portland city council

Commissioners Fish and Fritz warm to income tax to pay for streets

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
council work session novick fritz hales fish
Portland’s city council speaks with staff Monday about the “Our Streets PDX” proposal.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Can Portland’s proposed transportation income tax count to three?

In the political tea leaves of Portland’s five-member city council, three is the magic number. And the tenor of Monday’s hearing on the city’s proposed tax suggested that consensus is building. But the vote seems likely to hinge on who would pay how much.


Sunday vigil set to honor and remember Steve Fritz

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
CRC Rally-104
Commissioner Amanda Fritz at an
anti-Columbia River Crossing
rally in 2009.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

All of Portland is hurting for Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s family this week.

Carpooling to his job in Salem, Steve Fritz was killed in a traffic collision Wednesday after a northbound pickup crossed the freeway barrier and collided with Fritz’s Nissan. The husband of the city council member died at the scene.

A vigil for Steve Fritz is planned this Sunday, Sept. 28, at 5 p.m. in Terry Schrunk Plaza, across the street from City Hall at 1221 SW 4th Avenue.

“We will have an open mic and will be collecting letters to be given to the family at a better time,” wrote Cameron Whitten, a local human rghts activist who got to know Fritz during Occupy Portland’s 2011 encampment and his subsequent hunger strike outside City Hall for housing justice, in an email. Whitten, who later supported Fritz’s reelection campaign, is among the organizers of Sunday’s event.

For her part, Commissioner Fritz wrote on Wednesday that her family would be suggesting charitable donations in lieu of flowers or cards:

Council candidate Sharon Maxwell played role in Williams Ave re-design process

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Sharon Maxwell at an open house for the
Williams Avenue Traffic Safety and Operations
Project in April 2011.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Sharon Maxwell, the latest challenger to Commissioner Nick Fish’s seat on Portland City Council, might be a familiar name to many BikePortland readers. Maxwell spoke up early and often during the public process to update the design of North Williams Avenue.

For those who don’t remember, the City of Portland’s North Williams Avenue Traffic Safety and Operations Project began as just another transportation project, but ended up as a citywide conversation on bicycling, race, and gentrification. The project became a case study for urban planners, garnered national media attention, and became the subject of academic research.

City Council backs $21 million for better walking and biking, citing boost to economy

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
Commissioner Steve Novick at Green Lane Project event
Commissioner Steve Novick speaking at a
Green Lane Project event earlier this week.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The ways people talk about active transportation seems to be changing in Portland, both inside and outside of government.

At a unanimous City Council vote Wednesday in favor of $20.7 million in federally backed walking and biking improvements throughout the city, including $9.1 million to enact parts of the East Portland in Motion plan and $6.6 million for what promises to be a historic upgrade of central Portland bike facilities, people on both sides of the council dais were repeating an idea that isn’t always common: Improving biking improves the city for people who don’t.

Leading the shift: new Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, who echoed and rephrased some of the observations we shared from his speech two nights before.

“It should be obvious to everybody that the freight improvements are connected to economic development,” Novick said Wednesday, referring to $4.1 million dedicated to efficient truck movement. “But the things that make it easier to walk and bike are economic investments. … There’s a couple of ways to improve your family’s economic position. One is to make more money, and one is to reduce your expenses. Active transportation investments help people reduce their expenses.”


A conversation with City Council candidate Jesse Cornett

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Jesse Cornett, City Council candidate-2
Jesse Cornett.
(Photo © J. Maus)

When Jesse Cornett threw his hat into the ring in the race for Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s seat on the Portland City Council, I immediately heard from my sources at Portland State University (where Cornett worked before leaving to run his campaign). They were ecstatic that someone with such a bike-sensitive ear and track record in government (he was PSU’s lobbyist in Salem) was making a run to be one of Portland’s five leaders.

I met Cornett for the first time at the BTA’s annual New Year’s Day ride and I’ve been looking forward to a more formal sit-down interview ever since. I got that opportunity yesterday. Cornett and I discussed a number of issues — including how to pay for new bike infrastructure, the Columbia River Crossing project, bikes as an economic development tool, and more. Read a transcript from our conversation below: (more…)

A conversation with City Council candidate Mary Volm

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
Council candidate Mary Volm-1
Former PBOT spokesperson Mary Volm
is running for Portland City Council.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Earlier this month I dropped by a meet and greet for City Council Candidate Mary Volm. I expected to have a quick chat and introduce myself, but as luck would have it, I was able to sit down with her for a one-on-one conversation.

For about 30-40 minutes, Ms. Volm and I discussed a number of issues including her 20-year career as a City employee (most them as spokesperson for the Bureau of Transportation), how Portland can raise new revenue for transportation (she’d like to derive some revenue from “bicyclists”), her feelings about Mayor Adams (she supported the first recall effort), the Columbia River Crossing project, and more.

Cornett not the only Council candidate with bike cred

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Last week I shared a story about Jesse Cornett, the former PSU staffer who’s making a run to fill Dan Saltzman’s seat on Portland City Council. I met Cornett on an organized bike ride (a common place to meet council candidates these days), but I also heard through the grapevine that he was highly savvy and sympathetic to the idea of using bicycles as transportation.

But what I didn’t mention was that Cornett’s main opponent in the race, Mary Volm, also has some major bike-oriented credentials. The main thing we’ve heard so far about Volm is that she was behind the failed attempt to recall Portland’s bike-loving Mayor Sam Adams. But what some may not realize is that Volm had a 20-year career with the City of Portland and was one of the key figures promoting bicycles during Portland’s biking golden age of the early-mid 1990s. (more…)

Bike-riding former PSU staffer will vie for Council seat

Monday, January 4th, 2010
City Council candidate Jesse Cornett -1
Jesse Cornett on New Year’s Day.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The race to replace Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman continues to get interesting. A week before Christmas, the former Director of Government Relations at Portland State University and a co-founder of the blog BlueOregon, Jesse Cornett, announced his candidacy.

Cornett’s decision adds an important element to this race, not just because of his impressive track record (even one of his fellow candidates said “The sh*t hit the fan” when a local newspaper reported about the decision) but because he is someone who regularly experiences the city from atop a bike saddle.

Guest Editorial: Speaking up on the CRC

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

[Editor’s note: This guest editorial was written by first-time BikePortland contributor Spencer Boomhower. Spencer testified in front of City Council during a hearing on the Columbia River Crossing held last Thursday.]

Spencer Boomhower

I’m sitting at a table with a microphone sticking in my face, and a little digital counter telling me how much time I have to talk. Or rather, telling the guy to my right how long he has to talk; I’m up next, after him. I recline in the polished wooden chair, cast my eyes down, and try to relax.

I look up and I’m faced with a who’s-who of local-politics luminaries straight out of my voting guide: Randy Leonard, Amanda Fritz, Sam Adams, Dan Saltzman, and Nick Fish. This doesn’t help.

Carfree momentum from City Hall?

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

[Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Friday 10/10 but has been re-posted after a server outage.]

My ride with Commissioner Randy Leonard

Commissioner Leonard on his ride
home from City Hall in
May 2007.
(Photo J. Maus)

According to an article by Amy Ruiz in this weeks Portland Mercury, Commissioner Randy Leonard is intrigued by carfree public spaces something he saw during a recent trip to Copenhagen.

Ruiz reports that during the question and answer session of a forum sponsored by the Oregon Environmental Council on October 1st, Leonard brought up carfree spaces in response to a question about congestion pricing.

From the Mercury:

Joking that his answer was going to get me in trouble, Leonard made a bold announcement: After visiting Copenhagen earlier this year, he has been quietly looking at those cities that have created public spaces by eliminating auto traffic on certain streets. While its not a congestion toll, Leonards intrigued by cities that have opened up parts of their city to just pedestrians and [I] would like to actually look at doing something toward that end in the next four years.”