Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 18th, 2008 at 1:13 pm
Last night, a group of Northwest Portland neighborhood leaders, grassroots activists and bike advocates met on NW Flanders Blvd. for a rally to demonstrate support for re-using the Sauvie Island Bridge span over I-405.
Also joining the crowd of about 100 were city council candidates Jim Middaugh, Jeff Bissonnette, and Chris Smith along with mayoral candidate Jim Lee.
The rally was covered live by local NBC-TV affiliate station KGW and the Portland Mercury’s Amy Ruiz was also in attendance.
After a brief rally and words from organizer Elly Blue and others, the group separated into two walking tours and a bike ride. The tours and ride looped around NW 15th, Everett, Glisan, and 16th and then met back at 15th and Flanders.
With a clear sense of how inadequate the current conditions are for safe and comfortable bike and pedestrian traffic, the BTA’s Karl Rohde whipped the crowd into cheers by saying, “the Mayor is just flat-out wrong” in regards to his public statements about the funding being better spent in other places.
Rohde re-iterated the points he wrote about on the BTA blog a few weeks ago. He said that while he agrees East Portland needs more sidewalks he feels that, “We need that and not that or this.”
Rohde also implored rally attendees to not allow anyone to use this issue as a “political punching bag.”
When someone mentioned that the Sauvie span might be installed and in use by December of this year, another person chimed in with, “We’ll be dancing on the bridge for New Year’s Eve!”.
With Commissioner Saltzman’s recent statement of support for the re-use plan — which was released during the rally — that dance party might just happen after all.
For more images from the event — including what Ned Flanders himself thinks of the bridge — see my Sauvie Island Span Rally photo gallery.