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Gas tax ‘Yes’ campaign says it’s got $17,000 in pledges, will aim to raise more

by on February 11th, 2016 at 1:21 pm

fix our streets
The campaign named a committee of backers
Thursday.

Five months after a poll showed a slight majority of likely Portland voters would support a temporary 10-cent gas tax to improve local streets, some donors are hoping cash will lock that lead in for the May election.

Backers of a local gas tax have so far pledged $17,000 for the effort, campaign strategist Stacey Dycus said Tuesday.

“We’re going to ask some local electeds to help chip in,” Dycus said. “We’re going to ask businesses to chip in. We’re looking for help from organizations. … Hopefully organizations and businesses and individuals are going to step up and help us tell the story.”

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With help from development interests, Wheeler is dominating mayoral fundraising

by on February 9th, 2016 at 3:49 pm

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

Former Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler has reported raising almost 15 times as much money as his closest competitor in the race to be Portland’s next mayor.

Among his donors are a wide variety of real estate businesses and Paul Romain, the oil and gas station lobbyist who’s threatened to kill the 10-cent local gas tax increase that Wheeler supports.

Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey, the second-biggest draw for donors, has brought in $26,886 since just before declaring his candidacy, compared to Wheeler’s $398,509.

The race’s newest candidate, Portland State University scholar Sarah Innarone, has brought on a campaign manager, so presumably aims to raise money. But she hasn’t been in the race long enough to hit a 30-day fundraising report deadline.

Of the other three registered candidates, only David Schor has reported any campaign finances at all, mostly loans from himself. Bim Ditson and Philip Davis haven’t reported anything.

Part of the reason for Wheeler’s lead is that he’s had longer to raise money. But Wheeler has reported $74,542 raised in 2016 alone, triple Bailey’s four-month total.

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

by on February 2nd, 2016 at 8:26 am

piclewadvbwalkvote
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.

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Council sends gas tax to ballot behind wide range of supporters

by on January 28th, 2016 at 10:42 am

pba-gastax
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.

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

by 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.

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

by on December 3rd, 2015 at 8:43 am

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

by 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.
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10 biking advocates on Portland’s fast-changing mayoral race

by on October 29th, 2015 at 10:35 am

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-1
Former BTA Advocacy Manager Michelle Poyourow and BTA
Deputy Director Steph Noll: undecided voters.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Last week, the spring 2016 race for Portland mayor looked like a hard-fought duel between two very similar people. On Monday, when Mayor Charlie Hales dropped out, it briefly raised the possibility of a coronation for the remaining major candidate, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler.

By Wednesday, it once again seemed clear that this will be a race. State House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, former Metro Councilor Robert Liberty and Portland Association of Teachers President Gwen Sullivan said they’re considering runs. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Multnomah County Chief Operating Officer Marissa Madrigal have both been conspicuously silent so far.

Amid all this, we wondered what the city’s bike advocates have been thinking. So we asked a bunch of them.

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Six bike-related issues that might take a turn with Hales out of the race

by on October 26th, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Bike Share passage press conference-11.jpg
As Hales plans an exit, which way will the race turn?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Monday’s surprise announcement by Mayor Charlie Hales that he won’t run for reelection is rippling through the city’s transportation wonkosphere.

Portland’s unusual City Hall system means that the transportation commissioner (currently Commissioner Steve Novick) has much more power than the mayor on most streets issues. His transportation authority was delegated from the mayor, so the next mayor’s biggest decision may be who gets to oversee the roads.

But aside from that, Mayor Hales has been personally involved in a handful of subjects that matter a lot to bike transportation. Here’s how we see his departure from the race shaping things.

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As city council weighs bike share agreement, three of five votes look certain

by on September 16th, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Portland City Council
Portland’s city council: Steve Novick, Amanda Fritz, Charlie Hales, Dan Saltzman, Nick Fish.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A half-hour city council hearing Wednesday on Portland’s proposed bike sharing system raised some questions but, seemingly, few serious concerns.

With a formal vote lined up next week, Commissioners Steve Novick and Nick Fish, along with Mayor Charlie Hales, all spoke warmly about the proposal.

Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman didn’t seem to be raising major objections, though both asked pointed questions: Fritz about safety and Saltzman about money. Saltzman in particular seemed upbeat about the plan. Neither offered a closing comment Wednesday, leaving themselves plenty of room to back away from the deal if they decide to.

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