Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on January 29th, 2014 at 3:04 pm
A Portland woman who concedes she was illegally biking on the private Cement Road to Swan Island with her 6-year-old daughter says she was “bullied” by a railroad police officer and has filed a formal complaint.
“As I explain in my complaint, I do not mean to suggest that I was in the right riding the Cement Road,” Diana Rempe of North Portland wrote in an email Wednesday to Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, Swan Island Transportation Management Association Director Sarah Angell and BikePortland. “I understand fully that it crosses Union Pacific property. However, I do believe strongly that there is no excuse for the intimidating bullying my 6 year old daughter and I experienced from Officer Bender of Union Pacific. I am a middle aged, white woman with a lot of privilege and that guy really scared me. I can only imagine how he might treat someone less system savvy than me.”
The Cement Road is a flat, direct connection between Swan Island and north Portland. It’s privately owned by UPRR and off-limits to public use; but it has been the subject of recent negotiations with the City of Portland because of its potential as a great biking route and possible key link in the North Portland Greenway. It’s also an ongoing source of tension between the railroad, which wants to protect itself from liability for any injuries, and local bike riders, especially the dozens who use it regularly to commute to jobs on Swan Island.
With Daimler Trucks North America, already the island’s biggest employer and one of the city’s top destinations for bike commuters, preparing to increase its workforce, the city hopes the Cement Road can someday become a safe, legal public access through the rail yard.