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Council passes landmark funding proposal; Romain will refer

Posted by on January 30th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

[Updated: 7:26pm]

Romain strikes again.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

Earlier today Portland City Council passed Commissioners Adams’ Safe, Sound and Green Streets funding plan.

The plan would be a huge boon to bicycling in Portland, with nearly $30 million (out of $400 million total) going toward bike safety improvements. But don’t start the celebration yet…

The Willamette Week is reporting that, in a surprise move, Oregon Petroleum Association lobbyist Paul Romain will seek to gather signatures and refer the proposal to the ballot.

In the weeks leading up to the Council vote, seeking to thwart opposition and the threat of referring the proposal to the ballot, Adams struck what was thought to be a workable compromise with Romain. Adams staffers working on the proposal believed they had a firm agreement from Romain’s group that in light of the compromises they would not attempt the referral effort.

Now, like a “punch in the gut” as one source just referred to it, Romain has switched course and has told the Willamette Week he will move forward with the referral effort.

Romain and his daughter Danelle Romain are partnering up with a coalition of opponents.

Here’s more on that coaltion from a press release posted at OregonWatchdog.com:

“The coalition includes small convenience stores including the Korean American Grocery Retailer Association, the Taxpayer Association of Oregon, Oregonians for Prosperity, gas station owners, transportation critics Jim Karlock of Saveportland.org, Craig Flynn of ORTEM, among other groups and citizen activists…and also including aerial support from radio host Victoria Taft (featured on KPAM 860) and radio host Lars Larson (featured on KXL 750).”

Some familiar names in that list (wow, this is shaping up to be a battle royale).

Check out Nigel Jaquiss’ coverage at the Willamette Week for more details and stay tuned for more on this story.

UPDATES:
More coverage of this story:
Portland Mercury
Portland Tribune

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

Paul Romain and his constituents don\’t care about the health and safety of Portlanders. All they care about is their own private profit.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Romain doesn\’t seem to care about personal integrity, either. I had a feeling this was going to happen.

BURR
Guest
BURR

what a lettuce head

Carl
Guest
Carl

Shocking!

Torfinn
Guest
Torfinn

Holy crap what a lack of integrity!

Elly Blue (Columnist)
Member

If anything good comes of this, it\’s an opportunity to reach out to members of the business community who may not understand the importance to their clients of safe, green streets.

We can all contact the forces behind this and let them know how we feel and that we\’ll base our purchasing decisions on where their organization stands on this initiative to improve our streets.

According to the WW:

– Seven-11 is one of the main businesses behind the refferal. I\’m a customer and plan to contact them.

Paul Romain\’s organization is the Oregon Petroleum Association. Their web site lists several sponsors and members who must have customers who read this blog — Chevron, several carwashes, oil suppliers, law firms, and home security companies.

Businesses do listen to what their customers tell them, and you\’ve got nothing to lose by speaking up.

Daniel (teknotus)
Guest
Daniel (teknotus)

There is nothing I ever want from a convenience store that I can\’t buy somewhere else. I\’m all for boycotting them. I also drive ocationally, but I really don\’t have to in this city. I could easily go without buying gas for a while.

joeb
Guest
joeb

I am not going to like the spin on this. The real lack of integrity is in deferring and increasing the future cost of this much needed funding. But Romain will certainly find a deceptive way to his sell his opposition (think Measure 37) and smear Adams.

In “The Audacity of Hope”, Barak Obama interviewed Warren Buffet about tax breaks for the wealthy. I wish I had the quote, but the gist of Buffet’s response was that he expects to pay higher taxes to cover his utilization of America’s infrastructure, public education, constitution, laws, etc that have made him the third richest man in the world. I’m no expert on Warren Buffet, but there is other evidence that the guy has integrity. Too bad the oil industry can’t find a shred of it except to promote their “integrity” with false advertising.

Matt Picio
Guest

Why am I not surprised that Romain didn\’t follow through and honor an agreement? And I\’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Portland is the first major US city to pass and implement a Peak Oil strategy.

The old adage is still true: follow the money.

Daniel (#7) – unless it\’s after 10pm. They serve a necessary function in the community, whatever we might think of them otherwise.

Daniel (teknotus)
Guest
Daniel (teknotus)

That 7-Eleven contact form is crap. There is no \”Other\” type of statement, so you can only fill out a bogus report.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

What a load of c**p. Council bends over backwards to try to accommodate the petroleum lobby, and their response is to promptly do an 180 degree flip?

This leaves a pretty nasty taste in my mouth.

Robin
Guest

Well I guess that means people are doing the right thing if lobbyists are getting angry.

Axe
Guest
Axe

Boy, Romain is such a scumbag.

I\’m all for writing and calling the businesses who are working against the funding to let them know we\’re pissed. The more the merrier!

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

The next time Romain, (or the OPA) need anything done in the city, I\’m expecting that the city will remember this… It seems likely that Romain may be stand to lose pretty much everything by doing this…

trekxc
Guest
trekxc

Romain=douche bag

Elly Fanclub
Guest
Elly Fanclub

Elly Blue is my hero…

Elly — Thanks for continuing to provide good ways for activists to express their concerns directly to the public and business. I would guess that even more than a few phone calls, corporations like 7-eleven would respond more to a national press story than individual phone calls.

I can see the story now: \”Local action highlights that 7-Eleven once one of the greatest sponsors of bicycle racing in the US now opposes local effort to develop safe bicycling routes in bike-city-USA-Portland, Oregon.\”

Elly — please help us figure out a way to communicate this issue with direct action….

Until then… I\’m gonna have to start making my own slurpees

Jonathan — I remember when you were first starting this blog and a issue that you covered with a Starbucks employee got the attention of headquarters. Any idea on how we can do this on this important issue?

steve
Guest
steve

It is 400 million dollars folks. I would be grateful for the chance to vote on this plan.

Though probably not for the reasons that Mr Lettuce head wants to.

This is simply way more money than I want to trust \’Sam the Tram for mayor Adams\’ with.

Remember also that most of this money is going to be gobbled up by (overly high)salaries and beaurocracies.

Read the line by line costs. It stinks of a big fat boondoggle.

steve is a troll that hangs with Karlock
Guest
steve is a troll that hangs with Karlock

Steve, you\’re may be ready to vote for more dead people so you can save $4.54 a month! I\’m not. Don\’t sign the petition. Don\’t let people like steve help the gas companies stop this huge investment in safety and bikes in Portland.

Randy
Guest
Randy

Thanks for the update Jonathan. We know the petrol is passe. Gasoline pollutes. It pollutes. We want clean air and healthy vibrant people so we promote quiet and zero pollution vehicles.

Peter W
Guest

#16:
>Elly — please help us figure out a way to communicate this issue with direct action….
>Until then… I\’m gonna have to start making my own slurpees

Maybe thats an idea! Get a bunch of people together with some bike powered blenders and provide free slurpees to people about to enter 7-11. While they are eating a free slurpy they can be informed about the issue and convinced to not buy from 7-11.

The most important reason to do that is that is that it would make a great news story, and bring awareness to a huge number of people.

Zaphod
Guest

This makes me livid on so many levels I don\’t know where to begin. Instead of describing the kind of person Romain might be I\’d rather direct my energies in a more positive way.

What is the most effective use of my time to fight and win this? First, I want to see this legislation passed. Second, I want this guy to get what he deserves.

Elly Fan Club
Guest
Elly Fan Club

Peter W —

I love this idea — 7-11 slurpee actions

when do we start…

I was also thinking of putting hot dogs on my spokes over a barbeque — kind of like the rottiserrie\’s with the couple week old dogs that are in most 7-11\’s

Anybody want to do something on Friday — the 7-11 at Sandy/82nd has a 7-11 and is one of the high crash intersections that would be addressed with funding from the Safe, Sound and Green Street proposal…

Metal Cowboy
Guest

I love the blender/slurpee by bikers in front of 7-11s idea. As a former newspaper reporter and editor I can say I would have jumpedd on this story. Who wants to help organize something like this – I can commit to amassing cyclists in front of my neighborhood 7-11 – which happens to be less than 100 yards from my doorstep. I kid with people that I could be gut shot and still crawl out for a gallon of milk – of course I won\’t shop there for a myriad of reasons, current issue being one of them. For the record, I have never been gut shot so I don\’t actually know if I could make the crawl, plus, would I really be interested in milk at a time like that?

pat h
Guest

Paul Romain, Attorney at Law

707 SW Washington, Ste 927, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: 503-226-8090 Fax: 503-227-0351
Email: promain@teleport.com

Danelle Romain

707 SW Washington, Ste 927, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: 503-226-8090 Fax: 503-227-0351
Email: dromain@teleport.com

President
Jim Jones, Jones Oil

PO Box 429, (650 15th SE) Salem, OR 97308
Phone: 503-399-9563 Fax: 503-588-0584
Email: jim@jonesoil.com

Vice President
Molly Brady, First Call Heating & Cooling

1650 NE Lombard, Portland, OR 97211
Phone: 503-231-3311 Fax: 503-286-5194
E-mail: mbrady@firstcallheat.com

Secretary-Treasurer
Karmen Bresko, Estacada Oil Company

PO Box 639, Estacada, OR 97023
Phone: : 503-630-4163 Fax: 503-630-2202
E-Mail: karmen@estacadaoil.com

PMAA Representative
Jim Jones, Jones Oil Co.

PO Box 429, Salem, OR 97308
Phone: 503-399-9563 Fax: 503-588-0584
E-mail: jim@jonesoil.com
Immediate Past President
Tom Freeman, WSCO Petroleum Corp.

2929 NW 29th, Portland, OR 97210
Phone: 503-243-2929 Fax: 503-243-7874
Email: tomf@wscocorp.com

Write the ass-hats and tell them what you link about their current activities in Portland.

This link is a p prefilled email with all of the addresses

Former 49er..
Guest
Former 49er..

Damn, I hate petrol and I strongly dislike people like Romain that crawl around our city. I\’ll be fighting this referral every step of the way.

I was considering replacing my old furnace recently with another gas furnace. However, actions like this give renewals like wood and solar the edge. Just another reason to erase petroleum from our lives.

Tony
Guest
Tony

So much of the focus on this proposal has been Romain versus Adams and all or nothing in terms of the funding package.

I think this is unfortunate because any requests to adjust some of the shortcomings in the package have been basically shut-out during all the political maneuvering on both sides.

I was the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN) representative on the stakeholder committee for this package. Like most of the organizations represented on the stakeholder committee, NECN is not opposed to the core thrust of the package: we need a local dependable revenue source to address our local transportation challenges.

However NECN has voiced concerns about some of the package details and formally requested some adjustments be made to the program to address some of the imbalances on both the expenditure and revenue assumptions. Here is what NECN requested and why:

1. Equitable Allocation of Funding by District: The Safe and Sound Streets package will result in hundreds of millions in tax revenues being collected from Portland residents and businesses through a local city tax. All funds raised by the City through the
local option city tax should be equitably allocated to the city\’s neighborhood districts based on share of city population.

2. Oversight Committee and Neighborhood Representation: Project, priorities, and funding levels may change during the life of this plan, as such ensuring this equitable allocation occurs should be the purview of the envisioned oversight committee and this allocation scheme should be a legislated requirement. The oversight committee should include representatives from each neighborhood coalition.

3. Small Business Discount and Credit, Low Income Business Discount:
The residential side of the tax proposal has a low-income discount component, and this makes sense to ensure that the tax does not negatively affect the working poor. A similar logic should be applied to the business side of the tax. Small businesses need time to grow. Many small businesses are owned and operated by local residents and many of these business owners only enjoy a modest return from their business. The impact of a tax that is hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year on these small businesses could be devastating.

In light of this, the following changes are suggested:

1) Tax Relief Period: The first five years of life of a small business are the most critical. To minimize the impact of this tax during this critical incubation period it is recommended that no tax be levied during the first two years of operation and that the tax be phased-in over the next three years.

2) Low Income Discount: Businesses that are owned by persons receiving a low-income discount for the residential street tax should not be levied a business tax. Ownership must be documented and equal to more than 50 percent of the business.

3) Credit for Residential Tax Payment: A business that is owned by a Portland resident paying the residential fee should be able to reduce their business tax by the amount paid at the residence.

I was unable to attend the council meeting today – unfortunately I don\’t have enough flexibility in my work schedule to attend daytime meetings. Does anyone you know if any of these requests were incorporated into the package that was adopted today?

Steven J.
Guest
Steven J.

What\’s actually surprising is y\’all didn\’t see Adams knew this could happen.

I\’ve lived in the heart of this city for the last 18 years, watching the council extol this sputum.
Safety doesn\’t drive this city.
Greed and the illusion of power does.

\”Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder\” – George Washington (1732-1799)

BURR
Guest
BURR

Judging by the low quality of most of the bike Infrastructure the city puts out on the street, I would have to agree that safety is often the last thing on the city\’s mind. the illusion of safety appears to be the actual goal.

Nelson Muntz
Guest
Nelson Muntz

What a complete scumbag this jerk lawyer, er…lobbyist is! Looking at the proposal, it appears that the vast majority of the money will directly benefit…wait for it…CARS!

Cars get better quality road surfaces, safer bridges, etc. and bikes also benefit. I can\’t believe this tool wants to hold the whole thing up because a few percentage points will benefit human powered transportation.

Well we can play rough too! Just show some images of the horrible Minneapolis bridge disaster and ask voters, \”What if this were the Sellwood or Ross Island at rush hour? Big oil and their covenience store buddies evidently think a few hundred deaths is worth the extra pennies profit made on gasoline, cigarettes, and beef jerky.\”

DaveA
Guest
DaveA

This doesn\’t surprise me in the least. Romain claimed that his group would support a .14 increase in gas tax to match Washington state\’s gas tax in the next state legislatures session. What do you want to bet that he\’ll be in Salem to oppose any increase when that topic is brought up?

Mike Perrault
Guest
Mike Perrault

@ Tony #26

I think you are right on target with your ideas. I\’m sorry this argument has become over politicized and has over shadowed your needs. Do you have any suggestions on how we could help implement the SSGS policies? Maybe then we could amend them to include your ideas?

joeb
Guest
joeb

IMO, I\’d rather get it done. Going to vote on this is fine, if somebody like Tony #26 can layout the facts for voters (including the facts about how much this will cost 7-11, New Seasons or Walmart). What I don\’t want to see is a big deceptive ad compaign backed by corporate money.

Kyrstin
Guest

I have two bike blenders and would be delighted to help with this! Lets talk 🙂

bikeblender (at) g mail (dot) com

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

So here\’s a question for you policy wonks out there.

Can we offer up a counter referral?

Can we get signatures to put an initiative on the ballot that will essentially do the opposite of what Romain is trying to do?

Could that force him back to the table?

Slick
Guest
Slick

Don\’t turn this into a case of not doing what\’s right because of the pursuit of perfection.

Tony in #26 is an example of this. He writes a long list, copied from some letter he sent some time ago. Did you catch the last sentence? \”Does anyone you know if any of these requests were incorporated into the package that was adopted today?\”

He\’s raising doubt about concerns he\’s not even sure exist. Instead of finding out the answer, he\’s raising public doubt. This is who you think can get past the oil companies?

Even if they\’re not in the proposal, isn\’t there something to be said that a decision has to be made at some point: does the funding help those most in need more, or does it help those who don\’t have as many needs as much as those who have more? That\’s the philosophical question Tony raises. Should Irvington and Concordia get as much help as East Portland?

Joeb, you think that Tony is going to have time to beat back the well-financed corporate attack machine of the gas companies, tobacco companies, and so on, when he doesn\’t have the time to know if his concerns are in the proposal? Get ready for a well-financed corporate ad campaign.

Don\’t let the perfect get in the way of the achievable. The oil companies are very happy about our pursuit of perfection.

dennis
Guest
dennis

I don\’t have a bike blender, but I\’d be happy to take a shift at the pedals!

It\’s my hope that the city\’s population will realize that EVERYONE Benefits from more bicyclists. Think about how much more fuel would cost if we drove everywhere. How much more traffic would there be, if we didn\’t brave the weather on our bikes.

steve
Guest
steve

Great job controlling the quality of dialogue on this thread Jonathan. I suppose civility only matters when certain people are being offended.

That being said, ya\’ll are a bunch of sheep.

Please go read the actual costs of this bill. This will cause virtually all businesses in town to raise the costs of goods/services.

Most of the 450 million dollars will be devoured by the mechanism to collect the money. The rest is earmarked for projects of questionable benefit and exorbitant cost.

I would sign off on hundreds of millions of dollars for bikes and alternative infrastructure any day.

That is not what this bill is. This bill is a power grab and an extortion to boot. This is going to do as much for our city as out new Tram and our covered watering holes on Tabor.

Hide and watch sheepies. Though tomorrow you will all be quibbling about helmets and bells. Keep your eyes on the shiny blinkiy lights people!

Most importantly, be sure to never think for yourself and always frame the discourse with regurgitated sound bites.

el timito
Guest
el timito

Wow, Steve, you sound like you need a hug.
\”Most of the 450 million dollars will be devoured by the mechanism to collect the money.\” How can you even write this with a straight face as if it were remotely true?
All I can say is Baa!

steve
Guest
steve

How anyone could argue againt letting the public vote is beyond me.

Slick
Guest
Slick

Maybe the next kid you run into who doesn\’t have health insurance because of the election these bozos from oil and tobacco just bought can explain it to you.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

#39: \”How anyone could argue againt (sic) letting the public vote is beyond me.\”

Uhmm, lets see, big oil will throw a lot of money at getting this defeated, (much like big tobacco threw money at Measure 50.) Most of what they say will be flat out lies, (if Romain is any guide as to how they act,) and so in order to get this passed, the supporters of this will have to spend even more money explaining that what big oil is saying is a lie…

joeb
Guest
joeb

I hear you Slick. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of Tony’s post. But with every group putting in their exceptions, it becomes long, complicated and unattainable. So we end up with a corporate ad campaign and an unreadable Ballot description in the Voter’s Pamphlet. To bad promotion can’t be honest, factual and simple enough to understand.

steve
Guest
steve

So you all know what is best for everyone else. The rest of Portland is too dumb to be trusted to vote.

Got it, thanks for clearing that one up.

Tony
Guest
Tony

Slick,

Thank you for your comments. You are correct that I don\’t have time to beat back any campaigns or attack machines. Nor is that on my to-do list.

We need a local, dependable funding option to address our local transportation needs. Neither I nor NECN dispute this simple fact. However I don\’t think it is unreasonable to expect that such a local program should be fair and balanced.

I respect and understand your \”perfection\” argument. However it seems like the majority of Portlanders recognize that we have a transportation problem and that we need to address it. I don\’t see how addressing the issues raised by NECN – whether now or later – would radically change this equation.

All the best,

Tony – from #26

Tony
Guest
Tony

Slick,

Thank you for your comments. You are correct that I don\’t have time to beat back any campaigns or attack machines. Nor is that on my to-do list.

We need a local, dependable funding option to address our local transportation needs. Neither I nor NECN dispute this simple fact. However I don\’t think it is unreasonable to expect that such a local program should be fair and balanced.

I respect and understand your \”perfection\” argument. However it seems like the majority of Portlanders recognize that we have a transportation problem and that we need to address it. I don\’t see how addressing the issues raised by NECN – whether now or later – would radically change this equation.

All the best,

Tony – from #26

Opus the Poet
Guest

Steve, I think the point was that big corporations like oil and convenience store companies will buy up all the media time and block out opposing views, or even the truth about what the fund is actually supposed to do. Having lots of bucks (that came from us in the first place) to campaign against us, is what most of this discussion is about on the anti-election side.

Have a nice day.:-)

Jean Reinhardt
Guest
Jean Reinhardt

Remember–anti-alt trans people like Mr. Romain want the private automobile to remain the major form of transportation in our country. This means they want our imports of oil to continue at the present high level. This in turn means that they are filthy, rotten Saudi-loving, America-hating traitors who can\’t turn enough of our currency over to some really bad folks. If you love your car, you can\’t really love our country.

Sandra
Guest
Sandra

I heard Romain bikes to work. Is that true?

Jim
Guest
Jim

To Steve #39

I don\’t think the public voting is quite that simple anymore. The \”votes\” now are dollar vouchers where whoever has the most ads and best spin doctors wins.

This is our system by and large with very, very few exceptions. If you haven\’t been close enough to an issue to see the will of the public perverted by modern dollar driven politics, I\’d suggest buckling up that helmet. It gets ugly and the people\’s choice is anything but \”free\”.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

Wouldn\’t the best solution be for the proposal to be withdrawn, split into 100 pieces, (with a different piece for each and every 7-11 and gas station,) and then resubmitted? Romain said that he wouldn\’t challenge that…