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Funding cut is opportunity for activism

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 30th, 2007 at 12:34 pm

City Hall Bike Show and Art Exhibition
Portland City Hall
File photo: 7/6/06

From a community fund drive to a rally at City Hall, there has been a wide range of reactions to the Mayor's decision to cut funding for Portland's Bicycle Master Plan.

On top of the list is tomorrow's Bicycle Master Plan ride. This ride, which meets across the street from City Hall, will be led by city bike coordinator Roger Geller.

The ride is slated to explore North Portland, but given the events of the past week I wouldn't be surprised if it made a few loops down SW 4th Ave. (in front of City Hall).

Here are the ride details:

    Bicycle Master Plan Ride
    Tuesday, May 1st
    Meet at 5:15, ride at 5:30
    Terry Schrunk Plaza (SW 3rd between Madison and Jefferson)
    Ride will venture North (PDF of route map)

Another key opportunity to show your support for the Bicycle Master Plan will be the final Community Budget Hearing. The hearing comes just one week before City Council votes on the final budget (5/17). Citizens can sign up for three minutes of testimony in front of the Mayor and the Commissioners. Here are the details:

    Community Budget Hearing
    Thursday, May 10 @ 6:00 PM
    Robert Gray Middle School Cafeteria (5505 SW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97239)
    Event website for more details

According to the official Community Budget website, "Your input is still important!" and you can leave comments via a form through May 14th.

Grassroots activist and veteran Shift volunteer Dat Nguyen held a meeting yesterday to brainstorm action plans. Here are some of the things they discussed:

  • A "Burma-Shave" style sign campaign on the Hawthorne Bridge.
  • A letter writing campaign from Portland area bike shop owners.
  • Cable TV ads to be purchased at a reduced rate through Comcast.
  • An online petition that can be presented to the Mayor at the May 10th budget hearing.

If you'd like to know more or get involved, contact Dat via email at dontbecreepy(at)gmail(dot)com.

If you have other ideas, feel free to let us know in the comments. And remember, it's crucial that we keep things positive.

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Comments
  • Michelle April 30, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Hope to see everyone on the ride tomorrow evening, and at the budget hearing on May 10th.

    Remember that tomorrow's ride is Portland bike planner Roger Geller's regular monthly event and he likes it to be an enjoyable, courteous, non-confrontational ride. This month will be no different...except it will be HUGE! Yay!

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis April 30, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    I cannot go to the ride tomorrow because of a serious family medical issue, but I urge people to go and, regardless of Roger Geller's aversion to confrontation, respectfully seek him out and politely inform him personally that we want to see this decision reversed.

    Also, I have signed up to give three minutes of testimony at the Community Budget Hearing on May 10. I have little time to do more research on this issue, but would like to give testimony that constitutes a reasoned argument based on facts about the importance of planning in developing cycling in both Portland and in other cities (e.g., Seattle). If you have such information I could use or would like to coordinate testimony with me, please email me at cmheaps [at] gmail. Thanks.

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  • Kristina April 30, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Tomorrow may be bad for the ride. There is a march downtown at 4 p.m.

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  • Roger Geller April 30, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    To Attornatus_Oregonensis, et al,

    As Michelle said, tomorrow's ride is a regularly scheduled Bicyle Master Plan ride (held the first Tuesday of every month).

    See our web site to get information about the intent of the ride: http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=34816&a=147283

    If tomorrow's ride is big, that'd be great as one of the goals of the ride is to "create--even if only for a little while and in a limited area--the feeling one gets when riding in world class cycling cities," i.e., lots of cycling!

    I'll be focusing on conditions on the street in the Park Blocks and on the way to and in North Portland. We'll have a fun ride and a good time. Last month's ride had 50 cyclists. If there are more tomorrow, then that in and of itself will send the message that many people are interested in the Bicycle Master Plan and improving cycling conditions in Portland.

    However, don't waste your breath telling me you support funding for the update to the plan. I don't make the decisions.

    Also, please come to the ride with the intent of learning about and experiencing the city's bikeway network. You're presence will speak for itself. As I said on the back of the ride map, "when riding our bikes we...represent cyclists and cycling to the non-cycling public. What we do as individuals or as a group reflects on all cyclists and influences what we're working to attain in Portland."

    Hope to see you there. Rain or shine...

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis April 30, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    "[D]on’t waste your breath telling me you support funding for the update to the plan. I don’t make the decisions."

    We're well aware of who is making the decisions, Roger. But you say, "I want to create a regular forum in which people interested in bicycling can meet regularly, look at conditions in the field, and hold discussions about them that range as far as the group wishes to take them. What works, what doesn't work, how do we improve?"

    We improve by funding the Plan!

    We want you to know funding the Plan is a key part of the strategy for improving conditions in the field. So, tell your superiors that Portland cyclists say we improve conditions in the field by funding the Plan. And please don't tell me that I'm wasting my breath by participating in your discussion.

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  • Roger Geller April 30, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    AO-

    Sorry, not the intent of my message. Please participate and tell me how to make the city better from your perspective. But, when it comes to funding, as you well know, your message will be better directed to the city's elected officials. That's all I meant.

    Roger

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis April 30, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks, Roger. And thanks for leading the rides. No better way to see what works and what doesn't than by riding it.

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  • Scott Mizée May 1, 2007 at 3:13 am

    As many of you know, we will be riding into territory that npGREENWAY has been focusing on for a few years now.

    We are excited about this opportunity and would love to hear everyone's support for increased bikeways in North Portland.

    See you all there this afternoon!

    Scott Mizée
    npGREENWAY communications director
    npgreenway.org

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  • Ron Forrester May 1, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Roger, my wife and I plan to join you tonight, and really appreciate you leading these rides. We have been and continue to direct our funding energy at the Mayor and Commissioners.

    But you know that rides like the ones you are leading are a chance to show large and peaceful presence in the bike community, so you work is much appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Ron

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  • Martha R May 1, 2007 at 10:19 am

    I'm looking forward to checking out North Portland tonight (even though it was so nice this morning I left my raingear at home).

    I practiced my polite skills this morning, stopping for a ped (on a downhill, no less)...then felt guilty about luring her into the street and into the path of a speeding SUV. Luckily, the driver slowed (just barely, even though I put my arm out to gesture "stop!"), and the ped made it across.

    I keep hoping that every time I stop for a pedestrian, whether I'm on a bike or in a car, other drivers will get the message that they, too, are required to stop. So tonight is one more opportunity to carry the message (all the easier since stopping for peds won't make me late for work).

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  • Martha S. May 1, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I really am looking forward to this; I imagine it will be a good ride.

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