Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

New PSU President will go by bike on his first day

Posted by on August 22nd, 2008 at 12:34 pm

PSU’s new President Wim Wiewel.
(Photo: PSU)

The newly hired president of Portland State University will join the throngs of downtown bike commuters this Monday when he reports for his first day on the job.

According to PSU spokesperson Scott Gallagher, 57 year-old Wim Wiewel will join school Provost Roy Koch and City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams on the ride and a small reception will follow in the South Park Blocks.

Wiewel hails from the bike mecca of Amsterdam and Gallagher says he’s doing the ride in part to “promote and emphasize the alternative transportation research goes on here at PSU.”

When he was hired back in May
, Wiewel told The Oregonian that he, “loves to ride bicycles” and the Associated Press reported that he is “a little bit daunted” by Portland’s hills (unfortunately his residence is in a hilly area near Lewis and Clark College).

Their route will take them on SW Terwilliger Blvd., onto Sam Jackson Parkway and then into downtown via Sixth Ave. and Hall St. before ending up in the South Park Blocks.

A statement issued by PSU says that, more than half of PSU students, faculty, and staff ride their bikes, walk, or take alternative transportation to campus.

Wiewel and Adams will be available for questions after the ride.

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  • Scott Mizée August 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    way cool.

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  • Nat August 22, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    The last straw that got me to start bike commuting was when a new CEO who does so on most days took the reigns at the company I work for. Having upper-management prove they can squeeze biking to work in with their extremely busy schedules and other demands is a strong message towards getting employees to give it a try.

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  • doug August 22, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    this guy is really cool – he has a background in urban planning and has published a fair amount of material on urban policy, development, and other issues that this city is known for. I\’m pumped to have him here at PSU.

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  • Hart August 22, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    That is way cool. Back when I lived in Michigan the president of MSU Peter McPhearson had to take a leave of absence to go work for Paul Bremer\’s finance department in Baghdad. Bit of a difference in attitudes, I suppose.

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  • Blake Hicks August 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Great stuff. Even more reason why portlandia is becomeing the blissful beacon of the northwest. Now how do we get him zoobombing? That my help with the slight fear of hills!

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  • Jessica Roberts August 22, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    That\’s so excellent! Hope he has a great time…too bad they located the President\’s House so far from campus, though.

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  • RonC August 22, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    It\’s really not that far from the Lewis & Clark College area to PSU. I bet he\’ll have a blast! I just peeked at the weather report, and I hope he has mud-guards and rain gear lined up for the Monday morning ride. The real question is, will he ride the scenic (but hillier) Terwilliger Blvd. route, the flatter (and more direct) Barbur Blvd. route, or down through the cemetary and along the river!

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  • BURR August 22, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    the real questions are (1) will he ride back home up the hill and (2) will he do it for more than one day?

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  • RonC August 22, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Hey, he\’s got some nice routes to choose from. No excuse for not doing this both ways AND more than one day!

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  • Kronda August 22, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    With any luck, I\’ll be picking up my new Big Dummy tomorrow. Maybe I\’ll have a press conference about it. Funny how when we ride to work, we\’re just getting around, but when some CEO does it, it\’s news. But it\’s all good. The more riders the better.

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  • Mark Allyn August 22, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    I go over the hill (up to the 900 foot level) twice every day from SE PDX to Hillsboro Fairplex. I hope to see him one of those mornings; I guess he would be going the other direction.

    I wonder if he has one of those lighted raincoats 🙂

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  • ambrown August 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    It\’s great to see a PSU president that \”gets\” how the PSU Transp. studies is something very exciting and worth supporting, even in media friendly gimmicks like this. You know, as America shifts away from cars in teh decades ahead, PSU\’s graduate urban planning schools could do very well. The city could definitely benefit from PSU becoming a larger and more nationally-recognized educational and research institution. Couple that with burgeoning small business for bicycles and streetcars, and you may have a new economic powerhouse to support the region for years.

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  • peejay August 23, 2008 at 10:28 am

    I hope CRC Sam enjoys the ride, and the ensuing press conference. Perhaps he could ride over the backs of some of the PDX cycling community to reach the podium.

    Sam for Mayor? Whatever.

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  • David Letterman August 23, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    What makes this all the more impressive is that he will be commuting on Monday from his summer beach house in North Carolina!

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  • Carlsson August 23, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    The real question is if he\’ll wear a helmet 😉

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  • Icarus Falling August 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I hope he doesn\’t wear a helmet, as it will give some of you holier than though folks something to bitch about.

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  • Jim Lee August 23, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Cemetery, Terwilliger, Barbur, whatever!

    What does he ride and what is his 200 meter time at Alpenrose?

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  • wsbob August 23, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Guy like that is making a huge chunk of money. Wonder if, over by L&C, he\’s living in a modest little residence, or, typically, something very luxurious and exclusive. He could have chosen a location that would have given him a daily bike commute route that\’s a little more realistic for his job responsibilities and work schedule. Doing something like that would really have made a great impression.

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  • Eileen August 24, 2008 at 12:38 am

    Good point Bob. I always think it\’s funny to hear people who live in enormous houses touting their environmentalism. Usually in the same breath that they tell you about their vacation to aruba and a closetful of new clothes. I don\’t commute by bike, but I am willing to bet that I get a better score on this:

    Icarus, why would you hope that he does something just so there can be a conflict? Maybe people who want you to wear a helmet just care about you. Gee, imagine that.

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  • Eileen August 24, 2008 at 12:39 am

    oops, should have been http://www.myfootprint.org

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  • burnt August 24, 2008 at 1:43 am

    I am so sick of reading about **deleted by moderator** who announce to the media that they will commute by bike on a certain day. It seems to be the thing to do for politicians and other public figures in portland to make a big deal about riding some janky commuter bike at a snails pace for photo ops so maybe they can use it as a get out of jail free card when they get shit for their java jacket on earth day. Ride or get out of the way.

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  • anonymous August 24, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    FYI: PSU owns a residence near Tryon Creek State Park that is specifically for the university president. This is a fairly common practice for American universities. In this case, PSU has owned this house for some time (since the 1960s, I believe). I am not privy to the history of this facility, nor do I have any knowledge regarding the rationale for its location. Suffice it to say, it seems a natural choice for an incoming university president to live in the residence being provided by the university.

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  • Afro Biker August 25, 2008 at 6:29 am

    Maybe he could join a Critcal (M)ass ride. That should make him fit right in at PSU.

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  • Icarus Falling August 25, 2008 at 7:20 am


    It is possible that I was employing a sort of \”Extreme Sarcasm\” isn\’t it?

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  • Eileen August 25, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Yes, I caught the sarcasm.

    Sarcasm: 1: a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.

    I guess \”extreme sarcasm\” is supposed to cause extreme pain? Either way it was a jab at the \”holier than thou\” types who want you to wear a helmet.

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  • wsbob August 25, 2008 at 11:41 am

    re; comment #22: If that\’s the case, then I modify my comment in #18 somewhat. Since it\’s providing the residence for the university president, maybe the university should be giving some consideration to selecting a residence location that is more reasonably accessible to the university\’s president if chooses to commute by bike. The PSU student council might want to look in to reasons why the university administration chooses to locate the school\’s president\’s location where it does. Maybe they could come up with a better suggestion.

    Over by L&C is not exactly the greatest commute by car either. Locating the president\’s residence closer to the university would avoid subjecting him to that aggravating daily experience.

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  • RonC August 25, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Anyone hear how the ride went this morning? Lewis and Clark/Tryon Creek is about 6 miles from PSU. That\’s only a mile or so further than Mt. Tabor. Not all that extreme a distance, but for an older novice rider I understand how climbing the hills could be a bit intimidating.

    If he rode today, wet weather and all, I will be impressed. If he continues to ride, I will be even more impressed.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 25, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    hi RonC,
    I was there… hope to have a story and photos soon.

    sneak peek of photos here.

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  • RonC August 25, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks Jonathan. It will be interesting to hear more details. I hope he had fun on the ride in!

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  • BURR August 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Did anyone tell him that his front fork is installed backwards?!?!?

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  • wsbob August 25, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    re; backwards fork: on that particular bike, how much difference would it make? Looks kind of hokey, but other that shortening the wheelbase slightly, would there be any other problem? I noticed his choice of riding shoes. Flimsy loafer soles would be close to riding barefoot. Each to his own.

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  • RonC August 25, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    It is backwards! Maybe he should take it to a shop and get fenders installed while the fork is being turned around.

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  • Leat August 25, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Re: Burnt\’s #21 post… I am so sick of reading about **deleted** who announce their negativity and self-righteousness. This was obviously an event put on by many people, not just the new President at PSU. The reason it was put on, as far as I can tell, was to announce the President\’s new set of priorities. He has already announced his desire to make PSU a leader in sustainable engineering, planning, etc. If the best you can do for the planet is to ride your bike, then get out of the way and let others do what they can.

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