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Election roundup: Mixed results for the region’s transportation issues

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
In Washington County, bike skeptic Bob Terry defeated
light-rail advocate Elizabeth Furse.
(Photos from campaign websites)

The cultural divide between Portland’s increasingly low-car-friendly inner suburban voters and its more auto-oriented exurban voters was visible in many of last night’s elections.

In Milwaukie, an inner Southeast suburb that a few years ago was locked in a battle over light rail, about 54 percent of voters turned down a chance for a protest vote. They also helped send their relatively liberal former mayor, who pushed light rail through, back to a seat on the conservative Clackamas County Commission.

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Washington County commissioner says adjacent landowners should help pay for sidewalks, bikeways

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Washington County Commissioner Greg Malinowski.

In a ringing reminder that the ballots arriving May 2 in Washington County will offer residents a choice between two very different futures, a county commissioner is calling for what sounds like a big change in the way street infill projects are paid for.

District 2 incumbent Greg Malinowski, who represents northwest Beaverton and the nearby unincorporated areas, suggested in an Oregonian op-ed Monday that the county should be able to bill property owners for at least some of the cost of “sidewalks and bikeways” along their property.

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Washington County election hinges on land use and transportation issues

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Washington County Chair Andy Duyck and
challenger Allen Amabisca.
(Photos from campaign websites)

Two months from today, voters in Oregon’s second-largest county will decide who will have their fingers on the region’s biggest sprawl button.

Though Washington County, which sits on the western third of the Portland metro area, isn’t facing the rocketing housing demand it once was, its political conversation continues to be dominated by issues of land use, real estate development and transportation — and its five-member board is essentially split 3-2 in favor of expanding urban growth boundaries.

Three of those seats, though, are up for grabs, and a trio of candidates — two challengers, one incumbent — are hoping to tip the county’s balance against suburban expansion. Candidates in two of those races faced off at an event covered by the Oregonian Wednesday night.

County Chair Andy Duyck said that the central question of the campaign is whether the county has enough room in its urban areas to continue developing single-family homes.
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County chair candidates Kafoury and Francesconi talk transportation at debate

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Kafoury, left, is a five-year county commissioner.
Francesconi, right, is a former city commissioner.
(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Transportation is rarely the biggest issue for Multnomah County chairs, but that didn’t stop candidates Deborah Kafoury and Jim Francesconi from gamely finding some modest differences at a debate on the subject Tuesday.

Though neither politician has been known as particularly passionate on transportation issues, both contenders for the county’s top elected position endorsed the concept of a “multimodal” county and shared a few ideas for making it better.

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In Washington state, two election results worth watching

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
ravenna_paving_event_32812 019
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, pictured here last year,
went down hard in Tuesday’s elections.
(Photo: Seattle DOT)

In Portland, voters mostly take odd-numbered years off. But two races to Portland’s north ended last night in interesting ways, for better or worse.

In Seattle, the deeply bike-friendly incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn lost in a 56-43 rout. And closer to home in Vancouver, Wash, the bike-and-transit-friendly but also Columbia River Crossing-supporting incumbent Mayor Tim Leavitt is headed to a second term.

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Politics and pedaling at ‘Bike Town Hall’ and ‘Beers and Bikes’ events

Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Rotterdam street scenes-20
A pair of bike advocates are hosting
a fundraiser for Metro Councilor
Sam Chase, shown here in
Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Two upcoming events are perfect examples of how bicycling plays an important role in local, regional, and statewide politics.

Tonight at Lucky Lab in northwest Portland (1945 NW Quimby), a pair of bike advocates are hosting a fundraiser for Metro Councilor Sam Chase, who won the race for Rex Burkholder’s old Council seat back in May 2012. Chase was part of a delegation from Portland that recently traveled to the Netherlands on a bicycle study tour sponsored by Bikes Belong/Green Lane Project. This event is being hosted by Gerik Kranksy and Jenn Dice, both of whom joined Chase on that trip (disclaimer: I was there too). While Kransky and Dice are both high-profile professional bike advocates (with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Bikes Belong respectively), they are hosting this event as private citizens and not representing their employers.

Councilor Chase has returned from the Netherlands with a new understanding for how valuable bicycling can be for our city and communities and he’s poised to be a great future leader on the issue. Tonight’s event is being billed as an informal chance to meet Chase and share your perspectives on bicycling. “Sam wants to learn more about what changes would make Portland an even better place to ride a bike,” reads the flyer, “Great guy, pro bike, let’s get together to celebrate and support Sam.” (more…)

Gala event, concert will toast Blumenauer’s 40 year career

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
Congressional Reception-10
Blumenauer in D.C. in March.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland native Earl Blumenauer has served in elected office in Oregon since 1972 when he won a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives at the age of 24. He’s been in politics ever since. On June 14th, Blumenauer’s supporters will throw him a big party to commemorate his 40 years in office.

The event, dubbed “40 Years of Leadership,” will take place at Memorial Coliseum and will include performances by Pink Martini and Storm Large.

During his four decades of leadership, Blumenauer has presided over much of the bicycle and transportation legacy that our region is so well known for. From his position as head of the City of Portland Department of Public Works (what we now call the Bureau of Transportation) from 1987 to 1996, Blumenauer (with Mia Birk as his right-hand woman) oversaw an explosion in bikeway miles. From his office in Washington D.C., where he’s served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996, Blumenauer is without a doubt the most influential and well-known champion for bicycling on Capitol Hill.
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Election night a big one for Bike Walk Vote PAC

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Bike Walk Vote candidate party-13
Bike Walk Vote excited an
active (transportation) base of
Portland voters.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Tuesday night’s elections were full of good news for Portland’s re-energized Bike Walk Vote political action committee.

After being founded in 2004, then lying dormant for several years following the 2008 elections, Bike Walk Vote came roaring back last winter. Boasting some seriously smart and plugged-in new leaders (Evan Manvel, Peter Welte, Mike O’ Leary just to name a few), they threw a highly successful launch party in December. When the likes of U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer and a packed crowd showed up, it was a clear sign that Portland’s huge population of low-car advocates were just waiting to organize and make their voices heard.

With the votes counted from the May 15th primary, candidates supported by Bike Walk Vote did extremely well. In fact, five of the seven candidates they endorsed won outright and the remaining two — Jefferson Smith for mayor and Mary Nolan for City Council — finished very close seconds and will sail into runoffs in November.
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Mayoral hopefuls asked: ‘Will building more bikeways be a priority for you?’

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Active Transportation Debate at PSU-2
The candidates at a debate in February.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Three local media outlets — KPAM radio, KOIN TV, and the Portland Tribune newspaper — hosted a mayoral debate today. Among the questions asked by KOIN’s Mike Gianola was, “Will building more bikeways be a priority for you?”

Amazingly, for the city most often referred to as the best bicycling city in America, not one of the leading candidates for mayor grabbed the question by the horns and answered with a strong, “Yes!”. If you weren’t convinced yet that bicycling is a liability when it comes to swaying undecideds (who all the candidates are trying to sway right now) this exchange should seal the deal.

Instead of confidently answering that Portland needs to do more to build our lagging bike network and make bicycling a larger priority because it makes sense and we’ve already made huge strides for relative peanuts in investment — each candidate stuck to their now familiar responses they’ve pulled out whenever a bike-related question comes up. (more…)

KATU asks ‘Bike lanes or…’ question: See how mayoral candidates respond

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

KATU-TV (Portland’s ABC affiliate) and Willamette Week hosted a televised mayoral debate on Sunday night. It was a very good debate with questions taken from live audience members, online fans, and seasoned political reporters from both outlets. Then this happened…

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