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Woman files complaint after harsh encounter with Union Pacific police on Cement Road (updated)

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Disaster Relief Trials -45
Diana Rempe at the 2012 Disaster
Relief Trials cargo bike challenge.
(Photos by J.Maus/BikePortland)

A Portland woman who concedes she was illegally biking on the private Cement Road to Swan Island with her 6-year-old daughter says she was “bullied” by a railroad police officer and has filed a formal complaint.

“As I explain in my complaint, I do not mean to suggest that I was in the right riding the Cement Road,” Diana Rempe of North Portland wrote in an email Wednesday to Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, Swan Island Transportation Management Association Director Sarah Angell and BikePortland. “I understand fully that it crosses Union Pacific property. However, I do believe strongly that there is no excuse for the intimidating bullying my 6 year old daughter and I experienced from Officer Bender of Union Pacific. I am a middle aged, white woman with a lot of privilege and that guy really scared me. I can only imagine how he might treat someone less system savvy than me.”

(more…)

Leaders and activists toast Lenny Anderson, ‘Mr. Swan Island’

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Lenny Anderson retirement party-22
Lenny Anderson shows off his number 85 bus
stop sign as TriMet GM Neil McFarlane looks on.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of Portland’s most successful transportation activists was cheered into retirement Wednesday after 13 years in which he led Swan Island’s transformation into the city’s least car-dependent industrial park.

Lenny Anderson, 67, dropped out of a Ph.D program in the 1970s to work as a folk singer and printing press operator. He later co-founded two newspapers, including a defunct print quarterly for TriMet riders, before carving out a job for himself as the one-man Swan Island Transportation Management Association. In that role he become a tireless advocate for encouraging Swan Island’s 10,000 employees to get to work by bike, bus, or shuttle — anything other than in their cars. (more…)

New route through rail yard could link up North Portland Greenway

Monday, October 28th, 2013
The City and Union Pacific Railroad are in talks about
how to connect the NP Greenway path between
Swan Island and lower Albina.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As the route of the long-planned North Portland Greenway comes before Portland city council this week, there’s a new possibility in the mix that could vastly improve one of the project’s most glaring gaps: the segment between Swan Island and the Eastbank Esplanade.

Union Pacific Railroad and city planners are now looking into a possible “alternative” route through UP’s Albina rail yard that could allow what the npGreenway group described as “car-free access through Lower Albina.” This development comes after Mayor Charlie Hales described on-again, off-again talks between the City and UPRR as “going very well” as of last May. Back then, the Mayor met with UPRR officials to discuss the project.

According to PBOT Active Transportation Division Manager Dan Bower, following that meeting, the president of UPRR committed to finding a solution. Their proposal is to offer the City a 20-foot wide, two mile long piece of land on the east side of the railyard adjacent to N Greeley Ave. The proposal would take path users to Interstate and Russell. Bower says PBOT has done some preliminary designs and cost estimates but they haven’t made any final decisions.
(more…)

Stalwart Swan Island transportation advocate Lenny Anderson announces retirement

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-10
Lenny Anderson, shown here at the
dedication of a biking and walking
path on Swan Island in 2010, is retiring.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Lenny Anderson, one of the most outspoken and effective transportation advocates in Portland, officially announced his retirement this morning.

Lenny had served as the executive director of the Swan Island Business Association for 14 years but he’s been best known in local transportation circles as the head of Swan Island’s Transportation Management Association (TMA), an organization he founded in 2000. In that role, Lenny was a fixture in countless transportation policy debates and projects. From sidewalks to bike paths and bus lines, the results of his efforts are evident all over Swan Island. (more…)

Portland truck factory replaces electric carts with pedal-powered trikes

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
Always nice to see bikes and freight getting along.
(Image: Daimler Trucks North America)

When you run the numbers, human-powered machines often make good sense on city streets. Leave it to the logistics experts at Daimler Trucks North America to calculate that they make good sense on the floor of a truck factory, too.

At Daimler’s Western Star truck plant on North Portland’s Swan Island, utility trikes are taking over for electric carts in moving truck parts to the manufacturing line. Workers at the plant are putting 18 of the trikes to use. They are Torker HD models and have a cargo capacity of 300 pounds. The bikes were purchased from and assembled by Crank Bicycles in southeast Portland, which customized the gears for the plant’s 5 mph speed limit.

(more…)

Driver in Interstate Avenue crash cited on two violations

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
Curtis Crothers crash aftermath
The aftermath of last week’s crash on North Interstate
Avenue. Photo by Neighborhood Notes.

The driver of a pickup truck whose illegal right turn led to a bike/truck crash last Wednesday has been cited for two traffic violations typically associated with $695 in fines, Portland police said Tuesday.

The man whose bicycle hit the side of the truck, meanwhile, remains in the hospital but continues to recover from eight broken ribs, a punctured lung and other injuries.

Here’s what police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson wrote in an email, confirming the summary of the commuter on the bike, Curtis Crothers:

The vehicle was southbound on Interstate and made an illegal right turn onto Greeley Avenue. Sign posted “No Right Turn.” Bicycle rider was coming downhill on Interstate in the bike lane and was unable to stop in time and was hit by the car making the illegal right. Rider was injured but not traumatic injuries. Car driver was not impaired. Cited for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device and Careless Driving.

(more…)

Man severely injured after bike/pickup crash on Interstate Avenue

Friday, May 31st, 2013
Curtis Crothers
Daimler Trucks engineer Curtis
Crothers, who suffered extensive
injuries from a crash on
Interstate Avenue Wednesday.

An engineer biking home from his job on Swan Island was severely injured by colliding with a pickup truck after its driver allegedly made an illegal 135-degree turn onto Greeley Avenue Wednesday afternoon.

Curtis Crothers, 53, was in good condition at Legacy Emanuel hospital Friday after suffering eight broken ribs, a broken scapula, a punctured lung, internal bleeding, a dislocated shoulder and 24 hours in intensive care.

Crothers is a regular bike commuter to Daimler Trucks North America, which employs 3,000 workers in the North Portland industrial park. The bike commuting route to Swan Island has been subject to controversy; many of the area’s hundreds of bike commuters avoid the area where Crothers was hit by illegally using the Ash Grove Cement Road, a private path owned by Union Pacific Railroad.

Crothers, however, had stopped using the Cement Road after concluding it was itself unsafe due to train tracks that curve across it and after a run-in with railroad security.

(more…)

Mayor Hales in Union Pacific/Cement Road access talks: “Going very well”

Friday, May 24th, 2013
The Ash Grove Cement Road
The Cement Road with Fremont Bridge
in the background..
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s a renewed effort afoot that could result in something most observers thought would never happen: legal public access to the “Cement Road” that runs through Union Pacific’s Albina Yards along the Willamette River between Swan Island and the Fremont Bridge.

Union Pacific Railroad owns the road and they don’t allow public use. There are “Private Property” and “No Trespassing” signs posted at its northern entrance (at the end of N Portland Center Way); but many of Swan Island’s 10,000 employees who ride bikes to work still use the road because it’s the only flat and safe way to get to work. As recently as December 2012, UP spokesman Brock Nelson said they were, “Not interested in either selling or allowing public access to this property.”

However, it now appears UP’s position on this idea might be softening up a bit. (more…)

Daimler Trucks North America opens new bike parking facility on Swan Island

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Daimler bike shelter opening-24
A large crowd gathered to celebrate the opening
of a bike shelter at Daimler Trucks HQ
this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Daimler Trucks North America, a commercial truck manufacturer based on Swan Island, celebrated a decidedly non-motorized achievement this morning: They opened a bike parking shelter near the main entrance of their corporate headquarters.

The new shelter can fit up to 53 bicycles in a space previously used to park just five cars. Daimler project manager Rich Wipf said demand for bike parking from Daimler’s 3,000 Swan Island employees (1,500 at corporate HQ) has increased significantly in recent years. “Some of our employees remember when just one rack was enough. Now we’ve got racks near all the entrances and they’re all filling up.”

Erik Weeman, a mechanical engineer, said there were only “a handful” of riders when he started working at Daimler two years ago. Now the existing bike racks quickly fill up in the morning. “Unless you get here early, your bike would be left out in the rain if you could even find a spot.”
(more…)

Mayoral candidates to debate on Swan Island: Could bicycling be a sleeper issue?

Monday, October 8th, 2012
Bike commuters at Daimler Trucks North America on Swan Island-7
This is where the candidates will debate economic
development on Wednesday.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland

The issue of bicycling on and around Swan Island is enjoying a major surge lately and it could take center stage during a debate on Wednesday between mayoral hopefuls Jefferson Smith and Charlie Hales. The topic of the debate is “the city’s role in economic development.” But if you think that means bicycling won’t merit a mention; think again.

First, the debate will be held at Daimler Trucks North America, which is not only one of the economic and employment powerhouses on Swan Island, it also happens to be home to a growing and active nucleus of dedicated bike commuters. (more…)

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