversight from the Oregon Legislature, ODOT and the IBR team will stumble forward with a bloated, massively oversized project that will once again fail to deliver a new bridge because of agency hubris, exorbitant cost overruns, and numerous forms of likely litigation related to the Coast Guard’s concerns and advocates’ insistence ODOT’s freeways pass basic scrutiny of environmental law. Even worse, ODOT may build a bridge so big and so expensive Oregon is forced to forgo funding on virtually every other transportation investment including basic maintenance, safety improvements, or seismic retrofits of bridges across the state.

    Fortunately, Representative Khanh Pham has introduced a -3 Amendment that fixes all of these problems. Her proposal strips unnecessary language about the other freeway projects, includes stronger fiscal guardrails and cost caps to hold ODOT accountable, and includes language supporting Project Labor Agreements and other pro-labor provisions. Her amendment is in line with the policy document offered by the Just Crossing Alliance that will right-size this bridge, keep ODOT accountable to our budget and also ensure the state is still eligible for federal funding.

    Look, we here at No More Freeways try not to bug you too much and only ask for help when it’s *really* needed. Well, the next few weeks are going to determine whether or not the legislature has the guts to stand up to the freight and contractor lobby that wrote themselves a bill to allow ODOT to take the state’s credit card and go on a freeway building shopping spree for future generations to figure out how to pay for. This is the largest infrastructure project in state history, and every single voice that we can get on the record contacting legislators demanding greater scrutiny of the design and budget of this bridge replacement is enormously valuable.