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An interview with mayoral candidate Eileen Brady

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 4th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Eileen Brady, photographed in BikePortland's downtown office.

With primary elections just over one month away, it's time to get serious about who will be our next mayor. In an effort to shed light on the top candidates, I've sat down and interviewed all three of them (you might have already read my interviews with Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith).

I recently sat down with Eileen Brady (who, it should be noted, was the only candidate who brought along an adviser). Brady, 51, was born in Chicago and came to Portland after going to college in Washington. She worked in the grocery business and played a role in the launch of New Seasons Market. She currently lives in Southeast Portland with her husband and four children. Read the interview below...

What role has bicycling played in your life?

"I started a club when I was a kid called the Speed Racer Club, in the 70s, north of Chicago. We had a newsletter and all the kids were in it. I am a bike commuter, a long-distance biker. I actually blew my knee out biking and took a couple years to recover. I think of myself as a multi-modal transit person. I have a Trek that's my commuter bike. I'm a fair weather biker, probably 2-3 times a week. Winter? Won't do it. I have a road bike too. I have done Cycle Oregon... love the Monster Cookie Ride."

What have you heard about bicycling on the campaign trail? What are folks saying about it?

"For some people, there's a war going on against bikes. There's an anti-bike sentiment in Portland. I personally think it's unnecessary. It didn't have to get to this point."

"I've been in 54 of 95 neighborhoods, in over 200 community meetings and I can tell you something, people talk about bikes. Some people are passionate, they love the bikes and it's their lifestyle and it's the symbol of Portland. That's how I would look at it myself.

And for some people, there's a war going on against bikes. There's an anti-bike sentiment in Portland. I personally think it's unnecessary. It didn't have to get to this point. For instance, if I go to an event in north or northeast Portland, I might hear, 'You're going to spend millions of dollars in my neighborhood and you're going to put in a bike lane?! Do you have any idea what this neighborhood really needs?! We need affordable housing, we need our historic retail to be maintained, we need food for our kids!' Those things are much more basic. Or in a community of seniors, I might hear the following question: 'Do you like bikes?' and if you say yes, they might not vote for you.

And it's just a reflection of the sentiment that's out there. it's gotten to be too divisive, there's too much conflict over something that should simply be an accepted part of our community."

Why do you think that anti-bike sentiment has gotten to this point?

"One of the key issues facing Portland and the bike community is rising above this conflict; that I think in many ways is unnecessary. 90% of the BTA members also have a car. This is really not about bikes versus cars, this is about, how do we all coexist together?

Why has this happened? I think we've had some unfortunate communications from City Hall around the bike projects. So I think there's some responsibility there — those seeds get planted and they permeate.

For example, the 2030 Bicycle Master Plan, great plan, I'm very impressed with it; but if I had been the mayor when we were rolling it out, I would have focused on the piece of it that's really about rolling out the neighborhood bike boulevards, sometimes called greenways. And the 80% rule, which basically says that 80% of the citizens should be within a half-mile of a low-stress bikeway*. And that's a very cost-effective program. I would have focused on the fact that these have multiple benefits — for the neighborhoods and for the bike riders themselves. And it's a low-cost, high return option; so probably would have focused on rolling that piece of it out first to create some real positive feelings about what bikes in the community can actually do."

[*Brady is referring to the "80 percent implementation strategy" outlined on page 122 of the Bike Plan for 2030 that states: "at least 80 percent of Portland residents being within one-quarter mile of a developed, low-stress bikeway."]

Isn't the City already focusing on neighborhood greenways? They were highly prioritized in the bike plan.

"You asked me about the communications part... How we got to bike war and what I would have done. In terms of what you roll out and talk about, I feel that [neighborhood greenways] would have been a real win-win for the community. Is that the only thing you do for biking? No. You say, where are the shared values? Where does everybody win? Everybody wins on safety, everybody wins on traffic calming, everybody wins on Safe Routes to Schools."

Active Transportation Debate at PSU-13
Brady at the Local Motion active transportation debate in February.
When you mentioned north and northeast Portland, you mentioned a list of things people said they wanted that were "basic services" — as if making a street that's safe for biking isn't a basic service. Do you see having roads for bikes that are safe as a basic service that the city should provide?

"Absolutely, the City should provide services that include bikeways; but there are some people that would say having a bike and bikeway is not a basic service. I was answering the communications question."

How would you respond to those people in that meeting?

"Here's what I say: One of the basic services that a city can provide is public safety. And where the bikers and the car people intersect, safety has got to be number one. And in every community meeting I've been in, when you talk about public safety, you get a lot of nods. Drivers do not want to hit bikes, bikes don't want to get hit by cars. That's universal. Safety really is what the mayor, the community, should focus on. I think to bring some shared concerned and alignment around the bikeways."

Brady on a bike, as seen in her TV ad.
When you look out at our transportation system - not from a funding or policy perspective - but in terms of how it feels to move around. Is there part of our system that is lagging, that needs to improve?

"I think Portland is and will be known as being a great, multi-modal city. And we're constantly improving it. One of the things I give Sam credit for is that he knows when you have a new transportation program, it's O.K. to experiment. It's O.K. to experiment with the bike boxes and they might work or they might not work and I think that we've had an orientation towards experimenting that needs to continue because, you know what, we don't know how to make it perfect. So you know, all pieces of it can be improved.

Do we need more sidewalks? Yes. Do we need to pave our roads? Yes. Do we need to increase the amount of bikeways and bike miles? Yes. Should we actually continue to build out or light rail system, like the light rail to Vancouver? Yes. Do we have some problems moving freight around the city? Yes. Portland has had an approach, and I think it's the appropriate approach, that this is a whole system and they need to operate together. We need to do more in every case."

The list you just mentioned comes with a price tag. And it's a lot of money that we don't have anymore. Can you explain how we can raise money for these needs?

"My number one priority is efficiency in the City. Before you raise the money, you have to show that you can be efficient before you raise revenue sources. So, should we have a leaner city? Sure. We need to look at middle management in the city very closely. Since 1992 the auditor has been saying there are too many people reporting to too many other people. Can we flatten that organization and create some efficiency in both quality of service and costs? Yes, I think you can."

How would that be an ongoing revenue stream?

"So, we have this gas tax, which contrary to popular opinion is at the current moment of time actually increasing at the City. It's not sustainable over the long haul because theoretically if we ever move into a Peak Oil moment we're going to have to deal with that. So let's not forget that our revenue is increasing and we need to use those revenues effectively. Would we at some point consider a street maintenance fee? Lots of other municipalities have done it and that's something certainly worth considering. Moving from gas tax to a vehicle-mile-tax program is something to consider. Those are all things you're going to consider in a package moving forward.

But you have to earn the trust first. I think there's a real broken trust between city government and citizens. That's one of the reasons I'm running."

With PBOT specifically, what are some things that you believe have caused that broken trust?

"Well, I think saying you're not going to pave major arterials for the next five years causes a broken trust, and it also causes people to get mad at the bikers, frankly."

From my view, it looks to me like it was The Oregonian that said we won't pave streets for the next five years, but the actual City has money in the budget for some paving, just not the major street rebuilds.

"You and I had a Twitter discussion about this! Yes there's a difference between patching and paving."

But they are actually going to do some paving. I just want to acknowledge that.

"You're absolutely right."

Just to get back to the broken trust issue. You feel that people are not trusting PBOT's spending decisions because PBOT is saying they want to find money in the budget that they could save from major paving on arterials and spend it on other things?

"Let's outline the trust issue. We've committed to projects, good projects, but we've committed to them, whether it's the Milwaukie Light Rail project or the Sellwood Bridge, but by doing that we're reducing the dollars we have for maintenance. We didn't have that community conversation. We have a streetcar system, which i think is cool by the way, the new loop that's going to be on this side of the river, it will drive tourism, but the operating budget for that streetcar is now a new cost inside the transportation bureau. That's a second example of a place where we didn't have the community conversation. We said, 'Yeah we should have that streetcar, let's get that.' Then we have to figure out how to operate it. That's a secondary question and that question should occur and be discussed forthright at the beginning of that process.

I think the Sunday Parkways — great program, I love it, I do them regularly — I think at this point they can be equivalent to the Bridge Pedal where they have a sponsor, like a Kaiser, outside of the city. Those are the kinds of things that break the trust I would say, of a community with the Bureau.

[Editor's note: Kaiser has been Sunday Parkways presenting sponsor for several years. This year, two-thirds of Sunday Parkways' total budget will come from sponsors, grants and donations.]

What do you think would have happened if we had a community conversation about one of the light rail projects? Would people want the City to say no to the feds for the entire project and the huge check and hundreds of jobs that come with it? It's one thing to say you don't like the operating expenses, but what would you have done differently?

"I want more transparency in the budgeting process. And I think the city of Portland deserves that. Here's an example in the bike community: We've spent half a million dollars in the sharrows program at least. But we didn't build in the maintenance portion; so when the sharrows wear out we have to pay to redo them."

I think sharrow maintenance is funded in the 'pavement markings' line item in the budget.

"The question is, where are those dollars dedicated to? We don't have a dedicated fund. So when we do new projects, I believe we need to put in the maintenance management program that goes along with those projects. Build them in Day One so the citizens can see that."

Let's shift gears a bit. Do you think Portland can take its brand for bicycling and parlay it into economic development and jobs? Do you think the bike-related industry in this town is worth the city's investment and resources?

"I think it's iconic. Yes. Absolutely. And I would just say that where we can accelerate immediately is the design side. We need the other pieces. I think the bike industry, from a percentage perspective, is one of our highest growth opportunities here in Portland. We have an estimated $100 million industry, and that's going to do nothing but grow. We've got early adapter customers here — whether it's helmets or components or bikes themselves, or apparel. Those can then become traded-sector businesses, where products go outside the region and money comes in to the region and creates a more prosperous, healthy economy."

What specific steps would you take to make that happen?

"Let's talk bike manufacturing specifically, food processing, the emerging fashion industry — three industries that have something in common. There are entrepreneurs here that want to participate, there is small business excitement, they are creative class entrepreneurs, they are high design. They can design or invent the product, and they might be able to make one or two or three of them but they can't scale it. So the obstacle is not talent, the obstacle is the actual micro-manufacturing facilities and how do you pay for them?

One of the things that Portland can do, and as mayor I will do, I will create a program where the city helps finance shared manufacturing centers. So, if you have multiple food processing folks, we can have a community kitchen, where you're sharing the expenses for scaling it. Same thing with bike manufacturing, or bike components manufacturing."

When it comes to what the City of Portland is doing to build out its bike network, do you think they're doing the right amount? Not enough? Too much?

"Well, there's never enough. You know, I sat on Metro's Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails..."

So you know where the bar is set for those real, world-class bike cities?

"Exactly. And I'm dreaming of those bike cities."

So, your answer is "not enough"?

"Right, but I think there are ways that we have not clearly looked at. Let's talk about trails for a second. If you look at trails, there are approximately 500 miles of trails we'd love to create in the Metro region. One of the things we know is, we are holding trail development to the same standards as road construction and it's very expensive. The overhead required from the federal and state level is extraordinary. We can reduce those things. If you do more than one segment at a time, you reduce those costs dramatically. The cost efficiencies you can gain by having a flexible standard that's appropriate for trails, reduces overhead, and does multiple projects at once, leverages a lot more miles."

You'd be interested to work on a strategy that loosens the regulations for building off-highway paths and trails?

"Yeah. If we do that, there's magic in them thar' hills! There are dollars to be saved, therefore miles to be built."

So, back to the question: Is PBOT doing the right amount, not enough, or too much in making the city more bike friendly?

"Like I said, there's never enough. But we have to balance what we have right now. We have a multi-modal system, a certain amount of resources and we have to make sure we are balancing those resources appropriately."

Do you think we are balancing them appropriately right now? In terms of making it easier to bike and safer to bike — are we doing enough?

"I would just say, I'm a huge supporter of the bike plan and I'm a huge supporter of getting those neighborhood greenways in and slowing the traffic and I think we're on the way. We certainly have a budget for it this year and I would imagine we would continue to allocate dollars so we have incremental progress each year."

You would "imagine" we continue to fund bicycling? If you were mayor, would you look to maintain, increase or decrease the amount of money directed toward projects that improve biking?

"Let's put it this way, I'm committed to implementing the most cost-effective pieces of that plan as soon as we possibly can. Then, as more dollars become available we can look at more of the costly pieces of the puzzle. You can't do it all at once. You've got to be incremental.

We're not in an era — and it's hard to remember this, you didn't live here in the 90s, it was a boom-time economy, you had federal dollars coming in where you didn't need as big of a local match as you did today — we're in a different era. We're in an era that's going to take local people working together, in partnership, to do as much of this as we possibly can. Would I like to pave all 59 miles of unpaved roads in east Portland tomorrow? Sure. Are we going to be able to do that? No. We're going to have to go about it incrementally."

At this point in the interview, Brady adviser Neel Pender interjected: "When you talk about a broken trust and people see you are spending money on bikes and some areas don't have sidewalks, there's a rub there."

[Question directed to Brady] But is that "rub" valid? Or is that a consequence of sensational media reporting and poor communication from City Hall?

"I think it's absolutely real. We have not paved enough streets. We have not put in enough sidewalks. We do not have safe routes to school for kids all over the city. Those things are very real."

Can you explain how your position on the CRC is different than Charlie Hales' or Jefferson Smith's?

"The easiest thing for me to have done, given my natural constituencies in the sustainability world — I've been working in sustainability for 25 years — would have been to oppose that bridge project. But I took a hard look at it. I read everything I could possibly read and talked to a lot of people involved in that project. And really said, actually, we should do this project. Even though we've spent $150 million and we haven't even laid any of the road — and that piece of it has been government run amok so far — but if we can get a record of decision, which we did, and we can skinny-down the project, which we are in the process of doing, we should move forward with it so we can end up with light rail to Vancouver, end up with pedestrian and bike access, seismic upgrades, increased freight mobility, all of those things make sense in a project that fiscally matches the times. And right now we're looking at the legislature to make the next move on that.

So, how's it different than Charlie and Jeff's position? I'm going to leave that to you to figure out.

I would add that I have been a leader in proposing the congestion tolling side of this equation. I think we should do it now. Just like London or Stockholm are managing traffic and emissions, there's no reason we shouldn't be doing that right now."

Can you clarify for me, your response to the Portland Business Alliance's 'Value of Jobs' questionnaire? It said, 'Do you support the CRC as proposed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement' and you said, 'Yes'. The FEIS includes nothing about a "skinnied down" version of the project, so shouldn't your answer have been "No"?

"You know the way that question works online? You had to put "yes" or "no" and then answer the question."

But your own answer said the project should be scaled down, but that's not in the FEIS, so...

"I've said we should proceed forward with the project and it will have to be skinnied down."

So then you don't support the FEIS as written?

"I supported the project to submit it for the record of decision. Yes. Because that was the next step for them. But you're right. The project itself is a huge highway project with a bridge in the middle and that project was never going to be financeable ever, or necessarily appropriate in total. But, a version that makes sense, that's value engineered, and meets our basic criteria is a project I've supported."

You acknowledge that there has been "government run amok" in terms of the amount of money we've spent on planning the CRC. Given that, are you still confident enough with that same government that you feel O.K. giving them the green light to move forward?

"I stand with the governor on this. We need to move through the process and let the wiser minds come around it in this next phase of this project which is to look at, O.K. now, where do we make the adjustments so that it works."

What about other options? Like the Common Sense Alternative?

"First of all, those guys — George Crandall and Don Arambula — are brilliant. But if we pushed the restart button, it's likely another ten years before we have access to the federal funds. So I say we make this project as value-appropriate for the region as possible."

Do you feel your position on the CRC has changed throughout the campaign?

"No. That's what's interesting to me. I know that there was a line printed in the Willamette Week that said I was on opposite sides. That is simply not true."

The next mayor will oversee the roll-out of the Portland bike share system. This was a key priority for Sam Adams. Do you share his enthusiasm for bike share? If so, why? If not, why not? (Note: This question was asked and answered via email)

"I fully support opportunities to increase access to bicycling and am optimistic by the prospect of establishing a sustainable bike share program in Portland. I know there is a tremendous amount of local expertise and hard work has been put into this effort. I think it's a great resource for visitors to Portland and holds promise as a driver for local economic development. I'm sure you'll see me out and about on one of the bicycles.

From a fiscal standpoint, it’s also important that we proceed with eyes wide open to ensure that not only are the program’s mission objectives clear, but also that we’ve fully vetted the business plan, including factoring in any anticipated costs to the city. The major cautions I see at this point include:

1. Understanding the financial impacts to Portland’s existing private bike rental vendors such as Kerr Bikes, Waterfront Bikes or Portland Bicycle Tours; and

2. I'm concerned about the safety of users, especially first time riders or visitors not familiar with city, when traversing our streetcar tracks (especially those right angle turns!), which are causing too many wipeouts for riders. I know that the City is working to address this problem in future designs, but additional safety measures like adding flange liners may be needed to improve safety on existing tracks."

Is there anything else that you want people to remember from this interview?

"I love my bike. I love the bikeways that have been created thus far and I want to implement that 80 percent rule. We're going to do that."

— Follow our ongoing coverage of the 2012 mayoral race here.

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Comments
  • BikeMaxBike April 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    If you are for the CRC and you're a politician I will not vote for you.

    Period.

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    • voline April 4, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Seconded.

      Seems like she was trying hard to say "yes" and "no" to several questions. Or say nothing at all. How many times do you have to be asked whether you agree with current levels of bike spending by the Portland Dept of Transportation?

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    • rain bike April 5, 2012 at 7:53 am

      That's too bad, because this election could be more than just a referendum on the CRC. But if that's the only thing that matters to you...

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      • A.K. April 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

        Agreed - single-issue voters are one of the big problems I see with national politics. Lets not let it get that bad at the local level.

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  • dwainedibbly April 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I don't want to say that she was pandering, but it sure sounds like she was tailoring her answers to the audience of the media outlet that was doing the interview.

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    • Chris I April 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      She was trying hard, but it's pretty easy to tell that she doesn't care enough about bikes. Granted, I don't think she would cut all funding to bikes, but we definitely will not see increased funding.

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  • John R. April 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks for this and your line of questioning. For the one "non politician" candidate I have to say that she sounds much more like a typical politician than either Charlie or Jefferson.

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    • BURR April 5, 2012 at 10:50 am

      she's a republican in liberal drag

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  • 9watts April 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    "90% of the BTA members also have a car"
    sure, but 18% of Multnomah Co. households don't (didn't in 2000) own a car. That is a FAR LARGER NUMBER.
    Too bad she wasn't aware of that--not that too many are--so no specific criticism of Brady, but it matters a lot which number we choose to highlight, build our platform around, reference in conversation....

    Great job, JM!

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    • matt picio April 4, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Not to mention that the statistic she quoted isn't quite true. 90% of *polled* BTA members *who responded* also own a car. That's indicative of the membership as a whole, but not equivalent.

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      • jeff April 5, 2012 at 8:48 am

        Her point was that cars vs. bikes "war" is nonsensical, since many people who ride bikes--and care about bicycling issues--also own and drive cars. You are nitpicking over details and missing the point.

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        • 9watts April 5, 2012 at 8:58 am

          "You are nitpicking over details and missing the point."
          I understand that was her point, but I think related points are more important. Let us imagine that the overlap between people who ride bikes and who drive cars was less. Does that make the 'war' any less nonsensical? I don't think so. Only if you take a static view of the modal split we see right now....
          Besides to me the so-called 'war' is a huge distraction from the more interesting dimensions of the questions Johnathan was asking.

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          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 5, 2012 at 9:07 am

            The "war" narrative that she believes in is important because it shapes how she sees the solutions to ending that war. The way a candidate sees the problems is sometimes just as important as their proposed solutions.

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            • 9watts April 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

              Yes. That is a better way of putting it.

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            • craig harlow April 5, 2012 at 11:54 am

              I introduced myself last fall to one of my neighbors who is NOT a bike lover, and IS a supporter of Brady (I didn't let on about my own ideology). They shared with me a story about having just attended a clearly conservative fundraising dinner for Brady (last fall), at which loud anti-bike sentiment was generally shared, and that Brady sided unabashedly sided with that sentiment.

              For this blog forum I realize you can't consider that any more than hear-say, so take it for what it's worth.

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  • J_R April 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Thanks for the interview, Jonathan. I'm pleased to learn that Brady has ridden Cycle Oregon and that she strongly supports bicycling efforts in the community.
    Overall, I'm impressed by Brady. She has worked in the private sector. Her interview indicates more understanding of the nuiances of issues than I've heard from Smith or Hales. Maybe that makes her sound to some like a politician, but to me it's a reflection that issues are complicated.
    I can't vote for Smith because he has so little management experience. The Willamette Week article led me to believe he's in no way qualified to manage the City.
    As for Hales, I still don't understand how he could think it's OK to be a Washington resident (living and paying taxes there) while voting in Portland elections.

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    • MIddle of the Road Guy April 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      BFD if she has worked in the private sector. I'd prefer someone with experience running a public organization....because that's what a mayor does.

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    • Mindful Cyclist April 5, 2012 at 9:23 am

      After reading the WW article, I could only wonder if Nigel Jaquiss had a bone to pick with Smith. I read way too much about his shortcomings and very little in the way of anything that was positive. Every politician has shortcomings. That is no surprise. The idea is that you hire people around you that know what they are doing given a certain area.

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    • BURR April 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      Her Cycle Oregon 'cred' does nothing for me, except place her squarely in the car-top recreational user category. That's not going to get us any further w/r/t making urban utility cycling safer at all.

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  • Tony Fuentes April 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Re: CRC -

    "But if we pushed the restart button, it's likely another ten years before we have access to the federal funds. So I say we make this project as value-appropriate for the region as possible."

    How does someone running on business cred not get simple concepts such as sunk costs and costs vs. benefits? And honestly, what does "value-appropriate" mean in this regard?

    Can we please stop pursuing projects solely because there is some level of federal funding available? The fact that DC may be willing to pony up a portion of the funding for CRC doesn't mean it is a fiscally sound or prudent idea.

    Moreover, in this particular case, the local funding match will translate to billions of local dollars being pulled out of the local economy. And oddly enough, the current bridge concept doesn't effectively address the presumed economic need for the project - enhanced freight mobility in the region.

    I am far from a one-issue voter but if a candidate can't get this one right, how can I trust them to effectively manage the city's general fund and debt capacity?

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    • 9watts April 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      "what does 'value-appropriate' mean in this regard?"

      It could mean "I am tired of these tough questions and the more of these obtuse phrases I work into this already long interview the quicker we'll be done with these tough questions, to which Mr. Smith has such frustratingly applause-earning answers..."

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  • Shannon April 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    A well-done trio of interviews, J - this last one in particular. Reading through the responses as a group gave a definite feel for each candidate's sensibility (and likely confirmed my favorite in the race).

    Thank you.

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  • Schrauf April 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Total politician. She always gives me a bad taste in my mouth. I'll admit she is probably the safest selection for Portland's next mayor, but I'm not happy about it.

    I can't tell if she is more liberal than she is willing to let on, because she is afraid it will keep her from getting elected, or she is much more conservative than she lets on, because she is afraid that will keep her from getting elected.

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    • Andrew K April 4, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      This right here! What you said is exactly the weird feeling I get from her whenever I hear her speak or give an interview. It's a really odd line she is walking and it certainly doesn't make me want to vote for her.

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      • MIddle of the Road Guy April 4, 2012 at 10:39 pm

        Ditto. There is just something not right with her. She reminds me of John Edwards or Sara Palin - says the right things that the person wants to her but tries way too hard to be liked by everyone.

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      • oskarbaanks April 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm

        As someone close to those who were part of the beginnings of New Seasons,that laugh with certainty at the mention of E.B. as mayor, I would say your weird feeling is solid proof the brain is working.

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        • oskarbaanks April 4, 2012 at 11:58 pm

          And BTW, as a former N.S. employee, I find this quote laughable...

          "So, if you have multiple food processing folks, we can have a community kitchen, where you're sharing the expenses for scaling it. Same thing with bike manufacturing, or bike components manufacturing."... pleeeze.
          "

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  • kgb April 5, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I'm not a one issue voter but since this is bikeportland this is the place to focus on one issue and from that perspective this interview is a disaster for Ms. Brady.

    "Well, I think saying you're not going to pave major arterials for the next five years causes a broken trust, and it also causes people to get mad at the bikers, frankly."

    And apparently that is OK? Cause she isn't saying it's completely backwards which it is.

    "When you talk about a broken trust and people see you are spending money on bikes and some areas don't have sidewalks, there's a rub there."

    Again I find it ironic that she says she is focused on efficiency with this kind of statement coming from her campaign. More bikes create a more efficient transportation system which frees up money for sidewalks and additional paving, how complex is that?

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  • Mindful Cyclist April 5, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Sorry, but there is no "war" against cyclists. I hear a lot of motorist complain about "slow" drivers in Portland just as much as people complain about cyclists.

    And, there is only an "anti-bike sentiment" if you read the Oregonian. Have I had negative interactions with motorists on my bike? Yes! For every one of those, have I had at least 20 motorist go out of their way to be (sometimes to the point of annoyance) courteous? Yes! I just remember those negative ones a lot more clearly.

    She seemed to know just enough about bicycles to try to round up a few votes from the cycling crowd. Sorry, but being able to cough up the $800 or so it takes to do Cycle Oregon and being a fair weather cyclist doesn't impress me.

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    • wsbob April 5, 2012 at 10:27 am

      "Sorry, but there is no "war" against cyclists. ..." Mindful Cyclist

      The whole segment is worth reading carefully, but here's the intro to what she said on the question of a 'war against cyclists':

      "...And for some people, there's a war going on against bikes. ..." eileen brady, mayoral candidate, interview bikeportland

      To me, publicly relating such a community and a campaign obstacle to be overcome, seems fairly forthcoming from someone seeking to become mayor.

      As to the existence of...I'll call it 'opposition' rather than war...with regards to development of infrastructure for the use of bikes as practical transportation, there likely is quite a bit of it in Portland and the Metro Area. Substantial numbers of people in the Portland Metro area have an interest in biking as practical transportation, but signs that biking is generally recognized as a viable form of practical transportation are few. That being the case, it's understandable that as Brady makes her visits around as a candidate for mayor, she's gonna be hearing from the vocal people that oppose any spending on what they probably consider to be a marginally practical mode of transportation.

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      • Mindful Cyclist April 5, 2012 at 11:06 am

        wsbob: People are going to be generally opposed to any kind of government spending on something that they cannot see benefits them personally. Is the average person that doesn't like baseball going to vote yes on a proposal to build a new stadium? Is a childless couple going to be thrilled a mill levy passes and how their property taxes are going up?

        This is why I have a difficult time looking at it as an "anti-cycling" sentiment.

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        • wsbob April 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm

          "...This is why I have a difficult time looking at it as an "anti-cycling" sentiment. ..." Mindful Cyclist

          I'm not sure from reading your response, to what sentiment you're referring.

          Reading the interview though, I was fairly impressed that Brady seems to ride a fair amount and likes it. Riding Cycle Oregon is an accomplishment. The amount that fair weather people ride can be impressive. I'd be interested to hear how much weather Brady is willing to ride in, because the feeling I get is that a little rain shower wouldn't necessarily put her off.

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          • Mindful Cyclist April 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

            I am referring to the "anti-cycling sentiment" that Brady was referring to.

            Let me reword it in her words using different examples:

            And for some people, there's a war going on against Obamacare. There's an anti-socialized medicine sentiment in the US.

            And for some people, there's a war going on against the expanded streetcars. There's an anti-mass transportation sentiment in Portland.

            That is the point I was making. I was pointing out that there are several "wars" going on and bicycling is just one of them. People just do not want money spent on something they are not going see any direct benefit from.

            Do cyclists in Portland benefit the city? Of course they do. Let's take the 7% or so daily cyclist and have 66% of them drive in a SOV to mirror the rest of the city. Let's see how long it takes to get across the Hawthorne Bridge to get to work in the morning when you are cutting out a 1,000 cyclists and sticking them in a car. I won't even get into the health and environmental benefits.

            But, the average person is not going to see that because they look at a painted bike lane and they are not the ones that are in it. Thus, no direct benefit so it is "a waste of my tax dollars."

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  • Mumbledymumble April 5, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Good interview, Jonathan. I appreciate that you're tenacious enough to press her on things.

    I haven't read or heard anything from Brady that's assuaged any of the concerns I've always had about her ... concerns that, fundamentally, boil down to a lingering feeling that she doesn't really know what she's talking about.

    This isn't to fault her on a personal or entrepreneurial level; Brady strikes me as a fine individual and probably a fine manager. But politically, there's just an ... emptiness there. Hales and Smith got fairly wonky in your interviews. Each has an obvious eye for policy details, while still being able to discuss things in big-picture terms. Whether in this interview, or the debates or forums I've either watched or read up on, I don't get that level of awareness and eye for detail from Brady. I feel like she answers in empty platitudes a lot of the time. There's just not a lot of there there.

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  • Lisa April 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Not impressed by Brady at all. She talks out of both sides of her mouth in this interview. Also her tv ads portray her as a common folk, who came to pdx looking for healthcare, settled for a 5/hr job, and worked her way up to grocery mogul who cares so much for everyone. Anyone who situates themselves as an idealic Horatio Alger is automatically suspect to me. One could argue that her business is actually pretty anti-community minded, from their model of global commodity buying to the way they're reacting to the move by some workers to unionize.

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  • Eli April 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Thank god that there isn't a Portland mayoral candidate fully committed to the bike plan implementation. Otherwise I'd feel even more jealous living in Seattle and might have to relocate.

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  • torridjoe April 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    J_R

    I can't vote for Smith because he has so little management experience. The Willamette Week article led me to believe he's in no way qualified to manage the City.

    This seems like an odd statement, perhaps based on misdirection by WWeek? Before the Leg, Smith spent the better part of a decade as the executive manager for an organization--from startup to where it is now, an international success story. He spent the last biennium working to manage the budgets of the Governor, Treasurer and SoS. If I'm not mistaken, he's the ONLY one of the three with any actual managament experience. Brady has none that I can see! I just hope you don't let Nigel "How can I best make this sentence reflect negatively on my subject" Jaquiss make such an important decision for you. Not only does he not have little, of the major candidates he has the most.

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  • Richard April 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    "We've committed to projects, good projects, but we've committed to them, whether it's the Milwaukie Light Rail project or the Sellwood Bridge, but by doing that we're reducing the dollars we have for maintenance. We didn't have that community conversation."

    Wow. She apparently missed (or didn't care enough to participate in) the years of "community conversation" about Sellwood Bridge alternatives and Sellwood Bridge funding that continued while the bridge crumbled, while bus and truck traffic over the bridge was banned, and while pedestrians and cyclists tried to squeeze past each other on the lousy walkway. Does she really think it would be viable to leave the Sellwood Bridge "as is" so we have dollars to spend on maintaining roads that lead to an unsafe bridge? What additional "conversation" does she think is necessary?

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    • John R. April 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      She seems shockingly unaware of what is actually happening/has happened in the city. She has "new" proposals/policies that are already happening.

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      • craig harlow April 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

        I think that Portland is unlike most other cities in a way that Brady may only just be learning: because of our focus the last 20 years on improving cycling infrastructure, and the culture (broadly used term) that has arisen, there are tons of citizens very very engaged in transportation policy who are very well informed and up-to-date.

        It seems like Brady has lots of sound-bites (noise) prepared that she thinks will get her by, and that she was UN-prepared for Jonathan being on his toes and respectfully challenging her misstatements and ambiguities. Jonathan's monstrously more informed that most of us, I suspect, but she's still going to run into similar challenges every time she speaks where there are transpo-geeks.

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  • Spencer Boomhower April 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Great interview, Jonathan!

    So it sounds like Brady's reply to the question, "So then you don't support the FEIS as written?" is that she doesn't. Which makes me wonder if she would have got the Portland Business Alliance's endorsement had she replied that way on their questionnaire.

    Brady says in reply to your question about the Common Sense Alternative: "First of all, those guys — George Crandall and Don Arambula — are brilliant." But that's not giving credit where credit is due. It was actually George Crandall and *Jim Howell* who were the authors of the CSA. Don Arambula might have had something to do with it too (he is Crandall's business partner), but Jim and George were the main co-authors.

    For anyone who doesn't know, Jim Howell was one of the people who helped keep SE Division and SE Clinton and everything in between them from being turned into the Mt. Hood Freeway. While Jim was actively opposing the Mt Hood Fwy, George was a project manager trying to get that particular freeway built. But now they're united in opposition to the CRC. Jim was also one of the people who helped get Harbor Drive turned into Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

    The Portland Afoot wiki page failed to mention Jim too; I'll try to get that corrected.

    There was a good candidate forum on OPB's Think Out Loud this morning, the MP3 is available here: http://www.opb.org/audio/download/?f=tol/segments/2012/040501.mp3

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  • Joe April 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Not impressed. I don't think she knows much about, nor cares about, transportation issues. I heard her talk at the City Club debate and she was arguing that sidewalks weren't worth the expense compared with repaving roads and in some cases widening roadway shoulders. Wider shoulders is ok for bikes in some situations, but does nothing for pedestrian safety. Anyway, I'd rather see one of the other two get it.

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  • Albyn April 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Nice interview and report, Jonathan.

    She made a presentation to a wonky group I attend. First, she brought a bunch of her own supporters with softball questions. Then she answered every question the same content-free way "you have to involve all the stakeholders". Finally she stated that, having spent $150M planning the CRC, we wouldn't want to throw away that investment, hence we have to build it. For someone claiming to be the hard-headed business savvy candidate, that shows a phenomenal lack of understanding of basic economic concepts. No Thanks.

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