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The Friday Profile: Jackie Dingfelder, the lawmaker who biked away

Friday, August 1st, 2014
city hall
One of the best friends bicycling has ever had in Salem, Jackie Dingfelder, left the state senate last year to become one of the biggest fans of biking in Portland City Hall.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

There is no particular reason to doubt the former chair of the Oregon Senate’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee when she says she was just ready for a change.

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Mayor Hales floats city takeover of Powell, Barbur, 82nd, Lombard

Thursday, December 26th, 2013
Lombard Ave-5
Lombard Avenue, a state “highway”
turned city street.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Mayor Charlie Hales seems to be advancing an idea that’s been on advocates’ wish list for years: putting the City of Portland, not state government, in charge of the city’s biggest streets.

In an interview with The Oregonian editorial board last week, the paper reported, Hales said he “will formally propose local management” for “what are now state highways like Powell Boulevard.”

Other state-run roads in the city include the busy corridors of Southwest Barbur Boulevard, 82nd Avenue, Lombard Street, Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard and Southwest Macadam Avenue.

If that happens, it’d set a new direction for these onetime highways enveloped by the city.

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Bike ally Jackie Dingfelder moves from Salem to City Hall

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
Cycle Oregon 2009 - Day 1-1
Outgoing state Sen. Jackie Dingfelder
and her husband, Tom Gainer, at
Cycle Oregon in 2009.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

State Sen. Jackie Dingfelder figured out the only way she could possibly get any greener: she’s cutting her commute from Salem to downtown Portland.

The Alice Award winner, Columbia River Crossing opponent, environmental consultant and presumptive “Environmental Champion of the Decade” in the state legislature (that’s from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters) starts a new job Monday as a senior policy advisor to Mayor Charlie Hales.

A Hales spokeswoman said Tuesday that because Dingfelder’s background is similar to a few other Hales staffers’, she hasn’t received any bureau assignments yet. She’s likely to receive a portfolio after her first week.

Dingfelder currently represents Legislative District 23, a swath of central Northeast and Southeast Portland. She’s likely to be succeeded by state Rep. Michael Dembrow.

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PBOT, Police stepping up enforcement of traffic laws

Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-10
To improve safety, the police are on high alert.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last week we told you that Portland Mayor Charlie Hales was rolling up his sleeves to improve road safety. Today he and Commissioner Steve Novick teamed up with the Portland Police Bureau to launch a key component of that effort.

Hales and Novick have ordered the PPB to blanket notoriously dangerous roads with enforcement resources. This “crackdown” on dangerous road users comes after what the City describes as “An unusually high number of traffic fatalities so far this year.” “The public needs to know driver awareness can help keep the roadways safe,” reads their official statement.
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Mayor Hales is rolling up his sleeves on road safety

Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Mayor Hales crossing enforcement action-9
Mayor Hales has had traffic safety on his mind for months
— now he’s starting to do something about it.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

In light of a spate of serious injury and fatal roadway collisions, Mayor Charlie Hales held a top-level meeting in his City Hall office yesterday.

Billed as, “An urgent/time sensitive meeting request to discuss recent incidents and fatalities involving vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists,” the meeting featured a full table of city staffers, road safety advocates and other stakeholders. According to Hales’ Policy Director Josh Alpert, representatives from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Oregon Walks, Oregon Trucking Associations, and the NW Skate Coalition were in attendance. Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick joined Mayor Hales as did several staffers from the Bureau of Transportation. (I was invited but I’m not in Portland this week and was unable to attend.)

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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…)

As crosswalk enforcement decoy, Mayor Hales walks talk on traffic safety

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Mayor Hales crossing enforcement action-6
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales crossing E Burnside at 16th as a decoy in a police enforcement action this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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Mayor Hales: Spate of fatal crashes ‘unacceptable’

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Active Transportation Debate at PSU-5
Mayor Hales
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Office of Mayor Charlie Hales put out a statement this morning saying that “traffic fatalities are too high” and “Portlanders must drive sober.”

Here are the opening paragraphs:

“The number of people dying in traffic crashes on Portland streets this year is unacceptable according to Mayor Charlie Hales. In office for less than 80 days, the new mayor was alarmed that there have already been 11 traffic fatalities with five of those 11 involving driving under the influence.

“Every person who dies in a crash represents a family and community tragedy. So far in 2013, we’re averaging about one death a week. That’s unacceptable,” Hales said. “Leadership at the Transportation Bureau, Portland Police Bureau and I are alarmed that five people have lost their lives this year related to driving under the influence. Drive sober to save lives. Doing otherwise is illegal and reckless.”

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Mayor Hales shares his thoughts on paving and the PBOT budget

Thursday, February 21st, 2013
Mayor Hales
Mayor Hales at a City Council
PBOT budget work session yesterday.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

At an event last night I was able to grab Mayor Charlies Hales for a few minutes to ask him for his thoughts on the major PBOT budget move that was unveiled yesterday.

At a City Council budget work session, Hales’ interim director of PBOT, Toby Widmer, unveiled a plan that would take $7.15 from existing budget items and put it all toward street paving and maintenance. Among the places Widmer “realigned resources” for more paving is a $1.2 million sidewalk project already funded and slated for construction this summer in East Portland on SE 136th between SE Powell and Holgate (about 0.52 miles). Another Widmer realignment victim is PBOT’s ADA curb ramp program which is being asked to give up $500,000. According to PBOT sources, that chunk equals about 30% of the entire program (which has annual budget of $1.7 million).

Asked about the proposal last night, Hales distanced himself from it. “It’s a bureau budget. It’s just a starting point.” (more…)

Hales picks interim PBOT director: “Street maintenance is his first priority”

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Gravel, leaves in bike lane-4
Speaking of maintenance.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Mayor Charlie Hales has picked Toby Widmer to be his interim director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Hales asked current PBOT Director Tom Miller to resign his position effective February 4th. In a statement today, Hales said Widmer will serve in the position for six months while a national search for a new director is completed.

Widmer, 61, is a former City staffer. He served as director of the Bureau of Maintenance (which is what PBOT used to be called) prior to retiring from service in 2002. Hales is touting the pick as another sign that he’s making street maintenance his main focus. Here’s more from Hales’ official statement: (more…)

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