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Mayor adds Bicycle Master Plan back into budget

Posted by on May 7th, 2007 at 11:04 am

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Mayor Tom Potter has just sent a letter to all four City Commissioners and the City Auditor detailing six additional expenditures he will be able to fund in the budget.

Included among them is $100,000 for the Bicycle Master Plan Update process. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

“OMF (Office of Management & Finance) has advised me of $2 million in additional revenue in FY 2006-07 from higher than expected business license receipts. These funds were received and reported following the April 15 business tax filing deadline. This well result in $2 million in additional one-time funds for FY 2007-08. The timing of this good news fits well with the budget approval on May 16.


So there you have it folks, let the Bike Master Planning continue! Thank you to everyone who took time to write the Mayor and share your thoughts about this.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

45 Comments
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    Attornatus_Oregonensis May 7, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Who says good old-fashioned grass roots activism doesn’t work? Congratulations to everybody who let the Mayor know how the people really felt about this issue. And remember, this is but one step in a long, long journey.

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    David May 7, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Yes! This is awesome!

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    N.I.K. May 7, 2007 at 11:46 am

    It is awesome. But don’t forget for one single moment that Potter didn’t originally intend to support the BMP and even with tremendous public outrage from the cycling community, all he could manage to say was to the effect of “sorry, not this year”. Don’t get me wrong…it’s great that there’s now funding in place, but there almost wasn’t, and we shouldn’t give Potter or his push for charter reform a free pass. This almost didn’t happen.

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    Joe May 7, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    The mayor’s office is oblivious to the bicycle community and so much more. After speaking to someone within his “circle” over the weekend, I was told that the mayor’s office is staffed with young, inexperienced, and mostly arrogant people. This explains why the BMP was not funded. His staff had no idea what the BMP was, didn’t bother to find out what it was, and when told how important it was, they refused to acknowledge their mistakes.

    The mayor is on damage-control after taking the heat from the charter reform mess, heavily mismanaged VisionPDX project, and BMP fiasco. He deserves no slack for finally including funding for the second year of the BMP process in an effort to cover up the mismanagement of his office.

    While the mayor has idealistically pursued to involve the younger generation, he has lost touch with community-wide values, ironically at a time when he is pursuing a citywide visioning effort. If the mayor can barely handle what’s on his plate now (while nearly doubling his administrative staff over prior mayors according to an Oregonian article a few weeks back), why should we think he or any one else in his position will do a good job with all of the bureaus under his/her belt?

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    Burk May 7, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Great news and thanks to this website I was easily able to make my voice heard. It’s sites like this that are changing our city for the better. Great job Jonathan! Way to rock the Internets!

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    Klixi May 7, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Wow. Never thought this would be overturned (and so quickly). Looks like the people close to Potter got him to realize what a mistake he’d made.

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    Tomas Quinones May 7, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Does this mean that the budget meeting on 5/10 isn’t going to be as important?

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    peejay May 7, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    The mayor is not forgiven. And A_O, where were you Friday? I was there.

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    tonyt May 7, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Exactly N.I.K.

    We have seen Potter’s true colors.

    So who’s next up for the Mayor’s race?

    Vote NO on 26-91

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    Super Mario May 7, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    I knew this would happen because of the video “The secret”. It told me to write down “bike master plan” on a piece of paper, eat it and then drink 5 gallons of vinegar. Sure enough it worked!

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    Brad May 7, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    “His staff had no idea what the BMP was, didn’t bother to find out what it was, and when told how important it was, they refused to acknowledge their mistakes.”

    Wow! Who knew that Mayor Potter was filling his team with former Bush White House staffers?

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    Susan Otcenas May 7, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you to all who communicated with the Mayor’s office, and thank you to the Mayor, who listened.

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    Tim May 7, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    300 or so thank you notes to Mayor Potter may help reinforce his decision and convince him it was worth adding back in. A little kindness never hurts…

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    N.I.K. May 7, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    …and thank you to the Mayor, who listened.

    Er, eventually. After a lot of letters, phone calls, and an initial “I hear you, but it’s not happening anyway” from the Mayor. Who pushed the importance of cycling issues in his campaign.

    Again, folks: don’t forget! 🙂

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    Doug May 7, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Huzzah!

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    Whiney McWhinerson May 7, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Oh. My. God.

    How about: “Thanks Mayor Potter, for taking our input into account and restoring funding to the Platinum Bicycle Master Plan which we find extremely important to ourselves and our city. I’m glad our public officials are willing to listen to Portland’s citizens and change policies.”

    I can’t believe so many people can’t even manage to say thank you. The man is dealing with a million different agendas. He took the time and energy to include ours in the budget after some prodding. I think he deserves some thanks and respect.

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    sh May 7, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    SUPER !

    Small grassroots victories, yeah. Thanks to both the BTA and BikePtld for mobilzing the cycling masses for action. Plus, it was so easy too — just writin’ some letters…nice.

    And yes, blackened that NO circle in the 26-91 ballot with a bit more intensity than i would have otherwise.

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    N.I.K. May 7, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    @Whiney:

    I have no problem thanking the Mayor for exactly what happened, and that’s coming to his senses after a lot of poking and prodding on an issue that he, being the recumbent-riding bike-friendly guy he sold himself as during his election campaign and the first few months of his term, should already have been looking at.

    So: thanks, Tom Potter. I appreciate you finding a way to fund the BMP in the end. What’s important got accomplished, and I can rest a bit easier now knowing that Portland’s bike infrastructure stands a better chance of improving as opposed to languishing a bit until the next time the plan would have gotten approved. That’s great. Politics-wise, though, you’ve already lost my vote for any re-election bid, and you’ve proven why it’s important that executive authority not rest solely in the hands of the mayor’s office.

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    tonyt May 7, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Hey Whiney,

    I think that what you’re seeing here is an expression of skepticism toward Potter’s motivation and frustration that this ever had to come up.

    Had Potter run on a “regular” platform then yes, prodding and then thanks would be in order.

    But he ran, in part, on a pro-bike agenda. He utilized this community in his campaign.

    I don’t think it’s entirely inappropriate that people are a bit disgruntled that they had to fight for something that they already fought and worked for via Potter’s campaign.

    I don’t go out of my way to applaud people who have to be dragged into honoring their commitments.

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    Whiney McWhinerson May 7, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    @N.I.K.

    That’s a response I can get behind. My badly worded point was that I thought he deserved a thank you. Maybe not a big thank you, but at least a nod in his general direction which I didn’t feel he was getting. (Why I care is another question.)

    http://www.last.fm/music/William+Shatner/_/I+Can't+Get+Behind+That

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    Prettybike Lover May 7, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    I’ll be writing my thankyou note to the Commissioners and the Mayor later today.

    Thankyou to everybody who took the time to write letters to their elected officials, come on Master Plan rides, and generally made this happen.

    Glad the BMP is back on track!

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    Attornatus_Oregonensis May 7, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Dear Mayor Potter,

    Thank you for revealing, through concrete funding decisions, that you either (a) don’t really care about making PDX a world class bike city, or (b) are so out of touch with the City’s business that you aren’t paying attention to the connection between your priorities and your budget. You’re a great mayor. And you’ve removed any doubt I may have had about how to vote this election. Keep up the good work!

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    Whiney McWhinerson May 7, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    @tonyt

    “I don’t go out of my way to applaud people who have to be dragged into honoring their commitments.”

    I don’t think the PBMP was his commitment, it was Adams’, so I feel Potter deserves a thanks for finding the funding, even if it took 300+ voices to help him do it. I also consider the thank you somewhat self-serving: Positive feedback is more likely to produce results when there are bicycle issues in the future that need his support.

    Anyway, I’m much happier arguing about how much credit to give Potter for restoring funding rather than how to find the PBMP funding and I understand your point.

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    Whiney McWhinerson May 7, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    @A_O

    You always manage to drain the caring right out of me. Good times.

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    Bjorn May 7, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Even better than a thank you, is a thank you with a suggestion that funding the master plan was a great first step, but now we should be asking for the other 150k that was not funded for the bicycle safety projects. The mayor has time and again said that he wants to fund safety first, so lets all 300 write him to let him know how happy we are about the BMP, but that we also want him to spend some of this found money on fully funding PDOT’s safe streets request.

    Bjorn

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    N.I.K. May 7, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Good call, Bjorn. Let’s win it…again! 🙂

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    Matthew May 7, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    If you read the pdf, you’ll note the what he wants to use a big chunk of the found money for (I believe it is on the order of $500k, but that detail isn’t in the pdf,) is his “Vision” thing, which has already spent it’s entire budget and has only interviewed 1/4 of the people it has said it would…

    “Safety First” indeed.

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    Matt Picio May 7, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    It’s difficult to feel much sympathy for the mayor’s office when it takes nearly a week to get a response from an email (and a form response at that). I took the opportunity to respond and to tell the mayor’s office the following:

    “Please pass along to the mayor that I appreciate that he chose to fund the master plan with this additional income. I sincerely hope that the mayor will consider future bike projects with the results of the Peak Oil Task Force report in mind – bicycles are an inexpensive alternative to cars, and as Peak Oil unfolds, a shift from cars to alternative transportation will bring bicycles to the forefront. In order for the city to manage and accommodate these alternate modes, the city must budget projects other than necessary safety and maintenance improvements.”

    I fear that the message will be lost, but sometimes you have to sow thousands of seeds to get a single tree. If we stop sowing seeds, nothing will ever take root.

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    Scott Bricker May 7, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Let’s build our power… I posted at http://www.bta4bikes.org/btablog/

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    Mike May 7, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Congrats Portland peoples! I vacation in Portland and the surounding area a couple times a year and you folks really have a special deal going on there. I won’t pretend to believe that EVERYTHING is puffy clouds and tulips but on the whole your very lucky. It sounds as though your Mayor really got creamed with letters and calls. It doesn’t mean he’s a jerk just tht he probably didn’t realize just how important this issue was to Portland folks. In the future he may think twice before lowering the boom on bicycle funding. Again, congrats Portland peoples.

    Mike Nebraska

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    Curt Dewees May 7, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    I think the BTA deserves our big thanks for its quick response to this situation and for mobilizing a widespread grassroots response. Thanks also to Jonathan Maus and BikePortland.org for helping to spread the word and mobilize support even beyond the reach of the BTA membership and its talent pool. Y’all did real good!

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    Attornatus_Oregonensis May 7, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    peejay, I tried emailing you privately through bikeportland, but it didn’t work. I’m not sure whether you’re registered; or perhaps I’m just incompetent. Please email me at cmheaps [at] gmail.

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    beth h May 7, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    I think the thing that did it for me was the fact that $ 2 million was, in the words of the letter, “unexpected”.

    Unexpected?

    Since when is $ 2 million unexpected? Or suddenly just appear?

    Amazing.
    Keep those cards and letters coming, folks.

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    Martha S. May 7, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    I am gleefull! *bounces around happily*

    I do thank the Mayor for listening to us… finally. I don’t plan to forget this, and I’m still voting against that little measure of his to shift more power to the mayor’s office. It is good that he listened, but it took too long and too much.

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    JeremyS May 7, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Major kudos to Jonathan, the BTA, and all my fellow cycling advocates here for the goal accomplished! I am proud to be a part of this community. Now, let’s get the master plan update completed, and better yet, implemented. I hope this little episode fades into memory and is overpowered by the long-term steps required to shape our city into a place where every kind of person rides every kind of bike.

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    Alan May 8, 2007 at 12:21 am

    Jonathan & the BTA are heroes for providing responsible news coverage and well-organized activism, respectively.

    Did the Mayor turn around 180 degrees? Yes. Can I still be grateful to the Mayor for doing this? Yes.

    I would much rather have a Mayor who can change his mind than one who can’t. (If you can’t see the difference, just compare what goes on in City Hall with what goes on in the White House.)

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    Donna May 8, 2007 at 12:59 am

    This is great news, but please remember to vote on the charter reform issue, 26-91. Consider that if we had a “strong mayor” system, it’s highly likely that no amount of political pressure or citizen outrage would have swayed Mayor Potter. Don’t make it easy for anyone holding the office of the Mayor to ignore the wishes and concerns of the community.

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    Paul Cone May 8, 2007 at 11:25 am

    This is good news, but I think it would have been better accepted if it was something like “I put it back in the budget because the community asked for it and that made me realize how important it is. Instead, without any comment, it sounds more like “I put it back in the budget because lucky for us, we found a pile of extra money, and so it’s politically it’s a easy way for me to get those pesky bikers off my back.”

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    revphil May 8, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    I agree with Bjorn. We are pleased to see the BMP funded, but we know that making it a complete system that works requires more funding.

    -LONG ASIDE-

    my friend hosted a “democratic exercise” where we took turns doing interpretive readings from the voters guide.

    It is a really fun way to educate yourself and each other on the issues we as citizens are charged with deciding on.

    after a few hours of debate the consensus of the group was to vote “No” on all the measures except the last one (which changes the accountability of the PDC) on which we were split.

    Sure most people agree the Strong Mayor system is bad, but all the proposed measures are confusing as best.

    This could be one of the lowest voter turnouts in years. Don’t feel guilty because you didn’t take time to fill in a few bubbles.

    —end aside—

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  • […] Just thought I would follow up on this one. After an amazing out pouring of support from the Portland biking community and the Mayor finding a magical 2 million more dollars for his budget.. The Platinum Bicycle Master Plan is going to be funded. bikeportland.org has more HERE […]

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    todd May 10, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Oregonian credits Jonathan: http://tinyurl.com/2zyxy6

    Mayor Maus! Mayor Maus! ¡mas!

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    Attornatus_Oregonensis May 10, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Take a bow, Jonathan. We all did this together, but without the forum you provide for distributing this information, many of us would not have even known about this.

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    Anne May 10, 2007 at 11:51 am

    I think a post on the front page about the O article is warranted! I’m proud of you, Jonathan, and grateful for what you do here. I’m also proud of all of us for our “ability to draw so much interest so quickly puts them among the most effective grass-roots, low-budget organizers around.”

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    Michelle May 10, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Michelle from the BTA chiming in from New Caledonia here. Very delighted the BMP update is now funded; echoing frustrations at Mayor Potter’s reluctance to respond (initially) to community interest in a BMP; happy that he found a way to ultimately change his mind; but also chiming in in defense of certain members of his “young, inexperienced, mostly arrogant” staff (I quote from above) who were more instrumental than you may know at bringing this to our attention in the first place and at getting it funded. There are very good people there.
    Back to vacation.

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    Pj May 10, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Dear Mr. Mayor,
    I’m glad to see you’re not grinfucking the cyclist of this city anymore. I am also most pleased that you now understand yourself to be our bitch.
    Now quit wasteing our money on useless projects and put it where it belongs, don’t be another vera.

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