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Recap and background of Zoobomber-police summit

Posted by on August 10th, 2007 at 11:08 am

Police and Zoobomb Meeting-12
(File photo)

In a meeting room nine floors above Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg hosted a mini-summit Thursday between representatives of Zoobomb and the Traffic Division of the Portland Police Bureau.

In attendance from Zoobomb were Dave Terry, Corey Sevigny, and Leah Bendlin. From the PPB were Commander Mark Kruger and motorcycle officer Sergeant Mike Fort.

Before I share my recap of the meeting, let’s look at the events that led up to this meeting…

It has been over a year since tensions between Police and Zoobomb participants have reached the “sit down” point. In June 2006 the two discussed the issue of riding on Highway 26 (a route known as “Hellway”). At that meeting, both sides aired their concerns and returned to their respective corners without any low punches.

Police and Zoobomb Meeting-4
Zoobomber Dave Terry
(File photo)

Things remained tranquil on the hill up until June of this year when Kruger began to receive complaints from West Hills residents (including the president of the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association) about how the Zoobombers were careening dangerously around blind curves, not stopping for traffic lights or signs, and riding without lights.

A few weeks later Kruger got another complaint about the Zoobombers. This time it was from PDOT construction crews who said they disobeyed flaggers orders at a work site on W. Burnside Avenue (a popular downhill route).

Then, on July 15th, Kruger’s officers set up a sting operation to catch Zoobombers running a stop sign in the parking lot of the Children’s Museum (read the reaction on the Zoobomb Forum). Riders claimed the show of force was excessive and unneccessary. Kruger said the enforcement was done to deter riders from their ultimate destination: the “Hellway” (Highway 26).

According to Joseph Rose, who wrote about it in the Oregonian, that sting netted 14 Zoobomber citations. The following week, 10 citations were written on residentials streets in the West Hills.

With tickets being written faster than a speeding mini-bike, concerns from Zoobombers that police resources could be put to better use, and the local media hot on the story, it was clear that a bi-lateral summit was needed.

Stepping up to his usual role of mediator and buffer between cyclists and the police was lawyer (and chair of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee) Mark Ginsberg.

So now, on to the meeting.

Commander Kruger brought two main concerns to the table:

  • Illegal riding in the lanes of Highway 26 (the same concerns he had last year)
  • Various complaints of traffic violations and a concern for safety from West Hills residents

Riding on Highway 26
Known as Hellway, the route is a popular thrill-ride for some Zoobombers. Riding on the Highway is 100% legal, but Kruger’s concern stems from video he has (and which he has willingly shared with local TV stations) of ‘bombers swerving way out into motor vehicle lanes. Kruger finds that activity “unacceptable”.

In their defense, the ‘bombers say they only leave the shoulder because it is full of debris and raised manhole covers that would cause serious harm to a rider on a mini-bike going 35-40 mph.

The following is my attempt at a detailed recap. Unless bound by quotes, the following statements are paraphrased from scribbled notes.

Terry: We advise helmets and lights on Hellway, but we can’t control what everyone does. Besides, our lights aren’t good enough to see hazards.

Ginsberg: Maybe ‘bombers can pass out flyers at start of ride warning of dangers and encouraging legal riding behavior.

Police and Zoobomb Meeting-14
L to R: Fort, Kruger, Terry
(File photo)
Police and Zoobomb Meeting-15
L to R: Ginsberg, Fort, Kruger, Terry, Bendlin, Sevigny
(File photo)

Terry: I’m opposed to flyers because they’ll end up as litter. “We prefer to use the oral tradition.”

Bendlin: We do a safety shpeel before each run, but flyers represent authority, which is not very well-received on the hill.

Kruger: I’d say your flyers are a preferable authority to us showing up.

Kruger said his video shows that they don’t leave the shoulder simply due to hazards. Kruger also said he drives on that stretch of highway on his daily commute and he thinks the shoulders are wide and clean. He said perhaps the problem is that they’re riding too fast for the conditions. He reiterated his main concern is with a drunk motorist hitting a bicyclist from behind.

Traffic violations and complaints from West Hills residents
Kruger: What can you guys do so that we stop getting these complaints?

Sevigny: I don’t feel the police presence is a good use of resources. There are more effective places for 10 officers on a Sunday night. Driving 65mph in a 55mph zone is illegal too, but it’s reasonably safe, much like a bicyclist rolling a stop sign. In the five years of Zoobomb, we’ve never had a serious collision with an automobile.

Kruger: I’d quibble with the “use of resources” point. Of the 130,000 citations we issue, only 1% go to bicyclists and we do a lot of speed and drunk driving enforcement.

Kruger then explained that their “servicing of complaints is based on the intensity of the violations” that occur when they go out to observe them. He also mentioned an increase in complaints since the Oregonian article.

Kruger: We’d rather not spend a lot of time on the Zoobombers, there are other things we’d rather do.

Ginsberg: Corey, how do you plan to address the neighborhood complaints?

Sevigny: It’s an open community, and so we’ve got a lot of yahoos that show up. Of the regulars, way over 90% have helmets and lights and ride responsibly.

Terry: We have some influence over what people do, but not control.

Kruger then brought up the issue of riders not staying in the proper lane on residential streets.

Terry: We used to have a system where people in front would yell, “Car!”. That worked well until people in the neighborhood complained that it was too loud.

Kruger then brought up a video he has that shows Zoobombers speeding by the camera in a flash, blowing through controlled intersections.

Police and Zoobomb Meeting
(File photo)
Police and Zoobomb Meeting-7
Bendlin (L), Sevigny (R)
(File photo)

Terry reiterated that these were fringe elements (“yahoos” was the word of the day) to which Kruger replied (with my favorite quote of the day), “I understand the peculiarities of your organizational model.”

The Zoobombers did a good job of making the case that much of things Kruger has issues with are due to these “yahoos” that they have little control over.

Then Kruger wondered what a solution could be for dealing with the “yahoos”.

Kruger: “Should we show up with an officer presence at the start to put a scare into the yahoos? What can we do, as police, to help you bring these outsider elements back to the center?”

(Note: Kruger’s tone in saying this was not heavy-handed, rather it sounded cooperative and sincere.)

Terry: “(Having a cop at the start, or on the hill is) not a good idea. We’d much rather have you give us a chance to influence them ourselves. We want to be the self-cleaning oven so you guys can be out there busting drunk drivers.”

Police and Zoobomb Meeting-6
(File photo)

At this point, there was a real esprit de corps in the room and all three Zoobombers expressed that the meeting had been a great, and needed, step in the right direction.

Then, throwing a wet blanket on the mood, Kruger brought up alcohol consumption on the hill. He recommended that more peer pressure should be used to discourage drinking. If not, Kruger said if they ever bust a Zoobomber for a DUII, they “will not hesitate to make a big deal of it and let the whole world know.” This ominous statement implied that the resulting PR would be a very bad thing for the Zoobombers.

Again the ‘bombers said how difficult it is to control what everyone does but they nodded in agreement to Kruger’s warning and suggestion for more peer pressure.

Final analysis
Kruger plans to closely monitor Highway 26 riding and will communicate with Ginsberg if/when they plan an enforcement mission in the area. He also plans to send an officer to monitor the West Hills. He reiterated that the ‘bombers should do their best to exert peer pressure to some of the fringe elements.

The Zoobombers were very appreciative to have Kruger’s concerns clarified and the mood at the end was generally upbeat (as the group photo can attest).

What happens now is anyone’s guess. Were both sides being sincere, or was this all just posturing? It sounded and felt sincere to me, but I tend to not be as cynical as I probably should be in situations like this.

Matt Davis at the Mercury wrote that the meeting was, “a merry little rhetorical dance” and that it was only done “in response to an Oregonian article…The cops don’t want to look stupid in the press. And who can blame them.”

My sense is that Kruger would rather not deal with this issue, but that he has no plans to turn a blind eye as long as egregious traffic violations (which he feels are unacceptably dangerous) continue to take place.

I also think that some veteran Zoobombers are wary of what could happen if their beloved activity stays on the radar of the PPB. They seem to understand that if they don’t at least attempt to make some changes, they’ll continue to be under the microscope, which they clearly would like to avoid.

Time will tell how this all ends up, but this meeting definitely seemed to smooth over a frayed relationship.

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Comments
  • steve August 10, 2007 at 11:31 am

    So kruger\’s main concern is a drunk motorist hitting a cyclist from behind?

    Well, it sure makes sense to harass the cyclists instead of busting drunk drivers. What a reasonable and logical conclusion. Dare I say, kruger for mayor?

    Heya Jonathon-

    Why doesn\’t everyones favorite piggy get a neat little orange tag after his name linking to his youthful indiscretions, and delightfully violent frolicking?

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  • wsbob August 10, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    Discourage drinking. No alcohol. Well, that\’s funny, because isn\’t riding bombed off your ass on cheap, crappy PBR a fundamental part of the \”fun\” of Zoobombing? I give the Zbombers that showed up to the meeting points for being civil and attempting to have a constructive dialogue with the cops, but it\’ll be surprising if they have any luck advising the yahoos to behave differently.

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  • Lee August 10, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    I admire the bicycle scene down in Portland, but the wrongheadedness of requiring cyclists to ride on the shoulder/bike lane where present rather than in the traffic lane and full DUI penalties for cyclists always have a bit of a chilling effect when I cross the border.

    Certainly Kruger is aware that being hit from behind is, though feared, one of the rarest types of cyclist accident? I believe nationally it\’s maybe 3-4% of all bicycle accidents.

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  • Jeff P August 10, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    I\’ve noted it before in discussions about Hwy 26 on the west side but regarding riding on the shoulder:

    Washington County Sheriff spokesperson Sandy James has publicly stated that they consider riding on the shoulder of the highway to be illegal. According to WCSD the state law requires all travel to be in the lanes – shoulders are for emergencies only. She actually stated for a bike to ride legally on a highway [as allowed in Oregon in all but a few specific locations] they have to ride in the first lane, as far right as practical.

    Is this really what Oregon requires and does the law need to change to allow the Zoobombers to ride on the shoulder as PPD wishes they should?

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  • felix August 10, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    All this talk of Zoobomb is almost as fun as the real thing. Come find out Sunday!

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  • wyatt August 10, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    What there needs to be is a nomadic zoobomb. If you keep bombing the same hill….well, you see what happens.

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  • Jasun Wurster August 10, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    I am curious to see the front camera of the cop car that captured the Zoobombers on Hellway.

    I suspect that there was *NO* on-coming traffic and posed a threat to no one… except the concept of non-accountable authoritarian rule that the PPB are trying to protect.

    Really, let us see the entire video both front and back of the cop car and of the stings that the police have (with audio) so we can hear their remarks and comments.

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  • Matt Picio August 10, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    \”Kruger also said he drives on that stretch of highway on his daily commute and he thinks the shoulders are wide and clean\”

    Wide, sure. Clean?!?

    Of course the shoulder looks clean from the traffic lane at 55mph. I encourage Commander Kruger to get on a bike, and see what that same shoulder looks like at 35mph on the shoulder itself, with vision unobstructed by the shell of a car. He\’ll see there is a tremendous difference.

    That said, taking the lane is fine (and legal) – weaving across 2+ lanes is not.

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  • SKiDmark August 10, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    That shoulder is covered with road debris and is sketchy on a 26\” wheeled cruiser.

    Nobody in Zoobomb is saying that weaving out into the traffic lanes is OK, THAT kind of behavior is discouraged. What is encouraged is wearing safety gear especially a helmet, and Zoobomb also encourages the use of lights.

    That video is on Crank My Chain with audio.

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  • DK August 10, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    They should have came up agreeing to riding in the first lane period! End of \”summit\”. And this story could have done without all the pictures. What\’s that about? My pc takes for ever to pass through them.

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  • Evan August 10, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    I\’m reminded of our very recent discussion about going through stop signs in North Plains. How is it that we get criticized for rolling through a stop sign in the middle of the day at 2-3 miles an hour (when we know it is illegal), but the Zoobombers find it OK to blast through stops signs at full speed, at night, with maybe a rear blinking light? I must admit I am a little skeptical about the level and harshness of their self-policing.

    It seems that one group is trying real hard to legitimize bicycles, while the other group is trying to legitimize flaunting the law. Yahoos or not, a lot of the \’bombers are not exactly poster children for our cause. Most non-cyclists lump anybody on a bike into one group, and the more the \’bombers and others show a brazen disregard for the rules of the road, the less they will listen to our very legitimate request for fair and equal treatment. If I were driving at night in that neighborhood and hit and killed a \’bomber who blew a stop sign, dressed in black, with no lights, who would you feel sorry for? The dumbass who blew the stop sign, or me, the person who has to live knowing I took someone\’s life, even though he was at fault? Chances are both, of course, but let\’s look at where the blame for such a tragedy would lie. Sorry, but not with the driver. Thanks for playing.

    The law is the law. If you don\’t like the law, work to change it.

    No matter who is right and wrong, we all know who loses the battle when a car and a bike get in a fight.

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  • BURR August 10, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    at Evan #10 congratulations to you and all the reactionaries working so hard here to hone your anti-fun message in which you plead sincerely for meek submission to the police, homogenization and conformity. guess what, not every cyclist is a suburban roadie, nor does every cyclist want to emulate the surburban roadie model.

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  • SKiDmark August 10, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Evan, what you don\’t seem to understand is that if YOU went to Zoobomb, you YOURSELF would have the option of running the STOP sign and red lights. It would be a decision for YOU to make on your own. Just because everbody else runs the STOP sign does not mean YOU have to.

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  • SKiDmark August 10, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    I am a suburban roadie Burr. And a suburban freak bike rider.

    I think the word you are looking for is conformist.

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  • Tasha August 10, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    I feel conflicted on this, as I, too, get really annoyed when cyclists ride at night, in black, blowing stop signs, with no helmet. If I happen to be driving (which I sometimes do, of course), I can be super careful and still almost hit someone in these conditions because I CANNOT see them. I think personal responsibility is great, but I have a feeling if a Zoobomber did end up getting hit by a car, their friends and community wouldn\’t just go \”oh well, they knew the dangers of what they were doing and died/got injured doing it. no biggie.\” No, I think they would be pissed off at the car who hit them, no matter how much they might have been in the wrong. So, I think that there must be a line drawn between having fun and bending the rules; and being mindful of other users of the road and the laws they all must follow for there not to be complete anarchy.

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  • Lynne August 10, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Please define \”suburban roadie\”…

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  • BURR August 10, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    @Tasha#15. That\’s one reason why zoooBomb happens late on Sunday night, it\’s the time of the week with the least traffic possible. the cops show up in force, on overtime no doubt, and give tickets out at a stop sign at a crosswalk on an empty road between an empty parking lot and a closed museum. it\’s a waste of police resources, and a waste of taxpayer funds.

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  • BURR August 10, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    @skidmark#14. you know what I meant, it wasn\’t personally directed at you, my bad, no offence?

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  • who cares August 10, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    yawn.

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  • SKiDmark August 10, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    It is not against the law to wear dark clothes at night, and it is not required to wear a helmet. What is required is a headlight and either a red reflector or a red light. I think a car driver should be able to see a person on a bike with the lighting requirements that the law dictates, and nothing more. Pedestrians are not required to even have lights, and it is the car driver\’s responsibity to see them too.

    As far as how Zoobomber react to riders that get hurtby cars,it depends on the circumstance. If it were someone who gotted while running a light then the accident is their fault, and noby is going to be blaming the person driving the car. But if the car ran the light or STOP ,and it happens all the time up there, or if the car deliberately try to hit the cyclist (yeah it happened) then I am sure their fellow Zoobomber would be rightly angered.

    It is one thing to be popped for running a STOP sign downtown as part of regular Police patrol but it is quite another thing when there are 4 or 5 Police vehicles who are specifically out there simply to target us, especially with, to use Kruger\’s words, \”drunk drivers out there\”. Not to mention all the drugs being sold downtown at all hours.

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  • Dabby August 10, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Kruger Schmuger.

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  • rixtir August 10, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    BURR, I assume then that you\’d be fully supportive of ticketing red light runners on Burnside then? That your issues with the ticketing aren\’t just smoke and mirrors?

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  • SKiDmark August 10, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Burr, I just hate how the suburb are always picked on. There is a fairly equal mix of Liberals and Conservatives out here, plenty of tattooed and pierced freaks,and even hipsters, punks and goths. There are lots of cyclists in our bike lanes, some ride recumbents. The idea that the suburbs are entirely homgenous is an idea held by those who don\’t live here and never come here. I am not offended, I just want to dispel the myth.

    I think the one bitching about Zoobomb not towing the party line are from Portland. They are likely the stereotypical uptight semi-progressive commuter with the orange vest, the safety-zealots. It is funny how even the counterculture ends up being conformist up here.

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  • rixtir August 10, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    SKiDmark, it seems to me all the bitching is coming from people who want to blow red lights with no consequences.

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  • matchu August 10, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    Regarding the maintenance and cleaning of Portland\’s roads, such as the shoulder of Highway 26… I\’ve called the Street Cleaning hotline for the City of Portland (503-823-1700) and both times, when I\’ve reported incidents of glass being present in copious amounts at intersections around my neighborhood, the phone operator sound annoyed that I had called. She even went as far as to remark that I had called just a couple of days ago.. To which I replied, \”Yep. I did!\”

    Has any one else had similar experiences? Are you supposed to only call in for emergency clean ups? My impression from other posters on this site was that it was a number to call when streets started to become hazardous to drive/bicycle due to debris.

    Whatever the reason for the operator\’s tone, this number might be a good one for several readers to call so that the city does something about all the junk on the shoulders of Highway 26.

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  • SKiDmark August 10, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    I am sorry you cannot discern between going thru a stop sign in a parking lot in front of a building that has been closed for 5 hours with the only traffic being the bicycles going thru the stop sign and going thru a stop sign in a busy downtown intersection. I am sorry you can\’t see the difference between an undercover car with a camera the 3 more Police vehicles (and what a ridiculous waste of Police resources that is) and a Police car on regular patrol pulling over a Zoobomber downtown. You obviously have no clue as to how many tickets Zoobombers have recieved over the years, which happens to be about the same number that Zoobombers HAVEN\’T bitched about.

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  • Dabby August 10, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Running a stop sign is just that.
    No matter where it happen.
    I know this. I sometimes run them, always looking fully first.
    Until the law changes, you will just have to pay the ticket if you get caught.

    Whining about where it happened will get you nowhere.
    But it will get you negative attention, if that is what you are looking for

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  • rixtir August 10, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Actually, I can discern the difference between blowing a red light on Burnside and blowing a stop sign in a deserted parking lot.

    I can also discern that had the police handed out tickets on Burnside instead of in the parking lot, we\’d still all be hearing about this, the greatest injustice to ever befall humanity.

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  • gus August 10, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Mind you the PPB presence was this guy: http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=30725&category=34029
    I can\’t bring my self to believe that he wants to do anything to work together with anyone. Maybe I\’m just a cynic.
    The ZB problem of running red lights will self correct anyway, just a matter of someone getting clipped….

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  • BURR August 10, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    so what exactly is your problem, rixtir, if I may ask?

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  • SKIDmark August 10, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    SKiDmark said:

    \”You obviously have no clue as to how many tickets Zoobombers have recieved over the years, which happens to be about the same number that Zoobombers HAVEN\’T bitched about.\”

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  • Donna August 10, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    I\’m glad to see that someone brought up the Traffic Commander\’s history. Thanks, gus. I\’m not anti-police at all, but I will never be able to bring myself to trust the motivations and reasons for action of a group of police officers headed by *that specific man*. Ever. At all. Period.

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  • Tasha August 10, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    I think if you\’re going to argue that it\’s okay for bikes to run those stop signs late at night, with no one else around, then you have to also agree it\’s okay for cars to do this (and I\’m sure they do, but that\’s besides the point). I\’ve rolled through many a stop sign (and even light) in my life, on both my bike and in my car, but if I happen to get caught doing so, I would have no right to bitch about it, because it IS breaking the law. Sure, it sucks, and sure, it seems the police should have better things to do with their time, but hell, I\’ve been ticketed for JAYWALKING before (not in Portland). It\’s stupid and it doesn\’t seem \”fair\”, but the law\’s the law, and sometimes, \”life aint fair\”. We must accept the consequences of our choices. That\’s my two (or ten?) cents.

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  • BURR August 10, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    there\’s the law and then there is public safety. who here really thinks zoobombing is actually a risk to \’public safety\’? who here really thinks rolling a stop sign on a bike on a bike boulevard at less than 10 mph is a risk to public safety? Kruger is a \’by the book\’ control freak kind of a cop, and not the right person for the job.

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  • wsbob August 11, 2007 at 1:13 am

    \”Kruger: We’d rather not spend a lot of time on the Zoobombers, there are other things we’d rather do.\”

    I doubt it. Look, it\’s Sunday night, even thieves, murderers and rapists take a break. The police got nothing to do, and here is an easy, great-publicity rich, safe thing for them to do on boring Sunday nights, pacifying whiny west-hills homeowners and appeasing the concerns of law abiding suburbanites across the metro area. The department even gets to use grant money to do this.

    Why in the world would they leave you alone? Why don\’t you guys wise up? I can just imagine that the departments next big publicity score is, as K-man hints at, to bust some of you fools for DUI,

    \’If not, Kruger said if they ever bust a Zoobomber for a DUII, they \”will not hesitate to make a big deal of it and let the whole world know.\” \’. (jonathan Maus/bikeportland)

    ….and here you all are, just playing right into their plans. More great publicity for the cops!

    I\’ve seen this before…the whole, \’we hate cops!\’ refrain that ironically betrays some kind of weird attraction to them. Well, have a good time on your date, kids.

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  • SKiDmark August 11, 2007 at 1:26 am

    Tasha:only one stop sign,only one. In a park late at night. Being filmed by an undercover car with a surviellance camera. Don\’t you think undercover cars with surveillance cameras could be used for some bigger crime than a bunch of bikes running a stop sign at midnight in a in front of a museum that has been closed for 5 hours?

    Really, if this had happened on Fairview or Burnside or Salmon then it would be fair game and nobody would be bitching. But for the Police to go thru all that trouble, I wonder if they they will break even when you add up the manpower and resources required to pull off issuing those tickets,and to go to court on them.

    I\’ve seen it before too wsbob. The Police are getting ready to kill Zoobomb, just like they did Critical Mass. Platinum Status my ass.

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  • wsbob August 11, 2007 at 2:09 am

    Yup. Keep the old fun and games going on, and the cops will kill zoobomb. Or, maybe they won\’t kill it until they get some really good (for them) publicity out of it, like the aforementioned DUI\’s. Might as well milk this for all its worth. And then, there\’ll be a little shinier glint on their uh….halo, so to speak. At least try to do something that won\’t make the bomb such easy pickings; pick random nights or whatever.

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  • Mr. Viddy August 11, 2007 at 8:31 am

    I ain\’t cool enough to zoobomb and it really isn\’t my thing but I\’d hate to see it be killed off by folks who are simply too uptight. The cops, yeah they are just being cops. I suspect that the residents of the area and the neighborhood association are the ones who are doing a lot of the muckraking here.

    I do agree with what Kruger said though, better the zoobombers themselves use a little authority over the group than the police. Flyers, oral tradition, whatever. Have your fun, be crazy and all that but remind everyone that you are on the radar and it only makes sense to watch your backs.

    Pedal on little zoobombers.

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  • BURR August 11, 2007 at 9:09 am

    @wsbob: Portland Police are hiring!

    http://www.portlandonline.com/joinportlandpolice/

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  • steve August 11, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Donna @ post #32-

    I too am glad that some of us are responsible enough to point out the history of such a high ranking public servant. It is obviously in the publics best interest for this information to be routinely acknowledged.

    The real question is why Jonathon refuses to point it out. His refusal to hold this man(and the police) accountable is lock step in line with the main stream media. If sources like this refuse to give us necessary and vital information, where are we to look?

    Every post that does not mention Krugers violent and costly(to us taxpayers) past, simply perpetuates his authority and helps to legitimize his roll in our city.

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  • DJ August 11, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Where is the summit for stop signs as yield signs for bikes? Why do these pseudo-cyclists get ANY attention? I get a ticket for rolling stop signs, cars get them, zoobombers aren\’t some great special exception. If they don\’t like law enforcement ticketing them then stop.

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  • SKiDmark August 11, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Does anyone actually read the whole article and all the responses or do people just read one sentence and type their knee-jerk reaction?

    This is just as bad if not worse than the whole fixed gear debacle.

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  • wsbob August 11, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Well Burr, recruiting for the police now, are you? No thanks.

    Assume for a moment, that in the history of the zoobomb, the police had never intervened in any of the fun and games some of the bombers are known for; the yelling, being drunk while riding, general disregard for rules of the road and so forth.

    Here is a group whose members admit the pastime attracts \”..yahoos..\” \”It’s an open community, and so we’ve got a lot of yahoos that show up.\”(Sevigny), and who also concede they can\’t manage those people\’s behavior: \”We have some influence over what people do, but not control.\” Terry.

    Yeah, what a great, open community, when what it\’s member do is behave like morons in someone else\’s neighborhood and on public roadways. This is the kind of community most intelligent people would not want to grow to very large numbers.

    Still, the Zbombers whine like babies, \’we hate cops! just leave us alone\’, when the society at large that they live in calls them on their conduct.

    Who knows, maybe the police intervening in this phenomena makes no difference in the numbers of people participating in the bomb or the behavior its members display. Maybe they\’re just wasting everybody\’s time and resources. Maybe if the cops stop showing up, the bomb will just quietly go away. Or not.

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  • rixtir August 11, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    so what exactly is your problem, rixtir, if I may ask?

    You\’re right BURR, I\’ve been extremely negelctful in sending Jonathan press releases about all of my personal problems. In light of my neglect, it\’s no wonder you ask.

    I should really rectify this situation, and get to work on sending Jonathan some press releases about my problems.

    You know what else? I\’ve also been extremely neglectful about blaming everybody but myself for my personal problems.

    There, I already feel better, acknowledging that…

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 11, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Steve (and others),

    I have no agenda behind the fact that I don\’t bring up Kruger\’s dubious past.

    It\’s something (both my reporting and his past) I have thought a lot about.

    I\’m not opposed to shining a light on your completely valid concerns about him.

    I guess I\’ve just taken the position of trying my best to work with the cards we\’ve been dealt, instead of working to get a new deck.

    There is more to this than I have time to write, but I plan to deal with this more next week. Thanks.

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  • rixtir August 11, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    \”You obviously have no clue as to how many tickets Zoobombers have recieved over the years, which happens to be about the same number that Zoobombers HAVEN\’T bitched about.\”

    SKiDMark, I realized that you had made this point after I had already posted. So if in fact zoobombers have received citations over the years that they haven\’t complained about, then my conclusion– that we\’d be hearing complaints regardless of where the ticketing took place– was unwarranted.

    That said, zoobombers have been blowing red lights and stop signs down Burnside every Sunday for years before the parking lot tickets. And they\’ve been blowing red lights and stop signs down Burnside since the parking lot tickets.

    Given that basic reality, the fact that they got ticketed in the parking lot instead of on Burnside is a meaningless distinction.

    They *rarely* get cited for blowing stops. This time, they got cited. Just deal with it.

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  • corey August 11, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    rixtir, dabby, wsbob, et all;

    you are all hypocrites. every single one of you breaks at least one law every day. if there was a cop watching you all the time, by the end of the week, you would either be in jail or in the $1200 plus ticket range. when you actually start getting harassed by the police (like if they were to follow you over the course of a day), your \”too bad, don\’t break the law\” mantra would change.

    every time you self-righteous jerks get in your cars, how many people do you see going 60-65 in a 55mph zone? EVERYONE. that is illegal, yet Whitebread America (people such as yourselves) would be up in arms if tickets were given out for going 8mph over the speed limit.

    if you live in a glass house, don\’t play with rocks.

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  • steve August 11, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    Jonathon-

    I know you are a busy chap, though this is the third instance you have said comment would be forthcoming on your \’agendaless\’ decision to refuse to acknowledge Krugers behaviour.

    It seems baffling that at almost any mention of a person with a newsworthy, print based history, you provide a highlighted link either under their name or after it, and that Kruger somehow always avoids this. Or you simply link to some fluff. Seems unlikely to be an accident, and how there could be no agenda(even a valid one) behind that decision is beyond me.

    It seems disingenuous to imply that you have no agenda. This is an individual with great power to control your access to a noteworthy institution. This is the same situation we deal with in our reporting from Washington. No one wants to ruffle feathers and lose out on all their good quote/copy.

    If no one has access to real information, how can change or even responsible decisions exist? Simply regurgitating what Kruger, or any other agenda based individual tells you, does not cut it.

    Obviously your readers can develop and formulate their own opinions. But when you give equal weight to all sides, or refuse to point out valuable facts, you are in effect shaping the parameters of their decision process.

    It is subtle, probably somewhat unintentional, and when played out on a national scale, is harming our republic and the people in it. Not to mention furthering the agenda of the people controlling the information. And to assume that Authority has no agenda, no plan in place to control dissemination of propaganda, is naive at best.

    We get enough \’fair and balanced\’ from Fox news. How about some truth, honesty and rational analysis of fact for a change? How about forcing public officials to be accountable? Holding their actions up for public scrutiny and discourse? Why should your commenters be forced to do this legwork?

    Why continue to support and be a mouthpiece for such a reprehensible person?

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  • Ken August 11, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Jonathan, please count me in the camp that wants to see you keep doing what you are doing, the way you are doing it.

    What I don\’t think Steve and some others realize is that there is a reason that you have a privilaged position in getting news and interviews with local government and bicycle advocates and that is because you present the information you are given from the source and leave it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions based on the facts presented.

    There is a reason Lars Larson can\’t get an interview with the governor, nor many people who don\’t agree with his right wing philosophy. His name calling, interrupting, presuppositions and rude behavior makes it so that people don\’t want to deal with him. We don\’t need that with this site.

    The simple fact is that everytime Kruger\’s name is brought up, someone brings up his past anyway. I don\’t think there is a person reading this stuff that doesn\’t know about him. To put a yellow link on his name with links to these stories will only raise the probability that he would see you as being biased and no longer be as open to dealing with this site. Let others put their opinion and his history on here and just keep on bringing us the unbiased reporting. If I want biased bicycle news there are plenty of other places to go.

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  • rixtir August 11, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Which glass house Corey?

    I don\’t drive a car, in part because I don\’t own a car. If you had any ability to think your way outside of the rhetorical corner you\’ve just painted yourself into, you\’d realize that you actually know nothing about me, and therefore woulnd\’t have made a fool of yourself by talking about me \”getting in my car\” as the basis of your argument.

    It probably sounds good to you, though.

    Anyway, you\’re right, I do jaywalk occasionally, and if a cop wanted to ticket me for it, I\’d get ticketed.

    And that\’s where the similarities would end, because I sure as fuck wouldn\’t send Jonathan a press release complaining about how this great injustice was visited upon me *by somebody else\’s behavior.*

    Sure, I\’d think the ticket would suck. That\’s why, in fact, I always look to see if a cop is watching before I step off the curb. But in the end, I\’d acknowledge that I was the one who brought the ticket upon myself.

    Know what else? I\’ve actually started to curtail my jaywalking, because even though I only do it when there are no vehicles on the roadway, I realize that it\’s hypocritical for me to say everybody else should just develop the patience to wait until they have the right of way, if I can\’t wait for it either.

    But if you really want me to get with the program, I can tell everybody here about the time a cop yelled at me for speeding. It was years ago, when I too thought the world revolved around me, but he was really mean about it. Want me to send Jonathan a press release?

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  • corey August 11, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    wow, Saint Rixtir the Immaculate Citizen strikes again! i pale in your law-abiding saintliness.

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  • rixtir August 11, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Speaking of glass houses, Corey, I\’ve seen the photos. The word \”Whitebread\” should never leave your lips in an accusatory tone. Know what I mean?

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  • SKiDmark August 11, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    rixter, I am sure you read it but maybe you didn\’t notice this meeting was set up by Mark Ginsberg. He is not a Zoobomber to my knowledge. I think Jonathan was there because of his skills as a liason as well as the fact that he runs this blog. Because Jonathan function as a liason, it is not in anyone best interest for him to get all \”Geraldo Rivera\” on Kruger. See, he has Zoobomb\’s interest at heart, but even moreso he has the entire bike community\’s interests at heart. Last year the Police shut down Critical Mass, and this year they have their eyes set on Zoobomb. Next year it could be Multnomah County Bike Fair, or any one of the many small bike club group rides that goes on in this city. It might at some point effect normal you directly. Where do you draw the line?

    I have a feeling you are likely a person who blends in, so you don\’t really know what it is like to be outside the norm of society, and to therefore garner the unnecessary attention of the Police, just for being weird. And no, the answer is not just to fit in. Do you how boring this town would be without C.H.V.N.K. 666, the Clowns, Zoobomb, the Sprockettes, Drop Outs Bike Club, the Belligerantes,etc…,etc… Jonathan\’s photo section would be half-empty.

    SOme of you have this idea that Zoobomb goes out and solicits all this media attention when the reality of it is that we only release information about events to the media for the most part. Notable exceptions would be when the off-duty Police took our bikes, when Rev. Phil got seriously injured because of kids throwing ice, when a car tried to run a few riders down, and now this latest expensive \”sting\” operation to write less than 20 tickets. Please get some perspective, and try to be objective.

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  • rixtir August 11, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    SKiDmark, I\’m pretty sure that I haven\’t actually criticised zoobombers for \’bombing in this thread. What I have done is \”laugh out loud\” at the allegations that the tickets are somehow unfair. That\’s because the \”issue\” raised– that the tickets are unfair because they were handed out in a parking lot instead of on Burnside– doesn\’t pass the laugh test.

    The only \”evidence\” I\’ve ever seen presented on this site that the police are \”anti-bicycle\” is the dubious argument that ticketing red-light runners is somehow \”anti-bicycle.\”

    Now if you want to tell me that the police are anti-bicycle because they don\’t give a fuck about bike theft in this town, or because they write biased police reports when there\’s a collision between a driver and a bicyclist, I might quibble a bit on the details– it probably indicates extreme indifference owing to a cultural and personal bias in favor of cars, rather than an \”anti-bicycle\” attitude– but the hypothesis can at least pass the laugh test.

    And you\’re right, I do blend in. I just don\’t feel the need to define myself by my appearance any longer. But even when I did dress the part, I never really attracted police attention, except when i tried to cross the border into Canada. I got lots of police attention there, andc it was based entirely on how I looked. No big deal, they didn\’t find the drugs they were obviously looking for, because I wasn\’t carryiong drugs. \”Saint Rixtir the Immaculate Citizen\” and all that. I suppose if I had been carryinmg drugs, and been busted, I could have raised a huge fuss here about how unfair it all was. Anyway, I\’ve sort of stopped feeling the need to define myself by my appearance these days. But if you make the mistake of assuming you know what my beliefs are, based on my appearance, you will be as far off base as Canadian immigration.

    Now, where do I draw the line? I draw the line at harassing a cyclist who is obeying the law. I draw the line at citing cyclists who are riding within the law. I draw the line at targeting cyclists for traffic violations while turning a blind eye towards drivers. I draw the line at ignoring crimes against cyclists. I draw the line at biased police reports.

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  • Donna August 11, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Steve, while gus pointed out our Traffic Commander\’s history and I expressed appreciation that he did, I do not think it is Jonathan\’s role in the least to be investigating or even mentioning this. If you would like to see Kruger\’s dirty laundry all over the media, write Willamette Week or the Mercury and see if one of their hard-nosed journalists will take it on. I think those papers are the best venue for that kind of story, and I\’d pesonally welcome seeing it.

    People like Jonathan (and Mark Ginsburg) have to maintain a certain amount of neutrality and diplomatic behavior in order to help our community get what we need. Do you really think someone like Kruger would give Jonathan the time of day, much less ticket or accident statistics if Jonathan went and publicly and vociferously showed us all what kind of human being he truly is? I highly doubt it.

    Thank you, Jonathan, for letting us express our opinions of this very sensitive subject. :)

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  • wsbob August 11, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    First, I want to amend the second to the last sentence of my most recent post: \”Maybe if the cops stop showing up, the bomb will just (shape up or) quietly go away.\”

    I\’m happy to see people be different, do different things, be out of the mold. I only see difference to be a problem when the people manifesting it go out of their way to disrupt everybody else in the community in addition to unnecessarily attracting the attention of certain authorities they claim to dislike having any contact with whatsoever. That to me seems to describe at least some of the Zbombers that are probably the source of most of zoobombing\’s problems.

    Corey, open your eyes. Probably most people making up the population are not unfailing in observing rules, laws, and regulations that help to create a tolerable society in which a widely diverse range of people can reasonably coexist. Unlike the Zbombers, they do not go charging around together through neighborhoods in the dead of night, drunk on their can, yelling at the top of their lungs and disregarding rules of the road.

    Regarding Krueger, I think Ken (#49) makes a good point about the editor and publisher of this blog, Jonathan Maus\’s position in regards to putting the spotlight on some of the questionable things Krueger has done as a police officer. As a journalist, Maus would presumably be hoping to sustain a certain objectivity in reporting events of importance to the community. Maybe to him at this time, it doesn\’t seem right to diverge off into a tangent by discussing Krueger\’s job performance idiosyncrasies.

    But for everybody else, hey, I\’d say, go ahead and post those links. For some of us, memory tends to be short, and reminders are helpful. Isn\’t Commander Mark Kruger the guy who gleefully pepper-sprayed babies?

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  • SKiDmark August 11, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    wsbob, you should Zoobomb and see what actually goes on instead of relying on information from secondhand sources, including other Zoobombers.

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  • gus August 11, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    Regarding Kruger and the link to the article about his past. I did not and not think it is the responsibility of Jonathan, in connection with reporting events, to mention this, link it or otherwise discuss it.

    It is however the responsibility of informed readers to know this as one element in judging the seeming sincerity (or possible lack thereof) in Kruger\’s comments at the meeting and his overall posture.

    Many folks here know his past, many do not. I felt that it was something that should be mentioned in the commentary so that the otherwise unknowing reader would be better able to estimate the productivity of the meeting for themselves.

    Additionally it puts his statement that if they ever bust a Zoobomber for a DUII, they “will not hesitate to make a big deal of it and let the whole world know\” in a somewhat less antiseptic light. It also makes me wonder what exactly the statement will be and how it will be delivered.

    As Davis wrote, the meeting was a \”merry little rhetorical dance\”. I suspect that is all it will be.

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  • AllOver August 11, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    \”I only see difference to be a problem when the people manifesting it go out of their way to disrupt everybody else in the community in addition to unnecessarily attracting the attention of certain authorities they claim to dislike having any contact with whatsoever.\”

    Oh please! The zoobombers like to ride their bikes pretty fast down a hill once a week. Are they really \”disrupting\” the community? Please…. Assuming they make the amount of noise you claim they make (I doubt it) they \”disrupt\” the community much less then people on really loud cars/motorcycles driving past my \”community\” constantly. If you don\’t like it, move out of the city, it\’s part of what goes with living in the city.

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  • wsbob August 12, 2007 at 1:11 am

    Skidmark, I appreciate the suggestion to ride the bomb, but it\’s not really my idea of fun. Riding down 26 approaching the Vista Tunnel in the day is bad enough,let alone riding at night with the kind of crummy headlight I\’d be able to come up with.

    \”Kruger also said he drives on that stretch of highway on his daily commute and he thinks the shoulders are wide and clean.\” bikeportland

    If Kruger is certain this shoulder is wide and clean from the perspective of person on a bike, I\’d like to know how. Maybe he has telescopic vision.

    More importantly, in the grand scheme of things, I figure my opinion of the Zbomb, the Zbombers, and what some or all of them do on the ride, doesn\’t make much of a difference one way or another.

    I feel I can fairly safely assume that all Zbombers are not yahoos, and not all yahoos are Zbombers. I\’ll bet the majority of drunk morons coming along on your rides are just hanger-ons or wannabes. If the Zoobomb is going to survive, somehow, the dynamic that exists between the Zoobomb and the police will have to be neutralized.

    Don\’t you people see that the cops are using you? It\’s an easy gig for them.

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  • SKiDmark August 12, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Hellway is just one of the runs. The other ones occur on the aforementioned Fairview, Burnside, and Salmon.

    Part of the \”briefing\” that we give before the run is to tell people NOT to yell unnecessarily, also to call what side you are passing on, to yell \”CAR\” when there is oncoming traffic.There is no need for every single person to yell \”CAR\”, the last person in a group can yell \”CAR\” so the next group coming around the corner can hear the warning. Zoobomb is much quieter than it used to be, mainly because the people in the neighborhood have complained and we have listened.

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  • SKiDmark August 12, 2007 at 11:56 am

    I am not sure what the Police could be \”using\” us for. If you mean they are trying to set us at ease so they can bust us later, I assure you that the majority of us are aware of that.

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  • corey August 12, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    ok i give up, rixtir and wsbob are right. it\’s time for us to stop giving good cyclists a bad name. next weeks zoobomb will occur at 2pm in the afternoon on the Springwater Corridor (to avoid any disruption to the lives of the West Hills Elite). we will ride slowly, on flat land, on $2000 road bikes, in full spandex, and charge people $30 for the ride, with all the proceeds (after paying our Director, Secretary, Volunteer Coordinator, and the lease on our new 1000 square foot office in the Pearl) going to Photo Opportunities With Children, a non-profit organization designed to help other non-profit organizations put a cute and non-controversial face on their non-controversial issues.

    thanks for helping me see the light. i will be good and normal from now on.

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  • wsbob August 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    It\’s great pr for them. To most of the population, it puts them in a positive light, maintaining law and order and all that, presents an example that suggests they care about the welfare of their fellowman, etc,etc.

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  • rixtir August 12, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    i will be good and normal from now on.

    When you\’ve been chased all night by a police helicopter equipped with a spot light, and by a posse equipped with rifles and motion detectors/listening devices, and a police aircraft aequipped with infrared sensors, let me know. When that posse– a posse that has threatened to kill you if they catch you– passes within a few feet of you, and your heart is beating so hard you actually believe they\’ll hear it, you let me know. When you\’ve lain on the desert floor at 2 AM, hallucinating because you\’ve been running all night, and you\’re exhausted, out of water, and it\’s bitterly cold, you let me know. When you\’ve been chased through the woods by mounted police, you let me know. When you\’ve walked through the camp of said armed men because it\’s the only way out of the valley, you let me know.

    Until then, you\’re just a rank whitebread amateur playing at being \”the rebel,\” and boasting about your \”rebel\” status doesn\’t change that essential fact.

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  • SKiDmark August 12, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    I guess rixter is really Jason Bourne.

    If what you are talking about is being in the military, then you are not talking about being a rebel or an outlaw anyway. Obviously it is dangerous and takes big cojones, but it is the polar opposite.

    I agree Zoobomb is small potatoes compared to some of the stupid shit humans endanger their lives with, but Zoobomb is supposed to be about lighthearted harmless fun, not \”extreme\” danger, or even civil disobedience. The fact that it is supposed to be simply FUN just underlines how ridiculous it is for the Police to employ undercover cars with cameras and several other Police cars and motorcycles to specifically target us.

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  • SKiDmark August 12, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    RE comment #65:

    After reading it a second time it sounds like you are talking about being a criminal, which is not the same as being a rebel either.

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  • SKiDmark August 12, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    I don\’t know how to be anymore more non-descript than to wear jeans, a t-shirt, and a dark blue hooded sweatshirt. I could look more like other people if my clothes had big logos plastered across them. Funny how by being plain you stick out. Tattoos tend to be permanent and stereotypes abound.

    Sometimes it isn\’t what you look like it is what you ride. I don\’t build freak bikes just to look at them.

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  • steve August 13, 2007 at 1:29 am

    Corey post #63-

    That is one of the best critiques of this city I have yet read.

    Oh, and Rixter #64-

    I agree, there obviously is never anything worth complaining about, until the absolute worst possible scenario is playing out. Unless the sky is literally falling, everyone should just suck it up and stuff it.

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  • rixtir August 13, 2007 at 10:24 am

    SKiDmark:

    Not the military, and not a criminal– at least then. The State of California, in its wisdom, decided that instead of expanding an endangered species population into its historic range, it would hunt the existing population to keep the numbers down. \”We\” did what we could to interfere with that, and to publicize what was happening. Today, it would be criminal, because the state subsequently passed a law to outlaw our presence.

    Not quite the same as drinking PBR and riding children\’s bikes, but what can I do. But you should have seen my hair– I didn\’t \”blend in\” then. Oh, and when I got tired of running half the next day, still without water, and now in the desert heat, and I still couldn\’t shake the aircraft because of the infrared sensors, I just quit running, and started walking the highway back towards our base camp. And you know what happened? A cop came along almost immediately– no surprise there, they were tracking my every movement– gave me a ticket for walking on the highway, and then gave me a ride. I paid the ticket when I got back home. I *didn\’t* go online to complain about it.

    Er, until now.

    The point is this: I\’ve made comnments that address the substance of this thread. Rather than make substantive comments in return, some people choose instead to make smarmy, passive-aggressive ad hominem attacks on me that shed more light on their own personal prejudices than they do on who I actually am.

    I\’d much rather discuss the substance of this thread than what I wear or don\’t wear, whether I have tatoos and/or piercings or not, what my hair looks like, what I drive or don\’t drive, where I live or don\’t live, how much my bike cost, or any other irrelevant mischaracterization of me that apparently passes for \”debate\” in some circles.

    That\’s what I\’d ratrher do. Instead, the next time somebody disagrees with me, I\’ll be treated to another round of smarmy arguments about my hair, my car, my home, my clothes, my bike, my beliefs. The thing is, when people launch into those ad hominem arguments, they\’ve already pretty much admitted they\’ve got nothing else to argue.

    In this case, I\’ve only been arguing one point– that I don\’t think it\’s at all relevant that the tivkets were handed out in a deserted parking lot rather than on Burnside. I also agree with wsbob:

    I\’m happy to see people be different, do different things, be out of the mold. I only see difference to be a problem when the people manifesting it go out of their way to disrupt everybody else in the community

    But when somebody admits that they couldn\’t care less about \”giving good cyclists a bad name, my response is \”I don\’t care about your tickets.\” Bike community \”solidarity\” is all fine and good, but it\’s a two way street.

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  • rixtir August 13, 2007 at 10:35 am

    SKiDmark– a bit of clarification: I wasn\’t referring to your comments as \”smarmy passive-agressive ad hominem attacks.\”

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  • Spencer August 13, 2007 at 10:51 am

    I guess the question is?

    Zoo Bombing has a number of inherant dangers that will inevitably lead to some one getting killed. Be it hit by a drunk driver on 26 or some random pothole on burnside, it is just a matter of time. Throw in alcohol and testoterone and it will come even sooner.

    So, how will you (the zoom bomb community) deal with the fall out when this happens? How will the City deal with it? Is it better to regulate the sport to minimize hazard and ensure longevity or is this more about anit-establishment. Is zoobombing dooming its self to extinction?

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  • BURR August 13, 2007 at 11:31 am

    @spencer#72: the only thing wrong with zoobomb is that it is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success. Over five years, 52 weeks a year, three or more runs per night, plus special events, there have literally been tens of thousands of individual zoobomb runs made, and 99%+ of those runs have been crash and incident-free. the risks involved are known, the newbies are briefed, bikes are looked after, and lights, helmets and other safety gear are encouraged. it\’s a DIY fun event, and it doesn\’t need overzealous nanny state regulation.

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  • AllOver August 13, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    \”Is it better to regulate the sport to minimize hazard and ensure longevity or is this more about anit-establishment. Is zoobombing dooming its self to extinction?\”

    So we\’re going to regulate a group of people who ride their bikes down a hill? When does it end…???

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  • Spencer August 13, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Rebuttal,

    Burr #73, Based upon you response it sounds like Zoobomb is in the process of maturing by internally developing standard and safety guidelines. Again, per my question, if a fatality occurs which is always a possibility when riding next to a highway and cars going 60+ at night, will these standards and guidelines be enough to protect the sport?

    Per your assertion that zoobomb has less than a one in 100 incidence of accident, the imagery promoted on the zoombomb site and in various you-tube videos tends to highlight the incidence of road rash and other injuries. Maybe that is part of the problem, in that the image promoted does not accurately describe the behavior.

    #74 Allover – Typically there is not the need for regulation until an activity, be it dogs off leash or spitting on a sidewalk, become a public nuisance or danger.

    The point I am tiring to make is that Zoobomb as an institution is at a point where it could go on to become another really cool part of our culture or it remain aloof, and upon provocation be banned. This could be compared to skating, snowboarding, Punk rock etc. Today the city is building skate parks as long as people wear a helmet and act in a civilized manner. I\’ll leave it to you to determine which is preferable.

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  • SKiDmark August 13, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Still rixter, it sounds like what you were doing was some sort of activism/civil disobedience and not riding a little bike down a hill for fun. Big difference.

    You made the comment of define oneself by their appearance, and I think for a lot of people it is the opposite situation of being (wrongly) defined by one\’s appearance.

    Zoobomb didn\’t \”complain online\” anywhere but in Zoobomb\’s own forums. Bikeportland did a story on us, I am pretty sure that was Jonathan\’s idea.

    It is not the location of the tickets, or even the tickets themselves as much as it is the amount of manpower and resources (like undercover cars with cameras on more than one occasion) that is the concern. If they spent this much effort to catch manufacturers of meth or even drug dealers, it would make sense. But over some bikes making moving violations? It\’s just silly.

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  • BURR August 13, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    anytime you go out on the roads in a car or on a bike there is always the possibility of serious injury or death, are we all supposed to just stay home hiding under our beds in fear?

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  • SKiDmark August 13, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    I think Sparks or Tilt is the choice drink of Zoobomb, not PBR.

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  • josh m August 13, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    How many people have died on a zoobomb? 0
    How many people have died obeying all laws while riding their bike? You can\’t count them on 20 sets of hands.

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  • Spencer August 13, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Burr #77

    That is true, but as intelligent beings we do things every day that make it much safer, ie. seat belt, air bags, traffic laws, etc.

    Your logic is absolutist and probably inflammatory for the purposes of drama. By your earlier discussion of the steps veteran bombers take to help novices be safe, I don\’t think you believe in your own statement.

    What is interesting is that any statements that are not overtly support of your position you ridicule. I don\’t think this approach will work very well when trying to find common ground and carve out a harmonious place for zoobomb.

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  • rixtir August 13, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    SkiDmark, I fully understand that zoobomb is about fun, and only about fun. I wasn\’t the one who made false characterizations about somebody I disagree with, but don\’t know the first thing about. I wasn\’t the one who tried to make myself out to be some sort of hero of the revolution for drinking pbr (or Sparks or Tilt) and riding children\’s bikes downhill at night.

    I was the one who cleared up some of the false characterizations. If people don\’t like that, they can stop slinging their hominem attacks that, as I said, shed more light on their own personal prejudices than they do on the truth.

    There\’s an element in Portland bike culture that takes great delight in creating and destroying straw man stereotypes of other cyclists. And wouldn\’t you know it, that same element takes great offense at being stereotyped themselves.

    Go figure.

    As far as the police manpower expended, some people have complained to the police about darkly-clad zoobombers careening around blind corners in the dark of night in their neighborhood. Some people have complained about zoobombers disregarding PDOT traffic control. Some people may have complained about zoobombers blowing stop signs and red lights. If the police ignored these complaints, they wouldn\’t be doing their jobs. And in fact, I have yet to hear a complaint about \”inefficient use of police resources\” when the police help cyclists by corking intersections on mass rides (see the Midnight Ridazz thread.).

    I\’m sure all the crack and meth dealers you object to also want the police to ignore citizen complaints and turn a blind eye. And if the police in fact are ignoring complaints of open-air drug dealing, they aren\’t doing their job.

    Like it or not, the use of police resources is a matter of public policy– a public policy that should be set by the City Council– and that public policy should be receptive to the needs of all of Portland\’s citizens, and not just the desires of those who are the object of unwanted police attention.

    To repeat what wsbob said earlier, \”I\’m happy to see people be different, do different things, be out of the mold. I only see difference to be a problem when the people manifesting it go out of their way to disrupt everybody else in the community.\” When people create public disturbances that infringe on the rights of others, as a matter of public policy it\’s a proper use of police resources to respond to public concerns and enforce the laws that protect the rights of us all. The obvious solution for zoobombers is to either obey the law, or to not attract unwanted attention.

    Now if you want to say that as a matter of public policy, the police should also be more responsive to the law enforcement concerns of cyclists– stopping bike theft, enforcing the speeding laws, protecting the rights of cyclists– I\’d be in complete agreement, and that is something we should be holding our elected representatives accountable for.

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  • SKiDmark August 14, 2007 at 12:10 am

    C\’mon Spencer,there are people who do backflips on bikes 10 feet out of a wooden or concrete ramp/transition, and sometimes they really get hurt. Watch the X-games. People get killed all the time doing the \”safe\” act of commuting. Watch the news or read bikeportland. Zoobomb is not all that dangerous in comparison, you do not have to go as fast as you can and you are encouraged to ride within your abilities. You are also encouraged to wear safety gear.

    rixter, I don\’t even think the most self-congratulatory Zoobomber sees themselves as any sort of a hero. Also, you don\’t honestly think that being a potential traffic scofflaw ranks up there with selling drugs that cause people to steal to support their habit, and that permanently damage them and may eventually kill them, do you?

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  • wsbob August 14, 2007 at 1:19 am

    \”The obvious solution for zoobombers is to either obey the law, or to not attract unwanted attention.\” rixter

    I really think that\’s it. A lot of good points have been made. The law is really just a rough framework for encouraging everyone to conduct themselves in a manner that be having us get in each other\’s way too much. It might not be possible to list all the ways that many reasonable, responsible people regularly take liberties with a strict reading of rules, laws and regulations without there being any big problems occurring as a result of doing so. Living a little more freely has a lot to do with considering surroundings and making decisions that won\’t lead to reations that will automatically cramp your style. Can\’t think of a very good example. Maybe it\’s kind of like, you don\’t want to chew garlic with your mouth open in a crowded elevator.

    Even so, however they decide to conduct themselves in future, Zbombers may have their less than welcome buddies hanging around for awhile given the mythology that has developed around Zbombing.

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  • wsbob August 14, 2007 at 1:24 am

    \”…that keeps us from getting in each other\’s way too much.\”

    There, that\’s better. (but not as funny!)

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  • rixtir August 14, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Post #82, SKiDmark:

    you don\’t honestly think that being a potential traffic scofflaw ranks up there with selling drugs that cause people to steal to support their habit, and that permanently damage them and may eventually kill them, do you?

    Nope, not at all.

    I\’ve seen up close what drugs do– I have an ex-girlfriend who was on heroin twice– before we were together, and after we broke up (she\’s been clean for several years now). I know what it does to somebody. Being a traffic scofflaw– especially on a children\’s bike– isn\’t even close to being in the same league as somebody who ruins people\’s lives by dealing drugs.

    The only comparison I was making was with other people who believe that they shouldn\’t be subject to police attention. Perhaps Cecil said it better (in an earlier thread) when she compared people who want to run stops with drivers who want to speed. In that anaolgy, speeding drivers would argue that police resources directed at enforcing the speed laws would be better utilized by going after drug dealers. There are at least two things wrong with that argument. First, the police have a traffic division, and they have a narcotics division. The traffic division doesn\’t enforce the narcotics laws, it enforces the traffic laws. Law enforcement isn\’t a zero-sum game; the police can, and should, enforce both the narcotics laws, and the traffic laws. Second, and perhaps the main point, society as a whole [should] decide[s] what police resources will be devoted to. While speeding drivers may have a voice in deciding whether the traffic laws should be enforced, or even on the books, they are not the only voice. And so it is with zoobomb. While zoobombers have a legitimate voice in expressing what they believe the law should be, and what law enforcement\’s priorities should be, they are not the only voice.

    Post #83, wsbob:

    I couldn\’t agree more. I\’d like to add this bit of insight from Chinese culture (a culture that has some experience with large numbers of people living in close proximity to each other): \”We have to learn to respect each other. That way we can all live in harmony.\” I think that what you\’ve said neatly encapsulates the spirit of the law, and also reflects the Chinese understanding of how people must treat each other in order to be able to live together within a finite space.

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  • Harry McBicycle August 15, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    This is exactly what happens with you try to engage people who are in a position of authority over you. I\’m surprised no one brought up the fact that these people work FOR you. Sigh.

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