Advisory group chosen for Interstate Bridge Replacement program

Jan. 21, 2021

Program also launches new website and social media accounts

Media contact:  Kelliann Amico, Interstate Bridge Replacement media lead, 503-705-6203

PORTLAND – The bi-state Interstate Bridge Replacement program has selected members to serve on the program’s Community Advisory Group. This group will develop recommendations on key issues to ensure that program outcomes reflect community needs, values and priorities.

The Community Advisory Group is comprised of 32 members and will be led by two co-chairs, one representing each state, who also serve on the Executive Steering Group. Members include appointed organizations that represent specific stakeholder interests and at-large community members selected through a public application process to identify members who reflect diverse representation and a broad range of interests, backgrounds and perspectives. To ensure all applicants received fair and equal consideration, at-large members were determined using a blind screening process with objective criteria, which concluded with interviews of selected candidates. The list of members and additional information on the selection process can be found on the Community Advisory Group page.

The Community Advisory Group will be co-facilitated by Johnell Bell, founder and president of Espousal Strategies and chief equity officer for the Interstate Bridge Replacement program and Lisa Keohokalole Schauer, president of PointNorth Consulting and strategic communications lead for the program. Both firms are certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in Oregon and Washington.

In addition to the Community Advisory Group, selection of members for the Equity Advisory Group is also underway. The group will include approximately 30 members with equity expertise and/or lived experience to develop recommendations regarding processes, policies and decisions on program development work that may affect historically underrepresented and/or underserved communities. The Equity Advisory Group will be facilitated by Roberta Hunte, Ph.D., adjunct professor of Black Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Portland State University. Additional information will be posted to the Equity Advisory Group page as it becomes available.

In addition to learning more about the advisory groups, anyone interested in the program is invited to visit the new website, InterstateBridge.org, to learn more about opportunities to engage and provide input, sign up to receive a monthly e-newsletter and program updates, or connect with the program on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram).

As with the program’s Executive Steering Group, the two advisory groups will meet monthly. Anyone interested is welcome to attend these public meetings. Group descriptions, lists of members, meeting materials and instructions for joining in are available at the links below:

All meetings will be hosted in Zoom to follow the states’ physical distancing guidelines for slowing the spread of COVID-19. The meetings will also be livestreamed on YouTube, and those without internet access will have the option to call in to listen to the meetings. For questions regarding participation options, please contact the program office at 888-503-6735 (toll-free).

Public input on agenda items at regular meetings of the advisory and steering groups is welcome and can be shared via email, phone or online during each full meeting:

  • Email comments to info@interstatebridge.org with “Public Comment” in the subject line, noting which group(s) should receive the comment.
  • Call and state “Public Comment” in your message:
    • 503-897-9218 (Oregon)
    • 360-859-0494 (Washington)
    • 888-503-6735 (toll-free)
  • Facilitators will provide an opportunity for online participants to comment during the meeting. More information is available on the Community Advisory Group, Equity Advisory Group and Executive Steering Group

Comments received 48 hours prior to the community meetings will be shared with the group members before the meetings, and all comments received prior to or at the meetings will be included in the meeting summaries.

To request an accommodation, such as materials in alternate formats, please contact the IBR program team at info@interstatebridge.org or at any of the phone numbers listed above at least 48 hours prior to the particular meeting.

Free, temporary internet access is available throughout Washington for those who do not have broadband service. To find the nearest Drive-In WiFi Hotspot visit: www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-state-drive-in-wifi-hotspots-location-finder/

A joint orientation to provide background on the program and process will be held on Saturday, Jan. 30 for members of the Community Advisory Group and Equity Advisory Group. This meeting will take place via Zoom from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and it will be livestreamed on YouTube.

Hyperlinks within the release:

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About the bi-state Interstate Bridge Replacement program

Replacing the aging Interstate Bridge across the Columbia River with a modern, seismically resilient, multimodal structure that provides improved mobility for people, goods and services is a high priority for Oregon and Washington. Governors and legislative leadership in both states directed the Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington Department of Transportation to launch the bi-state Interstate Bridge Replacement program to lead this work, recognizing that needed safety and transportation improvements to the existing Interstate Bridge remain unaddressed. Program development work will center on equity and follow a transparent, data-driven process that includes collaboration with local, state, federal, and tribal partners.

Comprehensive and equitable community engagement that minimizes barriers to involvement and proactively seeks to include communities of concern is critical to successfully identifying a bridge replacement solution that reflects community values and can earn broad regional, bi-state, and national support. The Executive Steering Group, Community Advisory Group and Equity Advisory Group are key components of comprehensive community engagement efforts to ensure ongoing, extensive and inclusive public dialogue. Visit the new program website at interstatebridge.org.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Civil Rights Title VI accommodations in Oregon

For ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) or Civil Rights Title VI accommodations, translation/interpretation services, or more information for those in Oregon, please call 503-731-4128, TTY 800-735- 2900 or Oregon Relay Service 711.

Future notifications and information on how to unsubscribe

Future program updates will be sent directly from the Interstate Bridge Replacement program. Anyone currently signed up for Interstate Bridge Replacement notifications through the ODOT or WSDOT GovDelivery lists will be automatically subscribed to the new distribution list for future updates. To manage current subscription preferences, please visit the ODOT or WSDOT GovDelivery sites.