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Dozono on KGW: “Portland ought to be equal” to Amsterdam

Posted by on April 25th, 2008 at 8:26 am

“I’m a very pro-bicycle candidate.”
–Mayoral candidate Sho Dozono during a televised debate

Mayoral hopefuls Sam Adams and Sho Dozono debated on prime-time local network television on Monday. Part of the format included a series of questions that were submitted online by KGW viewers.

Dozono hasn’t said much about bikes during his campaign. The only time I’ve heard him mention bicycles (before this debate) was in his opposition to the Sauvie Island bridge re-use plan.

In fact, during the City Club debate this past Friday, Dozono actually referred to his opponent’s support of the Sauvie project as catering to “special interest” groups — and that the 30-foot bicycle and pedestrian only crossing would serve just, “a handful of people”.

But during the KGW debate, he made a bold claim about his support for biking in Portland.

The moderator asked Mr. Dozono: Do you have any plans to help make Portland bicyclists safer?

And here’s how he replied (listen to the audio of the exchange below):

“Absolutely, I think any kind of safety issue is critical, whether it be bicyclists or motorists that may cause injuries to bicyclists — I’m a very pro-bicycle candidate.

As a tourism promoter…a place like Amsterdam, known as the most bicycle-friendly place in the world, Portland ought to be equal. We have opportunities to continue to improve our safety for bicyclists whether it be commuters or tourists who want to visit this city on a bike.”

Audio (38 seconds):

A pro-bicycle candidate? Make Portland equal to Amsterdam? These are ambitious claims from someone who has yet to explain — to the residents of the most bike-friendly city in America — how he’d accomplish such lofty goals.

Dozono at Earth Day
(Photo © J. Maus)

On his campaign website, Dozono lists his position on several issues, and transportation isn’t one of them (besides a mention on how he supports a new fleet of hybrid taxi-cabs).

Is Sho Dozono really a “pro-bicycle candidate”?

During election campaigns it’s hard to tell what someone stands for (versus what they’ll say to get your vote) — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give him the chance.

I met Mr. Dozono and his wife Loen at the Earth Day celebration this past weekend. I asked him if he’d consider sharing more of this views about bicycling on He said he would.

After someone else walked up and grabbed Mr. Dozono’s ear, I spent a few minutes chatting with Ms. Dozono. She vouched for her husband’s support of bicycling and we had a nice conversation about bike issues (she brought up bicycle licensing and I shared my extensive thoughts about that idea, which I will share with all of you sometime soon).

I am currently scheduling a meeting with Mr. Dozono to talk about bike issues. Stay tuned for that and more coverage of the local elections (I’m meeting Council candidate Jeff Bissonnette on Tuesday and I plan to ask all the candidates “5 Questions” about bikes and then share there answers here).

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

  • DJ Hurricane April 25, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Folks, this is a classic example of a political candidate saying what it takes to get elected. Sho is just blowing smoke up your *ss in an attempt to get your vote. Do not believe this BS.

    He also says he wants more \”fiscal responsibility\” but he took money from a child\’s trust fund, as trustee, and loaned it to his own business to keep it going. This is known as \”self-dealing\” and it\’s a basic violation of the trustee\’s fiduciary duty to the beneficiary. He claimed he didn\’t know that, but it\’s the first rule of being a trustee.

    Being Mayor is a lot like being the City\’s trustee. If Sho can\’t even manage a child\’s trust fund honestly, what are the odds he can manage the City\’s finances properly?

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  • Robert Dobbs April 25, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Classic political BS. Sho is bad news for Portland.

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  • tonyt April 25, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Yeah, I don\’t buy it AT ALL.

    Seriously folks, listen to that City Club debate, the whole thing.

    Dozono says nothing of substance. Nothing.

    He constantly employs strawmen arguments and misrepresents Sam\’s positions to the extreme.

    Almost comical.

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  • Robert Dobbs April 25, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Also \”bike licensing\”?? That is hardly pro-bike. Sounds like double-speak to me.

    Sho Dozono – Bike licensing for all cyclists makes Portland more bike friendly! Slavery is Freedom! Ignorance is Strength!

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  • tonyt April 25, 2008 at 9:15 am

    \”I’m a very pro-bicycle candidate.\”

    So very easy to say. Can anyone please point to me ANYTHING that Sho has done that is pro-bike?

    As a travel agent has he ever promoted bike-tourism? Has he ever channeled any of his business fortune to supporting bike advocacy in Portland?

    It reminds me of when I lived in Cincinnati years ago and the City Council simply declared Cincinnati to be bike friendly. That was it. No action. Just words.


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  • Axe April 25, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Sho never seems to say much, other than that he isn\’t Sam Adams. It\’s hard to take him seriously when he talks about being \”a very pro-bicycle candidate\” who wants to make Portland into the new Amsterdam. Not necessarily a bad idea but if I made a claim like that I\’d at least back it up with oh, i don\’t know, an plan…

    Sho him the door. Har har har.

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  • Elly Blue April 25, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Potter also ran as a pro-bike candidate, or at least used campaign images of himself with his bike (which I\’ve since heard he hardly ever actually rides). He then proceeded to act as though the bike community doesn\’t exist, which has proven to be a big mistake for him. Sho seems to be setting himself up to make exactly the same mistake.

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  • Matt Picio April 25, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Sho is pro-bike? Does he offer his employees any bike-related incentives? Does he provide lockers or showers to his employees who jog or bike? Does he as an employer encourage employees to exercise? Does he ride himself?

    Is he a member of any bike organizations? Does his travel agency sponsor any bicycle touring or bike-related travel? Has he voted in favor of any bike-related projects, or publically stated his support for them? Does he or his company sponsor cleaning up trash on a mutli-use path, trail, or street?

    Sure, there are plenty of people who support bikes who don\’t do all (or even some) of these things, but if you don\’t do ANY of them, nor any actual ACTIONS of that type, can you really say you\’re \”pro bike\”?

    A wise person (not me) once said \”When faced between believing a man\’s words or a man\’s actions, believe the actions\”. It\’s great to be in favor of something, and better to say so publically, but even better to take any concrete step, no matter how small, to make it happen.

    \”Sho gets it. Sho gets it done.\” – Ok, I\’ll bite: What has Sho gotten done for biking? Obesity, Peak Oil, Congestion, Road Wear – what has Sho *done* to promote bikes? What has he done to promote WALKING?

    Sam Adams\’ track record in this regard speaks for itself. If Sho Dozono wants my vote, he\’s going to have to do something concrete to show me he\’s serious.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 25, 2008 at 9:40 am

    That\’s an interesting comparison Elly.

    Before the election day I plan to do another retrospective about Potter\’s bike legacy.

    I did an article like that back in May but once he\’s actually gone it would be good to do it again.

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  • LE-OH! April 25, 2008 at 9:40 am

    I agree with all of the above comments. I think he\’s just NOW realizing that getting the so-called \”bike vote\” is pretty helpful to getting elected, and just pandering to us in hopes that we\’ll listen.

    I think Amy J. Ruiz of the Mercury said it best when it came to Sho (and I\’m not citing her directly, only just paraphrasing)- he seems like a nice enough guy, but it doesn\’t feel like he\’s really cut out for the job. He has no prior experience on the city council, and has no real strong position that makes him stand out on anything- hell, even Kyle Burris is a better candidate than Sho is, at least he has SOME sort of plan and platform to run on (whether you agree with it or not) and not just \”getting it done\”. Even if Sho proves to be in favor of bicycling (really, who\’s going to say they\’re against bikes in THIS city?!) he might be a better candidate for a city council position than he would for mayor.

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  • geoff April 25, 2008 at 9:42 am

    CLEARLY, if you watched the debate, you would know that Sho CLEARLY thinks safety is CLEARLY a big issue. However, it\’s CLEARLY not as important as our economy, and CLEARLY he will not tell us how he plans to acheive anything. But, CLEARLY, because he has so successfully integrated his business practices with Portland\’s government, he will CLEARLY be the best mayor.


    To quote the princess bride, \”You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.\”

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  • wyatt April 25, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Seriously, he knows that mentioning Amsterdam and bikes will resonate heavily with bikeportland folks and then he can claim to be pro-bike.

    It was a pretty transparent political move and I\’m not buying it for a second.

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  • Metal Cowboy April 25, 2008 at 10:08 am


    You don\’t have to ride a bike to be pro bike… but it certainly helps. Ask Sho how many miles he logged in the saddle last year? Last decade?

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  • Jill April 25, 2008 at 10:15 am

    While I am equally skeptical, it\’s not a bad thing to have both frontrunners talking about bicycling. We should encourage it.

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  • Axe April 25, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Absolutely, we should encourage the candidates to talk about bicycling. But what we need is a discussion, not just a one-liner here and there. That doesn\’t accomplish anything. If Sho is serious about being a pro-bike candidate he has a lot of work ahead of him to appease the skeptics.

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  • steve April 25, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I agree with you all.

    It makes me sad however, that the same level of critical skepticism is not leveled at Sam. Giving a politician a free ride is the worst thing we can do in a Democracy.

    Make these bastids earn our votes.

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  • jonno April 25, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Steve @16 –

    Huh? Critical skepticism not leveled at Sam?

    [Citation needed]

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  • Zaphod April 25, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Sho is attempting to blunt Sam\’s advantage here. It seems to be a strategic versus genuine viewpoint. I hope the voters are not fooled.

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  • steve April 25, 2008 at 11:06 am

    There\’s no helpin the blind to see, jonno.

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  • no one in particular April 25, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Metal: Have you listened to Sho speaking much? He\’s clearly about 93 years old. Give him a break on the riding a bike thing!

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  • bike4fun April 25, 2008 at 11:10 am

    This guy has no clue. He spouts off all sorts of things to APPEAR to be on the \”right side\” of the issues, but deep down, there is no substance. He is CLUELESS.

    We already elected one clueless leader in Potter, let\’s not fall for the same again.

    Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!

    Don\’t fall for someone who does not take a stand and have CLEAR plans on how to get things done. This guy is not our friend.

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  • Grimm April 25, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I think mr Donzo\’s heart is in the right place. But I have a large fear of him being another lame duck of a mayor.

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  • toddistic April 25, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    its hard to take a candidate such as Sho seriously if he hasn\’t laid out any plans for what he wants to accomplish.

    I\’m definately looking forward to Jonathon\’s interview with him.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 25, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Forget bikes, I think we should encourage Sho to start talking about why he felt the need to loan his own business money from a child\’s trust fund and how such financial impropriety makes him qualified to be Mayor.

    He\’s talking about bikes so you won\’t notice that his businesses go bankrupt even when he takes money from children to run them.

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  • other one April 25, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I was the other person that grabbed sho\’s ear on earthday. What I noticed speaking to Sho directly was that he has not formed his opinions into a political platform and he is trying to test the waters to get through to a run off with Sam. This is a political strategy that is common for someone who is entering a political race when their opponent is the \”front runner\” I believe whoever our next mayor is we should practice do diligence by becoming active, involved citizens.

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  • Icarus falling April 25, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    While I do not really endorse either Sho or Sam for mayor at this point, I must add, due to above aggressive statements,(the comment by Matt mainly) that;

    Azumano Travel has for at least 20 years (and certainly longer) used bicycle messengers for a large amount of daily deliveries. And was always, when I went into the office, a nice place to pick up, and they were genuinely happy to see you.

    That much cannot be said for most of the companies in Portland that over the years have used the same service.

    Come on people.
    Not everyone is a bicyclist. Not everyone is going to be a cyclist.
    And certainly, the majority of the business\’s in Portland, no matter who owns them, do nothing at all for cycling or cyclists.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 25, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    OK, one last time: Not everyone is going to be a bicyclist, fine. How many people are going to take money from children then ask you to let them look after your money with a straight face?

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  • steve April 25, 2008 at 1:39 pm


    How many times are you going to repeat that talking point? No one appears interested.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Um, I think I already answered that in the first four words of the post, steve. Pretty tough to miss, even for you.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    DJ and Steve,

    please resist the personal back-and-forths. it distracts from the topic and hand.


    p.s. DJ, steve does have a point.

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  • steve April 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Actually, you answered a completely different question. But thanks for keeping me laughing!

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  • steve April 25, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Sure thing Jonathan. Sorry.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 25, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    What is it? I don\’t get it. The post clearly says \”one last time.\”

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  • Zaphod April 25, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Usually redundancy doesn\’t add value but the repetition on DJ\’s comments are a rather clever way of telling everyone that we\’re on the wrong track.

    DJ\’s point (I think) is that we should fight him with the candidate killing \”stealing money from children\” angle.

    It will resonate with far more voters.

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  • wyatt April 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    \”How many times are you going to repeat that talking point? No one appears interested.\”

    I am actually interested in hearing more about this, Steve. However, I\’ll do my own research elsewhere as to not hijack the thread.

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  • David4130 April 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I can\’t wait to read your interview with Sho Jonathan!

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  • Dag April 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Maybe Sho was talking about the availability of good herb and hash. You know, bicycle \”safety\”.

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  • 2GOAT April 25, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Here\’s the scoop on Dozono and the trust fund. Took me awhile to find it on google because it\’s buried behind a lot of stuff from the past couple months.

    For Steve\’s sake, I will leave it at this.

    I did want to respond to Icarus falling.
    You use the past tense \”was\” is this because you are no longer a bike messenger or because Azumano Travel doesn\’t use bike messenger\’s anymore?
    I am curious because I\’ve been told OHSU dropped Azumano as their exclusive agency sometime in the past 5 years because they wouldn\’t use the internet…I was wondering if that was why they used so many bike messengers????

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  • zilfondel April 25, 2008 at 6:48 pm



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  • Icarus Falling April 25, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    I used the past tense was only because I have \”retired\”.(HA)

    I very much doubt they stopped using them.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 25, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Thanks, 2GOAT, @ #38. My work here is done. Jonathan, I do have a point.

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  • steve April 26, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I don\’t care what anyone talks about. He just kept saying it and no one was biting. I also thought it was common knowledge at this point.

    My bad.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 27, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    No, it was my bad steve. I shouldn\’t have kept going on about it. I just couldn\’t (and still can\’t) believe that someone who so blatantly engaged in financial impropreity could get any traction as a mayoral candidate in Portland. Anyway, won\’t happen again.

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  • Lori Lanning-Ralston May 20, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    I just want to let everyone know in the biking community that my son and I ride all the time (road and montain biking). I have seen Sho\’s darkest side as he took all of my son\’s money and then some ! He will say anything to get what he wants… please do not be fooled by this man . Just an FYI …Sho paid back the money but do to all the mis-management…..I want you all to know that when the funds had been turned over from Sho ,the account had about $280,000 from$1,000,000. when it first started out 7 years. I do thank all of you for not supporting Sho… Now I am off for my ride on Skyline.
    Best Regards

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  • DJ Hurricane May 21, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Thanks Lori for exposing the fraud I tried so ineptly to bring to the attention to the readers here. And thank the Fates that Sho\’s charade of a Mayoral campaign is over. The thought of this guy being our mayor was almost too much to stomach. He literally money from a child and gave it to his business – anyone supporting him should be ashamed.

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  • Scott Mizée May 21, 2008 at 5:07 am

    wow Lori… Sho\’s story of money impropriety wasn\’t covered much by the media. Thanks for your comments. Looks like Portlanders won\’t have to worry about it now.

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