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Adams, Dozono trade views on Sauvie span at City Club debate

Posted by on April 21st, 2008 at 10:12 am

The City Club of Portland hosted a mayoral debate on Friday between the two leading candidates — City Commissioner Sam Adams and Portland business owner Sho Dozono.

Sho Dozono
(Photo © J. Maus)
Sam Adams interview-2.jpg

Sam Adams
(Photo © J. Maus)

Among the topics discussed (not surprisingly) was the plan to re-use the Sauvie Island Bridge span as a bike and pedestrian crossing over I-405 at NW Flanders street.

Dozono opposes the re-use plan and he used the debate to clarify his position.

The issue first came up as a question posed to Commissioner Adams by the debate’s moderator, KGW-TV news anchor Russ Lewis.

Lewis posed the question like this:

“As Transportation Commissioner you have championed a tax increase to pay for road maintenance as well as a costly proposal to move the Sauvie Island Bridge to the Pearl District. Is this an example of inspired leadership or lack of fiscal discipline? Can we really have our cake, and eat it too?”

Adams replied by disagreeing with the premise of the question and said, “I don’t think the facts agree with the question.” He went on to defend his spending decisions by saying that 81% of the discretionary one-time funding he has spent has gone to basic transportation maintenance and safety issues.

When Dozono was offered a rebuttal, he said he believes the project is not something that people in outer Southeast and Northeast want and that it’s a “mis-spent priority.”

You can listen to the full, two-minute exchange below (audio snipped from full recording available here):

The issue then came up during the part of the debate when the candidates could each other questions. Dozono used this opportunity to ask Adams about priorities.

Speaking of his background growing up in East Portland, Dozono said,

“How do you explain to these [East] Portlanders they should spend millions of taxpayer dollars to add a special bicycle bridge to cross I-405 to the Pearl District when so many streets and sidewalks throughout the city are unpaved and unsafe.”

Adams answered by saying he takes a balanced approach to Portland’s transportation needs and he told Dozono that the bulk of $11 million in recent transportation safety funds were spent in East Portland.

In response, Dozono referred to the bridge as a “special interest to cater to the people of Northwest Portland and the Pearl District,” that would be good for only a “handful of people.”

Listen to the entire exchange below:

The debate was part of the City Club’s ongoing Friday Forum series. You can hear the entire debate via an MP3 file available here.

This Friday, City Club host a debate between the two leading candidates for City Commissioner Seat #2 — Jim Middaugh and Nick Fish.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Jennifer April 21, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Just because I live in NE Portland doesn\’t mean I wont benefit from the Flanders bridge. Donozo\’s comment about the bridge catering to people in NW Portland assumes that no one ever leaves the quadrant they live in.

    I think it\’s a great idea.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 21, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I love listening to De-Bozo talk about \”fiscal responsibility\” after he loaned his own business money, as trustee, from a child\’s trust fund. What a hypocrite.

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  • Mmann April 21, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Mr. Dozono,

    I live in outer east Portland, in one of the neighborhoods where many streets lack sidewalks. And I think the Sauvie Island bridge location is a good idea. It\’s not just for a few – it\’s for the whole city. I would use it. And I will advocate for sidewalks in my neighborhood. Why do you (and our current mayor) insist on phrasing these decisions in terms of one or the other? It seems to be part of an attempt to paint Sam Adams as somehow elitist because he\’s forward thinking enough to see how this benefits all of Portland in terms of long-range transportation planning as well as the re-use example it sets. You seem to be implying that Commissioner Adams\’ \”insider\” role blinds him to the needs of the outskirts. Be careful that you don\’t let your eastside roots blind you to the needs of the rest of the city.

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  • joeb April 21, 2008 at 10:37 am

    I\’m pretty sure only a handful drive Glisan and Everett and that the cars cramming 23rd are local Pearl and NW traffic only. So yeah only a handful of would benefit from the Flanders bridge.

    Has this guy been to NW? I don\’t usually go because there are too many cars.

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  • Marion rice April 21, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Here Here!
    I live in North Portland and I am going to use that Flanders street bridge. Obviously Sho Dozono doesn\’t understand that you really can get around this city by bicycle, he\’s just not a bike commuter.
    I think we want someone who is making decisions based upon experience with a wide variety of mobility options.

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  • joeb April 21, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Being a pedestrian in NW is great and biking there is feasible. Driving there is not.

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  • stumptown April 21, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Yet another reason not to elect a travel agent for mayor.

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  • Brian J. April 21, 2008 at 10:55 am

    It appears that to build a NEW bridge for peds and bikes would cost less than re-using the old one.

    Re-using the old bridge sounds a bit fiscally irresponsible.

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  • encephalopath April 21, 2008 at 10:58 am

    The comments by city council candidates at The Mercury last week about the bridge were really very informative.

    A number of them recycled Potter\’s nonsense about spending the money somewhere else, which can\’t be done, as well as Potter\’s other 2nd and 3rd try diversionary explanations.

    It served as a short guide for who I will considering voting for for city council and mayor for that matter.

    Note that Dozono has gotten the message that the actual money being used to build either version of the bridge can\’t be used to do anything else. So he tries to smear Adams by insinuating that Adams doesn\’t care about other parts of the city becuase he supports moving the Sauvie bridge.

    Sleazy garbage…

    My impression is that Dozono is going to be nothing more than a Portland Business Alliance lackey. Why would we want another one of those as mayor? I\’m not sure how being endorsed by Potter is supposed to be a plus either.

    Potter is acting like a child at the end of his term. The only thing he is doing as mayor right now is trying to poke his finger in Sam Adams\’eye. I just wish we could get rid of him sooner.

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  • Axe April 21, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Does Dozono have a campaign email we can write him at?

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  • girl on a bike April 21, 2008 at 11:21 am

    I listened to that entire debate, and Donozo came off consistently as being under-informed and pretty negative. And it\’s ridiculous for anyone to claim that such a bridge would only be used by citizens of one area (which also happens to be the most densely populated area in the city–even more reason to open up the transportation options there). I have good friends who are comfortable riding bikes in their residential neighborhoods, but I\’ve had a hard time convincing them it would be easy for us to ride our bikes downtown together, and especially to destinations West of 405. The proposed bridge would make riding between downtown and NW so much friendlier … it can be hairy even for an experienced rider to cross at Glisan, where you have to compete for the attention of cars exiting and entering the freeway, traveling really really fast.

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  • tonyt April 21, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I listened to that debate.

    Dozono is simply an empty vessel into which the Portland business (and I\’m talking BIG businesses here) interests can pour their notions.

    Dozono barely said anything substantive. And what little he did say was really nothing short of platitudes or strawmen.

    Suggesting that Adams wanted to put a streetcar on every corner etc.


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  • Bad Fetch April 21, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I too, am a NE Portlander, but I work off NW 21st. I use the addressed stretch of road twice-a-day, every day, and would definitely benefit and use the bridge in my daily commute by bike. I would say a majority of those daily commuting by bike ride outside their own quadrant of the city. It seems a bit short-sighted to think otherwise.

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  • wsbob April 21, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Brian, #8, in actuality, it\’s not at all clear that building a new bridge would cost less than re-using the already built Sauvie span,particularly one of equivalent width to the Sauvie. Unless you or someone else have noticed them, I have not seen or heard it reported that bids for such a bridge have been invited or received. On the other hand, cost for re-use of the Sauvie, though not guaranteed at this point, have been reported, and seem far more certain than that for a new bridge, since the Sauvie is already built.

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  • Ian Stude April 21, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Jonathan – Thanks for posting this. I really enjoyed catching this on the radio and found it very illuminating about our two front-running mayoral candidates. Sho\’s comments were very clearly constructed to paint Adam\’s as an over-spending liberal candidate that caters to the elitists who live on the west side. I have only one word to describe Mr. Dozono\’s rhetoric – slimy.

    For Brian J. – Do your homework. The Sauvie Bridge Span project IS fiscally responsible. Yes, it involves spending more money – but for that extra money, an exponentially better bridge is created, one that could NEVER be purchased for that price in the future. Plus, the \’other\’ plan for a much narrower concrete bridge would be a minimum 3-5 year wait and guess what happens when we wait – the price goes up! Can this city afford to wait 3-5 years to get NW residents onto their bikes? We\’re talking about the most densely populated neighborhoods in Portland! And they rank as some of lowest for bike ridership. Why? Because it just isn\’t safe enough yet. The constituents have spoken. The neighborhood associations have spoken. Area business owners have spoken. We need this bridge and we need it now. Period.

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  • wsbob April 21, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Dozono use of the phrase, \’catering to special interests\’ is reckless and inaccurate in describing the planned I-405 pedestrian/bike bridge and possible re-use of the Sauvie Island span for that purpose.

    Bridges are \’city building\’ infrastructure. This one links two key neighborhoods of Portland in a way that will enable less dependence upon motor vehicles for travel between them and help to reduce the volume of motor vehicles on Portland streets. This will cumulatively help to build a better city for all residents of Portland.

    I\’m glad that Dozono is listening to NE and SE Portland residents, but he should not be misleading them to think that any of their money being spent on this project will not be beneficial to one neighborhood at the exclusion of all others.

    Axe, #10, I\’m sure Dozono would welcome all civil, intelligently expressed comments and criticism about his viewpoints at the following email.

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  • Klixi April 21, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Dozono doesn\’t even have a chance against Adams. I mean it\’s great we\’re \”having a discussion\”, etc.. but I\’m not too worried about what Dozono says. There\’s no way Sam Adams won\’t win.

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  • wsbob April 21, 2008 at 11:57 am


    \”….money being spent on this project will not be beneficial…\” should be: \”money being spent on this project will be beneficial…\”

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  • kg April 21, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    So, let me get this straight. Putting a sidewalk on a side street in East Portland to serve the small number of people who would use it is fiscally responsible while installing the bridge which is likely to see constant and heavy traffic in one of the most congested parts of town is irresponsible. OK.

    BTW – Does anyone know how much it costs to put in a block of sidewalk? It would be interesting to see I work up of what exactly could be acheived on the East side with the small portion of these funds that could acutally be spent there.

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  • Aaron April 21, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Unfortunately Dozono DOES have a chance since he\’s now running about equal with Sam. I highly encourage everyone to write newspapers and bring up REAL issues about Dozono (like comment #2).
    I wrote Dozono and told him I support the bridge and not him.
    Put out Sam lawn signs too.

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  • Spencer April 21, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    When thinking about the merits and trade off\’s with moving the Sauvies Island bridge, I compared the cost to some other local bike projects (past and future).

    East side pathway between Hawthorne and steel Bridge $20 million.

    Three Bridges on the Springwater Corridor $4.7 million including the 275 foot McLoughlin span.

    Columbia Slough Trail from N. Denver to Marine Drive $1.8 million

    Closing the gap on the Spring water Trail $2 million.

    Now compare the Flanders st. bridge priced at $5 million to these projects. Remember that there is a bridge a block to the north and south.

    My first question, is why can\’t we do a steel structure like the McLoughlin Bridge for a fraction of the cost. You can still paint it green.

    Two. Why is this particular crossing so important when there are so many more important bike arterials (springwater, Columbia slough, North Portland Greenway) that are on the waiting list?

    The Sauvie\’s island bridge is a neat idea, but in practicality is a poor investment in the amount of traffic and number of people it would serve compared to other projects. I think this bridge is just another iconic moment for the politicians, developer and property owners of North West.

    Finally, while thinking about this I am imagining a bronze sculpture of Sam sitting at the end of the new Sauvies bridge to Mirror Vera\’s over at the Esplanade. I like Sam and would vote for him based on his merits, but this project is clearly a gambit at political recognition and a stepping stone to the governor’s office. When all is said and done, we\’ll have the Sauvies island bridge but less dedicated infrastructure to serve all of Portland. This really disappoints me.

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  • icarus Falling April 21, 2008 at 1:04 pm


    I do not see either of these men as viable candidates for Mayor. In fact, I do not see a viable candidate for mayor running, period.

    Portland is screwed politically. Maybe slightly less screwed if Sam is mayor, but I even question that. Flashback to the Vera years. Then even closer to the Potter years. Runs shivers down my spine!

    I understand how easy it is for many people to just jump on the bandwagon, and vote for the person who says what you want to hear. They mention bicycles, knowing the weight that the community has now. People are fawning all over certain candidates, and glossing over the real facts, and past performances, of them.
    I fell for that, when Tom Potter spoke out so loudly for skate parks and skateboarders. I voted for him, as I saw him as the lesser of evils, and mainly due to one single stance he held. We all know how that has ended up. I for one will not be hoodwinked again.

    I think I will just go up to the Goose Hollow, have a couple of good dark beers, and thank Bud again for the time we had with him.

    And by the way:
    Sidewalks are needed. For children, for the handicapped, for the elderly, for families, and for other vulnerable road users,and, by the way, for the timid cyclists that will not ride on the streets, especially in areas like the outer east side.(Where it is legal to ride on sidewalks)

    If there is money set aside for sidewalks, it is our responsibility to spend it on SIDEWALKS!

    While I support this bridge effort, the thought that putting it in place is more important than having more sidewalks is idiocy at best.

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  • Mmann April 21, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Another important point (and reason EVERY vote counts); it\’s not just whether Sam wins, but by how much. IF he gets more than 50% in May, he doesn\’t have to run again in November, which means less money/time/energy spent on another election, and more likelihood he can get the ball rolling earlier. Please don\’t let complacency lull you into thinking it\’s a lock. Ballots coming soon. Vote.

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  • Austin Ramsland April 21, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Aaron: Are you serious? They are running neck and neck?

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  • Jeff April 21, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Someone please correct me if I\’m wrong but sidewalk repairs are the property owner\’s responsibility in the City of Portland, not the city\’s… Is that not true for everyone?

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  • icarus Falling April 21, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Repairs can be charged to the property owner, but the problem is there are places with NO sidewalks, where monies have been allocated to put in sidewalks.

    This is what I was referring to. And this is the funding in question.

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  • Stripes April 21, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Re: Klixi #17

    I wouldn\’t be so sure that Sho won\’t win, alas. I have seen an awful lot of Sho lawn signs about in many different neighborhoods. Not trying to be pessemistic – but must point that out.

    Which begs the question – how do we get hold of our Sam Adams for Mayor lawn signs?!

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  • Tony Fuentes April 21, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I hate to be Mr. Defensive on this BUT…

    IF kg #19 is referring to the Cully Boulevard improvements in the Mayor\’s budget when he/she refers to \”eastside sidewalks\” please consider the following:

    1) This project is supported by CNN, NECN, Cully, Concordia, and…wait for it…PDOT and Commissioner Adams

    2) The $1.6 million being requested is to fill a funding gap for the project. The Cully Blvd project development and design phase has begun and the majority if funding is already in hand.

    3) Cully Blvd Improvement Project will rebuild NE Cully Blvd between NE Prescott Street and NE Killingsworth Street.

    Among the many project components in addition to the sidewalks are new traffic signals and intersection improvements, permeable pavement and median swales, planting strips with trees, modified curbs, and…wait for it again…bicycle lanes

    4) Who are the primary people who benefit from the Cully Blvd. project?

    The 14,000 people living in Cully who live in an area where 36 percent of the streets are substandard – lacking curbs, sidewalks, and sometime NO pavement. In fact, only 30 percent of the paved streets in Cully have sidewalks.

    The bottom-line is that the Cully project is a much needed improvement that local residents have spent YEARS advocating for.

    It does not BELONG to Potter or Sho or Sam or any politician. It is a critical safety improvement for a neglected and under-served part of the city.

    So with all due respect, PLEASE keep yer politics AWAY from this project…

    Thanks for listening.

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  • wsbob April 21, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    \”Now compare the Flanders st. bridge priced at $5 million to these projects. Remember that there is a bridge a block to the north and south.

    My first question, is why can\’t we do a steel structure like the McLoughlin Bridge for a fraction of the cost. You can still paint it green.

    Two. Why is this particular crossing so important when there are so many more important bike arterials (springwater, Columbia slough, North Portland Greenway) that are on the waiting list?\” Spencer

    Those bridges north and south of Flanders are not pedestrian/bike bridges. Unlike the McLoughlin bridge, they are bridges with minimal provision for pedestrian and cyclist travel.

    When has it become certain that a steel structure like the McLoughlin Bridge for the Flanders location, can be built for a fraction (how small a fraction would that be?) of the cost of re-using the Sauvie span? Only rough estimates have been established.

    \”Why is this particular crossing so important when there are so many more important bike arterials…\”spencer

    This crossing is important because unlike other locations, for this one, there is a ready-built bridge available for installation within only a limited time period. If not for that, this crossing wouldn\’t receive a new bridge for 5-6 years, if at all.

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  • tonyt April 21, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    icarus #22,

    Not to put too fine of a point on your choice of vocabulary, but at least one of the candidates will prove to be viable.

    Viable means fit to live, and in this context connotes survivability as a candidate for mayor.

    Given that the race is decently close, it is arguable that they are both viable.

    Maybe you remember Slav. Now there was a candidate who was not viable. And the proof is that he is no longer in the race.

    But yeah, they are both viable.

    But of the two, Adams is far more qualified. Dozono\’s answers were embarrassingly unspecific and oh so fuzzy enough that anyone out there who wanted to, could project their own needs upon him.

    If you thought Potter was bad . . .

    If you support Adams, you should get a sign out there. Visibility is a real asset for candidates.

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  • Spencer April 21, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    1. Why can\’t you just take away one of the car lanes and paint in a bike lane. If as many people use it as you project, would that not decrease the amount of vehicle traffic needing transit?

    2. I don\’t know the bridge cost fraction, but I do know that 3 modern bridges were built for less ($4.7 m) than the PROJECTED cost ($5.0 m) of rehabing and moving one old bridge that will continually need an increased amount of maintenance.

    Additionally, as for a symbol of sustainability I would encourage PDOT to look at a pre-fab laminated arch bridges. Not only are these structures beutiful, but they can be made of Oregon grown timber and can be installed in an incredibly short period of time. You commonly see them as pedestrian/bike overpasses in Norway and they are cool.

    Let us forget the industrial past and grow and great new bridges instead.

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  • wsbob April 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    \”1. Why can\’t you just take away one of the car lanes and paint in a bike lane. If as many people use it as you project, would that not decrease the amount of vehicle traffic needing transit?\” Spencer

    Would officials seriously consider taking away one of the car lanes on Everett or Glisan and dedicating it to exclusinve pedestrians and car use? That would be very interesting to know.

    Nobody really seems to know at this point what a new bridge will cost for Flanders, 5-6 years down the road, except that people generally consider that inflation and market prices for materials and labor will make it more costly than last years rough estimate of 4 million. Would a timber laminated bridge seriously be considered for use over I-405? They are beautiful. I\’d go for one of them.

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  • Spencer April 21, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Re #32

    In many parts of the city vehicle lanes have been encroached upon by bike lanes and max lines, so why Not?

    I have seen a number of single arch laminated wood bridges used as vehicle overpasses over highways in Scandinavia. The link I included in my last post was a truss design for a river crossing.

    The point I poorly tied to get across, is that we should be nurturing local, environmentally friendly business. We are a lumber state. Lets do some value adding, employ local workers and build these type of structures instead of importing steel and concrete which have a much high carbon footprint. Why do we want a symbol of Portland to be a 70 year old industrial-age bridge that is close to the end of it\’s life-cycle? Don\’t we have a tree on our license plate?

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  • foote April 21, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    There are a bunch of those laminated wood bridges around cedar hills. They really are beautiful.
    Check it out:,-122.79331&spn=0.013769,0.023174&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=45.52646,-122.79282&cbp=1,176.63207323623385,,0,-1.9975760115675174
    I\’d support one of them, as long as one would be built in a reasonable amount of time.
    I\’m really opposed to another failing st. ped bridge.

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  • jonno April 21, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I like that laminated bridge. It\’s a cool idea, but how wide is it? Can\’t really tell from the street view image, but it doesn\’t look very wide.

    One of the benefits of the Sauvie bridge is that it will be much wider than any other design in its price range — 30 feet vs. 15 or even 12 feet for most ped-only highway bridges. This means that it will be much less likely to become a choke point on a bike/ped route through Portland\’s two most densely populated neighborhoods.

    Ever used the Steel bridge lower walkway on a sunny weekend? It can be slow going indeed, and that\’s what we could expect with a narrow crossing at Flanders. On the existing Glisan sidewalk, I\’ve seen some impressive crowds especially on weekend nights. With the uptick in bike/ped traffic that a new crossing will bring, things could get crowded quickly.

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  • Matthew Denton April 21, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    #19 Sidewalks prices: Vary wildly…
    If there is a curb and gutter, but no sidewalk, (about 10% of the streets in north Portland are like this,) then figure ~$1k per house. If there isn\’t a curb and gutter, (like many of the streets in East Portland,) then what is happening right now is that the rain that hits the street is draining into people\’s front yards (and that is fine, it is actually a very cheap way to get rid of the runoff.) But if you put a sidewalk in, you are going to end up putting a gutter in and then the water from the street will need a place to go… And so you tear up the street to put a storm sewer line in, and you pay a bunch of money to BES to upgrade the rest of the system to take water from those drains all the way to the river, and then you repave the street, (many of those streets could use that anyways,) and put in the curbs and the gutters, (and the sidewalks.) You can put in dry wells and bioswales instead of connecting it to the storm sewer network, and that is often a bit cheaper, but only works well on non-clay soils, and East Portland is mostly clay, so most of they time it needs the storm sewer connection… And that is expensive, I\’ve heard estimates of $40k per house for East Portland neighborhoods. So, for the extra $1.5M for this bridge, (of which $500k is donated anyways,) you can put in about 40 houses worth of sidewalks in East Portland, or about 2 blocks, (implicit in that estimate is that you do both sides of the street, since the storm sewer line is so much of the cost.) SW Portland is worse than that: In addition to the clay and the no gutters, it is all on the sides of hills where there often isn\’t room to widen the road to put in a sidewalk without putting up retaining walls, (and railings on the downhill side.)

    To actually put in a lot of sidewalks in East Portland, I\’d recommend we consider canceling a bigger project: The $4.2B CRC would pay for 100,000 houses worth of sidewalks, (all of East Portland, with enough left over to do a lot of streets in SW too,) and would actually do something about global warming, (as opposed to making it worse.)

    #27 Lawn Signs: Go to the address listed in this post during reasonable hours, and ask for a sign.
    (I think there are other ways too, but that is how I got mine.)

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  • Jesse April 21, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    For a lawn sign, email with name & address.

    Head to here to sign up for the big push on May 3rd.

    Inevitability doesn\’t win elections. Votes do!

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  • Ian Stude April 21, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    In response to Spencer:

    While I think it\’s reasonable to compare the Sauvie Bridge project cost with other past and future project costs, the total dollar amount does not tell the whole story. For example, how wide (and what is the capacity) or the Springwater bridge? The Sauvie Bridge is 30ft wide! That\’s a lot more capacity than the 15 ft wide concrete bridge proposed for the same site (and low confidence estimated to cost 3.5 million).

    \”Now compare the Flanders st. bridge priced at $5 million to these projects. Remember that there is a bridge a block to the north and south.\”

    The problem with this reasoning is more hiding of the truth: the existing bridges at Glisan and Everett are DANGEROUS. They are part of the reason people do not bike or walk more in these neighborhoods. These are high auto traffic areas with inherently poor facilities for bikes and peds.

    \”Why is this particular crossing so important when there are so many more important bike arterials (springwater, Columbia slough, North Portland Greenway) that are on the waiting list?\”

    What is the basis for your judgement of how important this project is, compared to the others listed? More importantly, it is clear from the funding details that have been presented, that the Sauvie Bridge project would not be using funds that would take away from any of the projects you have listed. There is no need to turn this into a \”this vs that\” dialog. Besides, we have a wonderful mayor who would like to do that for us…

    \”The Sauvie\’s island bridge is a neat idea, but in practicality is a poor investment in the amount of traffic and number of people it would serve compared to other projects.\”

    Far beyond being a neat idea, this is a timely and cost efficient idea. NW and the Pearl neighborhoods are some of the most densely populated in the city. How can you possibly think that this project would serve fewer people than the Columbia Slough?

    \”I think this bridge is just another iconic moment for the politicians, developer and property owners of North West.\”

    Iconic, Yes. But not nearly as classist as you would paint it. This is the same stripe of rhetoric we are getting from Mr. Dozono — divisive and blatantly intended to paint this project as somehow politically motivated. This project is about creating a connection that vastly improves safety for all users, regardless of what neighborhood they reside in (or give preference to). I am a life long resident of the Portland area and have never lived on the west side. But I know that I, like many others, would find this particular facility extremely useful. See comment #11.

    \”When all is said and done, we\’ll have the Sauvies island bridge but less dedicated infrastructure to serve all of Portland. This really disappoints me.\”

    Turn that frown upside down, Spence. When the Sauvie bridge happens, your favored projects in the neighborhoods you happen to like will still have exactly the same chance of being funded.

    For icarus:
    \”While I support this bridge effort, the thought that putting it in place is more important than having more sidewalks is idiocy at best.\”

    I\’m glad to hear you support the bridge, but lets keep those silly thoughts about comparisons of sidewalks in one neighborhood and bridges in another off the table, okay? That\’s exactly how our ineffectual mayor wants us to think. The Sauvie Bridge project will do absolutely nothing to endanger the future of sidewalk installation in Northeast or Southeast Portland.

    One more for Spencer:
    \”Why do we want a symbol of Portland to be a 70 year old industrial-age bridge that is close to the end of it\’s life-cycle?\”

    This is more fiction in need of correction. The Sauvie bridge span is not at the end of its life cycle. It is being removed from Sauvie Island because of its inability to handle auto capacity and the decay of the concrete sections leading to the part of span slated for re-use. The steel span is great condition showing no cracks or damage at all. It only needs a repaint and then it\’s good to go for at least another 70+ years for happy bikers, peds, and the occasional emergency vehicle in a disaster situation. So why do we want it: Re-use of a 30ft wide steel bridge is a pretty (and I think very pretty) impressive statement about our city\’s values. It is sustainable construction for sustainable transportation.

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  • wsbob April 21, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Again Spencer, I would definitely favor the idea of a timber bridge for Flanders. I\’d even like a covered bridge ( In the city? I like crazy ideas…that one would never go). The thing is, (no thanks to the maneuvering going on in city council), though it\’s not exactly clear what the time factor for deciding on use of the Sauvie Span is, generally the implication is ASAP. Maybe with some pressure on city hall, we could know a little more specifically what the situation on that is.

    If the Sauvie span isn\’t used at Flanders, it seems important to use it somewhere else as a bridge rather than scrap it. Not as much as timber for sure, but Oregon has been a steel state too. The Sauvie isn\’t just some hastily knocked off bridge structure. It\’s a professionally admired, Parker Truss design, and can be an educational exercise in bridge engineering for many people, accessible to them in a ways that other crossings in Portland can\’t be because of motor vehicle traffic. For me having lived most of my life in Oregon, its arched steel truss construction is graceful.

    Maybe there is another crossing closer by that could use the Sauvie span for less money spent. I\’d go for that idea, but I\’m not keen on the idea of scrapping the Sauvie span when it\’s capable of being a perfectly serviceable, emblematic symbol of Portland in so many positive ways.

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  • Dan April 21, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    I love the idea of a mayor who will change the penalty for running red lights on a bicycle to the offender\’s choice of a $50 fine or a traffic safety course, but I\’m not sure that I\’m willing to decide the mayoral contest on that single issue. To whoever spoke about Dozono being in the pocket of the Portland Business Alliance…can you prove that?

    I don\’t think that either candidate would deny they have an interest in attracting and keeping businesses in Portland — not sure why you\’re making that a negative for Sho.

    I have a ton of respect for Adams, and obviously I like his vision for bikes in Portland. However, I also see him as a little egotistical and over-eager to make a lasting mark on Portland. (A statue of Mayor Adams next to the reclaimed/relocated Sauvie Bridge perhaps?) I feel that Dozono may be better suited to be a steward focused on the city\’s best interests.

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  • Spanky April 22, 2008 at 6:25 am

    I\’ve wondered about, but admittedly not researched how the bikes and peds crossing this bridge will be directed back onto sidewalks and into streets and bike lanes.

    It seems to me a hard look needs to be taken at integrating wide bike lanes onto the existing spans and perhaps widening the sid3ewalks, perhaps at the cost of a traffic lane.

    Given the choice, I\’d rather see the money spent on sidewalks and pavement for the many, many streets in the outer East side that have none.

    I don\’t live out there, but I have had occasion to drive some of those streets and to walk them, and I would not want my kids walking them. Puddles a foot deep and wider and longer than a car do exist. When I had to go out to one area with unpaved streets regularly during the winter a few years back I intentionally drove a vehicle with high ground clearance because my regular car tended to bottom out going in and out of a few of the puddles.

    It felt more like Appalachia than it did Portland.

    I think most average citizens view paved streets and sidewalks along them as a necessity, and this bridge proposal as a luxury that will not serve most citizens.

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  • blurt April 22, 2008 at 10:14 am

    very good question on traffic control.

    Will there have to be lights installed at each end of the bridge to control the access over 15th and 16th streets?

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  • kg April 22, 2008 at 10:25 am

    First in my earlier post I was simply wondering what the 1.5 million or so that could be used for sidewalks else where in the city would purchase. It sounds like roughly two blocks. I don\’t understand why we are debating this project OR sidewalks that is letting someone else frame the debate. I like the idea of scrapping CRC and building sidewalks all over the place. Or how about scaling back the Delta Park I-5 expansion if we are going to get into either or scenarios.

    But just to be clear it sounds like many people here believe that two blocks (pick any two) in East Portland will serve more people than this bridge in THE most populated and congested part of the city. Is that your final answer? Explain that for me.

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  • rocko April 22, 2008 at 11:05 am

    If Everett and Glisan are so dangerous why not rework the intersections here? Would a box help here? I guess I just don\’t see it as that bad where a 30ft wide bike bridge is needed. I commute that way a few times a week and find the area just west of the trolley tracks to be the problem spots with no bike lane and cars shooting out. I certainly don\’t think a Flanders bridge will do much if anything to increase ridership among NW residents nor do I buy the argument that it\’s the one thing keeping eastside folks from riding to the westside.

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  • woogie April 22, 2008 at 11:16 am

    This is proposed as a way to get people from the east side to ride to the west side? I thought the river was the dividing line between east and west?

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  • steve April 22, 2008 at 11:32 am

    The solution has always been obvious and simple.

    Flying bicycles.

    Solar powered, of course. The only real issue is how to pad and cushion the entire city. I think dispensing some sort of spray foam from aircraft mounted canons is the way to go.

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  • foote April 22, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    I\’m pretty sure we\’re getting at least one bike box in the area – on Everett at 16th. There\’s been one of those \”Portland\’s newest greenspace\” signs there for a while now.
    I never come back on Glisan, so I\’m not sure what\’ll happen at that intersection.

    Steve, I\’m pretty sure a solar powered flying vehicle would cease to be a bicycle. Shouldn\’t it at least be pedal powered?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 22, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    \”I’m pretty sure we’re getting at least one bike box in the area – on Everett at 16th

    It\’s already there … was installed last week.

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  • heather andrews April 22, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Another outer southeaster for the Flanders overpass.

    I work in the area and sometimes need to go do errands on the other side of I-405. Crossing at Burnside, Couch, or Glisan as a pedestrian or bicyclist is a harrowing experience.

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  • John Peterson April 22, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    There is no need for a 5 million dollar bridge there. There is very little need for any kind of bridge there at all given the existence of two perfectly good bridges to the north and south. Why not expand the bike lanes on the already existing bridges?
    I think the money would be better spent in areas where it\’s really needed.

    I think we as bicyclists would do well to not get caught up in the promotion of dubious boondoggles like this, or aerial trams, or crazy couplet schemes that largely benefit developers at the taxpayers expense.

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  • Icarus Falling April 22, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I have to agree with alot of what John Peterson is saying above.

    While I have stated that I ike this project, my support for this project has been slowly waning away, as it appears ot be more about political manuevering than praticality.

    It is really starting to become very apparent to me that the bicyling community is currently being used as a pawn in more than one political contest.

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  • Icarus Falling April 22, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Please excuse my typing, as I have a broken hand right now…..

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  • Brad Ross April 23, 2008 at 8:41 am

    I want to thank John Peterson for mirroring what I\’ve been saying on this blog for several weeks now. A controversial project like the Flanders Bridge could create a big negative blowback toward the cycling community.

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  • kg April 23, 2008 at 9:28 am

    The same could have easily been said about any number of cycling related projects that now benefit this community. Let\’s not ruffle any feathers by pushing for bike lanes on Broadway, ect.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 23, 2008 at 9:38 am

    \”A controversial project like the Flanders Bridge could create a big negative blowback toward the cycling community.\”

    I see this sort of thinking as one of the major impediments to moving bikes forward in America.

    We have, at least in Portland, grabbed all the low-hanging fruit already… now it\’s time to not be afraid to be bold and really go for projects that make sense and that promote safe, human-powered, sustainable transportation over motor vehicle dominance.

    this bridge project is symbolic. i believe its a good project that makes sense for our city… and I also believe that it gets to the heart of how American culture — even in Portland — is still dominated by a car-centric mindset.

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  • wsbob April 23, 2008 at 9:58 am

    \”Why not expand the bike lanes on the already existing bridges?\” John Peterson

    John, are you giving sufficient thought to why provision for pedestrian and bicyclist travel on the Everett and Glisan bridges is not greater than it currently is, and would likely not be expanded further?

    The crossing capacity of those bridges is needed for motor vehicles. That\’s a major reason why the provision for provision for pedestrian and bike crossings for those bridges was secondary in their design.

    If Dozono were really on the ball, he would sit down with someone that could help provide the public with figures more accurately representing the cost comparisons of the two bridge options. It\’s very easy to scare the public with dollar amounts, and that\’s the only thing he has done so far for Portland in this mayoral race.

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  • Brad Ross April 23, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I hope I didn\’t imply that I\’m afraid to ruffle feathers. Anyone who knows me including the editor of this blog knows that I\’ve made a profession of it. I\’ll personally pluck the whole bird if it\’s for a good purpose that has been well thought out.

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  • John Peterson April 23, 2008 at 11:17 am

    \”this bridge project is symbolic\” That\’s the problem—spending over 5 million dollars on a symbol–why not spend less on the symbol? or spend the money on a bike project that\’s really needed. Like what you ask? hmm… well I guess safety/rights education for drivers and bikers, bike lanes, bike boxes, covered bike parking, bike facilities in outer SE NE, I don\’t know….

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  • steve April 23, 2008 at 11:26 am


    The photo ops for the projects you mention are not nearly as good for Sam.

    Simple as that.

    That does not negate the need or the coolness of a new bridge. It just explains why this is a priority. Politics.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 23, 2008 at 11:27 am

    John, another problem is the limits of electronic communication.

    to clarify my comment above, I was saying the bridge is symbolic, not in the physical/landmark sense, but in the mental sense.

    it is symbolic of the types of projects/decisions/issues the bike movement in Portland will face with increasing regularity in the coming months and years.

    people who care about bikes in Portland must not be afraid to support solid projects like this (I still am not convinced that this is a \”boondoogle\” or otherwise risky project).

    the Sauvie span is symbolic in the sense that it has manifested a very important citywide dialogue about how human-power can/should fit into our transportation funding decisions.

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  • wsbob April 23, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    To the extent that use of the Sauvie Island span at Flanders is \’symbolic\’, it is incidentally so. The need for a pedestrian/bike crossing at Flanders was recognized and prepared for prior to the time when use of the Sauvie Island span at Flanders ever occurred to anyone.

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  • East Portlander April 23, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I live in a neighborhood in east Portland without many sidewalks and I fully support improving the bike environment in every part of the city, especially parts with the most opportunity for increased biking. So Sho is wrong on the one issue he\’s actually taken a stance on. I\’m very doubtful he\’ll make any good decisions if he can\’t even get this basic one right.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 24, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    One thing you can be sure of: None of the gains in infrastructure or engineering throughout the City core game for free, but with countless hours of hard work from grassroots activists.

    If people spent more time advocating for changes they wanted to see in their own neighborhood INSTEAD OF TEARING DOWN THE IDEAS OF OTHERS for how to improve the City, they might not be so whiny about the lack of proper transportation infrastructure in their own hood.

    Just sayin.

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  • John Peterson April 24, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Okay, I\’m almost on board with this bridge thing—I mean in the grand scheme of wasted money this ranks pretty low– in comparison to the tram/SoWa and light rail (what\’s wrong with busses?)—and it is fixing a problem that should have been addressed when the 405 was torn through. And it will be quite a sight….
    I just hope we can get this much money for other bike projects later, and not get lumped in with the same folks who brought us SoWa.
    One of the great things about biking is that it is much less expensive than other forms of transportation in terms of infrastructure and environmental costs. Let\’s keep it that way. If we bicyclists get labeled as another money grabbing special interest or as part of a larger cabal of \”developers\” then it\’s trouble.

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  • wsbob April 24, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    John, glad to hear you\’re coming to recognize some things that may make the potential use of the Sauvie span at Flanders a benefit to people in Portland. With many projects, there\’s lots of details to consider, and sometimes it\’s only after people have worked to study them that a project begins to make sense. The other projects you mentioned, are also examples of highly detailed projects that don\’t always make sense on the surface, but do when some of the details have been considered.

    How can the tram be \’wasted money\’, when it is the tram that has been largely instrumental in enabling OHSU to feel they no longer need to plan moving away from the hill and possibly Portland? Sure, there were some embarrassing issues associated with the manner that its budget was monitored, but the tram was hardly a waste of money.

    Saying simply that light rail is a waste of money, blithely ignores the reality presented by an increasingly dense population extended over the tri-county area. Buses are feasible for some, but not all of the transportation needs of the tri-county area.

    \’special interest\’ seems to be one of the more popular attack phrases these days. In a way that seems to linger from the days of McCarthy-ism, a critic only has to use that phrase, and good or bad, the special interest group in question is automatically viewed with suspicion by certain kinds of people. Good old Joe.

    Try to inform some people about the specifics of how their money is being spent for the benefit of everyone; where ideas first originated; the range of groups supporting projects, and still, they\’re inclined to revert to a simple dismissal, apparently without even studying any details of a project, upon hearing that phrase.

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  • K Westwind April 30, 2008 at 9:15 am

    I am SO tired of this misguided notion that the only people who care about or support the Sauvie Island Bridge plan are those who live within walking distance of the bridge itself.
    My car-free family live way over on the other side of the Willamette, out past N.E 82nd, and yet still we are lured over to the Island for all it\’s many charms and amenities. Doing so currently requires dealing with infrequent and inconvenient bus connections, that become even worse on the weekends. Were we able to bike into NW and zip over a bridge at Flanders we could make the trip more frequently, improving our enjoyment of the Island, and doubtless improving the local economy as well. The simple fact is that you don\’t have to live in N.W. to care about Sauvie Island

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