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Street Fee Proposal

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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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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Low-income households drive much less than high-income households

by on January 25th, 2016 at 1:07 pm

miles driven
Source: 1995 National Household Travel Survey via Purdue University.

We’ve explored this issue various times over the years, but you often hear people claiming otherwise so let’s share the information in a new way.

It’s relevant as the city gets ready to vote on a 10-cent gas tax that would go toward slowing the crumbling of Portland’s streets and improving their safety.

Who pays gas taxes?

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‘Fix Our Streets’ gas tax campaign prepares to launch Wednesday

by on January 24th, 2016 at 12:20 pm

fix our streets
The new campaign logo.

After a long pause to gather its strategy and thoughts, Portland’s city council is expected to launch its latest plan Wednesday to raise money for the city’s streets.

The new concept, a public vote for a temporary local gas tax of 10 cents per gallon, comes endorsed by a 93-page report from the City Club of Portland and at least two mayoral candidates (Jules Bailey and Ted Wheeler) as the least bad way to slow the city’s deepening pavement problem while getting some high-priority safety improvements on the ground.

And in a new development, it looks as if some resources have been found for one of such a ballot issue’s biggest needs: an organized “yes” campaign.

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Owner of Foster storefront wrecked by drunk driver was already a leading voice for street safety

by on April 15th, 2015 at 10:27 am

IMG_20150414_154929
Matthew Mičetić, owner of Red Castle Games,
in front of the boarded-up window smashed
by a car on April 2.
(Photo courtesy Mičetić)

The owner of a game store on SE Foster Road whose front window was destroyed this month by a speeding car also happens to be one of the most prominent backers of safety improvements to Foster Road, and also of a citywide street fund.

In fact, Matthew Mičetić of Red Castle Games was one of two small business owners that Portland leaders invited to speak at the press conference where they launched their currently paused street fund effort last spring.

He’s also head of his local business association — a group that he said surprised Portland City Council last summer when its members showed up in force to support redesigning their street to add a center turn lane and bike lanes by removing two passing lanes.

Unfortunately for Mičetić’s storefront, the redesign won’t happen until next year. That meant that when a man named Myles Nees was allegedly drunk and fleeing from police during the early evening rush hour on Foster April 2, he had enough room to veer his car from lane to lane. Mičetić said Nees reached speeds of 60 to 80 mph before losing control and running onto the sidewalk into Red Castle’s building.

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5 lessons for Portland in Seattle’s big bike-friendly ballot issue

by on March 19th, 2015 at 9:23 am

LevyMapFINAL

A few miles up the road, Portland’s big-sister city is doing something Portland hasn’t yet: charting a viable path to paying for its transportation goals.

The nine-year, $900 million “Move Seattle” property tax levy proposed Wednesday by Mayor Ed Murray would include (among many other things) 50 miles of protected bike lanes and 60 miles of neighborhood greenways over nine years. That’s about half of the projects that Seattle’s 20-year bike plan refers to as parts of the “citywide network.”

For comparison’s sake, Portland’s “paused” street fund proposal included, at one point, an estimated 14-20 miles of protected bike lanes and 40-50 miles of greenways over 10 years. But the possible lessons here for Portland aren’t just about scale (Seattle is bigger by most measures, after all) and the story here isn’t just that Seattle is succeeding where we aren’t (Seattle has a long way to go, after all).

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The street fee, bike share, and Portland’s Big Pause

by on January 16th, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Street Fee Town Hall - non residential fee-6
Our streets: Still without bike share,
new revenue, and a host of other projects on pause.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“There are some who say, ‘Why would you move ahead with bike share if you can’t pave the streets?'”
— Mayor Hales, August 2014

This story was co-written by Michael Andersen and Jonathan Maus

Now that Portland’s erratic search for new transportation revenue is on “pause”, it’s raised another question for the city: How long will the rest of our transportation agenda be on pause?

There’s no better illustration of this problem than the way Portland’s plan for a public bike-sharing system fell apart.

In a previously unpublished interview last August, Mayor Charlie Hales was characteristically candid about this. He and his colleagues have not prioritized bike sharing, he said, because it might endanger their push for new revenue.
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City ‘pauses’ Street Fund vote in lieu of legislative action

by on January 15th, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales just announced plans to halt their upcoming vote on how to pay for new transportation revenue. The full press release is below:

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick today temporarily halted the paperwork necessary to take an advisory vote to the May ballot, regarding options to pay for city street maintenance and safety.

“Today, I am announcing a pause in our local efforts to fund our streets and safety projects within the City of Portland,” Mayor Hales said. “Over the past week, I have had conversations with Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and with Gov. John Kitzhaber. They have each assured me that a statewide transportation package is a top priority for them this legislative session.”

The Legislature is set to convene in February. The deadline for Portland to submit paperwork for the May election was 5 p.m. today.

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Guest article: How should Portland pay for streets?

by on January 9th, 2015 at 11:01 am

CRC Rally-151
Joe Cortright, economist in action.
(All photos by J.Maus/BikePortland unless otherwise noted)

This is a crosspost from City Observatory, the new think tank about urban policy led by Portland-based economist Joe Cortright. Many BikePortland readers will know Cortright as one of the loudest critics of the defunct Columbia River Crossing freeway expansion plan.

— by Joe Cortright

For the past several months, Portland’s City Council has been wrestling with various proposals to raise additional funds to pay for maintaining and improving city streets. After considering a range of ideas, including fees on households and businesses, a progressive income tax, and a kind of Rube Goldberg income tax pro-rated to average gasoline consumption, the council has apparently thrown up its hands on designing its own solution.

The plan now is for the street fee solution to be laid at the feet of Portland voters in the form of a civic multiple choice test: Do you want to pay for streets with a monthly household street fee, a higher gas tax, a property tax, an income tax or something else entirely?

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Lost track of the Portland Street Fund? Here’s our up-to-the-minute guide

by on January 9th, 2015 at 8:47 am

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

Ever since local transportation funding became one of the hottest topics in Portland media — hey, we’re not complaining — we’ve scaled back our coverage of the city council’s ever-shifting proposals for a new transportation tax or fee on Portland residents.

But it’s still the most important issue in local transportation, and this week’s developments suggest that it’ll continue to be for most of 2015. Though the Portland City Council has made predictions on this subject dangerous, it seems likely that some time this year, voters will get a chance to choose one of several options for different ways to raise money for pavements and safety upgrades on the city’s road system.

If you haven’t been following the latest twists, here’s what’s happened lately:

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