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Susan Shawn of Oak Grove suggests an electric ferry down on the river, perhaps from the Milwaukie Bay to the landing in Lake Oswego

Remember the book "Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered," by E.F. Schumacher, in 1973? His book was called the Eco-Bible by Time Magazine at the time, and it's coming back into prominence again.

I think about it now in regards to the idea of a large and expensive bridge being proposed to cross the river from Oak Grove to Lake Oswego, a bridge that is being touted as a sustainable transportation solution for pedestrians and bike riders. It's a large project with the potential for many unforeseen impacts. One potential impact on the east side could be massive disruption, pain and rending of the neighborhood fabric that has taken decades to build and is just recovering from the sewer treatment plant remodel.

What might be a "Small is Beautiful" alternate solution? Perhaps an electric ferry down on the river, perhaps from the Milwaukie Bay to the landing in Lake Oswego, using docks that already exist. Ferries would be a godsend during the big earthquake we all try to prepare for. Bridges, not so much. An electric micro grid could be created by PGE, useful in many ways not just for the ferry. Some are talking about electric jitneys taking people up and down the basalt ridges along the river, so that the system itself would be ADA accessible, as well as for the many seniors who live in this area and might need some help.

PHOTO COURTESY: GOOGLE MAPS - Citizens are concerned about the engineering challenges to build a pedestrian bridge across the Willamette River between Oak Grove and Lake Oswego.Speaking for myself, I can't walk across a long bridge, nor can I ride a bike. I'm 75 and ill. But I would absolutely love to ride a little jitney to the river, be on the water, and go visit Lake Oswego for a few hours, with no car involved. Works for me, and I'll bet for the many hundreds of seniors who live along River Road — perhaps just as many if not more than the bike riders themselves. I know there was a petition signed by over 800 people against the bridge, before a better and smaller, more carbon-neutral solution was on the table. This electric ferry would be small, no cars, not at all like the Canby Ferry. Quiet, no diesel fuel. Sustainable. And fun!

Susan Shawn

Oak Grove

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