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Cops shift Critical Mass patrol duties

Posted by on April 16th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Critical Mass August - Portland OR
Police presence at a Portland Critical Mass
ride in August 2005.
File photo: 8/26/05

The Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division will no longer be in charge of Portland’s Critical Mass ride.

Seeking to remove a layer of management, the Bureau has decided to give the duty of patrolling the monthly ride to Southeast Precinct Lieutenant Bob Heimbach.

Local lawyer and Critical Mass veteran Mark Ginsberg said the change came because,

“Since they’ve only been patrolling the ride by bike and most of the bike officers were from Southeast Precinct, there was really no reason for TD (Traffic Division) to be there.”

The former officer in charge of Critical Mass, Traffic Division Lt. Mark Kruger, introduced Lt. Heimbach to Ginsberg today at the monthly Critical Mass meetings he holds in his office above Pioneer Square. Ginsberg says that Heimbach will stay the course and that we should not expect any change in how they deal with the ride.

For many months now, only bicycle mounted officers have attended Critical Mass.

But does any of this really matter?

Since December, the police have not patrolled the ride at all. Ginsberg says they’ve been showing up to the ride, but upon seeing just a handful of riders (only ten in March), they turn around and head back to the station.

However, despite this dwindling number of participants, the cops will likely continue to show up…just in case.

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Comments
  • "the other" steph April 16, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    forgive my ignorance, but there are monthly critical mass meetings? really? are there other meetings devoted to individual ongoing events?

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  • Donald April 16, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    10 riders? More like Demi-critical Mass.

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  • Qwendolyn April 16, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    Well, for better or for worse, critical mass in Portland is dead.

    It is now common for random people riding around to outnumber CMassers.

    The police killed it, and now they’re bored and will go look for some homeless people to harass, or some stop-sign stings to set up.

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  • peejay April 16, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Seems to me that they’re doing something wrong at that ride, if they can’t get more than ten people to join. I mean, the bunny ride had almost twenty times that many people, in the rain!

    Maybe they should hang it up now, and join a better ride. One with more mass, perhaps.

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  • Burr April 16, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    I agree, the police killed it. You can ride with as many people as you like, and as long as you don’t call your ride ‘Critical Mass’, you won’t have to worry about police harassment (unless you’re a middle-class bicycle commuter in East Portland on a Wednesday, then you’re still fair game).

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  • Richard S April 17, 2007 at 8:03 am

    Well, I’m not entirely sure the police killed it. I never participated in these rides because they struck me as being totally counterproductive to their stated aim. I saw motorists getting p*issed off, and the event just further dividing the biking community.

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  • Wyatt April 17, 2007 at 8:44 am

    “stay the course” *chortle*

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  • felix April 17, 2007 at 9:33 am

    The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

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  • Todd B April 18, 2007 at 12:56 am

    Perhaps critical mass needs to refocus and evolve in Portland..to either branch out to the suburbs, focus on WPC pedestrian style ‘actions’ where a single massing at a bicycle ‘black spot’ would focus on a safety issue (unsafe intersection); or critical mass tourism for those without local bike culture!

    Some of the best crital mass rides I have been on have been as a tourist! It is generally a great way to see a city through the eyes of local bicyclists and without having to worry about getting lost or run over.

    I still remember riding with 8000 other bicylists and the mayor of Paris – who also brought the cops along as full sag wagon support – not jail time but for EMS/ flat repairs.

    Imagine a Portland Crital Mass tourist package put together with lodging at the Ace Hotel (w/free bike use), Air by Horizon Airlines, Drinks at the Park Kitchen, Dinner at the Cha Cha Cha, and donuts at Voodoo Donuts, etc. Roll you eyes a bit, but worse could happen.

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  • Anonymous April 19, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    I would like to amend my previous comment to say that, while the police acted as the agents that helped kill Critical Mass in Portland, I believe that the Portland Business Alliance was instrumental in getting Vera Katz to crack down on the ride using the police.

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  • BURR April 19, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    I would like to amend my previous comment to say that, while the police acted as the agents that helped kill Critical Mass in Portland, I believe that the Portland Business Alliance was instrumental in getting Vera Katz to crack down on the ride using the police.

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