Comment of the Week: A frustrated, hopeful east Portlander on the gas tax

Comment of the Week: A frustrated, hopeful east Portlander on the gas tax

jim chasse

Veteran east Portland advocate and gas tax fan Jim Chasse.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Three out of four east Portlanders who voted last month didn’t vote for the local gas tax. But given how their area’s been treated in the last few decades, can you blame them?

That’s the perspective of one east Portland resident who supported the “Fix Our Streets” plan, commenting on Thursday’s post about gas tax voting patterns.

BikePortland reader Jim Chasse is part of an extremely effective network of east Portland advocates who’ve brought in tens of millions of dollars of budgeted commitments to east Portland streets over the next several years. If the city keeps those promises, he suggests, east Portlanders may notice.

Here’s what he said:

Having been an “Outer East Portland” resident since before the annexation, I clearly understand the outcome of the recent gas tax vote. For over 25 years the city and state have been promising transportation improvements for East Portland. To date, very little has been done. Many promises, little action. Hopefully that’s about to change as many proposed active transportation projects will occur in the next 3-5 years.

East Portland has been a great asset to the city for building inner city projects since annexation. We provide a great deal of revenue for improvements in the inner city, yet receive so little in return. Well, things are moving east because of the great schools, lower home prices, and a great diverse and involved community. It’s finally time to go east and doing it by bike makes a lot of sense.

Thanks to all of you for paying, and voting for the fuel tax. Please note that many of the projects that will be funded with the fuel tax will still be west of I205.

In a subsequent comment, reader Jim Labbe speculated that east Portland’s recent voting patterns on parks measures suggest that when the city delivers on its promises, it changes the vote counts.

That’s a pleasantly optimistic take on the future of Portland east of Interstate 205. And both Chasse and Labbe are optimists. But they’re definitely not fools.

Yes, we pay for good comments. This regular feature is sponsored by readers who’ve become BikePortland subscribers to keep our site and our community strong. We’ll be sending $5 and a little goodie bag to Chasse in thanks for this great addition. Watch your email!

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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