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Woman files complaint after harsh encounter with Union Pacific police on Cement Road (updated)

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Disaster Relief Trials -45
Diana Rempe at the 2012 Disaster
Relief Trials cargo bike challenge.
(Photos by J.Maus/BikePortland)

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.”

(more…)

Man severely injured after bike/pickup crash on Interstate Avenue

Friday, May 31st, 2013
Curtis Crothers
Daimler Trucks engineer Curtis
Crothers, who suffered extensive
injuries from a crash on
Interstate Avenue Wednesday.

An engineer biking home from his job on Swan Island was severely injured by colliding with a pickup truck after its driver allegedly made an illegal 135-degree turn onto Greeley Avenue Wednesday afternoon.

Curtis Crothers, 53, was in good condition at Legacy Emanuel hospital Friday after suffering eight broken ribs, a broken scapula, a punctured lung, internal bleeding, a dislocated shoulder and 24 hours in intensive care.

Crothers is a regular bike commuter to Daimler Trucks North America, which employs 3,000 workers in the North Portland industrial park. The bike commuting route to Swan Island has been subject to controversy; many of the area’s hundreds of bike commuters avoid the area where Crothers was hit by illegally using the Ash Grove Cement Road, a private path owned by Union Pacific Railroad.

Crothers, however, had stopped using the Cement Road after concluding it was itself unsafe due to train tracks that curve across it and after a run-in with railroad security.

(more…)

Mayor Hales in Union Pacific/Cement Road access talks: “Going very well”

Friday, May 24th, 2013
The Ash Grove Cement Road
The Cement Road with Fremont Bridge
in the background..
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s a renewed effort afoot that could result in something most observers thought would never happen: legal public access to the “Cement Road” that runs through Union Pacific’s Albina Yards along the Willamette River between Swan Island and the Fremont Bridge.

Union Pacific Railroad owns the road and they don’t allow public use. There are “Private Property” and “No Trespassing” signs posted at its northern entrance (at the end of N Portland Center Way); but many of Swan Island’s 10,000 employees who ride bikes to work still use the road because it’s the only flat and safe way to get to work. As recently as December 2012, UP spokesman Brock Nelson said they were, “Not interested in either selling or allowing public access to this property.”

However, it now appears UP’s position on this idea might be softening up a bit. (more…)

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