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In letter to Mayor Hales and commissioners, national orgs ‘object’ to River View decision

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Three of America’s largest and most influential bicycle advocacy organizations are not happy with Portland’s decision to prohibit bicycle access at River View Natural Area.

International Mountain Bicycling Association President and US Executive Director Michael Van Abel, People for Bikes VP of Government Affairs Jenn Dice, and League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke all signed their names to a letter (PDF) dated March 18th that was sent to Mayor Charlie Hales and all four city commissioners.

Here’s the text of the letter (emphases mine):

We are writing to express our concern with the recent decision to prohibit bicycle use in the River View Natural Area. Any decision to exclude bicycles is disappointing to our organizations as we truly believe that bicycles are an amazing tool for progress. They provide efficient and cost effective transportation, a family friendly form of recreation, and in the case of off road bicycling, a valuable connection to the natural environment. Yet despite that passion we know that sometimes other priorities for funding or even land use take precedence and bicycles are not given priority. We can generally accept those decisions. However, when those decisions are made in an arbitrary and capricious manner that cuts off due process, we must object. (more…)

Oregonian editorial calls on city to ‘reconsider its bike ban’ in River View

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
river view natural area
River View Natural Area, looking north.
(Photo: City of Portland)

The City of Portland’s defensive legal move to ban mountain biking in Southwest Portland’s River View Natural Area is an unfair breach of trust with mountain bikers, according to The Oregonian’s editorial board.

“River View, where cycling has occurred for years, remained the best city option for serious, if limited, mountain bike trails,” the newspaper wrote in a scathing editorial published online Wednesday. “To that end, cyclists attended meetings, participated enthusiastically in the public process upon which Portland places so much emphasis and trusted the city to act in good faith. The city did not.”

(more…)

Amanda Fritz touts street funding plan and hopes for third term

Thursday, January 29th, 2015
DSC_0203-1
Commissioner Amanda Fritz in 2011.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The 2016 election cycle is revving up all over the country, Portland City Hall included.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz surprised many local political pundits yesterday when she announced her plans to seek a third term. The announcement came the same day that the once-marginalized city council member won a 4-1 vote to dedicate 50 percent of surplus money over the next four years to “infrastructure maintenance and replacement” for roads, parks and emergency services.

The Oregonian reports that Fritz’s proposal will apply to “one-time funding identified during the annual budget process or excess money carried from one budget to the next.” It’s apparently intended as a sort of make-up call for the city’s infamous failure to follow through on a 1988 plan to dedicate 28 percent of utility license fees for transportation.

Opposing Fritz’s measure was her colleague Dan Saltzman, who said the council was “setting ourselves up to be criticized” by attempting to tie the hands of future councils.

(more…)

MTB advocates will deliver petition, request planning funds at Parks budget hearing

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
Ventura Park Pump Track grand opening-19
Portland kids deserve more places to ride off-road.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Almost one year after Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz quietly destroyed hopes of new singletrack bicycling opportunities in Forest Park (at least in the short-term), off-road advocates plan to deliver a strong message to her at an upcoming budget hearing.

Their request? Find the money to fund a citywide mountain bike master plan that would address Forest Park trails and other cycling opportunities like family-friendly pump tracks in local parks.
(more…)

Sunday vigil set to honor and remember Steve Fritz

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
CRC Rally-104
Commissioner Amanda Fritz at an
anti-Columbia River Crossing
rally in 2009.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

All of Portland is hurting for Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s family this week.

Carpooling to his job in Salem, Steve Fritz was killed in a traffic collision Wednesday after a northbound pickup crossed the freeway barrier and collided with Fritz’s Nissan. The husband of the city council member died at the scene.

A vigil for Steve Fritz is planned this Sunday, Sept. 28, at 5 p.m. in Terry Schrunk Plaza, across the street from City Hall at 1221 SW 4th Avenue.

“We will have an open mic and will be collecting letters to be given to the family at a better time,” wrote Cameron Whitten, a local human rghts activist who got to know Fritz during Occupy Portland’s 2011 encampment and his subsequent hunger strike outside City Hall for housing justice, in an email. Whitten, who later supported Fritz’s reelection campaign, is among the organizers of Sunday’s event.

For her part, Commissioner Fritz wrote on Wednesday that her family would be suggesting charitable donations in lieu of flowers or cards:
(more…)

Business coalition asks candidates about transportation

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Amanda Fritz-1.jpg
Active Transportation Debate at PSU-6Mayoral Candidate Jefferson Smith ride-12
Top: Fritz (L), Nolan. Bottom: Hales (L), Smith.

The Value of Jobs“, a coalition of Portland-area business groups that includes the Portland Business Alliance, has published its http://www.valueofjobs.com/candidate_ques/index.html for the City Council race between incumbent Amanda Fritz and her challenger Mary Nolan; and the mayoral race between Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith. (more…)

Commissioner Fritz: No to bike share until “dangerous” bicycling subsides

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
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Commissioner Amanda Fritz
(Photo © J. Maus)

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz plans to vote against a PBOT request for federal funds that includes a bike share system when it comes in front of Council tomorrow.

Since her winning campaign back in 2008, Fritz has championed “basic services for all 95 neighborhoods” as the pillar of her policy making. Given that, when it was reported yesterday that she would vote no on bike share, I wasn’t completely surprised.

What I am surprised about is that the “basic services first” mantra isn’t the only reason she objects to the bike share project. (more…)

Commissioner Fritz in full support of $20 million kickstart

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Amanda Fritz-1.jpg
Commissioner Fritz
(Photo © J. Maus)

Commissioner Amanda Fritz, known as a watchdog of the City’s coffers, especially when proposals have potential to impact citizen’s pocketbooks, has published a blog post stating her support for Mayor Adams’ $20 million plan to fund bike-boulevard specific components of green streets.

Fritz points out that the average residential sewer ratepayer in Portland would save just 7.5 cents per month, or 90 cents per year if the $20 million was given back to them instead of being used for this purpose. “The alternative of returning about one dollar to each ratepayer does not seem wise to me.” (more…)

CRC rally planned for April; Commissioner Fritz will attend

Monday, March 2nd, 2009
Joe Kurmaskie-2.jpg
Joe Kurmaskie, seen here at the
“We are All Traffic” rally held in
November 2007 after two
bike fatalities.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Mayor Sam Adams’ support of a proposal that would authorize the construction of a new I-5 bridge that could “be built to accomodate up to 12 lanes” has sparked a new level of opposition to the current direction of the Columbia River Crossing project.

Adams’ decision to compromise with Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard on this issue has provided a spark for citizen activists to organize and rally in opposition to the project.

A loose coalition of activists has come together and is planning a rally at 12:00 noon on April 5th in Waterfront Park (which is, fittingly, the site where the Harbor Drive Freeway was once located before it was removed, thus sparking Portland’s green transportation planning legacy). (more…)

Some good news from City Hall (it’s not about the mayor)

Friday, January 23rd, 2009
Amanda Mansfield has a
mission from Commissioner
Fritz: Learn about bikes.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Last week during a meeting of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, there was one person around the table who I’d never seen before.

When she introduced herself as Amanda Mansfield from the staff of newly elected Commissioner Amanda Fritz, I was pleasantly surprised. After watching her listen attentively and fill several pages of notes (on what was a rather wonky meeting), I tracked her down to find out more.

It turns out that Ms. Mansfield was sent by order of Commissioner Fritz in order to learn more about bike issues. When I asked Mansfield why, she said, “to educate myself and Commissioner Fritz about what’s on the agenda for bikes. I plan to report back to her so we can keep abreast of the issues and help out whenever possible.” (more…)

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