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Pedicab operator ousted from Waterfront Park

Posted by on June 4th, 2007 at 8:40 am

Casey Martell of Rose Pedal Pedicabs
Casey Martell, owner of
Rose Pedal Pedicabs.
(File photo)

Every year since 2003 Casey Martell of Portland Rose Pedals Pedicab has given rides to weary Waterfront Village attendees. This year was no different, until Thursday afternoon.

That’s when Martell says he was approached by Rose Festival security personnel and told he must leave the park once the Waterfront Village carnival began.

According to Martell, the security guard said he was not welcome because he’s not a registered vendor (even though Martell was not even in the actual Village). Martell tried to explain that he doesn’t need a vendor license to ride around Waterfront Park because he doesn’t sell anything (he only accepts donations). Unfortunately, says Martell, the security person would “not listen” to him and quickly spread the word to the cops.

Yesterday afternoon Martell says he was approached by Portland Police officers while at Saturday Market. Martell says they threatened him,

“They said if I showed up – with or without my pedicab – they would take me to jail and impound my pedicab. They also told me they had warned 40 other officers in the area to arrest me if they saw me in the park.”

Casey Martell of Rose Pedal Pedicabs
Casey at work during the 2006
Mississippi Street Fair.
(File photo)

Martell is confused, frustrated, and feels his civil rights are being violated,

“They’re taking away my rights as a citizen and as a cyclist. It’s a civil rights issue. There are other people on bikes in that area, I have every right to be out there.”

And he’s even gone to court in the past to preserve that right. Back in 2004 the Portland Parks and Recreation Department tried to make him get a vendor license to operate in Waterfront Park. Martell insisted that since he wasn’t selling anything (merely giving people rides), he should not have to register with the city. He hired a lawyer, fought the case, and won.

The result of that case was that he could continue to operate his pedicab (with his Rose Pedals sign), as long as he did not solicit people for rides, did not charge for rides, and did not post any rates. Martell had been happily operating like that ever since until this recent crackdown.

Since he claims the security guards and the police just “don’t understand” how he operates, Martell has written a note to Waterfront Village Manager Peter Mott.

Martell feels like the Waterfront Village security staff have overstepped the boundaries of their power by excluding him from Waterfront Park. I’m awaiting response from Rose Festival officials and hope to share their perspective soon.


UPDATE: I just got off the phone with Rose Festival public relations chief Rich Jarvis. He maintains that because the Rose Festival has a permit for the entire area (from Riverfront Place to Burnside) that they have every right to regulate “vendors”.

“Even though it’s technically a public park, under our permit it’s our park and we have a legal right to regulate vendors in that area.”

I told him the issue is that Casey Martell doesn’t consider himself a “vendor”. Jarvis says that if there is any cash changing hands, it’s considered vending, whether the money is solicited or not. He said un-permitted vendors (like Martell in his mind) are,

“Taking advantage of our time, publicity efforts, and notoriety to try and get some personal gain out of it. If there is cash changing hands, there really is no grey area.”

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Comments
  • will June 4, 2007 at 9:17 am

    That is pretty ridiculous, but I have to say, last week I was riding on the waterfront and he really got in my way. I understand how some may feel, due to the size of his trailer’s that he is towing. But still their reasoning seems skewed

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  • Carl June 4, 2007 at 9:30 am

    I’m fairly certain that the Rose Festival and the PPB aren’t cracking down on him “due to the size of his trailer’s that he is towing.”

    This isn’t about safety. It’s about money.

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  • Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 4, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Also, as far as I know, there’s no specific ordinance about the length or size of non-motorized vehicles allowed in Waterfront Park.

    But I bet there’s an ordinance about driving a golf cart the wrong way in a bike lane … which is something the Rose Fest. staff has been doing with impunity for days now… but then again, I’m sure they’ve paid for permits to do that so it’s OK.

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  • Scott Mizée June 4, 2007 at 9:44 am

    looking forward to hearing the response from the Rose Festival officials…

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  • Cory Johnson June 4, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Watch, next year the Water Front Village will have a bunch of their own bikers and trailers giving people rides for outrageous fees. they should be thanking this guy for trailering all of the baby makers and thier muling heads of cabbage back and forth to that stinking event. “okay kids, get your funnel cakes and cotton candy and lets see if we can wedge our gigantic butts into this nice mans fat carrier for a modest fee of $40. Boy this carnival is fun!”

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  • Matt Picio June 4, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Haven’t they overstepped their bounds? I mean, they have no regulatory authority there – they only have a special use permit. The Parks Department has authority there. Or does their special use permit allow them that authority?

    It’s like a landlord / tenant arrangement – if the landlord doesn’t grant the tenant authority to act in their stead, then the tenant has no authority.

    Or am I totally misunderstanding the law?

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  • Dabby June 4, 2007 at 10:39 am

    The Rose Festival, especially the Waterfront Village, has been a thorn in the side of this Rose City for too long.

    With simple examples like this, and the other of driving golf carts the wrong way, which I was cut off by the other day myself.

    The city of Portland also is giving way too much power to those that they issue waterfront permits too.

    This has been an ongoing struggle, for many, many years.

    We need to hold the Rose Festival accountable, and possibly kick their asses off of OUR waterfront!

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  • JE June 4, 2007 at 10:57 am

    It sounds like that judge in 2004 already ruled that he is not a “vendor” and did not require any permits to do his thing. Therefore the Rose Festival & PPB are over stepping the line.
    They’re probably hoping it goes to court again and that they find a judge in their pocket.

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  • wsbob June 4, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Pioneer Square here in Portland also has a permit policy something like the one described in the article, allowing the permit holder authority to regulate various activities going on during the event permittted. That’s why they’ve been able to kick out obnoxious street preachers during things like Festa Italiana.

    In this situation though, even as the Rose Festival corporate village is permitted for Waterfront, I think the public still has free right of way outside the village fence, for the length of the Waterfront right next to the seawall railing. I wonder if the permit extends authority to activity on the walkway there as well. If not, it seems as though he might be entitled to continue on as usual.

    It gets congested because of the RF Corp Village activity. I’m sure the pedicab guy Casey Martell’s passengers want to be right next to the seawall to enjoy the view, but there’s not a lot of room with the village fence there. It’s not clear from the article whether Martell is traveling that stretch of the waterfront during the festival, but if so, it would probably aggravate the congestion. Still, aparrently it has worked out in the past. I’ve personally seen this guy operate too. Far as I can tell, he’s very mellow passing in and out amongst walkers and such.

    The pedicab guy already won in court once. Maybe the reading of his settlement alludes to whether any conditions to his permission to operate in Waterfront exist, relative to permitted park users like the RF Corporate Village.

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  • felix June 4, 2007 at 11:35 am

    That sucks, this guy and people like him are what makes Portland so fun and unique. And how can they arrest him with or without the ride??? Has he been excluded from the park? When are the cops going to get the other “vendors” off the street, they offer me “products” everytime I ride on that damn esplanade.

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  • Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 4, 2007 at 11:38 am

    “I wonder if the permit extends authority to activity on the walkway there as well. If not, it seems as though he might be entitled to continue on as usual.”

    According to Rich Curtis, their permit blankets the entire park from Riverplace to Burnside, not just the Waterfront Village.

    “It’s not clear from the article whether Martell is traveling that stretch of the waterfront during the festival, but if so, it would probably aggravate the congestion.”

    Martell definitely travels that stretch. As for congestion… last time I checked, congestion was just a way of life in a city. There is nothing illegal about riding a bicycle that has a large trailer on a multi-use path.

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  • SKiDmark June 4, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    My question is why is there ONLY ONE PEDICAB in the Platinum Bike City? Car-centric San Diego has at least two Pedicab companies, both with several Pedicabs. There are other major cities that have entire fleets of Pedicabs, why not Portland?

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  • Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 4, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Funny you mention that Skidmark,

    Casey is working to bring several more pedicabs in and there’s also a new pedicab business that just cropped up in town. It’s called PDX Pedicabs. I’ve got the guy’s number and I’ll get the story up soon.

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  • Kronda June 4, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    This story stepped out of the realm of the regular corporate asshole with this line:

    They said if I showed up – with or without my pedicab – they would take me to jail and impound my pedicab.

    If they want to be assholes about the ‘vendor’ issue, that is their right I suppose and could be decided in court. But arresting him on site without a bike of any kind (or a regular bike)? What do they think he’s going to do, make money by charging people to ride on his back?

    If it were me, I might be tempted to go hang around outside “the village” all day long to see if they really are that stupid.

    I hate people sometimes.

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  • BURR June 4, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Just another reason Portland doesn’t deserve Platinum…

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  • BikeFreedom June 4, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Hey, I think anyone with a tandem or cargo bike, or any way of carrying an additional adult should go to the waterfront, ride around without and then with a friend, and then have that person give them a buck or two right in front of Rose Festival security while thanking them for the ride. See what they say. If they harrass ya’say “‘Jeez, I just owed my friend a couple of bucks for buying me coffee/beer/food/whatever the other day, and s/he was soooo nice to give me a ride to the waterfront ‘cuz I was tooooo tiiiiiired to walk/ride my bike.” Then complain to the Rose Festival for getting harrassed by security. Let’s see what happens!

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  • ME June 4, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    You don’t need this crap Martell. Let the park have it’s “fun center” and you can go everywhere else. Piss off the cops by arguing and you’ll never see the end of it…even well after the rose fest. is over. With everyone blowing their welfare checks on the over-priced food and puke soaked rides, I don’t see alot of donations for you anyway.

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  • wsbob June 4, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    “According to Rich Curtis, their permit blankets the entire park from Riverplace to Burnside, not just the Waterfront Village.” Jonathan Maus

    Well, that just seems ridiculous given that the village activity doesn’t even occupy the entire area indicated. South, it stops at the Hawthorne Bridge, leaving the intire bowl area non-Fest occupied. North, I’m not sure where, but seems like it stops way short of the Burnside Br.

    This does seem to drive home the point that money is the issue. Even though the Fest doesn’t occupy the entire area, permitting for the entire area assures them that no other competitive activity (other festivals, or activities such as pedicab services)can go on while the Fest is there.

    Thing is, Rose Festival does not provide a pedicab service on the waterfront for the festival duration, and it seems as though, pleasure aspect aside, this is kind of a valuable service to have there for that event. It’s a fair distance from the Marina to where the village is, and some of the hotel guests, diners, etc. could maybe use a lift over to have some “fun” at the village. I’m not sure I understand why Fest people don’t see that to be the case.

    Wonder how much the vendor license is. Probably a couple grand just for the period of the festival. Probably wouldn’t give it to him anyway, even if he was willing to pay for it.

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  • steve June 4, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Mr. Martell may be able to make some money off this one.

    Sue their asses off!

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  • Rian June 4, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    There has to be some non-ligation solution here.

    What does the city office or department that issued RF Village their permits have to say?

    It seems unlikely that the permit issuer would have been so specific to include donation supported activities in the definition of vendor on the permit.

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  • Michael June 4, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Perhaps he can ride up and down the new Naito Parkway bike lanes? That is, if the “village” does not assume that, too.

    Last weekend I was at the NW Folklife Festival in Seattle. While there were no bikes in the festival, they not only tolerated but encouraged every kind of wacky entertainment imaginable. It was AWESOME! Meanwhile back in PDX, we put up with our annual uninspired, supermarket parking lot carnival. It that really the best we can do?

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  • beth h June 5, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    I am SO ready for the Fun Center to move to the Expo center.

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  • BikeR June 6, 2007 at 12:13 am

    Let me lend support to a few ideas.

    1. Pedicabs are an asset to the Rose Festival. I agree with wsbob, in addition to helping transport hotel guests to the Festival, they transport the \”Baby Makers and their muling heads\” from parking destinations to the WF Village. (idea) If Mr. Martell dropped off patrons at boundary points, e.g., Salmon St. Springs, Rose Festival would get a valuable service, the cabs would not contribute to esplanade congestion, and Casey can demonstrate a strange and exotic form of transportation – the bicycle.

    2. I don\’t like Parks permitting the Esplanade for an extended period. This is a car free pathway that provides safe and convenient transport for citizens. Portland\’s Transportation Department can permit roads for a parade, but a parade doesn\’t last 10 days.

    3. For my entertainment tastes I agree with Michael about the WF carnival. The challenge for Michael is to design a 10 day Rose Festival event at Waterfront Park that can net the RF their expected return and pay Parks $90,000. Just keep the funnel cakes.

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  • wsbob June 6, 2007 at 2:31 am

    The RF Village, with all its expensive, mechanized carny entertainment, exists, because it plays a major role in keeping the Fest in the black. I don\’t want to put the carny people out of work, but would sure like to see a substantial reinvisioning of RF village attractions that moved away from much of the mechanized rides and was more bike and HPV friendly. After all, people are interested in and pay to do a lot of other things these days besides whirl-a-bouts. Such things as: gardening (roses? remember them Fest organizers?) technology, music, sustainable living, transportation.

    In a manner that would be far superior to what\’s been happening at the RF Village/Fun Center for decades, the whole Village experience could be transformed into one that would better entertain and help people learn about things going on in the world today. There could be wide, meandering walkways past interesting and breathtaking displays. It could be somethng like a mini-world\’s fair. I suppose that\’s a bit like what the Folklife festival is.

    I kind of think it\’s time to evolve past a lot of the gas powered carnival rides. I\’ll echo BikeR\’s thoughts about what things should be kept at the RF by saying, keep the Ferris Wheel for slow folks like me, and the Slingshot for those that want the big, fast thrill.

    The tall ships/pirate show with excursions has been just fine. Portland has the steamer Portland too upon which excursions may also eventually happen. Portland has a small contingent of electric powered vehicle enthusiasts too.

    Well, I\’m getting way off track here, but again, essentially, I\’m thinking that if the entire RF village concept was substantially revised, it could be a whole lot more interesting, healthier, just as much fun or more, stil make money, and pedicabs would probably be more than welcome.

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  • cecil June 6, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    Today was my commute by foot day, and on the way home I went down the west side of the Esplanade from Main to the Steel Bridge, mainly to see if it was as truly awful as I imagined it might be. At the south end of the \”Fun Zone\” by the Hawthorne Bridge, there were large orange signs that urged \”Human Powered Vehicles\” to proceed with caution, but did not state that cyclists should dismount. About 50 feet further on were some orange signs that supposedly pointed out a \”Fleet Week\” detour for bikes and pedestrians, except that they pointed in the direction that bikes and peds were already traveling, so it was not clear to me what the \”detour\” at that point was. Much further, at the Internment Camp memorial, another \”detour\” sign pointed toward Couch Street. Temporary fenbces had been set up at that point to prevent any further travel down the Esplanade. At that same point, car traffic was being diverted off of Naito Parkway.

    Between the Hawthorne Bridge and Couch Street, the path between the river and the fences around the Fun Zone were jammed with pedestrians. Most HPVs were, indeed, proceeding with caution, but there were a few that were not – riding fast, weaving around, no bells or warnings. The worst were a woman hauling a Burley trailer and her male partner. I don\’t know where they were in such a hurry to be, but they sure were a menace.

    Boy, I can\’t wait fot it to be winter again.

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