Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 3rd, 2012 at 3:13 pm
Incumbent Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten has earned the endorsement of political action committee Bike Walk Vote. The announcement was made today and the organization is expected to make endorsements for Portland City Council and Metro races later this evening.
Schouten represents District 1, which includes nearly all of Beaverton as well as parts of Aloha, Cooper Mountain and Reedville. For those in transportation advocacy circles in the Portland region, this endorsement comes as no surprise. Schouten has been an outspoken advocate for bicycling, walking, and sensible transportation planning on the West Side for many years. His support of bicycling goes back over a decade: He was given an Alice Award by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in 2001.
In their announcement today, Bike Walk Vote cited his work in February of this year to bring home a $200,000 federal grant to build sidewalks. Bike Walk Vote Co-Chair (and former BTA Executive Director) Evan Manvel said Schouten has been, "a constant voice to improve facilities so residents of Oregon's second most populous county can get around safely using transit, walking, or biking."
Right now is a crucial moment in Washington County. They've just launched an online tool to garner feedback for project funding through the Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program (MSTIP), and the bike advocacy community is going through major changes.
In response to a question by Bike Walk Vote as part of their endorsement process, Schouten said the current level of funding for stand-alone bicycling and walking projects in the MSTIP program — just a fraction of 1% — is "far from satisfactory."
Here's more from Schouten's response:
".. much more MSTIP money should be allocated for stand alone bike and ped projects. Stand alone bike and ped projects, physically separate from motorized traffic are critical if Washington County is serve the large number of "concerned but interested" residents who would walk and particularly bike if they felt it was safe to do so. The Washington County’s voters are ahead of the County’s elected leadership... If I had a third vote (preferably more) to do this, I would allocate 40-plus percent of county transportation resources for bicycle, pedestrian, and public transit projects."
Schouten faces only one challenger, Beaverton City Councilor Betty Bode, in the May 15th primary.
You can meet Schouten and other candidates at Bike Walk Vote’s endorsement party (links to Facebook) this Wednesday from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Crank bike shop (SE 27th and Ash). Admission, snacks, and beer are free!