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The secret history of Portland’s weirdest neighborhood

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
image
(Image: Oregon Historical Society)

This is the second in a three-part series. Read the first installment here.

For most of Portland’s history, the land we know today as the Lloyd District was best known for failure.

Holladay Park: named for a scoundrel who planted its trees and then gambled away his fortune. The state and federal buildings along Lloyd Boulevard: advance outposts of a government center that never arrived. And Lloyd himself: an oil multimillionaire who died all but cursing the city he’d fallen in love with 40 years before.
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Why are these 11 buildings illegal in most of Portland?

Friday, June 19th, 2015
2314-16 se salmon duplex built 1927
2314 and 2316 SE Salmon: built in 1927, illegal to build today. A ride this week took a closer look at “The Missing Middle.”
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Most of Portland’s conversation about ways to create enough new homes to defuse our deep and ongoing housing shortage has focused on the four-story apartment buildings rising along a few main streets.

But there’s a growing awareness in Portland’s housing policy community that low-rise apartment buildings — let alone the taller buildings rising in the Lloyd, Burnside Bridgehead and Pearl — aren’t the only buildings that can increase the supply of housing in the walkable, bikeable parts of Portland. In fact, the other options might be more popular with neighbors, too.

The only problem: in almost all of Portland, creating such buildings is forbidden.

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In 1934, The Oregonian’s ‘Let’s Quit Killing’ campaign declared a war on traffic deaths

Friday, April 17th, 2015
drive safely
The citywide campaign, which asked residents to pledge to drive safely and recruited citizens to report illegal driving behavior to the police, was created by The Oregonian and the Oregon State Motor association.
(Newspaper images: Oregonian archives at Multnomah County Library)

Slow-moving, prosperous and desirable arterial streets are nothing new; they’re just a return to the traditional ideas of our great-grandparents.

And here in Portland, a citywide goal to take public responsibility for traffic fatalities isn’t new, either. In the 1930s, as they felt their city changing fast, our great-grandparents’ generation responded with what became a nationally-known campaign that was strikingly similar to Vision Zero or the Dutch Stop de Kindermoord movement of the 1970s.

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As Clinton Street’s bikeway turns 30, locals plan a celebration

Monday, March 16th, 2015
Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-9
Major arterial.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Whether you see it as a battleground or a workable compromise or a national model, the Clinton Street bikeway is one thing for sure: beloved.

A group of Clinton Street fans are meeting at SE 30th and Division Saturday to plan a party this summer that will celebrate this iconic bike route and everything it’s brought to the mix of residential and commercial uses that have made Portland’s Hosford-Abernethy and Richmond neighborhoods what they are.

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130 years of Portland’s transportation history in one chart

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
portland mode share chart
(Image: DEIS for I-80N – a.k.a. Mt Hood Freeway – via City of Portland)

When you step back far enough, the history of transportation starts to look less like a river — constant progress toward a final, permanent destination — and more like waves crashing against a beach.

That’s the point of this chart. It pops up in the world of Portland planning from time to time, most recently in a slideshow by city planner Mauricio Leclerc about the history of parking in Portland. If you’ve never seen it before, it can be a mind-bender.

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From the Portland city archives: A tall bike on Union Avenue in 1980

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
IMG_2995
Kickstand included.
(Photo: City of Portland Archives)

Tall bikes look great in sepia, too.

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Sam Oakland, leader of the ‘Shift of the 1970s,’ dies at 80

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Pioneering Portland bike advocate Sam Oakland
received a Bud Clark Award for lifetime achievement
from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in 2001.
(Photo courtesy BTA.)

An often-forgotten forefather of Portland’s street-level bike advocacy movement died last week.

Sam Oakland, an English professor, poet and author who rode his bicycle to work at what was then Portland State College, started rallying bicycle riders to attend City Hall hearings in the late 1960s and led citizen actions in support of Oregon’s groundbreaking 1971 Bike Bill.

“There just wasn’t a lot of advocacy going on at that time,” said Karen Frost, who followed in Oakland’s steps 25 years later as the first executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. “He was really kind of a prime mover.”

He called his volunteer network the “Bicycle Lobby,” and referred to himself only as its “clerk.”

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From The Oregonian, Jan. 1, 1895: ‘Reign of the wheel’

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
An 1899 newspaper ad for a Portland bike shop, from a
presentation by local bike historian Eric Lundgren.

The first issue of The Morning Oregonian in 1895 included an article that holds up wonderfully well.

It was published one year before the first organized bicycle recreation association formed in Portland; two years before 800 local donors crowd-funded the city’s first dedicated bike path on North Williams and Vancouver Avenues; four years before Oregon governor-elect T.T. Geer bought a bicycle of his own and led the charge for road improvements through the state.

And 119 years later, this short case for the merits of biking still feels like the perfect way to kick off a year of progress.

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What caused Portland’s biking boom?

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Chart by Rutgers University professor and noted bicycle researcher John Pucher. This was one slide from a presentation he gave last week in Seattle.

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1967 National Road Championships were ‘Portland’s Finest Hour’

Friday, May 24th, 2013
Cover of October 1967 American Cycling magazine
shows the nation’s top racers at Alpenrose Velodrome.
(Photos by Peter Hoffman)

While many people think of only bike commuters and naked rides when the topic of cycling in Portland comes up, our city also has a proud tradition when it comes to racing. We shared a glimpse of that legacy back in 2011 through James Mason’s amazing photographs of the local racing scene in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Now we’ve come across another interesting artifact of our racing past: The 1967 issue of American Cycling magazine that featured Portland on its cover.

Portland earned this cover spot for hosting the 1967 U.S. National Road Racing Championships. The competition took place over two days at the newly opened Alpenrose Velodrome and the infamous 1.7 mile circuit in Mt. Tabor Park.

The man who wrote and photographed that story for American Cycling is Peter Hoffman. Hoffman is 76-years old now and he lives in Beaverton (just over the hill from Portland). After seeing our story on James Mason’s racing images, Hoffman scanned his old issue of American Cycling and posted it online. Hoffman was publisher and editor of American Cycling for six years. It became Bicycling magazine in 1968 and Hoffman was its editor for that first year. (Read more about the history of American Cycling here.)
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