Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Portland earns Platinum; becomes first major U.S. city to win the award

Posted by on April 29th, 2008 at 12:30 am

Bridge Pedal, 2005. Portland OR

This photo was taken at Bridge Pedal
in August of 2005. The “Sam” is City
Commissioner Sam Adams, who has
made achieving Platinum a priority.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland has gone Platinum.

The League of American Bicyclists will officially announce later today that Portland has become the first major city in America to be designated as a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community. (The only other city to have reached the Platinum level is Davis, California with a population of 63,000.)

The much-anticipated decision came from the League’s Executive Director Andy Clarke via a conference call last week in Commissioner Sam Adams’ office while local advocates, industry leaders, and key city staff were present.

A press conference to announce the news is scheduled for later today.

Portland earned the Gold designation back in 2003 and has been working to achieve Platinum for well over two years. Back in February of 2006, Commissioner Sam Adams launched a nine-part strategy and called together advocates and community leaders to work toward achieving the goal.

This banner hung at the Portland
Bike Summit held at PSU in
June of 2006.

Currently, six other cities have Gold status, 15 have attained Silver, and 49 are at the Bronze level.

As part of the evaluation process, the City of Portland’s bicycle coordinator Roger Geller submitted a 27-page application (available as a PDF on PDOT’s website) that was then reviewed by League staff. Also weighing into the decision were feedback and surveys completed by local cyclists.

The League considers a number of factors — known as the “5 Es” — in making their designations. They include: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation and planning.

The City of Portland Office of Transportation is organizing a press conference today at 10:00am at the Bike Gallery store in downtown Portland (1001 SW 10th Ave.) to announce the news. Expected to attend are Commissioner Adams, Metro President David Bragdon, Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission Gail Achterman, Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer, Assistant Police Chief Lynnae Berg, Traffic Division Commander Larry O’Dea, business owner Chris King, and others.

A celebration party is also planned for later in the week. Stay tuned for details on that event.

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  • Peter April 29, 2008 at 12:43 am

    Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.

    — Gore Vidal

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  • Scott Mizée April 29, 2008 at 2:22 am

    Congratulations, Portland. Thanks to everyone for all of their hard work.

    Welcome to Portland. Now let\’s get on our bikes!

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  • Tom Archer April 29, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Congratulations Portland! This is great, but let\’s remember we still have a lot of work to do – making our streets safer for cyclists, enlarging our cycling infrastructure, and, let\’s not forget, developing a world class off-road cycling network within our city.

    Portland hasn\’t done much on this last front. And the LAB application was weak in that area. But stay tuned, there are a number of things happening that aim to change that. And of course BikePortland,org will be your prime source of information when the time is right.

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  • John Russell April 29, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Where do we go from here? Let us keep pushing to make cycling even better. Maybe we\’ll all do such a good job that they will make an even higher rating. We can\’t be content to just rest on our laurels, can we?

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  • davidio April 29, 2008 at 6:09 am

    We\’ve gone Plaid!!!

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  • Mike_khad1 April 29, 2008 at 6:19 am

    This is a great achievement. Congratulations Portland!!!

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  • » Portland goes Platinum April 29, 2008 at 6:24 am

    […] (Oregon, where else?) has just been designated Platinum level by the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle-Friendly Community program. Portland is also the first […]

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  • Jeff April 29, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Personally, I think this is very disappointing and indicates how meaningless Platinum status is. Portland is a decent biking city, but has a looooooong way to go before it comes close to being in the league of Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Too much of Portland is still hostile to bicycling and lacks acceptable infrastructure. So, if Platinum is the best rating a city can get, it\’s not much of an achievement. I prefer it if the LAB had more integrity and higher standards.

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  • Matt Picio April 29, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Hooray! Now let\’s get out there are work to be even better so we can KEEP it!

    Congratulations, Portland and PDOT!

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  • Jeff P April 29, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Great! Now we can quit trying.

    Go ride and actually make a difference.

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  • Kevin Hedahl April 29, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Yay!!! Platinum being announced and free cones. Does it get much better?

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  • Anonymous April 29, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Platinum for commuting to work.

    Coal for utter indifference towards riding our bikes on beautiful singletrack.

    Cement is not the answer.

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  • btodd April 29, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Platinum for commuting to work.

    Coal for utter indifference towards riding our bikes on beautiful singletrack.

    Cement is not the answer.

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  • Brian E April 29, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Corvallis OR Gold 2003
    **Portland OR Gold 2003
    Eugene OR Silver 2004
    **Beaverton OR Bronze 2003
    Bend OR Bronze 2005
    Bellingham WA Silver 2006
    Liberty Lake WA Bronze 2007
    Redmond WA Bronze 2003
    **Vancouver WA Bronze 2005

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  • Jason April 29, 2008 at 8:07 am

    PDX is already listed as a Platinum awardee on their web page

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  • alien April 29, 2008 at 8:09 am

    I have to agree with Jeff and btodd that I don\’t feel Portland is deserving of this yet. The accessible singletrack status here is abysmal, and the drivers here are still way too unaware of cyclists.

    Now there is less incentive to work to improve things further.

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  • Mmann April 29, 2008 at 8:11 am

    This is good news. Heck no, we won\’t rest on our laurels, partly because with this designation will come even greater national/international scrutiny of what we are doing.
    A couple observations. No Mayor Potter at the announcement? Not that he should be, but does it strike anyone else as sad that the mayor of the first major city to achieve this designation had so little to do with it? More signs of irrelevance.
    Also, The major thrust of Bush\’s rose garden press conference this morning was to renew his call for drilling ANWR in response to rising gas prices. Seems like his time could have been better spent highlighting what Portland has done to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Clueless.

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  • rixtir April 29, 2008 at 8:11 am

    I have mixed feelings. While I *WANT* Portkland to be a Platinum City, and feel a certyain pride at being the first major city to win the award, I really don\’t feel that we\’re there yet, based on the LAB\’s own criteria for the designation. We just don\’t meet those criteria– the \”5 E\’s\”– yet.

    In particular, we are burdened with a police force that is stubbornly biased against cyclists (witness the utter failure of the PPB to enforce the traffic laws when cyclists are injured or killed by drivers who fail to yield the right of way), and therefore, we don\’t meet the enforcement criteria. On that basis alone, we should not be a Platinum City.

    Still, despite the on-the-ground reality here, I feel some sense of pride that Portland is America\’s first major Platinum City. I just wish we\’d earned it.

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  • Moo April 29, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Now use it to our advantage- can\’t sit back on our pedals now!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 29, 2008 at 8:21 am

    I think it\’s important to realize that Platinum doesn\’t mean we\’re perfect.

    It means we\’re head and shoulders above any other U.S. city and it means we\’ve made tremendous progress in the past five years.

    It means we\’re an example for other cities to follow.

    It means we can stop comparing ourselves to other U.S. cities and start really aspiring to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, etc…

    We need to use this as leverage to keep doing things differently. This is just a nice step along the way, but it\’s far from the pinnacle.

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  • Zaphod April 29, 2008 at 8:24 am

    I feel like we\’re being artificially constrained by labels. We are now Platinum, which effectively says that we are the best in the country. Whether we\’re deserving can be argued but that is how I interpret the designation.

    Most things that are a function of progress, be it technology, efficiency, a movement, whatever all improve over time.

    Platinum will become the baseline to be considered bike friendly and we will see designations like, \”Platinum + 1\” or something way more creative. We shouldn\’t be confined by terms.

    Now that we have become essentially the flagship for bike friendliness, we now have an even stronger responsibility to keep moving forward to serve our community directly and lead by example for our country.

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  • Pete April 29, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Yay. I\’ll be even happier when Beaverton goes Platinum and I can ride to work without being harassed or hit. (Not to take the decent infrastructure here for granted – needs some improvement but I\’ve ridden in much worse places!).

    So if Portland keeps on improving will we someday reach \”Plutonium\”? 🙂

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  • DJ Hurricane April 29, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I mostly agree with rixter, at 18 and Jonathan at 20. We have more work to do on the 5 Es, particularly enforcement, which is still a major problem in PDX.

    Still, I have ridden elsewhere in the US, and I know we are far ahead of everywhere else. Relative to other US cities we\’re great, but that doesn\’t mean we\’re great absolutely.

    And, despite these qualifications, everyone must realize the countless hours of hard work that numerous activists have devoted over the years to making Portland a safe and fun place to bike. We have a truly amazing group of people in this community and they deserve the thanks of us all. The best part of all is that it has been almost entirely grassroots, in the true spirit of Portland. Some of you – and you know who you are – deserve the congratulations for this award. Thanks from me!

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  • peejay April 29, 2008 at 8:36 am


    That\’s why we have to put the context of our local actions in the national or global perspective. So, while we all do what we can to reduce our own oil dependence, realize that personal sacrifice can only go so far. Human nature means that only a small portion of any population will burden themselves to achieve a social good; it\’s up to our political leaders to have the courage to set policies to make a financial incentive to conservation.

    That\’s why I\’m utterly dismayed to find Hillary joining John McCain in the call for a suspension of the gas tax. This is just the sort of disincentive that we cannot afford.

    Fortunately, we can do something about that in May, and again in November.

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  • Pete April 29, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Rixtir, I don\’t think that\’s completely fair. Witness a police chief who changed the criteria for investigating \”vulnerable user\” accidents (albeit as a response to highly publicized deaths), and a new police chief who\’s making it a priority to work with the cycling community and taking proactive steps. Even just attending this ceremony Chief O\’Dea is sending a message of support (heck, where\’s the Mayor??). Maybe I\’m just a naive outsider buying into spin, but this is more respectable action than I\’ve seen in other communities I\’ve lived.

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  • K-Man April 29, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Congrats Portland. Great job to folks like Sam, Scott, Jonathan and many others. Thank you!

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  • Platinum Edition April 29, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Perhaps the league needs to add a Rhodium level…

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  • Antonio Gramsci April 29, 2008 at 9:41 am

    rixtir: spot on

    Unfortunately, the operative mode for American politics on the urgent subject of road safety is still smug complacency. I do very much fear that heady laurels for Portland can and will be used to deliberately feed that complacency.

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  • El Biciclero April 29, 2008 at 9:42 am

    After reading rixtir\’s reply #18 and following the link to the LAB web page, I have a question about the \”Enforcement\” criteria. The Enforcement section of the application questionnaire asks:

    \”Do you have a mandatory helmet law? If so, is the requirement a state law or local ordinance?
    To what ages does it apply?\”


    \”Do you have a mandatory sidepath law? If so, is the requirement a state law or local ordinance?
    Is it enforced?\”

    Are helmet laws and mandatory sidepath laws considered \”bike-friendly\”? Or does a community get demerits for having such laws?

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  • mykle April 29, 2008 at 9:43 am

    so … what\’s our next target? what\’s more valuable than platinum? can we be a rhodium bike city? a moon-rock bike city? are we pricing ourselves out of the prestige here?

    (i\’d be happy with just an Aluminum ranking if it came with carbon forks.)

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  • Tara Goddard April 29, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Greetings and congratulations from the City of Davis! You\’ve all worked hard, and you\’ve earned it. Welcome to the club! 😉

    Tara Goddard
    Bike/Ped Coordinator
    City of Davis

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  • Adam April 29, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Congrats to everyone in Portland! Now that we are Platinum we need to live up to it. For instance, push to get a certain bike friendly bridge put in…

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  • solid gold April 29, 2008 at 10:02 am

    sweet, now we can use all that bikey \”Platinum\” to pay off all our tickets from \”bike stings\” in \”America\’s Most Friendly Bike (traffic sting) City\”!

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  • ralph April 29, 2008 at 10:23 am

    solid gold,

    Enforcement only counts when it\’s applied to cars?

    That explains the attitude her. We don\’t have to abide by the laws we don\’t like, but cars better toe the line on every statute.

    Ticketing cyclist for not stopping at a \”STOP\” sign is not a sting. They didn\’t hide the stop sign. They didn\’t push the cyclist through the intersection. They hid and waited for someone to violate the law and then ticketed them. If anything we as cyclist sting ourselves with this we know better attitude.

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  • Klixi April 29, 2008 at 10:29 am

    What is the significance of being a Platinum bike city? I mean, do we get money to better bike paths? Or is it just a fancy term we can print up in tourism brochures?

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  • Tankagnolo Bob April 29, 2008 at 10:46 am

    YESSSSS Now to move on, time to go for Titanium status. We must continue to raise the bar. This is so \”most excellent\”.!!!!

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  • Alison April 29, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Congratulations, Portland!

    This is great. Yes, we have more work to do. Still, I\’m proud of everyone who has worked so hard for so long making this such a special place to bike and to live.

    The LAB requires that we continue to make improvements and, as Sam said today, we will now be held against an international standard, which shows us how much work we have to do. Still, I\’m optimistic.

    Go team!

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  • Spencer April 29, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Some of the earlier comments were correct in their assesment of the validity of the quantitative scale used. If Portland is Platnium, what is Copenhagen and Amsterdam?

    Where I have seen a lot of improvement in bike related infrastructure and policy in the last two years, how much of it was the result of pro-active planning and how much the result of bikers getting squashed by trucks?

    In reality, this is hollow victory that lends itself more towards a great tag line on people\’s resumes rather than substantive achievement. If it were sustantive, the city would be planning for a target \”percentage of trips by bike\” and apportioning the same percentage of the transportation budget to relize the necessary infrastructure to support it. So-far we really only have paint on asphalt and some extra wide sidewalks.

    In my opinion, we are platnium when we have the bike only lanes, signals, signs, bridges etc. So far we are jsut sharing the road.

    My 2 cents

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  • Bob April 29, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to make Portland a great biking city. Sure we have a long way to go, but I\’d much rather be starting with our current bike infrastructure and leadership than what you\’ll find in any other city in the United States. We\’ll get there someday. Keep working and keep on biking.

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  • Fred April 29, 2008 at 11:50 am

    This is a great accomplishment for Portland. The criteria obviously aren’t perfect but it shows that we are progressing faster than anyone else in the nation.

    There is a lot of focus placed on commuting, which is arguably most important at this time of global warming, gas prices, infrastructure, etc. But I would like to see more emphasis placed on recreation, specifically mountain bike trails (no not fire roads in FP), stunt parks, quiet road rides, etc.

    We need single track.

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  • rixtir April 29, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Pete @ 25;

    Unfortunately, Portland Police have bent over backwards to find blameless drivers who have killed cyclists by violating their right of way. Whenever a driver hits a cyclist, the operating assumption of the police is that the cyclist was at fault, and they will go to extraordinary lengths to prove that the cyclist was at fault, even when it\’s patently clear that the cyclist was riding within the law and the driver was violating the law.

    Brett Jarolimek was accused of \”speeding\” as a way of explaining away why the driver who failed to yield the right of way was not at fault, and the police even invented a non-existent statutory requirement that the driver has to \”perceive\” the need to yield before the driver can be cited.

    It took Bikeportland reader a.O. to issue a citation to the driver who hit Siobhan Doyle, because the police couldn\’t be bothered to investigate.

    But somehow, they could be bothered to investigate when Kyle Egertson was hit by a vehicle. He was cited for running a red light and riding the wrong way on a one way street– charges that the investigating officer made up because he assumed that the cyclist must have done something wrong or he wouldn\’t have been hit (by a driver who turned out to have lost control of his vehicle because he was going into diabetic shock)– and that were dismissed when his case went to trial.

    I don\’t think it\’s too much to ask that the Portland Police stop turning somersaults in their blatantly biased efforts to avoid charging drivers who violate the law and injure or kill a cyclist, and I don\’t think it\’s too much to expect that a platinum-level city enforces the law with fairness and impartiality.

    Unfortunately, we\’re just not there yet.

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  • a.O April 29, 2008 at 11:58 am

    What rixter said.

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  • Tom April 29, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    On the subject of third-party awards/certifications… Maybe as we continue to make progress in Portland and elsewhere in the US, we will see communities vying for distinction on more than one scale – like we now have for food.

    Organic? – that\’s great, but is it local? Which certification? USDA, Oregon Tilth? Food Alliance? How many miles did your dinner travel to your plate?

    As awareness of possible bicycle amenities and and numbers/percentages of riders grows, so too will the way that we identify distinction. Good on LAB for creating the first scale for bicycle friendly communities. And yeah Portland for reaching the top level. And won\’t it be great when we look back 20 years from now and revel in how far we\’ve come since \”platinum\”.

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  • Joe R April 29, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    …\”developing a world class off-road cycling network within our city\” (reply by Tom Archer).

    That was my first thought too when I saw they\’d received the Platinum designation.

    Once there\’s decent places to ride my mountain biking (on single-track!) within city limits… Will Portland then receive \”Platinum Plus\” or something? *evil grin*

    Oh well, not at all complaining, really glad for Portland, but it seems this designation is greatly skewed towards road riding facilities as measurement.

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  • Jean Reinhardt April 29, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    \”Platinum\” for cycling conditions? Not as long as habitual DUI\’s and/or chronic speeders don\’t immediately lose their cars. Not as long as building owners are allowed to ban indoor bike parking.
    Look, this is cosmetic, surface shit. Be really accommodating to cyclists as well as daring to be aggressively un-accommodating to increased car use. The city should have the spine to say \”we have enough room for cars here, there will be no more.\”

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  • Pete April 29, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Rixtir/Chris: fair enough. I\’m a glass-half-full guy and my perception is that the new police chief has started his term extending an olive branch, at least politically. Unfortunately I think the assumption that the cyclist is at fault isn\’t necessarily a PPB thing, but that of the general (motoring?) public.

    A while back I was pursued by a motorist who right-hooked me then got pissed that I shouted \”use your blinker!\”. When he cut through a lot to chase me I stopped in front of McMen\’s on Murray/Allen where people were outside, and he just wouldn\’t accept he had broken the law and I had the right-of-way. He kept saying \”I didn\’t see you\” and I said \”but you didn\’t look, and if you\’d signaled I wouldn\’t have been there!\”. When he started into his chorus of \”you people think you own the roads\” I was shocked to hear bystanders joining in! Then he started out of the truck to come at me but I\’d pulled the phone out and dialed 911 so he jumped back in and split.

    So I guess I don\’t perceive that police bend over backwards to blame cyclists. I think it just comes naturally.

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  • Icarus Falling April 29, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    As much as I hate to admit it, Rixtir\’s comment #40 is right on the money, and describes one of the main reasons we do not deserve this status. Also comments #3, #8, #13, and possibly #28.

    It echoes some of my own \”Outspoken\” sentiment on the cycling problems many love to gloss over.

    We have a police force incapable of properly enforcing the laws we pay them to enforce.

    Now I describe the big oxymoron.
    We have cyclist\’s who think they are above the law, and act just like our problem motorists, incapable of, for instance, recognizing that a stop sign is a stop sign, and incapable of realizing that if they get caught, or even if they don\’t get caught, deserve a ticket. If you are not able to see a policeman parked, waiting to give you a ticket(sting), it also means you are not paying attention while riding your bike.

    We have bike lanes run by old money and corporate ignorance, which render them unsafe for bicycle travel.(I must add that I love Roger G. and applaud his efforts, especially after conversations about this exact problem)

    We have misguided legislative efforts, many directed at warming hearts and covenience, instead of saving lives.

    We have the already mentioned severe lack of single track, in a city with the largest park/forest within the city limits?
    ( I also applaud PUMP for their efforts, however stifled by other\’s they may sometimes be.)

    We have political manipulation of the cycling community, glad handing, palm greasing, etc., that could, as it has in the recent past, prove in the long run to do more harm than good.

    So many more problems, I shall now stop listing them.

    I don\’t give a crap about Amsterdam and Copenhagen. I am tired of hearing/ reading comparisons on that note. We are not going to be those cities. We are going to be Portland forever, and we are going to need to work out Portland cycling problems, problems that are for the most part entirely different than those in the aforementioned cities.

    This is Portland, where it is still not safe for anyone to ride on the road.

    While it is true that Platinum status does not mean we are a perfect cycling city, it is also true that we have no reason (yet) to stand around patting each other on the back.

    I know many of you will despise what I have just written. That is fine. I am not here to butter your muffin.

    The truth hurts. Always has, always will.

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  • casey April 29, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    It\’s nice to get acknowledgement of all the work that we\’ve done as a community to make the city\’s streets more rideable.

    That said, I agree with those responses pointing out that wile we have some great roads to ride, we have a severe lack of real mountain biking trails here.

    I don\’t see how you can call anywere \’bike friendly\’ when mountain biking is almost entirely shunned as it is here.

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  • nooooo!!!!!! April 29, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Davis isn\’t a major U.S. city?
    This media is the suck.

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  • yes April 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Where\’s \”Davis\” again?

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  • Portland goes Platinum | Commute by Bike April 29, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    […] more at Bike Portland. // Used for showing and hiding user information in the comment form function ShowUtils() { […]

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  • Fritz April 29, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    A shout out from Santa Cruz on the hard work and achievements of cyclist advocates in Portland, OR. Congratulations!

    (Davis is a college town about 10 miles west of Sacramento, California).

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  • steve April 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm


    Where bronze is imagined to platinum.

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  • erin g. April 29, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    This is great launching pad for us to further live up to our much-deserved status as the leading city for bikes in the U.S.! There is a long way to go in regards to road equity and safety improvements, but let\’s take this time to pause and acknowledge how much has been accomplished due to community activism, passionate and tireless reporting/ advocacy (thank you, Jonathan Maus!), and the thousands of us who take to the streets each day, insisting to live life from the two-wheeled perspective. I am proud of our city and feel fortunate to be in the presence of so many great people and groups who work proactively toward realizing change. This means business owners, bike commuters, non-profit organizations, and –yes – truly dedicated elected officials.

    Now, how do we achieve Titanium status?

    -Make sure that Sam Adams is our next Mayor.

    -Make sure that Safe, Sound, and Green passes this November.

    -Continue the hard work on countless fronts, which so many of you do in so many extraordinary ways.

    Congratulations, Portland! It’s a day to feel motivated and proud. I\’ll be smiling big as I commute home in the rain today. I often do, thanks to you.


    We are ALL Traffic Coalition

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  • JT April 29, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Yes, Portland looks Platinum to me.

    If by Portland, you mean downtown to SE 30th or so.

    Because they must think anything East of I-205 doesn\’t exist as part of the City of Portland. I would like to remind them that the City of Portland indeed extends from 82nd Ave allllllll the way to 172nd. Yup. 90 solid blocks of few facilities, hemmed in by two awesome ones: Marine Dr and Springwater.

    Very few educational / car-free / bike-tour events in those 90 blocks.

    A call on the safety line doesn\’t seem to get those 148th or 162nd bike lanes re-striped (can\’t see them), but we can get another (albeit better) I-405 crossing.

    But I am supportive, because it means that we will have some pride and purpose, and hopefully look East some decade in the future. I am proud to bike in a platinum city and it will hopefully translate to vehicle operators that it is a part of the city\’s identity.

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  • Clarence April 29, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Congrats. I agree.

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  • Metal Cowboy April 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Congrats to us, we\’ve worked hard to achieve a safer, friendly bike city, but we can\’t believe of good press too much or for too long. not taking anything away from all the great culture, infrastructure , safer routes, political muscle etc. but after pedaling around the globe I would rank Portland as a budding rookie with potential compared to many European cities. I\’m not saying anything most of us don\’t already know, but my goal is to make this marked moment in time – when we achieved platinum, to be a shadow, a husk of what Portland can and will become if we keep pedaling.

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  • david4130 April 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    What do you mean we need more bike infrastructure? Portland already has so much bicycle infrastructure that it has platinum status as a bicycle friendly city, what more do these GD bikers want!

    I don\’t see how this could possibly help our cause. This is extremely disappointing. You would think that at the very lest we would wait and see if the Safe Sound and Green streets proposal passes or not until we except this award. That\’s not saying that the people that have worked so hard to make Portland what it is today deserve don\’t deserve much praise. But Portland as is doesn\’t deserve such a status.

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  • joel April 29, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    icarus falling:

    \”I don\’t give a crap about Amsterdam and Copenhagen. I am tired of hearing/ reading comparisons on that note. We are not going to be those cities. We are going to be Portland forever, and we are going to need to work out Portland cycling problems, problems that are for the most part entirely different than those in the aforementioned cities.\”

    amen to that. comparing any us cycling-friendly city to either is comparing apples, to, well, super-apples from the planet krypton or something. im over it. there are many cycling-related aspects of either city to aspire to, and plenty that are completely unachievable for any number of reasons. heck, riding through the park with 3 kids and 2 bags of groceries on your bike, while talking on a cellphone and holding an umbrella (ive seen it! multiple times!) – in this country, thats felony child endangerment. in amsterdam, thats riding home from the store. expecting (or even hoping for) a us city to mirror copenhagen or amsterdam is an unrealistic fantasyland. doenst mean we shouldnt strive for some of the things theyve got, but means we should keep our comparisons realistic.

    theres a host of points one could argue prove us undeserving of the platinum status, but weve got it, and thats that. one thing i know for sure, were definitely somewhere higher-up than any of the gold level cities ive been to, and, well, there arent micro-levels on this award scale. when youre better than gold, you get to be platinum. should we stop striving to be even better still? no way. do i think any of this citys activists will rest on their laurels at this point? i think the responses in this thread make it clear that they cant. contentment leads to stagnation leads to demotion – this isnt a lifetime membership in the platinum club. we have to keep steering this boat on down the river.

    and nooooo!: no slur intended, but davis isnt a major american city, not by a long shot.

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  • Getting It April 29, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    It\’s great to see people understand the utility and importance of this achievement. It\’s not about being done. It\’s recognition that Portland has made important strides since first awarded Gold status.

    Perfect or not (obviously not), Portland has proven willing to innovate to seek improvement where other cities have not. There\’s more will here – political, cultural, and otherwise – than other cities across the country.

    One of the most important accomplishments that can come of this achievement is the continued development of an effective grassroots bike advocacy community. To be effective you have to be unified. Unity does not require universal agreement on every matter.

    However, it does mean sharing a vision of desired outcomes. It means resolving conflicts out of public earshot, particularly away from a cynical mainstream for-profit media that exploits fear to generate controversy to increase readership to justify advertising rates. And above all it means sticking together.

    One of the most important opportunities to display a maturing community advocacy presents itself tomorrow when city council weighs in on the revised plan to establish the bridge crossing at NW Flanders. Will you be there in person, or at least in spirit, even if you personally don\’t think it\’s the best possible project?

    If you realize you\’re part of a whole, and that a comprehensive, citywide network of bike-friendly routes is built one project at a time you will be there.

    Conversely, if you hold your own opinion however myopic above the reality that the network is built one project at a time that makes you a divider not a unifier. And the bike-friendly nirvana you wish to see created in Portland will not happen. Because it cannot happen. United we stand divided we fall. You can call that trite, but you can\’t call it wrong.

    Cycle track fans, mountain bikers, free riders, people with an axe to grind against the police… whatever, whomever. Yes, this list represents just a portion of the work that remains for Portland. But are we working together or does everything suck until your pet issue is resolved? Think about it.

    Judging by most of the comments, it seems people understand the importance of celebration and unity – no small accomplishment on a blog. It\’s really encouraging. It means the city\’s leadership – political, non-profit, creative, and so on – will have even more room and more leverage to accomplish even more.

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  • East Portlander April 29, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    I\’m still waiting for Diamond status.. no resting on our laurels till every citizen who can feels comfortable getting on a bike anywhere in our city!

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  • brettoo April 30, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Ah, good ol\’ American exceptionalism — we don\’t have anything to learn from other countries. Universal health care, the Kyoto treaty, the Geneva conventions … we\’re just too special to benefit from the lessons that others have learned because we\’re just, y\’know, better than those pissant little countries. Never mind that we don\’t even rank in the top ten for health care, for example.

    What are some of the specific insurmountable obstacles Portland faces that prevents us from adopting the major feature that gives Copenhagen and Amsterdam such high ridership compared to even Portland\’s — separated cycle tracks?
    (And no, please don\’t say \”the hills\” because a study cited on this site last year noted that even hillier cities in Italy and elsewhere still have much higher ridership than we do, because of their superior bike infrastructure. And the weather\’s no better in Copenhagen or Amsterdam.)

    I\’ve cycled in the Netherlands and saw nothing there that couldn\’t adopted here with proper political will, education, and $7 per gallon gas, which we will likely have soon enough. Portland already has a head start on most other American cities, thanks to our compact growth laws, temperate climate, existing bike friendly policies and attitudes, etc.
    Of course we can\’t and don\’t want to duplicate cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam here. But our current widespread bikelanes, bike blvds, and other infrastructure must have seemed \”unrealistic\” 20 years ago. Yet some hard working visionaries made it all happen. Are separated lanes, which have worked so well elsewhere, really so inconceivable here? Or do we just lack the vision of those who started us on the road to our current plantinum status, way back when such things must have seemed inconceivable to most reasonable people?

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  • Martin Reis May 1, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Congrats! Well deserved. Here in Toronto we\’re super jealous. But happy for you all.
    Ride on.


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