The political arm of Portland’s biking movement is back and organizing for 2016

Posted on February 2nd, 2016 at 8:26 am.

A Bike Walk Vote event at Crank bike shop in February 2013.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The national political season may have officially begun with Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, but the local political season is well underway.

And Bike Walk Vote, the political action committee that has helped elect politicians in 23 Portland-area races since 2004, will be back at it in 2016.


Council sends gas tax to ballot behind wide range of supporters

Posted on January 28th, 2016 at 10:42 am.

Marion Haynes with the Portland Business Alliance
offered conditional support.
(Photos from City Council live feed)

Advocates of a 10-cent local gas tax joined up to form quite a list of endorsers Wednesday for a midafternoon hearing at Portland City Council. Council heard a presentation and testimony about the idea ahead of adopting a resolution to send the tax to the ballot.

“I feel like a possum on I-5 during rush hour right now,” said Paul Romain, a lobbyist for Oregon gas retailers who was one of only two people to speak clearly against the measure.

Offering support was everyone from a freight advocate to a business advocate to an environmental justice advocate from East Portland to a frequent City Hall testifier who goes by the name of “Lightning.” While almost everyone seemed to like the idea, a close look at their testimony reveals mixed feelings that could offer clues to future debates.


New candidate for mayor, Sarah Iannarone, makes her first pitch to voters

Posted on January 21st, 2016 at 1:32 pm.

Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone-1.jpg
Sarah Iannarone at her announcement earlier today at City Hall.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Like most of us, Sarah Iannarone thinks Portland is underachieving. But unlike most people, Iannarone has decided to something about it. Something big. She’s running for mayor.


Latest mayoral candidate is an urban planning wonk who commutes on a folding e-bike

Posted on January 19th, 2016 at 3:50 pm.

Sarah Iannarone

Sarah Iannarone, a doctoral candidate in the venerable Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, is running for Portland mayor. The Willamette Week reported the news earlier today and a source tells us Iannarone will make an official announcement this Thursday at 11:00 am in front of City Hall.

According to the Willamette Week, Iannarone was encouraged to run by none other than our current mayor Charlie Hales. The connection? Iannarone works with Nancy Hales at First Stop Portland, an organization housed at Portland State University that shows off Portland’s livability and urban planning successess to delegations from around the globe.

Iannarone, 42, joins Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey in a race that so far has failed to muster excitement from Portland’s large number of urban planning and transportation wonks.


Rep. Blumenauer unveils ‘Bikeshare Transit Act’ to provide funding certainty

Posted on January 7th, 2016 at 1:30 pm.

Blumenauer at the Summit-2
It’s transit, so let’s fund it as
such says Blumenauer.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Not wanting to be left out of massive bike news in his hometown, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has just released details on his latest legislative idea: the Bikeshare Transit Act. The legislation is meant to provide stability and “additional flexibility to use federal funds for bikeshare programs.”

Blumenauer wants to make it easier for bike share systems to operate past their initial start-up funding. In Portland’s case, we received a $2 million federal grant for bike share back in 2011. But that money was only enough to start planning. To actually put a system on the ground would take millions more — not to mention an annual operating and maintenance budget of $1.5 to $2 million. With cities under pressure to not spend any local money on bike share, that means they’ve had to hope and pray for big private sponsors. Portland spent years trying to court a suitor before inking their $10 million deal with Nike.


As a big election year looms, Bike Walk Vote PAC is looking for new leaders

Posted on December 24th, 2015 at 11:54 am.

Bike Walk Vote candidate party-11
Future Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick speaks at a 2012 event for Bike Walk Vote-endorsed candidates.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

In 2016, Portlanders will vote on a local gas tax, a new mayor, a transportation commissioner, a regional council and a governor.

If you make between approximately $7,000 and $100,000 a year, you’ve probably got $50 in free money from the State of Oregon to spend in 2015 on a candidate or political committee of your choice.

That’s the fact of Oregon’s unusual but underused political tax credit system.

But for people who believe that Oregon should be reducing its dependence on cars, the odd complication is that no political committee active on those issues seems to be asking for that money — even as Portland heads into an election year that will shape transportation issues for years to come.


Big day at City Hall affects pedicabs, taxi safety and backyard homes

Posted on December 3rd, 2015 at 8:43 am.

Commissioner Fritz.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A flurry of end-of-year activity at Portland City Hall Wednesday led to changes in three different stories we’ve been tracking on BikePortland.

With Commissioner Amanda Fritz playing a key role in all three votes, the council agreed to delay changes to pedicab rules that would have required pedicab operators to hold driver’s licenses and have a year of continuous driving experience; to require a one-time “defensive driving” training for taxi, Lyft and Uber workers rather than retrainings every two years; and to allow small accessory dwelling units to be built near the edge of properties as long as they’re no larger than the garages that have long been allowed near property lines.


Jules Bailey says he’ll run for Portland mayor

Posted on November 25th, 2015 at 12:15 pm.

Bailey was a fighter for cycling when he
first became a state legislator in 2009.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey has told the Willamette Week that he’ll enter the mayoral race.

This surprise announcement means current candidate Ted Wheeler won’t have the easy ride into City Hall many expected when Mayor Charlie Hales recently decided he wouldn’t run for re-election. Bailey, 36, has a significant political background from his stint as an Oregon state represenative and he’s very well-known among many Portland voters — especially voters who care about active transportation issues.


Republican legislators call for ODOT director to quit over emissions claims

Posted on November 19th, 2015 at 11:55 am.

ODOT Director Matt Garrett
Matt Garrett has led ODOT since 2005.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A few weeks after left-leaning former Metro president David Bragdon all but called for the firing of Oregon’s top transportation official, legislative Republicans are calling for it explicitly.

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett is facing criticism from both sides over the incident, earlier this year, when his office and Gov. Kate Brown’s temporarily claimed that tens of millions of dollars in freeway investments would be part of reducing long-run carbon emissions in Oregon by more than 2 million metric tons.


If elected mayor, Ted Wheeler says he’d overhaul transportation bureau

Posted on November 9th, 2015 at 10:00 am.

Safe Sound and Green press event-3.jpg
Then Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler at a
2008 event calling for new local transportation funding.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s current mayoral frontrunner says that if he wins next year, he’ll take over the transportation bureau and rewrite its budget from scratch.

In an interview with Oregonian columnist David Sarasohn, mayoral hopeful Ted Wheeler said the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s current budget is “byzantine” and that its street system is “a patient on the table bleeding to death.”

“As mayor, Wheeler would assign himself the transportation bureau (along with the mayorally expected police bureau), and start redesigning its budget from zero,” Sarasohn reported in a column published Friday afternoon.

Portland’s mayor doesn’t have many actual powers beyond those of the other four commissioners on the city council. The main difference is that it’s up to the mayor to decide which commissioner gets administrative authority over each of the city’s 19 bureaus and offices.