BikePortland

Memorial sign bill fails; Senator Metsger responds


“The cascading effect of others with equally well intentioned objectives to use the right of way for their expressions is something that we must be mindful of.”
–Oregon state Senator Rick Metsger

For the second time in a row, the roadside memorial sign bill (HB 3623) has failed reach passage by the Oregon legislature.

After it passed the House, the BTA worked hard in recent days to move it through the Senate Transportation Committee where it had stalled due to a lack of support by committee Chair Senator Rick Metsger (D – Mt. Hood).

In a comment left on BikePortland.org a few minutes ago, Senator Metsger explained why he did not move the bill forward (emphasis mine),

“I am not moving this bill, as heartfelt and well-intentioned as it is…As Chairman of The Senate Transportation Committee it is my responsibility to protect the public right of way for its intended purpose as much as possible. That includes minimizing its use for private expressions regardless of the content. The cascading effect of others with equally well intentioned objectives to use the right of way for their expressions is something that we must be mindful of.”

Senator Rick Metsger said he
wanted to protect the public
right of way from excessive
amounts of “private expressions.”
(Photo © J. Maus)

Metsger went on to explain that he supported the Share the Road license plate last session because, “it not only contained an important outreach message but also the mechanism to raise funds for real bike safety outreach.”

Metsger, who’s currently running for Secretary of State, says he believes the way to increase safety and awaress for bikes and pedestrians is “through environmental design,” and he urged the cycling community to help craft Oregon’s 2009 transportation package, calling it “the most important venue for making a real impact.”

On that note, the BTA’s Government Relations Director Karl Rohde is asking for your ideas in creating their 2009 legislative package.

(Read Metsger’s full comment here.)

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