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The Oregonian strikes again: And it’s not just about the numbers

Posted by on May 17th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Last night, The Oregonian’s commuting reporter and columnist Joseph Rose published an article about Portland Mayor Sam Adams’ budget decisions. The article, Portland Mayor Sam Adams boosts funding for bike projects, but now there’s less for paving streets, attempts to make the point that Adams’ decision to allocate a larger percentage of discretionary revenue to “bike projects” comes at the expense of “motor vehicle projects.”

Not surprisingly, the article has spurred hundreds of comments, many of them by angry Portlanders who don’t like the idea of any spending that benefits bicycling and who feel Adams’ priorities are not in the right place.

Seem like a déjà vu? Unfortunately, it’s not out of character for him or for The Oregonian to frame a bike news story in a way that makes readers take sides. Whether it’s referring to a “cold war” on our streets and warning of an impending “backlash” against people who ride bikes, dropping an inaccurate and biased story on the Idaho Stop proposal the day before it was heard by legislators, or sensationalizing road rage to sell papers (which they later admitted to) — we’ve seen this happen time and time again.

This time around, Rose’s framing of the budget is very one-sided. I won’t repeat the details because responses to his article have already been published by The Portland Mercury and by the Mayor’s office.

We can argue about how he presented the numbers all day long, but what’s more concerning to me is the divisive tone the article uses.

Mayor Adams didn’t simply make a change in how he allocates this discretionary money, he “quietly boosted the amount…on bike projects.” Quietly? This is just a few paragraphs after Rose points out that Adams announced the rise in bike spending at a crowded bike event last month.

After “quietly boosting” bike spending, the Mayor then, “slashed” the amount for motor vehicles. And of course, all this money, Rose points out, “is generated entirely by motorists.” Wait. I’m confused. What’s a motorist? I drive my mini-van around town all the time, does that mean I’m paying for these “bike projects” too?! What about my “motor vehicle projects”!

I put those terms into quotes because I don’t think anyone is well-served by dividing money up into “bike” and “car” projects. It’s just silly and it’s a lazy way to create a controversy. Not only that, but it’s an imperfect science to tease out what part of projects are “bike” and what parts are “motor vehicle.”*

I ride my bike around town a lot and I like new traffic signals and repaving; both of which are considered “car projects” in City documents. When I’m driving, I prefer to be on roads where there’s a bit of separation between me and people riding bikes so I don’t have to worry as much about hitting one of them. Therefore, don’t “bike projects” also benefit me when I drive a car? (As we saw on SE Holgate, new bikeways mean fewer people are being hurt and killed.)

Rose also forgets to tell his readers that in the long run, spending money in a way that gets more people bicycling might actually lead to more money for paving. Unlike cars, trucks and buses, bikes have little to no impact on the road surface.

So, let’s see what the community thinks…

To get the pulse on the Mayor’s budget decisions, Rose asks East Portland resident Rick Bradford; the same Rick Bradford who’s trying to mount grassroots opposition to the Holgate buffered bike lane project and the same Rick Bradford who remains opposed to the project despite significant safety benefits that have resulted from it.

Here’s the Bradford mention:

“But unlike sidewalks, many new bike projects seem excessive, said Rick Bradford. The East Portland resident and computer repairman is leading a campaign to remove what he says are hardly used buffered bike lanes on Southeast Holgate Boulevard.

The city reduced Holgate from four lanes to two for the bike lanes from 122nd to Interstate 205 that he said seem to start and go “nowhere.”

From the framing and word choice, to the interviews he chose to highlight, it sure seems like Rose is once again poisoning what could have been a perfectly interesting and important story and turning it into an us-versus-them, bikes-versus-cars, Adams-versus-everyone story.

Makes me start to wonder what’s going on over there.

It seems Rose isn’t the only reporter at The Oregonian who knows bikes versus cars will get attention: Check out the lede below used by The Oregonian’s City Hall reporter Brad Schmidt in a story that highlights Rose’s article:

Few things in Portland are as polarizing as bikes. Throw in more government spending for bike-related transportation improvements — and less for cars — and you create the perfect storm.

With stories like these, The Oregonian should acknowledge their responsibility for creating that “polarizing” environment.


Further reading:
— The Portland Mercury: Here’s the story of Portland’s budget: Bike projects aren’t stealing money from cars
— Mayor Sam Adams’ website: The Oregonian Gets it Wrong
— Joseph Rose follow-up story: Readers respond
— The BTA’s response: Increase in bike spending is progress for everyone

*(Note: Rose isn’t to blame for teasing out the spending by mode, Mayor Adams has done that for years now after bikes advocates thought it’d be an easier way to track spending levels. Personally, I’ve said it’s a bad idea to break out the spending and this Rose article is a perfect example why I feel that way.)

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Comments
  • craig May 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I learned so much about how a city works from watching The Wire.

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  • andy May 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I’d cancel my subscription to the O, but I already did that. I did send an email to Mr. Rose and quoted a paragraph of the Mercury article to him, verbatim, to point out how shoddy his “reporting” is. Kudos to Ms. Mirk on actually doing her homework.

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  • Chris May 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    A very big part of the reason I no longer read the Oregonian: Biased reporting.

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  • David May 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    This along with the articles “I almost killed a cyclist today” and the one about banning bikes on Skyline, just seemed designed to fire up the forums on their website.

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  • Paul Souders May 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Getting eyeballs anyway they can, I guess. A cool discussion of transportation budgets won’t sell newspapers but OMG CAR VS. BIKE CAGEMATCH SLAPDOWN might wrap a few fish.

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  • Burk May 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Nice write up Jonathan. I”m getting kind of tired of the “bikes vs cars” angle the Oregonian always seems to go to on these stories.

    I understand that they are using it to stir up commentary on their web site but it’s starting to feel a bit intellectually dishonest. Are there still people in Oregon that think all bike owners don’t own or use cars? That there is some mythical cyclist cabal that plots deep in to the night in their subterranean lair the downfall of the automobile – only breaking long enough to rise to the surface, run red lights, ride three abreast and choke the streets with their smugness?

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    • michweek May 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Better than choking the streets with smog-ness.

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  • Bjorn May 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    The O also had a headline today referring to the Pedalpalooza Poster as “Unhinged”. Sensationalism fueled with loaded words.

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  • peejay May 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    What I love is how this guy wants to buddy up to us when it’s convenient for him. He wanted to interview me for a mobile sound system article a while back. I’m sure glad he never wrote it, because I can just imagine: “Loud Bikers Break the Sound Barrier.” Shameless.

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    • Bjorn May 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      For sure he has this very convincing shtick about how he isn’t biased and that he isn’t trying to fuel the flames of antagonism, usually within a half page he is back to typing out of the other side of his mouth.

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  • Esther May 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks for this writeup, Jonathan. I concur wholeheartedly about the tone and that it was about more than the numbers (I mean, none of his numbers and percentages were *wrong* per se). I agree that these are arbitrary divisions to make between who projects serve, and this kind of article does a disservice by promoting two dimensional dialogue.

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  • kj May 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Oo there is a poll, go vote against bad reporting.
    http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2011/05/portland_mayor_sam_adams_bicyc.html

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    • kj May 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      whoops! Wrong story…

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  • Marc May 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    David
    This along with the articles “I almost killed a cyclist today” and the one about banning bikes on Skyline, just seemed designed to fire up the forums on their website.

    They need to set fire to the cesspool they call a forum over at the OregonLive website – truly an example of bringing out the worst in a community.

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  • A.K. May 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Joseph Rose is a good definition of a yellow journalist. I’d say hack, but that would be getting too personal.

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  • ambrown May 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you Jonathan. It’s too bad that the readership of bikeportland and the sarah mirk column in the mercury combined doesn’t come close to touching how many people will read that Joseph Rose story.

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  • Alex Reed May 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    I wrote a letter to the editor about it this morning:
    letters@oregonian.com
    (include your name, address, and daytime phone number)
    and a letter to Sam Adams this afternoon:
    samadams@portlandoregon.gov

    Let your voice be heard!

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  • Lazy Spinner May 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    So where was this concern when you decided to get into bed with the Big O, Jonathan?

    Or do you and Bike Portland also benefit from the very same controversial reporting? So far it appears to have generated content, viewership, and I’ll venture 100 plus comments when all is said and done. All numbers you will certainly tout to potential advertisers.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm

      Very funny Lazy Spinner. Nice try with the conspiracy theory.

      First. I’m not “in bed with the Big O”. Far from it. If you haven’t heard, Here’s more information on the partnership BikePortland is a part of.

      And no, BikePortland doesn’t “benefit” from that type of ill-advised story. I would have much rather used the time I spent writing this response working on other stories. I actually tried to ignore it all together, but after it got attention from Mercury and Mayor’s Office, I figured I needed to have a response.

      And, just so you know, we rarely talk about “numbers” when we talk to advertisers. I prefer to talk about the credibility of our work and the quality of our audience, of which you are a part of.

      Thanks for the comment.

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  • steve-o May 17, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Show your support for Mayor Adams and his decision to increase flexible transportation spending on bike projects on an Oregonian poll. The current tally is disheartening: 739 people, which is 66.71% of all the survey-takers, selected “No. The money comes from the pocketbooks of motorists…”. Since the Oregonian is the most widely circulated newspaper in the State and the most widely read news website, many people will receive the false impression that Mayor Adams and PBOT force bike projects onto an unwilling electorate.

    There are around 1,000 subscribers to the SHIFT list. So, if everyone on the SHIFT list votes “Yes. Bike projects mean safer, cleaner streets in Portland…”, the poll will show by a large margin that Mayor Adams has the support of the people of Portland.

    Now VOTE. It takes 5 seconds.

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2011/05/portland_mayor_sam_adams_bicyc.html

    Regards,
    Stephen

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  • Paul B May 17, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    The Oregonian was once a powerful influential newspaper. Today, it “grasping at straws” by spinning stories to excite the minority of people whom still subscribe. Given the decline in quality reporting, it’s just a matter of time before they shut their doors for ever.

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  • Lazy Spinner May 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    “The Oregonian News Network is an experiment in developing mutually beneficial partnerships between the State’s largest newsroom and the independent blogging community. Over the course of the next year the project will seek to promote partner stories, coordinate coverage, providing business and journalism training opportunities and building meaningful peer-to-peer relationships.”

    Business is always benevolent and altruistic. I’m certain that no one has thought about inexpensive aggregating, cross promotional opportunities, content sharing, steering viewership, sharing user data, boosting viewership and gross impression numbers, or the like. Nope, just the Big O offering a little editorial critique here and some financial advice there thanks to the big hearted people at Advance Publications.

    Fair enough, Jonathan. I been around enough publishers, ad agencies, and PR shops in my day to have developed a healthy cynicism when it comes to terms like “media partnership”, “peer-to-peer relationships”, “leveraging dynamic synergies”, and other nifty buzz phrases tossed about. Both parties hope to benefit financially or some rube gets easily seduced without getting that fancy dinner they were promised.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm

      Lazy Spinner,

      I think you and I are on the same page in regard to this Oregonian partnership thing.

      I’m highly skeptical of it and have made my views known to the folks running the program. BTW, it’s being run by Cornelius Swart, former publisher/editor of The Sentinel, a community newspaper that covered North Portland.

      I can’t stand all those buzz-words either.. (and you might recall that I had my own PR/marketing business before I started doing this blog full time).

      All that being said, I entered into the partnership because I thought it might be a good opportunity for BikePortland and I like to keep an open mind about stuff like that. While I am skeptical of Advance Internet and The O’s online strategy in general, I figured it’d be interesting to be a part of it.

      I too am very cynical, but not so cynical that I close off opportunities and hold grudges about people/organizations.

      For better or worse, The O still reaches more people than any other news outlet in Portland and in the state overall. We’ll see how this partnership thing turns out (it’s a pilot program by the way, so we’re sort of like guinea pigs), thanks for the comments.

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  • q`Tzal May 17, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Anonops: go on Operation Oregonian.

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  • adlangx May 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    The fact is that the Portland bike community has a significant political problem. Being angry and dismissive about it is counterproductive. Adams dropped the ball here again(just like the sewer fiasco). The issue here should really be Adams’ poor execution of this announcement. This could have been a non-issue if his staff had gotten out in front of it. Instead he allowed the Oregonian to write the narrative. Demand better from him. He is not serving the bike community long term with his political mistakes.

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    • Jonathan Gordon May 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      I *hate* this argument. Sam Adams didn’t drop the ball here. He made a great announcement about a bike-friendly policy. And then the Oregonian wrote a misleading, negative story about it. And somehow that gets chalked up to “poor execution of this announcement.” Really? How is Sam supposed to control the messages of biased new outlets?

      When the debate is about style and not substance, you’re having the wrong debate.

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      • Alan 1.0 May 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm

        Well, one way would be for him to explain the city budget, and PBoT’s budget in particular, in clear, simple and authoritative terms, in a format easily accessible and understandable by most citizens, showing where revenues are generated and how each of those revenue streams is spent.

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        • Jonathan Gordon May 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

          That’s funny, because what I thought Sam tried to do was exactly that: explain a small portion of the budget in “clear, simple and authoritative terms”. I feel confident that there is no way he could win over the opposition on this. If he actually attempted to explain the budget as you describe, he would be painted as boring, elite, intellectual, and out of touch. And any simplifications he made for the sake of clarity would be picked apart and used against him.

          I’d much rather hear rational complaints about policy than about Sam’s messaging issues. If that’s your primary gripe, then I think he’s doing pretty darned well.

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  • deborah May 17, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Thx for posting em Alex! First order of biz tomorrow morning!

    Alex Reed
    I wrote a letter to the editor about it this morning:
    letters@oregonian.com
    (include your name, address, and daytime phone number)
    and a letter to Sam Adams this afternoon:
    samadams@portlandoregon.gov
    Let your voice be heard!

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  • drew May 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Lost in the discussion is that drivers do NOT pay for the roads. When we drive we come hat-in-hand to the public at large to pay for about half of road maintenance caused by car damage alone. Police, ambulance, and environmental costs aren’t even considered.

    Given that, the notion that a person should pay to ride a bike on our public roads is nothing short of astounding. Might as well charge pedestrians too!

    Mr Rose will NOT write a story on who pays for the roads. The auto industry would not be pleased to have that in a paper they advertise in.

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  • Sean G May 17, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    In my letter of protest to The Oregonian, I left a haiku summing up my feelings.

    Penniless Koch shill
    Once our proud local news source
    Far fallen, The O

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    • q`Tzal May 18, 2011 at 9:14 am

      Need this on a sticker which we can then apply to all the O’s newspaper stands.

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  • John Mulvey May 17, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    The comments under the Oregonian article are actually running about 50-50 between pro- and anti-bike comments. And of the 50% that are anti-bikes, at least half of those include a homophobic slur about Sam Adams.

    I think the pro-bike commentors are getting by far the better of the argument over there and I’m glad to see that lots of articulate people are sticking up for sanity.

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  • Joe Rowe May 18, 2011 at 12:18 am

    The bias war is getting hot. A friend in Portland posted this on FB today. It’s not really a question as much as a global sterotype

    –quote–”Question. Why do cyclists feel that pedestrians do not have the right of way when crossing a street?”

    Would it be ok to phrase this “question” as….
    Question2. Why do men feel that women do not have the right ……
    Question3. Why do whites feel that blacks do not have the right ……
    Question4. Why do Mexicans feel that Asias do not have the right ……

    The BTA or someone should make a video about the bias that bikes have for cars, and cars have for bikes…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY9nCQYPvnk&feature=related

    Here’s another rude quote:

    “there are certainly a range of variety in all categories of Peoples. UNFORTUNATELY, it’s the outrageous and ill behavior that gets society’s attention. Hence, when a few do wrong it colors the entire group as responsible.”

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  • wsbob May 18, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Had other things to do today, so I only had time to go through the Oregonian’s print ‘forum’ section. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the Oregonian is thinner than thin. Even if the reporting within was consistently good, especially on these days of the week, subscribers aren’t getting very much for their money.

    People probably aren’t buying the paper, so it’s not making any money. Since it’s not making any money, it can’t assign its writers to produce stories that are more straight forward reporting. The editors are probably having a very hard time keeping from resorting to sensationalist headlines for the stories.

    Today, I haven’t checked the online Oregonlive comments to the stories mentioned in maus’s article, but I can just imagine many of them might be by certain of the regulars that consistently push the tone of their comments to hysterical extremes. I believe the O does regularly edit some of the worst of those out, but still, the general tone of discussion is often allowed to be borderline irrational.

    Joseph Rose can write some good stuff, but he also has at times gone way extreme to be Mr. Mean/Mr. Snark. Like last week; his answer in his Q/A column, to a reader that wrote him to describe a traffic situation and ask his advice about it.

    Complaints about what The Oregonian is, and what it publishes can be expressed, here and elsewhere, but I doubt it’s going do much good. The Oregonians seems to be kind of like the Titanic, only instead of icy water, it’s slowly slipping beneath the surface of the electronic information age.

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  • Bjorn May 18, 2011 at 1:11 am

    My dad has a saying that figures don’t lie, but liars can figure…I’m looking at you Joe Rose.

    Here is a graph I just made that is far more informative than the inflammatory one that the Oregonian chose to run with their story. It took all of 5 minutes using Google Doc’s.

    http://bayimg.com/EaifAAADC

    I nabbed the numbers from the photo that Sarah Mirk posted on the Merc’s page, anyone who wants to reuse this graph is welcome to it.

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    • q`Tzal May 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

      Look at the long overdue pedestrian project funding!

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  • Bjorn May 18, 2011 at 1:13 am

    oh and if anyone should be feeling they are getting screwed by this budget it shouldn’t be motorists, it should be transit riders, the pie grew, but they are being cut further.

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  • cyclist May 18, 2011 at 3:12 am

    it’s not out of character for him or for The Oregonian to frame a bike news story in a way that makes readers take sides.

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black…

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    • Alan 1.0 May 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm

      cyclist
      it’s not out of character for him or for The Oregonian to frame a bike news story in a way that makes readers take sides.
      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black…

      Well, yes, in the alternate sense of an advocacy blog operating under very different expectations than an alleged newspaper.

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      • cyclist May 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm

        hypocrisy (hɪˈpɒkrəsɪ)

        — n , pl -sies
        1. the practice of professing standards, beliefs, etc, contrary to one’s real character or actual behavior.

        If you believe that a newspaper should have certain standards, shouldn’t you yourself uphold those standards?

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        • are May 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm

          if what you are suggesting is that joe rose has no responsibility to report facts truthfully, then yes, i guess jonathan should be held to the same standard. are you saying that jonathan knowingly publishes lies? because this is what rose does.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      cyclist,

      Please cite an example where I purposefully framed a story in a way that would incite a bikes vs car reaction. I’m not saying I’ve never done it (sometimes emotions get the better of me, although I’d like to think I’ve matured as a journalist recently), I’m just curious why you think this way.

      Thanks.

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      • cyclist May 19, 2011 at 11:42 am

        “It’s not yet clear how this proposed amendment might impact HB 3150. Also, if it’s clear that the Governor and the OTC are against higher speed limits, are these two legislators simply trying to drop this in as a poison pill to kill HB 3150? We hope to find out more next week.”

        The suggestion that the proposal to raise interstate speed limits was a “poison pill” without any evidence to back up your claimhad the effect of steering the debate towards a bikes vs. cars discussion in the comments section of that story. It’s not the first time either but of course I haven’t bookmarked every instance of such a discussion.

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  • Dave Reid May 18, 2011 at 7:06 am

    @Jonathan I’ve had the very same thing happen to me here in Milwaukee, WI when I wrote of a Complete Street project (which is having its ribbon cutting tomorrow!). The key is for advocates like you to keep getting the good word out, and we’ll all continue to see progress. Thanks and keep up the great work.

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  • LDA May 18, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I read the article yesterday and didn’t know where to begin with it. I particularly loved the fact that he pointed out “Of 18 people who agreed to be interviewed at the Arco station, all but four said they opposed diverting more money from their gas taxes –no matter how small – to bike projects.”
    Really!? At an Arco station?!

    Gripes. I would have cancelled my subscription right then and there if I had one, if I had ever had one.

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    • rupert_pupkin May 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

      That was great, eh? “8 out of 10 people at the gun show were against gun control.” Duh. Actually kind of funny that only 3 out of 4 folks (roughly) agreed with their loaded question.

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  • One Less :( May 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

    This comment alone, quoted in the response to the article on OregonLive by a user named “debaser12″ stated “I support funding for bike improvements, but I think we have arrived at a time where bicyclists need to pay into the pot through user fees, to which they do not pay any,” is based solely on the thinking that cyclists do not pay taxes for the roads or own cars.

    My wife and I own two cars AND multiple bicycles. I pay taxes through my employer, when I buy gas, and when I buy other taxable goods. So I’m assuming that debaser12 thinks that do I not pay my fair share, and most of you don’t either because we either cannot afford to drive or do not own a car. I could get into a very good debate about the percentages of people who do not own a car and only a bicycle or about the true amount of taxes a cyclist should pay per square foot of roadway used versus how many square feet drivers use, but I don’t think that they would either want to hear it or allow their “smarter than you” brain to take in and process the information.

    Even if you don’t own a car and take a combination of mass transit and bicycling to get around, you are still paying taxes to use the roads through your job, goods you buy, and even the fare you pay to trimet. Get out of your little box and think for yourself instead of letting these people at the Oregonian tell you what you should think.

    Why has society allowed media to tell them what they should and should not think? You can think for yourself and do a little digging to find the truth, so stop being lazy and do it!

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    • Randall S. May 18, 2011 at 11:00 am

      To a very small degree, debaser is right: most of the state road funding comes from Registration and Fuel taxes (about 90% between the two). However, to say “bike riders don’t contribute” implies that all bicyclists don’t drive, which isn’t the case for the majority of us.

      Imposing a “user fee” on bicyclists would be double-taxing many of us: one tax for bicycles, another for cars, both for the same roads. On the other hand though, I would be more than happy to pay a registration fee for my bicycle if it mean guaranteed road funding for bicycles. Considering that the vast majority of bicycling is done in urban areas, that would mean that it would be pretty minimal.

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      • Alan 1.0 May 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm

        Randall S.
        To a very small degree, debaser is right: most of the state road funding comes from Registration and Fuel taxes (about 90% between the two).

        Can you cite a source for that? Oregon has about average (nationally) fuel taxes and very low registration fees, so it just doesn’t add up, to me.

        And how about Portland? How is PBoT’s budget sourced?

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  • John Landolfe May 18, 2011 at 11:21 am

    The Oregonian wants a city built by feelings, not facts.

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  • davemess May 18, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Jonathon, could you do an in depth analysis of where road funding comes from. As obviously there are people out there who still don’t believe that not all road funding comes from gas and vehicle registration fees (do they really know how little the gas tax actually is?).
    On the O website they seem to be blowing off Elly’s blog posting.
    And a good concrete data article would help to eliminate this ridiculous argument once and for all.

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  • Racer X May 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Well I guess it’s time to drop my paid purchases ofthe printed Oregonian and pick up the NYT. Afterall I can still read the O for free on line if they happen to do some breaking journalism. (It is much rarer now that they have closed their suburban offices that used to have several reporters each on a local beat, etc.

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  • Chezz May 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Uh, what city do y’all ride in? Are you saying there is no battle between cyclists and motorists, every day on the streets? And of course in the budget arena? (And guess what — the cars are winning.) And then you get mad at a reporter who points it out, as if ignoring it will make it go away. Wake up, please. Enjoy the Oregonian and its devoted coverage of bicycles and other forms of transportation. Joseph Rose and Jeff Mapes are just two of the cycle-oriented staffers there. Yes, they want to sell papers, what’s wrong with that?

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    • Frog May 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      It is true though, that the Oregonian has helped to foster this ridiculous image of “those who ride bikes” vs. “those who drive cars”. Like most people here I ride and I drive… drive a huge honkin gas guzzler I might add. God I love that thing… the growl of the V8 engine slurping down 8 to 10 MPG. And I only use it for short trips! Drive 3000 miles a year and I pay a smooth grand a year just to maintain the damn thing so it will pass DEQ. So… would the Oregonlive commenters call me a “bike nazi”? Whatever. We need paved roads. And we need bike lanes. Its not an either/or proposition.

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    • are May 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      it is one thing to point out actual controversies and then sift out the misinformation so that only idiots remain on the wrong side of the controversy. what joe rose does is construct the misinformation himself and then throw it out there saying, look, another controversy. how is this helpful?

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  • Marion May 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Jon, I actually think OPB reaches more people across the state than the O. I would love to see you develop a partnership with them. It seems their coverage about the multimodal transportation renaissance is not really as large as it could/should be. And it’s not just a Portland thing either, look at so many Oregon towns who are moving this way.

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    • John Lascurettes May 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm

      Second on that OPB hookup recommendation. That would be a sweet relationship.

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  • Jolly Dodger May 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Oh if P-town only knew what was happening at the bottom of the ladder….the carrier stations (where the papers get delivered to nightly and re-distributed to individual carriers) have been converged three times in the last five years going from over 60 stations in the metro area (each with about 12 carriers and 3000 papers) to only FIVE stations with 60 carriers and 15,000 papers. This is obviously due to ever declining circulation numbers and decreasing ad revenue as more retailers use smartphone technology and direct email offers in lieu of traditional print ad spending.

    The carriers are driving in from as far away as Milwaukee and Vancouver to do a .10 cent per paper delivery job. About $20-$40 a night depending on paper count. They all drive (except for myself and one other old timer biker dude)…The O doesn’t cover expenses or GAS MONEY…and boy howdy do i get an earful whenever a car/bike story shows up in the paper.

    This along with the snide sideways smiles and “stay dry out there”s’ i get whenever it rains is gratifying only in the sense that as i pedal my route, silently earning my worldy dollar, i can be secure in the fact that at one time, when our country was new, the newspaper industry and it’s product actually mattered to people.

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    • Joe Rowe May 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks for the first hand information. The whole scene is depressing. The fall of reporting, the rise of poverty. I see moms with kids out collecting cans and bottles. Only $20 or $40 per night to drive and deliver papers. That can’t possibly cover the cost of the car, gas and upkeep.

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  • MeghanH May 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Gaaah! This “bikes vs. cars” false choice is serving nobody. If you think The Oregonian article was bad, you should see the poll KATU is taking today on its website:
    “What do you think? Are bike projects more important than fixing roads?
    ( ) Yes they are
    ( ) No they aren’t”

    That’s the actual full length of the poll. Absolutely ridiculous.

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    • John Mulvey May 18, 2011 at 4:54 pm

      KATU is a bad joke and Dan Tilken is the local Geraldo Rivera wannabe.

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    • SteveD May 20, 2011 at 11:32 am

      They followed up on their poll last night on the 6:30 pm news. Of course everyone was saying “how could they cut the budget on paving and increase it on bike projects!” Obviously taking their information from the Oregonian. KATU, meanwhile didn’t attempt to clarify anything because they, too, misinterpreted the numbers.

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  • JR May 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    The Oregonian is a joke. I pity the person that actually pays for it. They should sell it nationally in grocery stores next to the rest of the tabloids.

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  • Joe Rowe May 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Think of both bikes and cars as your employees. They both got a raise, but the one who will help your long term vision to economic stability gets a small bonus after years of ignored contributions.

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  • adlangx May 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    A lot of hand wringing in here about how this or that reporting service is a “joke”. It is all irrelevant. People are watching every dollar right now and most see bike improvements as a city luxury. Adams needs to realize that announcing a transportation budget that touts bike improvements as the big selling point is going to go down hard for people that already feel stretched. On top of that many in the “bike community” come across as single-minded and overly aggressive(which can be said of “car people” as well).

    I like biking and I need to drive. I want improvements to bike infrastructure, but I have questions about the wisdom of the current spending proposal. That should be the start of a conversation. Not grounds for attacks. Most of us feel the same way I’m sure, caught between biker anger and car anger. The whole thing is silly and pointless and Adams is not helping the situation.

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  • Jolly Dodger May 20, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Yes, the turnover is incredible at the papershacks…in my five or so years, there must have been 400 plus people coming and going…some leave the night they start…some after a week…a few stick it out till that first “paycheck” and start doing the math…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do a little profit/loss in your head.

    The customer is really who suffers. With up to five different carriers delivering in a particular neighborhood each year (sometimes each month) their papers are forever late or missing…meaning more decline in circulation/revenue….less for carriers, less dependable/accurate carriers, even lower circulation, etc….downward spiral…it all starts w/ the O not caring enuf about the carriers to pay them an honest salary (independant contractors) and still demand a deadline and penalty per miss contract. This itself contradicts the indie criteria of doing the job how we want and how much we get *(the individual shack distributors; also indies themselves; set the rate of pay per paper).

    ….basically a back-room, under the table kind of scenario in order for the O to distance themselves from the liabilities involved with literally hundreds of individual delivery employees who are all racing around in the wee hours of the morning trying to delivery 250 plus papers each, in as little as an hour and a half. A female carrier crashed her car coming into work back in Feburary on Burnside at 102nd (she died)…speeding in at 3 AM in order to hit her 5.30 AM deadlines….luckily she didn’t have her kids in the car…a lot of carriers insist on using their children as carrier assistants. I find this deplorable and would never ask any child to work at that time of the morning. But to each their own.

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  • Paul Johnson May 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    The head-up-the-tailhole factor when it comes to media coverage of transportation issues makes me rue the fact I’m back in this backwards city…

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