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Three columnists urge the Oregon Legislature to drop a mandate for using union contractors only on the Interstate 5 bridge replacement project.

For years, Oregon and Washington leaders have worked diligently on plans for the much-needed replacement of the Interstate 5 bridge across the Columbia River. Known as the I-5 Interstate Bridge Replacement Program, or IBR, the project is critical to supporting local jobs, fostering trade and helping families navigate our region safely and efficiently.

Our organizations represent some of the most significant faces in Oregon’s construction industry — both small and large, emerging and minority-owned and multi-generational, as well as union and non-union. To each of us, it’s not just imperative that this project be built, but that it be built equitably and cost effectively for Oregon taxpayers. We are united in the belief that our industry needs to be open and inclusive and that unbiased and fair competition must be the cornerstone of any publicly financed construction project in our state — particularly one where Oregon taxpayers are contributing a billion dollars in public money.