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At die-in, ODOT says it’s already doing its best to improve street safety

Posted by on May 13th, 2015 at 6:52 pm

The protest was organized after a man biking across Powell Boulevard lost a leg in a collision with a turning pickup truck.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland unless noted)

About two dozen people lay in the one-way street outside the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Portland regional headquarters Wednesday afternoon in a mostly silent demonstration in support of safety improvements on Portland’s urban highways.

Most had biked to the spot; some lay their bicycles beside them. Others had walked; one said he’d walked downtown from North Portland.

Some were children. Some wore fake blood made from ketchup. One had brought a stack of signs: “Oregon Department of Traumatic Injury.”


“The objective is to bring changes to ODOT’s highways in Portland, where there are high-crash corridors, where too many Portlanders have been killed,” said Soren Impey, the Oregon Health and Science University professor and BikeLoudPDX organizer who called for the event on Monday morning. “The focus, we believe, is too much on speed and getting people through Portland as fast as possible.”


Impey said ODOT “has been dragging their feet” on what he called “inexpensive safety improvements” such as speed reduction, traffic signals and restriping lanes to make them narrower or fewer.


Standing on the sidewalk nearby, ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton said the agency was “already putting a lot of money into a lot of safety projects” on Portland’s high-crash corridors.

“There are 10 of them in the city and three of them are ODOT’s,” Hamilton said: Southeast Powell, Southwest Barbur and 82nd Avenue. The worst of the three, he said, was actually 82nd.

“We’ve got fairly aggressive safety projects going in on them all right now,” he said.


Hamilton said the projects included improved visibility, better lighting, new traffic signals and left-turn arrows, and that “tens of millions” would be spent on them in the next few years.

“The next thing you’re going to ask me is why does it take so freakin’ long,” Hamilton said. “We have a lot of people involved in these projects. We need the input from people.”


Not everyone was there to protest. Ted, a local truck driver who wouldn’t give his last name, said he’d taken half the day off so he could come and see the event, which he called “Portland out of control.”

“These people, they go — they just go,” said Ted. “They’re too unpredictable. Their bikes are like this all the time.” Ted moved his hands forward in a wavy line.

rowe standing

Ted said that if Powell were reduced to one lane in each direction the way Division Street recently was, it’d double the amount of time it takes him to drive hsi truck across the city.

“I’m not paid for that,” he said. “I’m paid by the trip.”

(Over at the Mercury, news editor Dirk VanderHart has a nicely written piece focusing on Ted and the people who agree with him.)

(Photo: Caesar Ursic)

Back on the Flanders Street pavement, Impey said the protest was intended to be in support of people in cars and trucks, too.

“We’re here to represent everyone,” he said. “These high-crash corridors are dangerous for all Portlanders, not just people who are walking or biking.”


Correction 9:30 pm: A previous version of this post said the event happened on Tuesday. Today is Wednesday. It’s been a strange week.

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  • jeg May 13, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    “I’m not paid for that,” he said. “I’m paid by the trip.”

    Exactly. The capitalists know how to keep their hegemony and their hands viced on the balls of transportation in Oregon. They will even make people who are simple blue collar wish to have things expedited that would make their own community WORSE. We need to stop bending over to the desire of landowners to turn Portland into a highway city with peripheral sprawl. We need to keep doing diets REGION wide. We need to also cut highway/road spending and put it for bikes and transit. Maintain our infrastructure, but give us a subway and worldclass pedestrian and biking infrastructure.

    We have the clout, as a city (metro region) that plans, to be doing this. Why are we still viced by conservative business interests that even manipulate their workers into hating our cause? People and urbanity are important to protect culture in our city and allow more income diversity through inclusionary zoning; we should go a step further and lock our Urban Growth Boundary in place to make true to our mission.

    Road funding should be going to bikes and transit! We should be maintaining or putting our city roads on diets. We need protected bike lanes. Any increase in demand can be eaten up by a city that walks, bikes, subways, MAXes, streetcars, and busses.

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    • Chris Anderson May 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Hey I’m an entrepreneur trying to get the message across that active transport and livability are investments Portland is crazy not to double down on, for economic reasons alone. #notallcapitalists

      But yes I pretty much agree with everything you just wrote.

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      • jeg May 13, 2015 at 7:34 pm

        Yeah, I was grandstanding. But you fit the bill of a social democrat more than a capitalist, in my figuring. Public-private partnerships can work great if businesses actually support services on the whole.

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      • soren May 13, 2015 at 8:21 pm

        Hi Chris, I listened to you being interviewed by the Oregonian and thought you were awesome.


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    • Barney May 13, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      “people who are simple blue collar”

      That’s about as condescending as you can get! I guess from your lofty position of self importance the view is different than for us minions.

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      • Jeg May 13, 2015 at 8:15 pm

        Vote against yourself and the transportation interestions of the whole community? Simple minded, in my opinion.

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      • davemess May 14, 2015 at 9:45 am

        Minions? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m a “landowner”, so clearly I hate bikes and have a ton of power!

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      • CaptainKarma May 14, 2015 at 1:36 pm

        I didn’t read that as condescending at all.

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        • Lester Burnham May 15, 2015 at 6:39 am

          But it was.

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          • Jeg May 16, 2015 at 10:43 am

            And mr. Blue collar wasnt by “touring” the protest? What. ever.

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    • George H. May 14, 2015 at 8:52 am

      …aaaand the first commenter launches into an anti-capitalist diatribe against property owners and patronizing remarks making out blue collar workers as simpletons. The fact that the local bike community is so insistent about hitching their far-left causes to bike advocacy is annoying.

      This is not a left vs right issue, but all the people who can’t drop the Occupy-this attitude make it one. It’s not necessary.

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      • Jeg May 14, 2015 at 3:41 pm

        Having an opinion has nothing to do with occupy wallstreet. In the 60s you’d be complaining about hippies. It’s a tired refrain by a class of rulers that is having their power challenged. If you aren’t part of the ruling class, you’re foolish for trying to ride their wave of scraps due to gluttony.

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      • gutterbunnybikes May 14, 2015 at 5:05 pm

        As blue collar homeowner. I didn’t find the comments that snarky (little bit). But not enough so to justify the vitriol. (heck I liked it)

        Truth is lots of people of all collars are convinced to vote against their own best interests, the entire advertising industry is built upon convincing you of purchasing stuff you don’t need, be it junk, junk food, junk bonds, or junk political clap-trap.

        Besides, what is blue collar anymore? I suspect there are lots of “white collar” educated people doing “blue collar work”, but try to make themselves feel better about it by saying it’s just a temporary thing. Lots of us blue collars started that way, don’t feel bad about it.

        But then again, I’m really good at what I do, so if my boss doesn’t like my opinions, I’ve got options – he knows it, I make sure he’s aware of every recruitment call I get, at least one a month, often more than that.

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    • middle of the road guy May 14, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Someone is channeling Hart Noecker’s rhetorical style.

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      • George H. May 14, 2015 at 4:37 pm

        Good news! Hart left Portland and lives with mommy and daddy in Lansing, Michigan now. His online presence is restricted to places where he can control content. Portland is now a little more safe!

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    • middle of the road guy May 14, 2015 at 10:11 am

      I think it is the “holier than thou” attitude that turns more people off from your cause than what you are actually saying. There is a way to build a common cause…and taking the approach of “I know better than you” is not the way to start.

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  • Amy May 13, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    The number of acceptable traffic deaths is ZERO. As long as ODOT keeps prioritizing speed over human lives, people will continue to die.

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    • gutterbunnybikes May 14, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Not to let ODOT off the hook – they’re definitely far behind, but zero deaths on roads isn’t ever going to happen. And you can’t design a system to make that possible.

      Not as long as you got people huffing whippets behind the wheel as they plow into road construction flaggers (who by the way wear High -VIz and hard hats).

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  • Alex Reed May 13, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    The BTA hit the nail on the head with their statement – ODOT is not allocating the funding that fixing these urban highways warrants. Additionally, the small amount they are spending on safety for these highways is not being used effectively because ODOT has put tight strictures around safety projects’ impact on traffic flow.

    Their 2013-15 biennial budget includes $824 million for highway capacity expansion (“modernization”). http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/CS/20132015%20Budget%20Documents/ODOT_2013-15%20LegislativelyAdoptedBudget.pdf

    I wasn’t able to dig up the bike/ped and safety funding quickly, but bike/ped comes from the $224 for “special programs” (which also includes a number of other things.)

    I don’t see why we should be expanding highways in today’s tight fiscal climate. Safety and maintenance should come first. Imagine what an extra $824 million could do for bike/ped infrastructure, safety projects such as road diets, and our state’s extensive, and growing, road maintenance backlog!

    In addition to tightfisted safety funding, ODOT does not seem open to even low-cost safety solutions like a Barbur road diet due to its prioritization of highway travel times.

    These urban highways should have been made calmer and safe years ago. ODOT spent millions on road expansion instead.

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    • Chris Anderson May 13, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      I see no reason not to disrupt rush hour with crosswalk protests until they adopt Vision Zero officially. When they say they are spending money that doesn’t mean anything, because as you point out they are hold themselves to archaic car-throughput constraints instead of putting safety first. If we can’t have a safe street, we shouldn’t have any street at all. Who’s up for another rush hour disruption?

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    • Brad May 13, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      ODOT needs a good, long talk with the folks at Strong Towns.

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    • Rob Chapman May 13, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      Thanks for your hard work Alex.

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  • Dave May 13, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Speaking of trucking, it should be heavily re-regulated with fixed salaries (not hourly wages, salaries) and pay for drivers divorced from productivity.
    Incentivizing our fetish object called “efficiency” in driving jobs is a recipe for homicidally hurried driving. This is one place where our “free market” fairy tale is a stone f-ing failure.

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    • q`Tzal May 13, 2015 at 11:16 pm

      Paying truckers by the mile (as I am) or by the trip is essentially “piecework”. While not illegal it is a known source of many abuses of workers.
      From a safety standpoint per mile or per trip pay encourages drivers to go as fast as they can without getting caught.

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      • Psyfalcon May 14, 2015 at 8:02 am

        It may even be ok on the interstate, but it should probably be banned in built up areas nationwide.

        I thought most drivers were paid hourly for local, so I’m not sure what the driver mentioned in the story does to be paid by the trip.

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      • gutterbunnybikes May 14, 2015 at 5:23 pm

        You clearly don’t know how the trucking industry works.

        Salaries aren’t possible for most freight – most they are either small companies who own the trucks and take the “piecemeal work” or they are self employed truck owners. The drivers and small companies own the truck, the trailer is often provided by the shipping company. So even many of those you trucks you assume are owned by “company x” many are simply a guy who bought the truck and is trying to make ends meat.

        That of course doesn’t include the huge number Mexican trucking companies and drivers now allowed to ship freight in the US – who actually have few regulations on their licencing than our US drivers.

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        • q`Tzal May 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm

          You clearly don’t know how the trucking industry works.

          You clearly don’t know how the trucking industry works.
          You might have some small inkling how some small portion works but that bears no semblance AT ALL to what I’ve interacted with over the last few years.

          But please, voice your racist opinions about Mexicans loudly and proudly for everyone to hear.

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          • gutterbunnybikes May 15, 2015 at 4:37 pm

            It wasn’t a racist remark.

            Mexican trucking companies recently have had the doors of American shipping opened up to them. They don’t have to go through any US licensing procedures like US truckers have to, they don’t have the same regulations in vehicle safety checks, or go through many of the legal loopholes that US truck operators (of any ethnic background) are subject to.

            I was merely pointing out that trucking companies and operators that are based in Mexico are allowed to operate in the US while not being subject to the same standards or oversight that US drivers are subject to.

            Nationalism isn’t by any stretch the same as racism.

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            • Blue Heron May 18, 2015 at 11:46 am

              Not saying you are racist, but you are spreading misinformation about lack of regulation of Mexican motor carriers. They face more, not less scrutiny in order to operate in the USA. For example, they must complete a USDOT safety audit prior to operation rather than within 18 months (US carrier requirement).

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  • Brad May 13, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    “Ted” took the day off to be a bystander at a die-in?!

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    • Scott H May 13, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Ted must be making good money if he can take the day off to stand outside ODOT headquarters.

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      • Zimmerman May 14, 2015 at 8:41 am

        The protesters must be making good money to take the day off to “die” in front of ODOT HQ.

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        • Alex Reed May 14, 2015 at 9:10 am

          Personally, I didn’t take the day off. I took two hours off – then went back to work and worked till 9pm.

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        • Amy May 14, 2015 at 10:19 am

          I’m a stay at home mom who took her kids. So I didn’t take any time off!

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        • CaptainKarma May 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

          I work nights.

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  • q`Tzal May 13, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I want a full size highway billboard that says “The price of a quick commute shouldn’t be a human life. BUT IT IS.”

    Some times I want a gruesome image of human carnage on the billboard with the words; some times I think maybe we could get away with one of those daily update boards that shows the number of automotive fatalities and injuries in Oregon since the beginning of the week, month and year.

    Put them on the Banfield, I-5 North & South and the Sunset just outside the I-405 loop so the maximum number of stuck in traffic zombies can look and feel some small piece of shame for how they contribute to this problem.

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    • Cervelo May 13, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      The billboard would distract drivers resulting in more fatalities. Dang it.

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      • q`Tzal May 13, 2015 at 11:03 pm

        An automated death tally board is up in every state neighboring Oregon but not here.
        The same thing exists in every state that borders those states … except Oregon.
        And further on as well.

        I don’t think they are causing more distraction or they would have been removed by now due to an obvious increase in incidents near said signs.

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      • Kyle May 14, 2015 at 6:17 am

        Yeah, most drivers can’t even read the simple ODOT electronic signs on freeways anymore without slamming on the brakes and swerving around. It’s incredible how awful drivers have gotten in only 5-10 years.

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    • Brian May 14, 2015 at 5:43 am

      I was having a snack outside of the Bagdad last night and was amazed at the amount of bad driving decisions all done to get somewhere a little bit faster. This led to an idea. What about a guerilla poster painting movement? The posters would be hung at critical spots throughout the city, similar to what people have done with homemade “kids at play/please slow” signs. If the posters/signs were concise and thought-provoking (and not necessarily negative), it could have an impact.

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      • paikiala May 14, 2015 at 9:17 am

        maybe like:

        “People who speed are a**holes”
        “Killed anyone with your car today?”
        “Who’s life is worth that 5 minutes you save speeding?”

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        • Chris I May 14, 2015 at 9:28 am

          If you are driving between Portland and Salem on I-5 you might save 5 minutes by speeding. Driving the length of Hawthorne the time savings is either nothing or very little (in the case where the speeding allows you to make a stoplight you would have otherwise missed). I would say 2 minutes, tops.

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          • paikiala May 14, 2015 at 10:06 am

            the average person won’t believe 2 minutes.

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      • middle of the road guy May 14, 2015 at 10:14 am

        Bad driving decisions or bad biking decisions? were you objective enough to look for both?

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        • Brian May 14, 2015 at 5:26 pm

          Yep, there were no cyclists riding down Hawthorne the entire time I was there. I wonder why…..

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    • Ryan May 14, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      They wouldn’t see it because they’d be too busy texting.

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    • gutterbunnybikes May 14, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      How’s about the ODOT reader boards? They’re already there, and most the time sit idle.

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  • Kenji Sugahara May 13, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    So I’d like to explain to Ted that Powell is a high crash corridor that is dangerous not only for people on bikes and people who bike but also for motorists. When there is a crash there is delay- and if you look at the crash data- most of the crashes are motor vehicles. That delay causes more problems for freight rather than this trumped up idea that people on bicycles are the cause of congestion and delay.

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  • Adam H. May 13, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Well, ODOT’s best isn’t good enough. Try harder.

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  • Joe Rowe May 13, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Posted 9:20PM May 13

    This is the most incomplete journalism I have seen on BikePortland, and some of the worst I’ve seen in Oregon.

    Why do I say this?:

    a) Too much text given to ODOT staff who distort the issues of the protesters. ODOT is simply out to build more pavement, and not concerned about the safety of existing roads. If the NTSA ran air safety the way ODOT builds roads we would have reporters not allowing the NTSA to just use propaganda with no facts to back it up.

    b) Only one protester quoted, Soren, nice guy. One voice.

    c) Then you quote a truck driver who blames cyclists. Would you report on the earth being flat to say you did an unbiased story on the earth?

    d) Your only 2 links right now is anti bike journalism at the Mercury, and bike loud, which anyone could google, and would most likely better boost the cause

    e) No links to all the data that myself and other protesters cited. This data shows that cars are subsidized by non car drivers, and even more. Just look at the data links from any one of 3 dozen bike activists like @bikesnobnyc

    f) The pro corporate media spent their time taking recordings of most of the cyclists laying on the ground. I spoke and was laying their quietly for 20 min, and the BP staff failed to walk to me or anyone. Links tbd Better off reading them than BP.

    g) Several people did street theater. (not mentioned) and BP staff were there to see it. The street artists (me & others) noted all the reasons dead cyclists are blamed
    1) People 17 or older not wearing helmets
    2) People without rear lights hit from behind
    3) Blaming parents for cycling with kids Oregon Rep GreenLickMe
    4) Blaming cyclists for not enough reflective clothing, 2015 law proposed
    5) Blaming cyclists for bad roads, cause bike lanes cost too much
    6) Blaming Alistair for speeding into a pickup that took his leg, when really the driver had several piors of reckless driving

    h) A photo of people making out. Whatever. The photos are limited. None of the many cute babies and kids and moms there. There was a scene where over 2 dozen journalists cameras were clicking 3 times a second as I self immolated myself head to toe in blood in silence. I started by saying hey “do you see us now?”

    i) cops on the scene were bad mouthing people for not having jobs. None of the media took up my offer to confront Sgt Jeremy Price who admitted he said it, but not towards Joe Rowe.

    j) ODOT staff badgered me about using chalk. Then the highly paid communications division Don Hamilton of ODOT mentioned it being illegal. So fine, I told Don I would gladly take the citation all the way to the highest courts. Why? Because at least in court my voice would be on record about all the related data as to why I put 5 words on 5 bricks. Then Dan Hamilton, ODOT, refused to talk to the media about this. He refused to talk to me because he said he did not want his comments being made public. I said ODOT is a public agency, and it should be public. He demanded my name, and I demanded his card. Which he handed over with a big old frown.

    I’d like to hear from some of the others who worked very hard to get our diverse messages out, and were heard by other professionals, but so typically, censored by the BikePortland mantra of not being radical.

    If there are radical reporters and publishers out there contact me, and I’ll put you in touch with Soren and 20 other activists.

    I dare bikePortland staff to approve this comment and respond. Joe

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    • Randall Flagg May 13, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      lol, what did I just read?

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      • middle of the road guy May 14, 2015 at 10:15 am

        Someone who is upset their personal view of the matter was not represented as the only side.

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      • Adam H. May 14, 2015 at 1:50 pm

        OLive is leaking again…

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) May 13, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Sorry you found the post so disappointing, Joe. We appreciate the criticism.

      Side note: That’s not a photo of people making out, it’s a photo of (I think) Chris and his young daughter.

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      • Chris Anderson May 14, 2015 at 5:45 am

        Yep that’s us, she didn’t want to lay on the ground.

        But I share Joe’s disappointment. To make up for it you could do a hard hitting piece highlighting a few actual ODOT staffers who have signed their names to decisions to make roads faster instead of safer. Also there has got to be some juicy paperwork somewhere where some higher level manager tells a project team “that’s too slow / expensive, redraw it without the safety.”

        They key issue (even more than jurisdictional transfer) is ODOT’s inability to work with a Vision Zero mindset. An article showing how the sausage is made would give us some hooks to further pressure ODOT to adopt Vision Zero.

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      • Joe Rowe May 14, 2015 at 7:04 am

        Michael, you did reply about one point. Thanks. But you did not respond to my points. You have every right to turn a protest news piece into a podium for ODOT to spread more lies.

        ODOT has a long history of lies about safety. They deleted data from engineers about the lifespan of a freeway, then lied that we need a $10 billion CRC freeway, and lied about their design flaws. Rather than fix 82nd Ave at our Max station, they spend $40,000 to make a pedestrian Berlin wall. Enough is Enough!!!

        Me and other activists are now demanding a meeting with PR officer Don Hamilton of ODOT.

        I urge readers here to send email to:


        ODOT must agree to a public meeting to allow the public to rebuke the ODOT lies.

        We the public know

        a) ODOT should be treating streets with the same vision zero goals that the FAA and NTSB give to air transporation

        b) ODOT has the money to fix unsafe roads, ODOT simply wishes to spend the money on faster and wider roads, and overpaid staff in the “Communication Division”

        Demand a meeting everyone, Signed, Joe Rowe

        PS: Here’s what FOX 12 news said, and they interviewed me

        ….posted 7:02 AM, May 14th.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) May 14, 2015 at 9:46 am

          Thanks, guys. I’ll go into a little more detail about my decision-making here, if it’s useful.

          There were various possible ways to go about covering this event, and because just about every other media outlet in town was also covering it, I was on deadline. BikePortland is a half-time job for me; I’ve missed several days of my other job in the last week to focus on BikePortland things, so I was in a hurry to finish for personal reasons, too.

          Sitting in the hallway outside our office after the event, I wrote a 300-word passage about my argument with Hamilton about the $118 million Sunrise Corridor highway project, which he said is needed to add freight capacity and jobs. I also considered including my argument with him about Barbur, a street I’ve spent the last two years reporting on in data-driven detail about ODOT’s decisions to prioritize speed over safety. I also drafted a short section about an odd exchange with Sgt. Passadore, one of the police officers there, in which he interrupted a conversation I was having to tell me that it was completely ridiculous of me to ask whether tolling might be a better solution to auto congestion than knocking down the buildings on either side of major roads.

          I looked at both passages and decided that they were just wonky gobbledygook.

          In the four days since I rolled out of bed on Sunday to start reporting about Alistair’s horrific injury, we’ve published 19 posts, 10 of them about his collision, or about Powell in general, or about the public reactions such as this one. I decided that given the amount of text laid out on the subject already (and the amount we’ll be continuing to dedicate to this major story) the best course was to focus on what seemed to be the key component of the demonstration (imagery of people’s fallen bodies) and let ODOT attempt to defend its choices while it was being forced to do so.

          I realize people may disagree with my decision.

          Chris’s suggestion is a good one. I’m working on a post now that isn’t going to live up to that vision, at least right now, but is along those lines.

          I’m glad you have high standards for BikePortland. You should. It’s the reason we work so hard at our jobs. Please keep reminding us to.

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          • hat May 14, 2015 at 10:45 am

            Thanks for your work Michael. This site continues to be invaluable to me and, I hope, many others.

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          • Evan Manvel May 14, 2015 at 12:57 pm

            You rock, Michael. Nothing but honesty and transparency, not getting defensive, really taking feedback — while explaining the context and decisions that went into this piece.

            It’s a model for all reporters and editors.

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          • Steve B. May 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm

            Great reporting as always, Michael. I appreciate your approach. Keep up the great work!

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          • Joe Rowe May 14, 2015 at 2:44 pm

            Thanks Michael. Well side. I liked your “little more detail” comments. Well said. I rest my case for this day.

            On a side note, if people could not attend, then here is a way to demand that ODOT answer ALL the questions of Michael Anderson , Joe Rowe, you me and every cyclist we know.


            Just click yes on the link below, and say you demand a town hall from ODOT on Vision Zero Deaths for Cyclists and Pedestrians…


            Click link above, it will take 10 seconds to request an ODOT town hall.

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        • Josh May 14, 2015 at 5:38 pm

          don.hamilton@dot.state.or.us comes back w/ delivery failure:
          DNS Error: Address resolution of dot.state.or.us. failed: Domain name not found

          Did I have a typo?

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  • Scott H May 13, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    “Ted said that if Powell were reduced to one lane in each direction the way Division Street recently was, it’d double the amount of time it takes him to drive [his] truck across the city.”

    No freight delivery or work commute is so important that it takes precedence over the lives of everyone else.

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    • 9watts May 13, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      That is also not how road diets play out. It may be counterintuitive, but that’s just not how it works. We had a lengthy conversation about that back during the Division-between-60th-and-77th?-road-diet implementation:

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      • Scott H May 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm

        Yes, exactly, you could write an entire book about that, and there’s probably already a book or two. Assuming you have turn lanes, I would expect the road capacity to be equal to if not more than what it is now. But I don’t expect truck driver “their bikes are like this all the time” Ted to be able to step out of his bubble and accept that.

        On a bit of a tangent, every single day I witness the truck drivers on Powell and Holgate run red lights, cut other cars off, etc, because they must think they’re more important, or untouchable. I have no sympathy for them, and that’s not my opinion as a cyclist, that’s my opinion as a human being.

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        • Kyle May 14, 2015 at 6:26 am

          “On a bit of a tangent, every single day I witness the truck drivers on Powell and Holgate run red lights, cut other cars off, etc, because they must think they’re more important, or untouchable.”

          You forget double-parking, driving in reverse down streets illegally, blocking sidewalks and bike lanes, and making horrifically illegal and dangerous turns.

          I can’t figure out how any company could possibly think it’s okay to have an extremely long semi-truck make a right turn off 28th on to E Burnside and then proceed through the narrow streets of Portland… I see them every day and the turn requires not only blowing through red lights (and sometimes multiple light signals at the intersection), but moving into the oncoming lane and nearly hitting parked cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. And of course, everyone just stops to let them through as if they have some magical free pass to break the law.

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          • redhippie May 14, 2015 at 8:28 am

            Don’t worry. In 20 years there wont be truck drivers anymore. Another est. 850,000 people with out jobs or discernible job skills due to automation and the ability to save the expense of labor. If you haven’t noticed, Daimler has been testing some of these systems right here in Oregon out of the Daimler facility in north Portland.


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            • KristenT May 14, 2015 at 10:43 am

              Fed regulations say a human being still has to be present in the cab for just in case.

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              • Dan May 15, 2015 at 2:24 pm

                For a while…

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      • paikiala May 14, 2015 at 9:33 am

        Powell could not have a typical road diet.
        Powell at 21st had 1600 eastbound and 1200 westbound PM peak cars in just the through movements in counts this year.
        1,000 vehicles per lane is the standard, so Powell does not have ‘too many’ lanes at rush hour. The bad backups would likely double if you removed a lane on Powell at that time.
        Off-peak it probably doesn’t need the extra lane, so pro-time parking might help slow things down.
        The narrowest parts of Powell west of I-205 are 58 feet curb to curb, probably allocated to 12’/11’/12’/11’/12′ based on historical ODOT lane allocation. If all five lanes were 10 feet you’d only get 8 feet to work with and the trucks would have issues with mirror damage. if you divided that 8 feet to the outside lanes, the cross section would be 14/10/10/10/14.
        Is anyone out there willing to share a 14 ft lane if the speed limit was reduced to 30 or 25 mph?

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        • Chris Anderson May 14, 2015 at 11:02 am

          What you call bad backups I call inducing demand for active transportation.

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        • Terry D-M May 14, 2015 at 11:09 am

          I have never been one to argue AT THIS POINT that Powell is a good candidate for road diet. It IS a good candidate for speed reductions, crossings and turn improvements.

          You have made the ONLY case I can think of FOR protime parking. I would not agree with you on any other street….Burnside’s is DANGEROUS and 9 out of 10 of my neighbors would like it gone….but that would make Powell much safer during off-peak. Assuming safe crossings are put in first. The areas that currently have on street parking could become commercial access buffered bike lanes. Which of course means that there would be no on street parking during commute time at all.

          For now……in 15 years the number of SOV’s will be much lower and then the road diet could move forward.

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      • gutterbunnybikes May 14, 2015 at 6:26 pm

        As one who live between dieted Division and SE Powell, I can say that the drive time on Division (60th to 78th) hasn’t been anywhere near close to double of drive time down the stretch.

        By far the biggest drawback for me (auto travel wise) with the Division diet, is that since my street has a light, during peak drive times it is a longer wait to make turns onto Division than it once was, but I don’t feel that even that is worth complaining about considering the street (despite a couple high profile incidents after the diet) is much safer than it use to be.

        Travel speed has been reduced (though the 5 over still seems to apply) and I use to hear screeching tires and not the uncommon sound of crunch after that from Division on a nearly weekly basis, now it’s pretty quiet.

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  • Alan 1.0 May 13, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Is ODOT “already doing its best to improve street safety” when:

    …its contractors paved a ridge down the center of the Coast bikeway?
    …it used 15 year old standards on a major upgrade to outer Sandy?
    …it rumble-cut the fog line on Marine Drive?
    …declined to make Barbur safer during construction on that road?

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  • q`Tzal May 13, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Ooooh! Evil thought!
    For every automotive related death in a state an annual insurance tax gets incremented 0.01%.
    Not only a direct economic motivation but a social pressure not to be the #$&@%! that adds more cost everyone’s insurance plan.

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    • Scott H May 13, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      Killing someone with your car is already a traumatic enough experience, and yet it still happens. The solution is not retroactive penalties. Road design is probably more effective.

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      • q`Tzal May 14, 2015 at 5:34 am

        Oh no, I think you failed to conceive the full evilness of my idea: such a tax would apply not just to the guilty but everyone.

        The idea is not that a tiny financial burden will encourage safe driving by unsafe drivers but the fear of being lynched by their fellow citizens for causing their insurance costs to go up.

        It seems there is no shame for being a bad driver in the US even if you kill someone but take their money… Wooo boy! In the safe European countries we aspire to there is social pressure to be a safe driver and thus less danger in general. It occurs to me you could use America’s base greed to encourage the latter.

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        • middle of the road guy May 14, 2015 at 10:22 am

          Even those cyclists with cars – they’d love it the most.

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          • q`Tzal May 14, 2015 at 7:36 pm

            Good! Then show your displeasure with your fellow cyclist who also drives and has a body count by shunning them and shaming them at every opportunity.
            We as a society let everyone get away with this cr@p far too much.
            Oh, it was an accident.
            Oh, he came outta nowhere.
            Oh, I didn’t see him.
            Oh, he was in the bike lane then suddenly he just jumped out and bit my car!

            The driver might possibly feel guilty but they always seem to think there was nothing they could have done to have prevented it.
            THIS has to be ended with a prejudice and we start by speaking the truth about all of it, including the bits that will hurt the feelings of the driver at fault.

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        • Cheif May 14, 2015 at 11:55 am

          That would just make it so the richest drivers would be the only ones on the road.. You know, the ones who have been proven to be the worst offenders of traffic laws.

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          • q`Tzal May 14, 2015 at 6:46 pm

            Yeah, that’s the evil part that has to be fixed.
            Problem is we need politeness, for that we need respect.
            The only thing America respects now is money.

            So maybe the evil part is us.

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      • paikiala May 14, 2015 at 9:39 am

        The safe systems/vision zero paradigm proposes that no one point of attack can eliminate fatal and serious injury crashes. Even if we could afford to separate different modes, the path users would still make mistakes. It will take a holistic effort for the US to come close to the fatal per 100k rates of 2 or 3 that were achieved in Europe in 2012 (when the US rate was 10.7, and unchanged from 2010 – OECD data).

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    • q`Tzal May 14, 2015 at 6:36 am

      I post this “evil idea” in the hopes that someone might be able to implement such a plan in a not-evil way.

      This institutional apathy is really got me steamed and feeling pretty mean spirited about the whole situation.

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  • rick May 14, 2015 at 6:47 am

    To be fair to ODOT, ODOT is making a shorter crosswalk at SW BH Highway at Western Ave in 2015. However, that part of BH Highway lacks bike lanes. So much money is currently going to by-pass freeways and more car lanes on ODOT projects now, though.

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  • redhippie May 14, 2015 at 8:24 am

    So tell it to the man: Here is the email for the director of ODOT


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    • Josh May 14, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Recommended Oregon DOT adopt Vision Zero, prioritizing safety over capacity, and speed.

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  • soren May 14, 2015 at 9:45 am

    ODOT’s defensive point by point response to the bike bill and associated court cases is, IMO, good evidence of their institutional reluctance to treat active transport equitably:


    And like Alex I tried to find a detailed breakdown of ODOT spending on ped/bike infrastructure and failed. (I did find lots of detail about spending on salmon habitat restoration, however.)

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  • Kevin Wagoner May 14, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    This is nice but I don’t understand how it will be material in saving lives or injury.

    1. Improved visibility
    2. Better lighting
    3. New traffic signals
    4. Left-turn arrows

    I would like to propose a more immediate action that will save lives.

    1. Lower the speed limit tomorrow (or as long as it takes to put up new signs).
    2. More protected cross walks (there are bus stops on barber with no cross walk and no sidewalk…not sure how that works).
    3. Automate the enforcement of the speed limit.
    4. Increase enforcement.

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  • DJ Moore May 15, 2015 at 9:35 am

    The problem is not all drivers, nor is it all riders. The problem is the small percentage of both. I am a bike rider myself (I don’t ride enough to call myself a cyclist). My wife is a cyclist(She rides with a team and rides everywhere). She normally keeps me on an even keel with foolish riders, but yesterday afternoon she wasn’t there. A rider was riding on the opposite side of the road in the bike lane, riding against the flow of traffic. He then pulled out into the opposite lane, without looking, of course the traffic should have been in front of him at that point. He then pulled into the center turning lane, without looking. After a few seconds he pulled into the lane of traffic I was in, again without looking. He then as he got into the lane looked over and finally saw me, and pointed into the lane. Did I fail to mention that he was not wearing any helmet, or reflective equipment.

    At this time I got upset, here was a person riding a bike with no regard to any rules of the road, was flaunting the rules of the road as both a bicycle rider, and a pedestrian. As I pulled along side him, I did lose my cool, and inform him he had broken all sorts of rules, and was not helping the riding community at all, with his attitude. Words were exchanged. No I didnt rn him over, no one was hurt, but it got me to thinking.

    The issue isn’t with the cycling or driving community as a whole, the issue is with the small percentage of both that can’t seem to follow the rules of either.

    Please, if you are riding a bike, follow a single set of rules, either you are a pedestrian, and can walk against the flow of traffic and on sidewalks, and use crosswalks, or you are a cyclist and following the rules of the road, stopping with traffic, traffic signals, and signs. That doesn’t mean when you get to a stop sign or light and the walk signal turns you suddenly become a pedestrian.

    Just something to think about, and for the guy yesterday, sorry about my attitude, and the fact that you cant follow any rules of the road, or care about how you represent the large body of riders who do follow the rules. Maybe they can be you example for future riding.

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    • Dan May 15, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Why would you need to mention what he was wearing? What were you wearing?

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      • DJ Moore May 18, 2015 at 1:18 pm

        I was wearing my prescribed protective gear, in my case a seat belt. He on the other hand was not wearing any safety gear, a helmet, nor did it appear that he was engaging his primary safety equipment, his brain.

        As a person who has been struck and severely injured by a moving vehicle, I take these kinds of things seriously. Do I speed, sure I do, but I try to limit it, and ensure that I give anyone on a bike, even the foolish ones, plenty of room.

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        • Dan May 19, 2015 at 10:07 pm

          You weren’t wearing a helmet? Are you aware that motor vehicle crashes are the 2nd leading cause of traumatic brain injury deaths?

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    • El Biciclero May 15, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      “Please, if you are riding a bike, follow a single set of rules, either you are a pedestrian, and can walk against the flow of traffic and on sidewalks, and use crosswalks, or you are a cyclist and following the rules of the road, stopping with traffic, traffic signals, and signs. That doesn’t mean when you get to a stop sign or light and the walk signal turns you suddenly become a pedestrian.”

      The guy you saw may have been pulling some boneheaded moves and endangering himself, but the “single set of rules” principle is nearly impossible to apply. In fact, there are special rules—complete with lots of exceptions—if you choose a bicycle as your vehicle rather than a motorized vehicle. A good portion of my ride to work is on one MUP or another; am I a pedestrian or a “cyclist” while riding there? My only available crossing at Sylvan on my way to work is in a crosswalk, using the pedestrian signal, since I have been prescribed a route that goes against one-way traffic (the MUP along US 26). I believe Oregon has just passed a new law that lets me “proceed with caution through [an] intersection” if the vehicle detection sensor for a traffic signal fails to detect me because it’s only “looking” for large motor vehicles; that law only applies to motorcycles and bicycles.

      Yes, roadway maneuvers and behavior should always be governed by courtesy and basic safety principles, but when the laws of The State can’t decide whether a bicyclist should be treated like a pedestrian or a vehicle operator, we have to expect that bicyclists themselves will choose whatever they believe to be most advantageous at any given time.

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      • Dan May 15, 2015 at 4:59 pm

        There are a number of intersections in Beaverton that don’t detect bikes at all, ever. To get through the intersection you HAVE to ride onto the sidewalk to hit the beg button, and then used the crosswalk.

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