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Velodrome bill stalls in Salem

Posted by on May 8th, 2007 at 9:17 am

Senator Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point)
testifies on behalf of S.B 926,
while Steve Brown looks on.
File photo: 3/29/07

Senate Bill 926, which seeks to use $3.5 million in state lottery funds to build three new velodromes in Oregon, is stalled on the desk of the Ways and Means Committee.

The bill is awaiting referral to a subcommittee, but so far Ways and Means Committee Co-Chair Mary Nolan (D-Portland) has not passed the bill along. The reason? She has not heard from enough supporters of the bill, and has some reservations about using state lottery funds to pay for velodromes.

If Rep. Nolan does not pass the bill to committee before the end of the session, Oregon will lose a golden opportunity to enhance recreational opportunities throughout the state, while building important community assets that would have a significant impact on economic development and tourism revenue.

Steve Brown wants a new velodrome in Portland
Steve Brown
File photo: 11/15/06

According to Steve Brown — a citizen who is spearheading an effort to build a velodrome in Portland and has made several trips to Salem in support of this bill — Nolan has reservations about using Measure 66 (state lottery) revenue for the velodromes. Brown (along with Scott Bricker from the BTA) met with Nolan last month and learned that she is hearing loud and clear from environmental groups that they oppose using Measure 66 funds for anything other than salmon habitat restoration and state parks funding.

Brown is frustrated, because Measure 66 clearly states that the funds can be used for “recreation areas”. He points to the following excerpt from the text of the measure,

“Of the moneys in the parks and natural resources fund, 50% shall be distributed for the public purpose of financing the protection, repair, operation, and creation of state parks, ocean shore and public beach access areas, historic sites and recreation areas, and 50% shall be distributed for the public purpose of financing the restoration and protection of native salmonid populations, watersheds, fish and wildlife habitats and water quality in Oregon.”

Brown says the “environmental lobby” is holding “a very rigid line” over how they think Measure 66 funds should be spent. He is also concerned that the bike community has not contacted Rep. Nolan to let her know how important these velodromes are to the community,

“Scott Bricker and I met with Senator Devlin last month (Devlin chairs the Natural Resources Subcommittee). He is eager to get the bill into his committee, but unless more people contact Rep. Nolan, he’ll never get a look at it.”

Brown also points out that salmon restoration and state parks are already pegged to received nearly $100 million each from a State Lottery pot that has reached record levels this year.

The orginal sponsor of the bill, Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) has met with the Governor’s office and is working with his colleagues to move the bill forward. Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Lane/Douglas Counties), who successfully amended the bill to include a velodrome in his district, is also working hard on this bill.

Brown is urging everyone who supports this bill to contact Rep. Nolan today.

Read my extensive coverage of this bill. You can also listen to an audio clip of Steve Brown’s testimony in Salem:

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Comments
  • JCW May 8, 2007 at 9:38 am

    I just sent an email supporting this effort – and encourage you all to do the same!

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  • mmann May 8, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Same with me. If you’re reading this comment, take a couple minutes and let her know this is a worthwhile use of lottery funds and a great boost for biking in Oregon.

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  • Matt Picio May 8, 2007 at 10:28 am

    Also sent. Hopefully this will do some good. I don’t race, though I hope to get out this year and watch a couple of them.

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  • Jonathan Maus / BikePortland May 8, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Thanks Matt (and others),

    It’s important to remember that these velodromes aren’t just about racing. these facilities will be community centers that will run youth programs and summer camps (in addition to attracting competitors for big events which has a nice economic development and tourism impact).

    Also, the velodromes will not require any additional financial support from the state. they will 100% self-funding once they are built.

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  • Whiney McWhinerson May 8, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Also sent.

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  • Burk May 8, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Count me in.

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  • Tomas Quinones May 8, 2007 at 11:20 am

    I’m in. The poor Alpenrose velodrome needs so much attention it seemed worse than last year.

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  • Jordan May 8, 2007 at 11:22 am

    I also sent. I mentioned that these facilities could help combat childhood obesity by encouraging kids to take up cycling.

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  • peejay May 8, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Me, too. Participatory democracy is so much more fun than lazy cynicism.

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  • Tomas Quinones May 8, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Mister Picio is THE MASTER at writing letters to our representatives in office :-)

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  • Dabby May 8, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    State lottery funds should be used for education, not for velodromes that are to be used by the very few……..

    I agree that velodromes should possibly be built, but, we started the state lottery to help fund EDUCATION, not recreation…

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  • Dabby May 8, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Also taking funds away from salmon restoration is not good either………we have already taken away the salmons livelyhood, and most of their will to live….

    There must be someone who wants to privately fund this if it is supposedly needed so badly….

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  • P Finn May 8, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    While I don’t agree with Dabby’s perspective on this, I am curious as to why the Alpenrose needs attention when these projects are purported to be “100% self-funding” after initial construction.

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  • bicycledave May 8, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Velodromes = more intereste in bikes = more bike riders = less car miles = less polution in rivers = more salmon

    I sent an email to Rep. Nolan in support.

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  • Tomas Quinones May 8, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Alpenrose Velodrome isn’t self-funded because we are allowed access to it by the good will of Alpenrose dairy, no fees are charged for its use, but every year OBRA organizes volunteers to maintain the grounds as well as uses racing fees and licenses to purchase any needed supplies for said maintenance.

    Did I miss something here?

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  • peejay May 8, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    My email to Rep. Nolan made a similar case that bicycledave makes in #14, and her (amazingly quick) reply is as follows:

    “Dear Mr. xxxxxxxx,

    Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding SB 926. This bill would require that $3.5 million from the State Parks and Natural Resources budget be allocated to the construction of three velodromes.

    As co-chair of Ways and Means, my job is to balance the state budget with very limited resources. The goal of the sub-committees will be to determine how to prioritize those limited funds. I will pass your concerns on to the rest of the members of the Ways and Means sub-committee on Natural Resources. I encourage you to track the progress of this bill at the link below.

    http://www.leg.state.or.us/cgi-bin/searchMeas.pl

    Sincerely,

    Mary Nolan

    State Representative

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  • Dabby May 8, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Alpenrose is privately owned and funded, which is why it does not neccesarily pay for it’s own upkeep, as the new ones supposedly would, if that answers your question…

    You can bet large fees will be charged to use any new velodromes, which will pay for some upkeep, but which will also keep alot of those interested and new to track cycling off of the track. ( The majority of those new folks into track cycling, and fixed gear riding, do not have even the money to ride proper equipment, let alone pay fees to ride the track, as is well apparent in the majority of fixed gears seen being ridden in Portland.)

    So, I doubt that it will even attract as many new riders as stated above in some comments…

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis May 8, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    Wait, let’s go through this again, because I think it’s a little complicated for some folks to understand: “Velodromes = more interest in bikes = more bike riders = less car miles = less polution in rivers = more salmon.”

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  • Matt Picio May 8, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    peejay – I got the same form letter. I replied with a few additional points, we’ll see if it does some good.

    Dabby – if they wanted to continue funding education with the lottery proceeds, then the voters really shouldn’t have approved Measure 66. I agree with the sentiment, though.

    Also, re: salmon – I agree completely. So, I don’t know – maybe they should be funded privately. I think it’ll be a hard sell to have 3 in Oregon, when there are only 22 in the entire US.

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  • Dabby May 8, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Attronus ,
    Velodromes do not pull cars off the road.
    In actuality, the majority, or a lot of, velodrome riders drive their track bikes in their cars, or on their cars, to the track.
    This would be compounded by the distance between these Souther Oregon velodromes………..
    So…

    “Velodromes = more interest in bikes = more bike riders = more car miles = more polution in rivers = less salmon.”

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis May 8, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    Debby, you’re quoting bicycledave, so…

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  • Ian Clemons May 8, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Uh, why do we need velodromes? How many bikers is this really going to serve. I think Lottery funds are the wrong way to finance something like this. Feeding off of other’s gambling to serve a VERY narrow slice of the cycling community doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    If there was demand for watching and participating in what Velodromes have to offer, then should’t you find private financing to build it? Then you sell tickets and concessions to the hordes of velodrome watching fanatics to keep the place open and profitable.

    This avid biker is not going to jump on board just because it involves bikes. Those dollars belong elsewhere.

    -Ian

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  • Steve Brown May 9, 2007 at 7:57 am

    Facts. By law, M66 funding is split equally between salmon and parks stuff. The money cannot go anywhere else. This year it will mean $98 million for salmon and $98 million for parks. Part of the park stuff is for recreation areas. There is money and it can be spent for velodromes. The real question is do you want Silver Falls State Park to expand or do you want a velodrome?
    Alpenrose is at end of life. With care it may last five years. Then you will have no track.
    Racing fees pay for the track program now and that will not change. It is self funded. It will be on public or private with open access. The goal is to be close to public transportation. The Alpenrose Diary has been a dream sponser of the program for 40 years. I think it is time we took a little of the burden from them.
    I find speculattion about the track program interesting coming from people who do not know the program or the new effort. Anyone who wants to learn more about what is really going on can contact me info@stevebrowncompany.com.
    The goal of the new track program is to make it a community resource. Racing, kids programs, family entertainment, plus bike racing and beer. We might not have neckcar but we can have bike racing. Thanks to all of you who have written Rep. Nolans office. With your help we can build a new drome that we can build on the great program started at Alpenrose. Keep writing those e-mails.
    http://www.pdxvelo.org

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  • Case May 10, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Dabby, you are pretty far off the back on this one. First off, velodromes are usually managed by a ‘Drome Association, like it is here in Seattle. This association will set up fund raising events to help make the ‘drome self sufficient. Second, velodromes are educational, it’s called physical education. While in LA at the UCI World Cup I met Nelson Vails while he was talking to 5th and 6th graders about bicycle riding and riding on the velodrome. Then they offered to have the kids come out to Carson for Gym Class retreats. Third, you’re oversimplifying the correlation between car driving and velodromes. A strong argument could be made for velodrome racing increasing the confidence of a cyclist riding in congested situations. This confidence may well translate to someone feeling better about taking to the streets outside their track racing. Lastly, a night of racing at a velodrome (even with the cost of renting a bike) is less than what folks spend for a week’s worth of coffee. Cost is a poor argument, as is the what hipsters ride on the street. I don’t ride my race rig on the street either.

    I’m pretty suprised at the negative reaction to this proposal. This is an opportunity for people to expand their cycling experience beyond commuting. This is an opportunity for folks to meet other folks through the bond of competition. How many competative outlets do adults really have? Give the fish 98 million, we know they need it, but do you think parks could spare 3.5 of their 98 million for additional parks that diversify the usage of state land? But whatever, I live in Washington.

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