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Trump in, Novick out: Recap and thoughts on the election

Trump in, Novick out: Recap and thoughts on the election

Eudaly scores upset win for council spot while Clinton's win in Oregon wasn't enough to carry her to victory.

Eudaly scores upset win for council spot while Clinton’s win in Oregon wasn’t enough to carry her to victory.

Last night’s election was full of surprises both nationally and locally. And that’s a huge understatement.

Donald Trump was elected president with 279 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 228 (so far). She becomes just the fifth candidate to lose after winning the overall vote count (her national popular vote margin over Trump was 166,443 as of 7:45 am this morning). His win comes despite — or more likely because of — the fact he was endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan, was dismissed by the political and media establishment, is an unabashed misogynist, told blatant lies throughout his campaign and repeatedly hurled vulgar and dangerous insults at a long list of public figures. Trump also connected strongly with a large voting block of rural white Americans who are fed-up with business as usual in Washington and he offered them a clear and simple choice.

Since last night, Trump and his staff have moderated the fiery tone they had on the campaign trail and both President Obama and Clinton have given respectful and hopeful concession speeches. “Donald Trump is going to be our president,” Clinton said this morning. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

While several hundred Portlanders were so angry about Trump’s victory they held a protest march on I-5 late last night, others looked at local victories for a silver lining.

The most surprising local story is that Chloe Eudaly came out of nowhere to unseat incumbent Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick by a margin of 54 to 46. Eudaly put the rent and housing crisis at the top of her agenda and she tapped into wide dissatisfaction with Novick. Eudaly, the owner of a bookstore with no former political experience, also made equity and inclusion a top priority in her campaign. BikePortland readers will recall that she expressed serious concerns that Portland’s bike share system wasn’t accessible by people with disabilities. In part due to her advocacy on the issue, PBOT decided to add adaptive bikes to the Biketown mix.

Transportation isn’t listed as an issue on Eudaly’s website, but we’ve covered her thoughts on the issue and she’s been an active participant in conversations on BikePortland via the comment section. Back in May we featured one of her comments where she told us she lived carfree for many years while in her 20s and said, “Safe and accessible streets for pedestrians and cyclists are a priority for me and we need to be creating them across the city.” But she tempered her cycling enthusiasm by saying she feels it should be a higher priority to make sure people can safely walk and use mobility devices. “I’d personally love to see continued and increased collaboration between bicycle advocates, disability advocates, and neighborhoods around these issues,” she said.

Portland Mercury News Editor Dirk Vanderhart just tweeted this map showing where Novick and Eudaly got the most support:

Novick is currently the commissioner-in-charge of the Bureau of Transportation. His ouster guarantees new leadership on that front. Incoming Mayor Ted Wheeler will decide who gets what bureaus and so far we haven’t heard any rumors about where PBOT will end up.

Yes indeed.

Yes indeed.

A measure that raises nearly $260 million for affordable housing in Portland also enjoyed a solid win. The 20-year tax is estimated to cost the average Portland homeowner $74 annually and will go toward building 1,300 housing units. The new housing will be set-aside for people who make less than 30 percent of the median income.

A renewal of Metro’s natural areas bond measure also passed by a big margin of 73 to 27. This means Metro can move full-steam ahead on key projects like the new off-road biking trails in the North Tualatin Mountains near Forest Park.

Regionally, three cities (Tigard, Cornelious and King City) voted against a gas tax increase that would have raised money for road repairs and maintenance. Clackamas County followed suit by rejecting a six-cent per gallon gas tax by a 63 to 37 margin. While Tigard said no to a gas tax, it appears like voters have said yes to the possibility of light rail by the narrowest of margins.

Another bright spot is that Jim Bernard was voted chair of Clackamas County Commission. He ousted John Ludlow who is a loud voice for highway spending and has been publicly against investments in cycling infrastructure. While Ludlow criticized Metro and told the Portland Tribune in 2014 that, “When they continue to pour in money to bike paths they take it away from roadways” and “Freight can’t use a bike path,” Bernard has much more positive tone toward cycling — and towards Portland-style transportation planning. Ludlow was famous for his stance against “Portland creep,” but in a speech at the opening of TriMet’s Orange line, Bernard said he was, “Happy to welcome the suburb of Portland into Milwaukie.” Bernard also said one of the reasons he wants to be chair is, “Because investments in bike and pedestrian should not be a bad thing. It makes sense for quality of life and economic reasons.”

Statewide, Democrat Kate Brown easily won the race for governor. She’ll be instrumental in the major debate about transportation funding that’s coming in the 2017 legislative session. That debate will be much different now that Measure 97 failed at the ballot box. That measure would have raised $3 billion for state services by taxing corporations. Without that boost to the budget legislators will have a massive shortfall that will make infrastructure spending an even trickier conversation than usual.

You can check the latest Oregon election results here and learn more by reading The Oregonian’s key takeaways.

Another transportation bright spot last night was the number of victories for transit-related funding measures that passed — including Measure M in Los Angeles. says the estimated $200 billion in funding just approved by voters nationwide is the largest victory for transit in U.S. history. However, there’s a cloud looming: Transit (like all infrastructure spending) is heavily reliant matching funds from the federal government — funds that might not be available in a Trump administration that’s complemented by Republican majories in the House and Senate.

This has been a horrible election where America’s democracy and ideals have been severely tested. Many people are rightfully scared at what a Trump presidency might bring and we must be vigilant and be ready to work hard to keep the hatred and divisiveness that has taken root during this election at bay.

Stay tuned.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Election Day Open Thread

Election Day Open Thread

Fourth of July party-11

Everyone is a superhero when they use our democracy.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The big day is finally here.

We know this campaign season has been very stressful for people on all sides of the political spectrum.

We also know most of you will be transfixed to election news and results so we aren’t planning any news stories today. All we can offer is this photo of a proud American on a bike — two things that have been, and always will be, great.

If you want to meet up with other bicycle lovers for an election night party, head over to Velo Cult (1969 NE 42nd) where they’ll have cable TV on the projector and 12 kegs of beer and cider on tap (as well as tea, coffee, and other treats). And note that the regularly scheduled City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting has been cancelled.

Good luck with the issues and candidates you care about. You can still drop off your ballot and it’s a gorgeous day to do it by bike. Here’s a map to ballot drop-off locations.

If you have thoughts on how you’re feeling about the election or want to share how you’re coping with all the excitement – feel free to share in the comments below.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

Note: this thread is for discussion of national and local politics. It’s acceptable to advocate for or against a candidate or position, but it’s still not acceptable to be mean or to attack others. It’s a fine line and a hassle to moderate, apologies in advance as we try to leave these comments open but still humane.

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Mayor Hales has advice for bike advocates: Get louder and get organized

Mayor Hales has advice for bike advocates: Get louder and get organized

Hales spoke in the new public plaza on SW 3rd yesterday.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Hales spoke in the new public plaza on SW 3rd yesterday.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales offered a very unexpected admonition during an informal, invite-only meeting yesterday. It was a veiled criticism of Portland’s transportation advocates — and bike advocates in particular. Yes, you read that right, bike advocates: the group many Portlanders (mistakenly) assume wields unlimited power in City Hall.

Hales’ comments came at the end of a brief speech he gave while standing in the new Ankeny Plaza on SW 3rd in front of about two dozen advocates, city staffers, and other local leaders. His remarks were mostly about his support for Better Naito, the importance of great public spaces and the city’s new “livable streets strategy.” But then he ended with a plea for more support from advocates — many of whom were standing right in front of him.

I happened to have my recorder on. Here’s the transcript (with my emphasis added):

“Let me make a brief political announcement for those of you who are advocates. And that is, when you have a progressive city government with progressive city bureaus, that doesn’t mean that the good things will always happen on auto-pilot. Advocacy is still necessary. The enemy of this kind of progress generally is not loud opposition. I mean, everything we do has some backlash; we do get some phone calls to my office complaining about Better Naito. But that will happen whether we do something or we don’t do something. So the problem isn’t opposition, the problem is just inertia and taking things for granted. So for those of you who are advocates, even though this is Portland, remember that a lot of the success we’ve had as a city is because bike advocates have been loud and clear about where we should go.

So my political advice to all of you as bike advocates is keep being loud and keep being clear because that will empower a council that already wants to do the right thing, to do so. And don’t just assume it will happen without advocacy because drift is the enemy. That’s my political admonition and good advice to my friends.”

I caught up with Hales afterward and asked for clarification. He offered affordable housing advocates as a model to follow:

“Complacency is the enemy. Just because we’re Portland, just because we have a progressive city council and progressive transportation bureau doesn’t mean we’ll go at the pace that we should. So advocates need to advocate.

And if you need an example of how spectacularly successful that can be, take a look at our housing agenda. We just committed 45 percent of all available urban renewal money to afforable housing. We did that because we do have a housing crisis and everyone recognizes it; but the housing advocacy coalition has been very loud and very clear about what the city needs to do and that has helped advance that agenda. And I think the transportation advocacy community needs to be similarly vocal.”

And have you seen this playing out during your time in office? I asked.

“Yes. Again, I don’t want to be critical of my friends and allies; but it’s easy to get complacent… ‘Oh it’s Portland, of course they’ll do the right thing.’ Well, we should [do the right thing].”

He said that last part as we walked away, smiling, as if to say council will do the wrong thing unless advocates step up and speak up. And in my book, when someone says, “I don’t want to be critical of…” that means they do in fact want to be critical and they’re just trying to soften the blow.

“I don’t want to be critical of my friends and allies; but it’s easy to get complacent.”
— Charlie Hales, Portland mayor

It was a fascinating glimpse into the mind of Portland’s most powerful elected official. Three and-a-half years into his four-year term he’s imploring transportation reformers to do better so he and his council colleagues can move more quickly in their efforts to remake Portland’s streets.

Hales’ comments reminded me of similar remarks made by his predecessor Sam Adams. In June 2010 at the annual fundraising event for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Adams also tried to light a fire under bike advocates’ feet after not feeling enough love when he needed it. “What got us to the dance, won’t keep us dancing,” he told the crowd, who surely expected to hear nothing but effusive praise for the BTA on their big night. “Our success has not come without pushback,” he added.

Adams asked bike advocates to be louder and more supportive of city council, who were getting clobbered with negative feedback about the mayor’s proposal to spend $20 million from the city’s water bureau to help jump-start the Bike Master Plan. The BTA had just hired a new leader (Rob Sadowsky), and Adams sensed the time was right for a bit of prodding. “The new leadership of this organization combined with the existing advocacy can take us there,” he said. “City government cannot do it on our own.”

There was a similar context to both remarks. So, do they have a point? Or are they just scapegoating advocates for their own mistakes and lack of accomplishments in the area of bike infrastructure and innovative street designs?

I often think of a chicken-and-egg scenario as I watch this interplay between electeds and advocates:

ADVOCATE: Please do more!
POLITICIAN: No, you do more first, then we’ll do more!
ADVOCATE: No, you do more first then we’ll do more!
POLITICIAN: Ugh. I’ll go work a different issue then.

In the end, this might be a case of unrealistic expecations — on both sides of the equation.

As citizens (and especially as passionate activists) we want everything right away and we expect politicians to make it happen. That’s not a realistic expectation, but some of us still get frustrated with the pace of change. And mayors probably have unrealistic expecations of advocates — especially in a city like Portland where the reputation of a “bike lobby” is much more myth than reality. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a politician say, “We are really going to need the bike community’s support on this!” I wouldn’t have to worry about paying the bills.

From my experience, absent a major tragedy or funding/project opportunity to rally around, it’s very rare for advocates (regardless of the issue) to coalesce around a single demand. This is especially true in today’s world where community activism has become disintermediated and democratized away from the traditional, institutional advocacy groups and toward individuals and the grassroots. In other words, if you wait around for unanimity from “the bike community,” you’ll never get anything done.

I’ve been very critical of Hales in the past, but I’m glad he spoke up about this. It’s an important discussion to have, especially as we welcome a new mayor to town, PBOT seems to have gotten its groove back, and the BTA is in the midst of a major re-structuring.

Stay tuned for details about an upcoming Wonk Night where we’ll discuss how we can all work together to move forward faster.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Portlanders divided sharply by geography on the local gas tax

Portlanders divided sharply by geography on the local gas tax

The paving and safety projects scheduled to be built with Portland’s proposed gas tax will be spread quite evenly across the city.

But votes on the gas tax definitely weren’t.

Of the 81 Multnomah County precincts in the City of Portland, only 19 tallied “yes” votes between 45 percent and 55 percent. In more than half of precincts, the vote on the 10-cent local gas tax, one of the country’s largest local fuel taxes ever approved by popular vote, was a blowout victory or loss by 20-point margins or even more.

The southeast Portland precinct that includes the Sunnyside neighborhood gave the “Fix our Streets” proposal its strongest margin in the city.

Disregarding two tiny precincts that had fewer than 100 voters (one of those voted yes, the other no) the “Fix our Streets” campaign was most popular in Precinct 4207, the Sunnyside district along Belmont Street and Hawthorne Boulevard on either side of Cesar Chavez Way. More than 69 percent of voters there supported it.

But the tax went down hard in every precinct east of Interstate 205. The further east, the more “no” votes it saw. In Precinct 5009 along the Gresham border (which also happens to be the eastern endpoint of the 4M Neighborhood Greenway that will be funded by the tax) only 20 percent of voters voted “yes.”

In all, 43 precincts voted “no” on the tax and 38 voted “yes.” But (unlike in national presidential elections, for example) every vote cast in the city has equal power, and precincts that voted “yes” generally had more residents. The tax slid into a 4-point victory (52.1 percent to 47.9 percent) on May 17.

Did votes split along income lines? By the amount of driving people do? By the perceived viability of alternatives to driving? By environmentalist or social justice sentiment? By trust in local government? Those are all possibilities but without exit polls, it’s hard to say.

Here are three two details worth noticing in the map above, though:

1) Southwest Portland said “yes” even though east Portland didn’t.


Safety advocate Roger Averbeck on SW Capitol Highway, which will get a $1.7 million for repaving and $3.3 million for sidewalks thanks to the gas tax.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Two parts of Portland, outer east and outer southwest, were built mostly on Multnomah County roads, without sidewalks, in the era after 1959 when the city had banned multifamily housing from most areas, required on-site parking for commercial lots and avoided street grids. Decades later, all those decisions shape transportation habits, development patterns, housing prices and culture.

People who live in east and southwest Portland alike will tell you that their streets need a lot of work.

But last month, one of those two areas — the richer one — voted something like 55/45 “yes” on the gas tax and the other voted more like 70/30 against. What happened? One possibility is that it’s related to this map from a recent city study:

columbia corridor jobs

Southwest Portland is far from homogenously rich and east Portland is far from homogenously poor. But east Portlanders’ job market is hugely dependent on the city’s most important jobs center that’s virtually inaccessible except by car: the industrial and port land along the Columbia River. East of Interstate 205, transit lines and bikeways to central Portland and Gresham are scarce and mediocre, but they do exist. Transit and bike routes to the Columbia Corridor, though, basically don’t exist at all.

Southwest Portland, by contrast, can also be unpleasant to navigate on foot or bike, but it’s likely that more people there work in areas such as downtown that are relatively well-served by transit — or if they car-commute to Washington or Clackamas County, will be easily able to avoid the tax. Maybe that’s part of the reason the proposal did better in southwest.

2) Central Portland said “hell yes.”

Bike traffic on N Williams Ave-15.jpg

Parking at New Seasons Market on N Williams Avenue.

If we assume that in the long run the gas tax will be a smart, money-saving and justice-advancing policy (as, presumably, most people in Portland government do), then we can’t ignore the single most important thing about this ballot measure: It passed.

Why did it pass? In part because of the 20 to 30 percent of east Portland voters who backed it despite their neighbors’ disagreement. In part because it broke 50 percent support in the southwest. But more than anything, it was because the proposal, which was very explicitly organized around the narrative that walking and biking should be safe and pleasant, racked up massive support in central Portland.

This support wasn’t limited to people who don’t buy much gasoline. Far more than half of people in central Portland drive to work, and almost every precinct in and around the central city saw more than 60 percent “yes.” Whatever the reason — some of it probably in self-interest, some of it probably cultural, some of it probably ideological — a gas tax that was once assumed to be politically impossible was successfully sold to overwhelming majorities in these neighborhoods.

Political action requires coalitions. Against odds, the gas tax built one.

Correction 3 pm: Due to a transcription error, an earlier version of the map and post reported an incorrect figure for inner northwest Portland, conflating it with the results from outer northwest. Since the revised figure is less surprising — inner northwest Portland voted overwhelmingly for the tax, like other central neighborhoods — we’ve deleted a section discussing this.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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Is Biketown bike share for all? Or only the able-bodied?

Is Biketown bike share for all? Or only the able-bodied?

Handcycle ride wth Ian Jaquiss

Hand-cycle riders like Ian Jaquiss won’t be able to use Portland’s bike share system.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland is launching a bike share program with 1,000 bikes. But what about people with who need to ride a hand-cycle or a recumbent or a trike due to a physical disability? Will they be able to use this new system?

That’s a question raised by city council candidate Chloe Eudaly just six weeks before Portland’s Nike-sponsored Biketown system is set to launch.

“While it can be expensive to accommodate people with disabilities, excluding them also comes at a great cost. It may also violate federal law.”
— Chloe Eudaly, candidate for Portland City Council

Eudaly, who happens to be running against incumbent City Commissioner (and head of the transportation bureau) Steve Novick, posted to her election campaign Facebook page on May 24th that while she’s excited about bike share she’s also, “disappointed to find out that the program excludes people with mobility challenges.”

“How is a 1,000 bike program without a single adapted bike equitable or inclusive?” she wrote. Eudaly questioned how the City of Portland could afford “limited edition wrap designs” but not pay for adaptive bikes to be part of the fleet. “People with disabilities also often have diminished opportunities for socializing, recreation, and exercise and poorer quality of life and health outcomes as a result,” she continued. “So, while it can be expensive to accommodate people with disabilities, excluding them also comes at a great cost. It may also violate federal law.”

Eudaly is referring to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act which states that, “Public transportation authorities may not discriminate against people with disabilities in the provision of their services.”

We followed up with Eudaly, the City of Portland, a lawyer, bike share operators from other cities, the executive director of Disability Rights Oregon and others to learn more about this issue.

To Eudaly, it’s simple: “This is a matter of equity,” she wrote in an email to BikePortland. Here’s more from her email:

We have a whole office devoted to it now, which aims to recognize and remove “systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access and opportunity, starting with issues of race and disability.” Yet there was seemingly zero consideration given to making our Biketown program accessible to people with disabilities. I find this statement from the website particularly galling, “Biketown is a celebration of the Portland spirit: active, creative, inventive, and inclusive”, just not creative, inventive, or inclusive enough to include people with disabilities I guess.

There’s no mention of disabled persons access on the City’s bike share program website. There are several references to equity, but only as it pertains to ethnicity and economics. Bike share is absent from the available meeting minutes of the the City of Portland’s Commission on Disability (PCOD), a group that meets monthly specifically to advise the city on ADA-related issues. Suzanne Stahl, the current PCOD chair, commented on Eudaly’s Facebook post and said that Biketown “Must provide adaptable alternatives.” Stahl says the program also violates the federal Rehabilitation Act.

“It is a key question and we’re working toward an answer by talking to our peer cities and people in the disability community.”
— John Brady, PBOT

Portland-based Disability Rights Oregon is a nonprofit that offers legal assistance to people with disabilities. Their Executive Director Bob Joondeph said in an interview today, “It’s really unfortunate,” that the city doesn’t appear to have given any thought about this issue. “When the city gets involved in any type of public service, they have an obligation to make sure it’s accessible to people with disabilities.” Joondeph didn’t offer a legal perspective on the case and said so far no one has filed a formal complaint with his office; but he did say he’s experienced this problem with the City of Portland in the past. “We’ve run into this before where they launched something and it’s only at the very end where they say, ‘Oh yeah!’”.

Joondeph said this reminds him of when the city launched its first streetcar line without considering disabled persons in the station designs. “They didn’t think about it until the end.” When it comes to Eudaly’s criticisms of the bike share program, Joondeph said, “I think she’s got a point.”

We asked the Portland Bureau of Transportation if Biketown would be accessible to people with disabilities. Here’s the statement they gave us nine days later:

“The City is committed to seeing Biketown be successful for a wide range of Portlanders. We’ve been talking with our peers in other cities and are reaching out across the different communities of people with disabilities to listen and learn. Biketown will add to an already rich choice of transportation options.”

That didn’t answer our questions, so we had the following exchange:

So does this mean Biketown isn’t currently accessible to people with disabilities?

“I don’t think we can assume that given that there is a range of different types of disability,” replied PBOT Communication Director John Brady.

Was access to the bikes by disabled persons considered in the planning process?

“Yes, the topic of access and broader issues related to disability were part of the planning process,” Brady wrote in an email. “For example, in the station siting process, we have made sure that we comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

That’s about station locations not impeding with ADA access; but how about the actual use of the bikes and the system itself? Or, put another way: If someone with a physical disability that prevents them from riding a standard bicycle wants to use Biketown, what would they do?

“Right, the way you’ve rephrased it is a key question and we’re working toward an answer by talking to our peer cities and people in the disability community.”

Dennis Steinman is an attorney with Kell, Alterman & Runstein L.L.P. in Portland and has over 20 years of experience in ADA law. He said no matter how you slice it, the City of Portland is required to make bike share accessible to people with disabilities. “Any public entity must make all of the services they offer accessible…. Any time Portland offers some form of new service, they have to do a self-evaluation as to how – if at all – it’s ADA compliant.”

According to Steinman there are four exceptions to the ADA law: If the accomodation leads to undue financial burden, undue administrative burden, if it would “fundamentally alter the nature of the program,” or if it would constitute a safety risk. In the case of Portland bike share, Steinman says none of those excuses would hold up in court. Financially, Steinman explained, cities are seen by the courts as having “endless pockets.” He’s never seen the administrative burden argument win, and he doesn’t think adding adaptive bikes into the fleet would “fundamentally” change the nature of the program or that there use would create a safety risk.

In my research of other bike share systems around the country I couldn’t find any major vendors that offer adaptive bikes or specific services for people that have disabilities. Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C., one of the nation’s largest and most successful programs, mentions disabled access in their FAQ but simply points people to an email if they need “reasonable accomodation.” Capital Bikeshare says their bike share system is part of “part of a regional transporation system” that is ADA-compliant and therefore it’s legal under federal law.


Acting on a tip I contacted Dave Fotsch, the director of Boise Idaho’s bike share system “GreenBike”. Fotsch said they initially talked about making special accomodations for people with disabilities, but they didn’t in the end. “The range of disabilities is so wide and the possible solutions so narrow that we didn’t think we could do justice to any particular group,” he said.

GreenBike uses Social Bicycles, the same type of bicycles Portland’s system will use. Social Bicycles doesn’t offer any adaptive bicycles — highlighting a problem for cities who want the option to purchase them.

B-Cycle is the only national bike share equipment vendor to offer a non-standard bicycle for city fleets. Their tricycle has been used in several cities since it was introduced in 2013. One of them is Boulder, Colorado. Boulder B-Cycle Director James Waddell told us he considered having one in their fleet but it didn’t work out. “They were double the price, and the one we borrowed from Denver B-cycle to try proved to be slightly dangerous for even able bodied people to ride!”

Overall it seems like the issue of making bike share systems accessible to people who can’t ride a standard two-wheeled bicycle, is a new issue that deserves more attention.

Is there even a demand for adaptive bikes?

Adam Amundsen runs Different Spokes, a shop in Portland that specializes in adaptive bikes. “People with disabilities don’t always advocate for themselves if they feel like it’ll be a major hassle or expense,” he said today in an interview. Sort of like bike parking or bike lanes, the demand only shows up once the infrastructure is available. Amundsen said if different types of bikes were available, they’d definitely get ridden. He added that Portland is known for being an inclusive place where “people can be their true person in public” and that one of the greatest things about biking is that – with the right type of bike – nearly anyone can do it.

To prove it, Amundsen is helping put on an Adaptive Bike Clinic this Sunday in partnership with the City of Portland’s Parks Bureau, Adaptive Sports NW, Shriner’s Hospital, Adventures Without Limits and other organizations.

As for how to make Biketown more accessible to people with disabilities, the bikes that will be at Sunday’s clinic are examples of ones that could potentially be integrated into the system. The City of Portland Parks Bureau has had a senior cycling program for years that uses tricycles. Along with local experts like Amundsen, Portland has other adaptive bike resources like Adaptive Sports Northwest and the popular Bike First! program run by the Northwest Down Syndrome Association.

This isn’t the first time the City of Portland has faced a learning curve when it comes to making new types of mobility options accessible to its disabled citizens. Making sure Uber vehicles would accomodate wheelchair users was a big win in the tense negotiations between City Hall and the aggressive ride-hailing service.

PBOT has about six weeks before the launch of bike share and Council Candidate Eudaly wants to see them do something about it. “I urge PBOT and the City of Portland to do the right thing. Show our disability community just how creative, inventive, and inclusive we can be, and avoid any potential lawsuits down the line.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Comment of the Week: Candidate Eudaly on her transportation background

Comment of the Week: Candidate Eudaly on her transportation background

chloe eudaly

Chloe Eudaly.
(Photo via Eudaly campaign)

We’re always glad to see the subject of a story show up in a comment thread. When the subject of a story happens to be a political candidate on her way to hundreds of thousands of ballots in a few months, that’s even better.

Thursday morning, Portland City Council candidate Chloe Eudaly jumped (politely but authoritatively) into a discussion about her positions on transportation and housing. It was taking place beneath our post about her late surge to make the November runoff against sitting council member and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick.

Her transportation thoughts are, she admitted, weak on detail so far. But they’re strong on credibility — among other first-rate literary references, they included a story about her time biking around Amsterdam with one of the best-known writers about urban bicycling, “Dishwasher” Pete Jordan.

Here’s what Eudaly wrote, partly in response to Terry Dublinski-Milton’s observation that she hadn’t returned a Bike Walk Vote questionnaire:

Hey Everybody, I am very sorry I didn’t get the questionnaire back before the primary. This has been a hectic four months for me — working, parenting and campaigning — and I’m afraid because there was no deadline attached it kept getting buried by more time sensitive stuff. I will submit the questionnaire soon, in the meantime I can tell you a bit about my relationship to bikes, cars, and public transportation…

I lived car free for many years in my 20s and prioritized living within biking/walking distance to work. However, two things have changed in my life since I hit 30 — I had a kid who happens to have a severe physical disability and uses a wheelchair (he’s now 15) and we’ve been pushed out of the central city by rising rents in the past decade. To complicate matters, parents of kids with disabilities don’t always get to choose where their children attend school, so while we have always lived within walking distance of our neighborhood schools (currently Woodlawn/Jefferson) he was never able to attend them. There is no safe way for me to transport my son by bicycle, nor is there enough time in the day for us to exclusively use public transportation (I work full time and am a single parent), especially considering we sometimes have to wait for 2-3 buses just to board if the wheelchair spot is occupied. If you have kids, please imagine a situation where no one else has a vehicle that could accommodate your kid, you can’t ask a friend or neighbor to grab them in a pinch, and they cannot get themselves to or from home — this is my situation. So, I own a wheelchair van and a bicycle. I drive about half as much as the average person, and I rent more fuel efficient cars for my very occasional road trips, but I am dependent on the van until or unless I can create a life for us where home/work/school/medical services are close-in and reliabely accessible by public transportation (which probably means living near a Max or streetcar line).

I do enjoy riding my bike (a Linus Dutchi I bought from my friend Kim at North Portland Bicycle Works — one of the few off the shelf bikes I can ride as I’m just a little over 5′ tall), although I feel somewhat ruined for cycling in Portland after spending a few days tooling around Amsterdam on bikes with my friend Pete Jordan, who’s the author of In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist. Pete, a former Portlander and avid cyclist, planned to spend a school year studying urban planning in Amsterdam in 2002 and he never left! I’m looking forward to talking to him about his take on how Portland is measuring up on bicycle transportation.

I got interested in urban planning, humane architecture, and transportation issues as a teenager when I stumbled upon books by Bernard Rudofsky (Streets for People) and Christopher Alexander (A Pattern Language). I’m probably not going to have every answer you want right now because I’m someone who really needs to dig into issues and get a broad grasp before I start asserting opinions and suggesting policy solutions, but this is what I can say for certainty right now: Safe and accessible streets for pedestrians and cyclists are a priority for me and we need to be creating them across the city. I’m interested in what Bike Portland has to say about equity across our neighborhoods in regards to things like sidewalks, crosswalks, and bicycle infrastructure. When people cannot safely walk in their neighborhoods and many people with mobility challenges (growing in numbers with our aging population) are virtually housebound due to living in inaccessible neighborhoods, it’s hard to get them excited about spending $$$ on bike paths. I’d personally love to see continued and increased collaboration between bicycle advocates, disability advocates, and neighborhoods around these issues.

I’m also interested in incentivizing living close to home (some cities have special home loan programs for people who commit to this), improving our public transportation system including making it more affordable for low income riders like Seattle is doing, preserving and increasing housing in the central city for low income and moderate income earners in order to reduce commuting among other things, and creating more events along the lines of Sunday Parkways where we at least temporarily take back our streets for other purposes. Since most of our cities were designed around the automobile, it’s hard for a lot of people to conceive of why we’d want it any other way, we need to start showing them. xc

It’s worth noting that Novick would have had a harder time biking around Amsterdam with Jordan, because of his own physical disabilities. He tried to ride a bike while growing up outside Eugene but (as he put it once) “kept falling off” and hasn’t biked himself since. That hasn’t stopped him from gradually being a solidly pro-biking commissioner over the last four years, notably by choosing to take huge heat over the walking and biking improvements he fought to keep in the gas tax package.

We hope Eudaly will fill in her own policy perspectives on the ways biking can help create a less car-dependent city for everyone — and that the next five months will include some healthy debate between them over how to make biking improve the lives of more Portlanders, whether or not they personally can ride a bicycle.

Eudaly’s personal history sound like a potentially great foundation.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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Ted Wheeler is Portland’s next mayor; new local gas tax will improve streets

Ted Wheeler is Portland’s next mayor; new local gas tax will improve streets

Sunday Parkways September 2015-7.jpg

Ted Wheeler crosses Tilikum Crossing during Sunday Parkways in September 2015.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland

Portland’s next mayor is a Multnomah County commissioner turned state treasurer who embraced protected bike lanes and more neighborhood greenway traffic diverters from almost the start of his run for office.

Ted Wheeler was drawing 58 percent of Portland’s primary vote Tuesday night, easily defeating opponents Jules Bailey and Sarah Iannarone, among others.

Wheeler also set himself apart on transportation issues by endorsing a local gas tax to improve Portland streets on the day he announced his campaign — a position that rapidly became conventional wisdom among local politicians and won a narrow victory Tuesday night.

“Portland is unique,” Wheeler said in his victory speech. “Portland’s on the move. Portland’s best years are still ahead of it.”

Bailey drew 16 percent of the vote, Iannarone 10 percent. Bruce Broussard, who didn’t make it to any candidates’ forum we saw but distinguished himself on transportation issues by speaking out against a redesign of Foster Road intended to improve safety by replacing two passing lanes with a center turn lane and bike lanes, was in fourth place with 4 percent, followed (in descending order) by Sean Davis, David Schor and Patty Burkett.

Novick will head to runoff in November

novick brown others

Portland Transporation Commissioner Steve Novick, right, with Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry and gas tas campaign manager (and Oregon Walks board president) Aaron Brown.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The gas tax package, which included promised biking and walking improvements in every quadrant of the city as well as pavement repairs for various crumbling streets, was up by 4,268 votes as of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, enough for 51.6 percent of the vote and enough for The Oregonian to call the race.

With 43 percent of the vote in his race, Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick looks to be headed to a runoff with either architect Stuart Emmons or bookseller Chloe Eudaly. Emmons was slightly ahead of Eudaly Tuesday night, with 15 percent of the vote to her 13 percent.

Novick has been a solidly pro-biking vote on the Portland City Council, though he’s never made it one of his signature issues. He’s also established himself as probably the most vocal progressive on parking policy, speaking in favor of demand-based pricing, and on housing infill, which he has called essential to affordability in the city.

Emmons and Eudaly haven’t gone out of their way to stake out positions on bicycling, though Emmons did send us a photo of himself biking the Eastbank Esplanade a few months ago. On his website, his only stated position on transportation is that “our streets need attention.” Eudaly has made housing affordability, especially for tenants, her signature issue. Whichever of them comes out ahead, expect more coverage of this race in the coming months.

“It looks to me like I’m probably going to a runoff in November against the Oregonian editorial board, which is fine,” Novick told attendees of his election-night party. The newspaper’s editorial board has been a particular foe of Novick’s, endorsing Emmons and being the only local significant media outlet to oppose the gas tax he championed.

Wheeler win could start to reshape City Hall this year

Safe Sound and Green press event-3.jpg

Then Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler at a
2008 event calling for new local transportation funding.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Wheeler’s election is likely to immediately reduce Mayor Charlie Hales’ influence on the city council as commissioners maneuver for good relationships with Wheeler. In Portland’s unusual system of government, the mayor’s only significant power over his other commissioners is the ability to assign them administrative power over the city’s various bureaus.

Last year, Wheeler reportedly told an Oregonian columnist that he wanted to take the city’s transportation bureau for himself. In a March interview with BikePortland, he described that as an “offhand comment” and that he wouldn’t make any such commitements.

Also at stake: the city council is approaching a series of crucial votes on its comprehensive plan this summer. The plan, which shapes the city’s zoning maps, pits advocates of infill and housing supply against people who oppose changes to Portland’s physical appearance.

Here’s how we summarized our 45-minute conversation with Wheeler last March:

• Like his opponents, he supports expansion of protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways. Though he backs the gas tax ballot issue, he thinks it won’t raise enough for those projects to make the investments he thinks are needed.

• Though the Portland Business Alliance, the regional chamber of commerce, announced its endorsement of Wheeler the day we spoke, Wheeler said he’s never discussed transportation policy with them. He said he does not agree with the notion (sometimes expressed by the PBA) that auto capacity should not be reduced on major arterials.

• He stepped back from a previously reported statement that as mayor he would take the transportation bureau; he said that was an “offhand conversation” and he’s made no decisions.

• His plan for transportation funding is to pass a gas tax in the short run, then get the 2017 state legislature to allocate more state and federal road taxes to cities like Portland. In the long run, he doesn’t think the city should let any of its pavement degrade, and thinks the city needs incremental steps to improve its credibility among voters.

• His first priority for all transportation investments is safety improvements east of 82nd Avenue. He doesn’t think all new transportation investment should happen there but he thinks East Portland should get the large majority to make up for decades of underinvestment.

• Though he supports increasing housing density by re-legalizing duplexes and garden apartments in residential zones, he thinks there’s some validity to the argument that new tall buildings can make nearby housing more expensive. He doesn’t see a tradeoff between “historic preservation,” which he values, and keeping housing affordable.

• Unlike his opponent Jules Bailey, Wheeler sees “training” as inadequate to addressing apparent racial profiling of people biking and walking by officers in the Portland Police Bureau. Deeper cultural change in the bureau is necessary, he said.

Other races

bob stacey

Metro Councilor Bob Stacey, up for election Tuesday but unopposed, paid early respects at the election night party for Steve Novick and the gas tax but said he had to get to a Richmond Neighborhood Association meeting.

Also Tuesday, Commissioner Amanda Fritz and incumbent Gov. Kate Brown won in anticipated landslides, Fritz with 70 percent of the city vote. Jessica Vega Pederson, who had a pro-biking record as state legislator, was elected to the Multnomah County Commission in an uncontested race in southeast Portland. Karin Power, who won a seat on Milwaukie’s city council two years ago on a pro-biking platform and has helped lead that city’s recent political embrace of biking, won an uncontested Democratic primary in the 41st legislative district.

Brown, a Democrat, will face Bud Pierce, a Republican legislator who has promised to “end gridlock once and for all” by adding lanes to every “major freeway.”

Metro Councilor Bob Stacey, a longtime bike commuter who is maybe the single most pro-bike politician in the region, was elected to a second four-year term to represent southeast Portland in the regional government. His colleague Sam Chase, who represents inner northeast, north and northwest Portland and took the lead on Metro’s recent work to approve mountain-biking trails on public land north of Forest Park, coasted to reelection with 77 percent against Colby Clipston.

In Bailey’s county commissioner district in inner southeast and west Portland, Sharon Meieran and Eric Zimmerman are headed to a runoff. The same is true for Lori Stegmann and Amanda Schroeder in Gresham and east county. (Expect BikePortland coverage of these county races, which will shape the future of the Burnside Bridge and Sauvie Island, in the months to come.)

Gas tax work could start in fall

treat bike

Portland Transportation Director Leah Treat with her official city vehicle, an e-bike, outside the gas tax election party.

The four-year, 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax will raise an estimated $16 million for each of the next four years, of which 44 percent would be earmarked for safety improvements to local streets — mostly improvements for walking and biking.

Among other things — including various sidewalk and crosswalk upgrades around the city — the project list includes new funding for protected bike lanes in downtown Portland; two neighborhood greenways connecting much of East Portland to the Gateway Transit Center; a neighborhood greenway on NE 7th and/or 9th Avenue in inner northeast Portland; a neighborhood greenway on NW/SW 20th Avenue connecting the Northwest District to Goose Hollow; and $2 million a year for biking and walking improvements near schools, which would be chosen in partnership with local school districts.

In an interview Tuesday night, Portland Transportation Director Leah Treat said that gas tax money will start to arrive in “late fall.” The city will then be able to start paving selected streets and to start planning the first round of safety improvements.

“We’re ready to get to work,” Treat said.

Correction 10 am: A previous version of this post got Ted Wheeler’s current job wrong. He’s the state treasurer. We regret the error; it was a long night.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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How Wheeler, Bailey and Iannarone answered OPB’s question about bike safety

How Wheeler, Bailey and Iannarone answered OPB’s question about bike safety

Wheeler, Bailey, Iannarone.(Photos: BikePortland)

Wheeler, Bailey, Iannarone.
(Photos: BikePortland)

Since many of you will probably spend some part of this weekend reading your voter’s pamphlet and/or filling out your ballot, here’s a quick way to compare how the three most prominent mayoral candidates are thinking about bike safey.

As part of their election coverage, Oregon Public Broadcasting asked Ted Wheeler, Jules Bailey and Sarah Iannarone a series of questions about key issues facing our city. One of the questions was: “What should city government’s role be in ensuring bike and pedestrian safety?”

Their answers are short and sweet. And because OPB offered audio clips for each question, it’s easy for us to share them here in succession:

Ted Wheeler

Jules Bailey

Sarah Iannarone

We’re lucky to have such a great field of candidates for mayor this year. And — given the political stagnation we’ve been through for so many years — it’s exciting that all of the leading candidates this year are actually embracing bikes.

Of course you need a lot more information about these candidates to make a final decision, so make sure to re-read our in-depth interviews with each of them and our coverage of various debates and other election news over the past few months.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Legislators’ bicycle town hall on Springwater path will focus on camping issues, safety concerns

Legislators’ bicycle town hall on Springwater path will focus on camping issues, safety concerns

Springwater path near Cartlandia 82nd and Harney-1.jpg

The Springwater Corridor near 82nd.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Several Oregon state legislators will host what they’re calling an “interactive bicycle town hall” on May 14th to learn more about conditions on the Springwater Corridor path.

Interactions between path users and people who live in camps adjacent to the path reached a boiling point back in January. Since then there has been a broad community effort to address the issue. In April, local author and nonprofit director Joe Kurmaskie said he would cancel his youth summer bike camps due to concerns over the unruly and dangerous behaviors of some of the Springwater campers.

The issue was back in the headlines again this week when local news stations reported on a major operation by the Portland Police to move people out of the camps and pick up trash and personal belongings.

Oregon State Representative Jeff Reardon (D-Happy Valley) is leading the bicycle town hall. According to an email sent to his constituents, Reardon will be joined by State Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) and Representatives Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland), Carla Piluso (D-Gresham), Jessica Vega Pederson (D-Portland), and possibly others.

“We will be exploring the trail to observe the living conditions of the many campers,” Reardon stated in his email. “As we ride along, I hope to learn more about the interactions between those who camp along the trail and those who have homes or businesses near the trail, and those who use it for recreation.”

Everyone is invited on the ride. It will start at 9:00 am at SE Foster and 104th and is scheduled to loop back to the starting point an hour later. Expect comments from the legislators and an opportunity to share your ideas and ask questions.

Here’s more from Reardon:

I know that conditions are very poor for all concerned: campers, local homeowners/renters, business owners, and those who use the area for recreation. I want to hear more from my many friends and neighbors. But here’s the bottom line: I also hope that each of you will help with ideas for solutions. Solutions that will benefit all of us. I’ll gladly ensure your message – and your suggested solutions – are shared with city, county and state officials.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Street Roots survey turns up differing priorities in mayor’s race

Street Roots survey turns up differing priorities in mayor’s race

Portland Mayor Debate-20.jpg

Mayoral candidates Ted Wheeler, left, and Bim Ditson.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Street Roots, Portland’s first-rate paper about homelessness and housing issues, sometimes asks questions about the closely related subject of transportation.

A questionnaire distributed to the mayoral candidates and published last week includes a quick window into the ways different candidates think about mobility issues.

The question:

Please place the following items in order of priority as mayor.

• Increase parking
• Bike infrastructure
• Low­ or no-fare public transit

Here’s what they said:

Jules Bailey

1. Low- or no-fare public transit
2. Bike infrastructure
3. Increase parking

Patty Burkett

1. Low- or no-fare public transit
2. Bike infrastructure
3. Increase parking

Sean Davis

1. Low- or no-fare public transit
2. Bike lanes
3. Increase parking

Bim Ditson

1. Bike infrastructure
2. Low- or no-fare public transit
3. Increase parking

Deborah Harris

1. Low- or no-fare public transit
2. Increase parking
3. Bike infrastructure

Sarah Iannarone

1. Low- or no-fare public transit
2. Bike infrastructure
3. Make downtown a car-free zone

David Schor

1. Low- or no-fare public transit
2. Bike infrastructure
3. Increase parking

Jessie Sponberg

1. Low- or no-fare public transit
2. Bike infrastructure
3. Increase parking

Ted Wheeler

1. Low- or no-fare public transit
2. Bike infrastructure
3. Increase parking

So, to recap:

• Only one candidate, Ditson, put bike infrastructure above cheap transit.
• Only one candidate, Harris, put bike infrastructure below more auto parking.
• Only one candidate, Iannarone, decided that she was so strongly against increasing auto parking that she would refuse to put it on her list at all.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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