Gravel - Cycle Oregon

Today at City Council: Bikes set for major boost in Parks SDC funding

Posted by on March 5th, 2008 at 8:14 am

Switching gears for a moment from my 2008 National Bike Summit coverage

Portland City Council will hear public testimony and vote today on a proposal that would leverage System Development Charges (SDCs) over the next 12 years. SDCs are one-time fees assessed on new development to cover a portion of the cost for providing specific types of public infrastructure required as a result of the development.

Of particular note to bike lovers is that since the inception of the Parks SDCs revision effort, the funds dedicated to trails has increased from about 2% to 7.6%. This increase was made in no small part due to effective lobbying and testimony given to City Council by Scott Bricker from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in a public hearing back in December.

Trails advocate Jim Labbe is excited for the new funding; “Parks projects that SDC funds alone will allow the acquisition and development of 12 to 15 miles of new trail (depending on trail width). And this doesn’t include the other trail funding these dollars will leverage.”

The list of bike-related projects that are slated to benefit from these funds include the creation of bike boulevards and bike improvements on NE Marine Drive and SE Foster Road.

Insiders say Council is expected to pass the proposal, but public testimony on its behalf is strongly encouraged.

    City Council meeting to vote on Parks SDCs
    Wednesday, March 5th at 2:00pm
    Council Chambers: 1221 SW 4th Ave.
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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

  • Vance March 5, 2008 at 9:58 am

    SDCs are a benefit to everyone in the community, not just cyclists. This fee is often used to fund parking impact studies, water quality improvements, flood and mud-slide control. The list goes on. But also know that this is not a pervasive practice, and just like any other excise tax, SDCs terrify developers, especially from out-of-state. SDCs have a definite impact on the long-term stability of the Oregon economy.

    My point is that money spent on cycling infrastructure is money that will not be spent on anything else. SDCs, like every other type of funding, are finite. There\’s only so much to go around. I guess what I\’m saying is that I hope now that Bricker and the BTA have bullied money out of this purse, they are thrifty; and not interfering with funding for public infrastructure that services a broader demographic.

    Scott Bricker, man I hate that guy. ***this sentence has been deleted because it is was an inappropriate personal attack (come on Lance).***

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  • GLV March 5, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Why was my comment deleted?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 5, 2008 at 10:45 am

    \”Why was my comment deleted?

    Not sure where it is… please try again.

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  • BURR March 5, 2008 at 10:52 am

    SDCs fund all infrastructure for new development, including water, sewer, roads, etc.

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  • Scott the other one... March 5, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Wow Vance… didn\’t you hear that \”hate is not a family value?\”

    I was really enjoying trying to learn from your post until you stoooped to frivelous name calling and an attempt to besmirch Mr. Bricker\’s reputation. Jonathan came from California too. Are you suggesting he go home as well? come on. Let\’s grow up a little here.

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  • Matt Picio March 5, 2008 at 10:56 am


    Scott Bricker is successful – he actually *does* things, rather than just talking about it. The BTA has gotten a lot of things done under his leadership, and he influenced a fair amount of legislation when he was acting as their lobbyist in Salem for 5 years.

    Not that I expect this will in any way change your opinion, but if you\’re going to attack someone in a public forum, how about doing it based on facts and something even remotely related to their actions.

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  • kasandra March 5, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Thanks for posting this, Jonathan.

    The goal of System Development Charges (SDCs)is to determine the actual impact of population growth on the community, and to charge development for that impact, so that things don\’t get worse for all of us as the population increases.

    In Parks, that\’s particularly easy to see: If we don\’t buy & develop more parks, existing parks will get too crowded. Trails are included in this proposal because they are a key element of the Parks system.

    SDCs are assessed and spent independently by four bureaus in Portland: Water, Transportation, Parks, and BES (sewer & stormwater.) So this Parks SDC is fundamentally unrelated to the Transportation SDC that passed a few months ago, and their list of projects is not our list of projects.

    For a visual of our SDC trails spending plan, go to the last map in this document:

    As a final note… the fees to developers will increase substantially if this proposal passes, but we (Parks) will still only be charging 75% of the cost of keeping up with growth, whereas the other SDC-charging bureaus all charge 100% of their costs. And Portland\’s cumulative SDC fees, if this passes, will still be in the mid-range for Metro-area cities — Gresham, Beaverton, Happy Valley, Sherwood, Wilsonville, and West Linn all charge more than Portland.
    Yours in service,

    Kasandra Griffin
    Portland Parks
    SDC Program

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  • GLV March 5, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I had asked how this will affect the street tax, since many of the projects are the same. Can the amount be reduced? Will Terry Parker lose his primary argument against it?

    Re Vance: traffic must be down on his website, so he comes here to ruffle some feathers. Don\’t give him the satisfaction.

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  • Jim Labbe March 5, 2008 at 11:39 am


    I think your personal attack on Bricker is totally out-of-line and only detracts from the good work in making Oregon future better and more bikable. Scott and the BTA have unquestionably done a tremendous amount to that end.

    I need hardly state the obvious it but it doesn\’t matter squat when anyone got here or where they came from. What does matter is what one does to make Oregon a better place and Scott and the BTA\’s commitment and accomplishments are unassailable in that regard.

    Your personal attacks however are simply embarrassing.

    Portland \”native\”

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  • rixtir March 5, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Wow Vance… didn\’t you hear that \”hate is not a family value?\”

    I was really enjoying trying to learn from your post until you stoooped to frivelous name calling and an attempt to besmirch Mr. Bricker\’s reputation. Jonathan came from California too. Are you suggesting he go home as well? come on. Let\’s grow up a little here.

    It\’s fairly obvious, from Vance\’s own words, that he wishes everybody would go home so he can have the city all to himself, as he apparently believes he once did.

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  • Scott the other one... March 5, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    true rixter… alright… now that I think Vance has been appropriately chastised, lets get back to what we really want to speak about here.

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  • Jessica Roberts March 5, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Personal attacks are not appropriate on this website. Please stick to commenting on the actual news story and leave your petty personality issues at home.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 5, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    just FYI, I\’ve edited Vance\’s comment.

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  • Vance March 5, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Ya. Cut my post up. Truth hurts, huh? Bricker hasn\’t done anything but preen, apply make-up, and push enough paper to get his name plastered all over this thing that I do too.

    Now you all go put your helmets on, finish your soy cocoa, and be sure to stay in the lines. What, people here are all a bunch of children, and can\’t filter a comment themselves?

    I\’m disappointed Maus. Frankly I expected more. At least words only come out of one side of my face.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 5, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    \”I\’m disappointed Maus. Frankly I expected more.\”

    Sorry to disappoint Vance… I just felt like that was unnecessary. I have nothing against insults as long as they\’re done subtly and intelligently and they\’re based on someones position on issues.

    I hope you continue to comment.


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  • a.O March 5, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Vance has blog envy.

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  • 49er.. March 5, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Whatever point Vance attempted to make, it was lost in his inability to articulate or simply was a lack of logic/reason. I\’d guess the latter.

    Vance.. think before you hit \”submit\”.

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  • Antonio Gramsci March 5, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    There\’s a lot to be pissed off about. Everyone has their share of things. That, however, does not give any of us an excuse to engage in self-indulgent temper tantrums at the expense of others. Vance unfortunately has a problem with this (I do too, sometimes, so I think I understand what\’s up here, but I try to keep it in check).

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  • 49er.. March 5, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    As for SDCs, if we must have them at all, I think bike projects are an excellent use of them. I\’m considering adding a few units to my property and wholeheartedly support the use of the fees I would pay for trail improvements. I sincerely hope the fees discourage national developers from coming into town and applying their ridiculous, monotonous development formulas to our unique and beautiful city.

    I think the most appropriate way to pay for parks, streets, bike infrastructure and the like is with property taxes, but that\’s a difficult barrier to bridge for most voters.. so I accept SDCs as a short-term (and slightly inequitable) fix.

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  • wyatt March 27, 2008 at 9:17 am

    vance, you\’ve gone too far:

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