By Bob Hicks
Once again the fates have flung Mr. Scatter to the far reaches of Ecotopia, where yet another dismal drive through the 90-mile sprawl of the great Seattle megalopolis has underscored how little eco is left in this topia of ours. They paved Paradise and put up a freeway that’s a parking lot.
Well, sometimes you need a car. And cars need roads. And roads, when they run up to little impediments like the mighty Columbia River, need bridges. And bridges, we hear, can cost a cool four billion bucks. And four billion bucks (plus interest), we understand, will be coming out of everyman’s collective wallet for a long, long time to come.
Up to now Mr. Scatter has stayed out of the fray over the Columbia River Crossing bridge, the proposed replacement for the aging Interstate-5 span between Portland and Vancouver, Wash. Should the bridge be an architectural icon, a splendid work of art? Should it be a utilitarian get-‘er-done, a cheap and (presumably) practical slab of concrete designed to move the traffic and not much else? Truth is, Mr. Scatter doesn’t really know, although he’s grouchily beginning to ask himself a more basic question: Do we really need to bother with the damned thing at all?