Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Victory for Obama and a campaign memory

Posted by on November 4th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

President-elect Obama at a rally in Portland on March 21, 2008.
(Photo: Ethan Jewett/Stickeen Photography)

I’m sure you all know the the Big News, so I won’t repeat it. But I would like to share a memory from Obama’s visit to Portland back in May.

Addressing a crowd of over 70,000 at Waterfront Park (about 10% of whom arrived by bicycle), President-elect Obama urged America to take note of Portland’s “bicycle lanes”. Speaking about how to solve our energy problems, he said,

“…It’s time that the entire country learned from what’s happening right here in Portland with mass transit and bicycle lanes and funding alternative means of transportation.”

That’s the kind of solution that we need for America…”

Listen to the quote above from audio captured at the rally:
Download mp3 (40 seconds, 780kb)

How do you feel about the election tonight? I stepped onto my porch here in North Portland and could hear fireworks and screams of happiness all around my neighborhood. Any reports from election night parties?

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  • Mike November 4, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    I heard similar here in SE Portland: shouts of joy, fireworks, bells, you name it.

    Tonight, I have a sense of optimism and joy about our country. A feeling that I’ve been missing for years.

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  • Burk November 4, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Obama acceptance speech…. oh my GOD! Beautiful! I’m cynical as hell about politics but… oh man, this guy sounds READY!

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  • Dour November 4, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    All I can say is that it’s wonderful to have a president that doesn’t make me cringe every time I hear his voice. We still have tons of work to do, but I do believe he’s the man to do it.

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  • Graham November 4, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    I’m thrilled and relieved. I was one of the people yelling in the NE. I’m bummed because I’m too wiped out at the moment to really party.

    Also, I think I’m picking up on the vibe from Barack’s speech: we won, but don’t get too excited about it – we’ve got some serious work to do.

    All I can say is that it’s wonderful to have a president that doesn’t make me cringe every time I hear his voice.

    HELL. YEAH. Palin had the same effect on me. I was talking about this to a friend tonight, about what a gulf I feel between myself and people who find Bush and Palin appealing on a gut level. They’re both like fingernails on chalkboards to me.

    I guess it’s like different tastes in music.

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  • wsbob November 4, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    This is definitely ‘turning the page’. As the days and weeks have passed, I’ve felt increasingly better about Obama’s ability to think on his feet and take on the big challenges ahead.

    Palin is so cute!!(but as VP? Pres? No way. Between her and bomb-bomb McCain, I think as a nation, we would have been doomed.) Hope she sticks around to appear on SNL from time to time. The governor works out just fine on that show.

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  • John Russell November 5, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Most things went largely to, as I think what can be deemed for most of us, our satisfaction. I’m quite glad, for instance, that I-985 failed in my state of Washington.

    I’m not particularly happy about an particular infringement on Californians’ civil rights and liberties, but as it does not pertain specifically to cycling and transportation, I will refrain from mentioning it any further in this comment.

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  • Matthew Denton November 5, 2008 at 1:17 am

    John (#6):
    Earlier in the evening, proposition #1A in California was failing, but now that they’ve counted more of the ballots in the urban counties it is passing.

    Hopefully, as the night goes on, #8 will do better…

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  • n8m November 5, 2008 at 1:44 am

    I never knew crossing the street outside Bagdad theater could be so much fun.

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  • brettoo November 5, 2008 at 2:11 am

    I was biking home through downtown after a victory dinner at a restaurant and pedestrians and other bike riders were ringing their bells and shouting O-BA-MA! Total strangers were smiling and waving at me, and I wasn’t even wearing an Obama button. So great to actually be happy after a presidential election, for the first time in a long time!

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  • DT November 5, 2008 at 2:22 am

    Leaving Grand Central Bowl, where the WW was hosting their election party, was a total trip. People were dancing on the construction equipment in the street on SE Morrison, people were screaming and honking, an impromptu brass band set up on a corner – and this continued all the way across the river and up Burnside with the honking and people on the sidewalk shouting. It was surreal. And amazing.

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  • zilfondel November 5, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Umm, the best day in 8 years? I remember when Clinton was president, and I’m just glad the horror of the Bush administration has its days numbered.

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  • Coyote November 5, 2008 at 6:14 am

    Will Obama get multi modal and self-propelled transportation? Liveable streets? Urban infill? Maybe. The results certainly showed strong support in urban areas where these ideas are starting to bloom. However, the pressure to prop up the auto industry and the the rust belt in general will be enormous. I fear only elevated fuel prices can really get Americans thinking about these ideas.

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  • xiousgeonz November 5, 2008 at 6:39 am

    When I saw Ohio go I thought maybe it wouldn’t be stolen after all, but I still didn’t believe it ’til that concession speech, which was a class act.
    C’mon people, now… let’s get together 🙂

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  • Moo November 5, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Same as Graham #4…I always felt a personal and overwhelming attitudinal divide with McCain/ Palin folk. For some f’d up reason they wanted more of the same.

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  • Jon November 5, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Obama should have to get a tattoo like the single speeders

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  • Buckwad November 5, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Came home with a flat tire, and went to bed not caring any more… 8 years of W. are over!

    Serious congratulations to Prez 44. Let’s work to follow through on the hope his election has inspired both at home and around the world.

    We even saw the old McCain back in his gracious concession speech. Too bad his crowd had so many hecklers; I feel ashamed for him.

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  • Joe Rowe November 5, 2008 at 7:52 am

    The Obama message and victory are inspiring. The supreme court will be safer in Obama’s hands. But remember, most other politicians don’t do the right thing; they do what keeps them in power. Just a few examples what democrats have allowed: $10 Corporate min. tax in Oregon
    A Tram and $80 million stolen from public transit
    A 1 Trillion war started illegally and no investigation of the war criminals
    $700 billion bailout and deregulation

    Please don’t blame the bad things on Bush or Republicans, blame American apathy. We must not put 100% of hope on Obama, we have to turn off the TV and read.


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  • tim November 5, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Man – I just realized why I felt so strange when I visited Portland. Everyone smoked, had tattoos and piercing.

    You guys certainly have your own unique culture there!

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  • Dan Kaufman November 5, 2008 at 8:16 am

    The stars are now in alignment for the bicycle transportation advocates.

    I will be pressing my federal representatives for an interstate bike/ped freeway system.

    We should be able to piggy back on the great work the backers of the US Bicycle Route System have started – http://bikeportland.org/2008/10/28/aashto-approves-framework-for-us-bike-route-system/

    A bikeway system does not have to be just for recreational users. It can connect neighborhoods, towns, and cities by giving cyclists and pedestrians a safe way to travel short or long distances.

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  • Anonymous November 5, 2008 at 8:37 am

    The one politician who has the least impact on you is the President.

    Your city council, school board and other local government officials impact your life on a daily basis, from garbage collection to clean water to police and fire services.

    Next up are your state representatives providing you with services such as vehicle licensing etc.

    Third in line are your Congressmen and Senators.

    Finally the President who signs bills into law, he does not make the law.

    Sure the Presidential election brings out the voters, but it’s the local politicians who needed the scrutiny that was placed on McCain and Obama.

    Let’s not forget the ballot measures we had to vote on as well. Those will also impact our day to day lives.

    It’s a shame the level of excitement over the Presidential race doesn’t exist for all levels of government.

    Think globally, act locally.

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  • Brad November 5, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Dan (and everyone else) – Please send those letters to Secretary Blumenauer or Oberstar on January 20, 2009.

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  • rafa November 5, 2008 at 8:44 am

    You probably heard the same fireworks I did. My neighbor shot of quite a few! Lots of hollerin’ from Piedmont neighborhood. It feels good to be an American.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 5, 2008 at 9:11 am

    A few things.

    First, I absolutely agree with the commenter about the importance of local measures and other levels of politics. I’m working on a story now about our new City Commissioner Amanda Fritz and I’ll also report on other interesting, transportation-related measures and races.

    Also, just FYI, I’ve already had a reader unsubscribe from BikePortland.org updates because he thinks this post is “getting political” and then he referenced something about Nazis and big government.

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  • Arem November 5, 2008 at 9:30 am

    It may be best to not mind that unsubscriber, Jonathan, as that is simply Godwin’s law in effect.

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  • Nikos November 5, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Four years ago I was hopeful before, and disappointed as well as fearful after election day.
    This year I was ready to start yelling with joy, but somehow, inspired by this man, I just smiled and felt aware of and ready for the uphill stretch.

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  • Zaphod November 5, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I’m mindful that cycling topics need not be political in the red/blue sense but given the subject at hand, I’m showing my cards a bit.

    While perhaps I could have predicted the outcome, I didn’t accurately predict my own reaction. Sure I’d be happy but the deep emotional shift came as a surprise. It’s no exaggeration it feels, I would imagine, the same as one feels when a terminal patient has now been told the diagnoses was wrong and they’re going to be healthy, they’ll be fine. Out of the blue I feel maybe a little patriotic.

    Chrissy in San Francisco is an area that was barren and recently cleaned up, opening up the marsh areas. The water was opened in a ribbon cutting ceremony by opening a barrier and water flowed into the newly renovated space. Not in days and weeks but immediately within minutes…seconds, birds and animals emerged and entered the space like some unreal dream. This is a true story, not an allegory. I sense that our citizens are in exactly the same position. We’re all ready to swoop in and rise to what’s ahead. It’s funny and weird that only after Obama hit 270 could I see or understand this.

    While local politics probably impacts multi-mode transportation the most, federal mandates and funds can be instrumental in changing the landscape as well.

    Today is a good day.

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  • snowshoe November 5, 2008 at 10:12 am

    i took some great blurry photos last night of the goin-on’s in NOPO at the Obama Volunteer HQ off of Killingsworth. It was awesome; cops, fireworks, honking horns and a giant electric slide dance!


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  • mmann November 5, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Decided to walk down to Bipartisan Cafe with my son to watch the results – seemed an appropriate venue, though the audience was anything but. 2 big screens set up with NSNBC and CNN’s electoral map. When the total went over the top at, like, 8 PM + 10 seconds, the place went ballistic.
    I disagree somewhat with anonymous (#19) about the importance of the president. It’s easy to forget after so many years of having a (bad) manager in the executive office, that there’s a clear difference between management and leadership. I dearly want to believe Obama was elected because the majority of Americans believe in his ability to lead.
    This morning as I was riding into Gresham I saw the biggest flock of geese I’ve ever seen fly overhead – easily 2000 or more; went on for several minutes. New morning indeed.

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  • Anonymous November 5, 2008 at 10:45 am


    The President can lead all he wants but without the house/senate willing to follow that leadership becomes nothing.

    The worst thing we can have is a President from the party that holds the majority in both the house and senate as we will have in March as did President Bush. Too much legislation walked through the process.

    Why was the Clinton Presidency thought of as a success? Because you had compromise between the executive and legislative branches of the government. This lead to a middle ground approach to bills etc to avoid vetoes and overrides.

    Nothing is worse than legislation walking through congress unopposed.

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  • dsaxena November 5, 2008 at 10:46 am

    On the topic of elections, Proposition 1A in California passed, which means a super train connecting the California urban centers. Maybe this will kick start the rest of the country to build modern rail systems? I would love to have a 90 minute ride into Seattle!

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  • sue November 5, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Anon: It’s about inspiration. Obama inspires people. Inspired people get things done at a local level.

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  • Todd B November 5, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Before and after the BTA fund raiser at the ACE…one could hear screams and hoots around the Pink Triangle district and over along Ankeney a few blocks away from Sam’s event at the Doug Fir. Even in the Couv there were a few fireworks in the City Center.

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  • Greg November 5, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I was on an airplane from 6:00-11:00 PM. They (the captains/flight attendants) said that they would not provide updates on the election results during the flight for safety concerns. Therefore, no party until we hit the tarmac in PDX and cell phone users let us all know that it was a good day indeed. I’d guess the flight was 70/30 Obama/McCain from the reactions.

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  • brettoo November 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    “Nothing is worse than legislation walking through congress unopposed.”
    Not necessarily. In 1964 and ’65, with a Democratic President and Congress, the US passed the most important legislation of my lifetime: the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. It’s good to have a president and congress of the same party — if they’re advocating the right policies. The alternative is gridlock — is that what you want? The Senate Republicans’ threatened and actual filibusters , and threatened Bush vetoes of the past two years have already prevented the kind of progress we deserved after the 2006 elections. I hope that will change starting in January.

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  • Anonymous November 5, 2008 at 1:18 pm


    The Civil Rights Bill did not walk through congress. There were 83 days of debate on the Senate floor. Johnson had to work very hard to avoid a filibuster by southern senators.

    FROM http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/36_l_johnson/l_johnson_domestic.html

    ” Faced with a filibuster by Southern senators, who accused him of supporting civil rights solely to increase his national following, the president exerted the full force of the fabled Johnson “Treatment.” Political columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak described the “Treatment” as “an incredibly potent mixture of persuasion, badgering, flattery, threats, and reminders of past favors and future advantages.” After eighty-three days of debate, Congress passed the most sweeping civil rights bill in the nation’s history. Johnson knew passage of the bill might cost him Southern votes in the 1964 election, but he maintained that some issues transcended politics. Lyndon Johnson had begun to set his sights on higher goals.”

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  • NE dweller November 5, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Correction to snowshoe #27:
    The headquarters is in NE Portland. Sure, the northern section, but not North Portland. Vancouver divides NE and N. I bring it up because there seems to be an issue of N Portland and people of color and crime and poverty that used to also be associated with NE but now NE has a cleaner reputation when, really, we’re all just awesome Portland. I’m suspecting you said NoPo because it’s 15th and Killingsworth, a strongly black area. Strongly meaning lots of black-owned businesses and churches have been there and people of color hang out there (yeah, on the street and in front of businesses, which I think is a good thing). back on topic now….. It’s a hopping intersection with loads of potential to serve the community – as the Obama headquarters clearly did!!

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  • snowshoe November 5, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    thanks, I’m a NE dweller too, a few blocks east from 15th & K, and sometimes I’ll let NOPO slip since it’s harder to say NEPO or NNEPO (and it’s close similarity in demographics and locale as such) as opposed to comparing NE to SW or NW – but yeah, you’re right, a real estate agent would probably have a coronary at my lack of attention to detail.

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  • Paul Tay November 5, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Fireworks in da streets?! ROFLMFAO! There were a whole lot more depressed voters today in Oklahoma than anyone actually making any fuss on the streets.

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  • natallica November 5, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    i had an election party – it started at 12am since that’s what time it was here in spain when the first polls closed.

    it was about 5am by the time they called it. and by then my “party” was just…me.

    it was kind of a bummer to watch the results alone, but then as they showed clips of the celebration in chicago i saw a short clip of three of my best friends who live there celebrating!

    being an american abroad just got a whole lot easier…

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  • jim November 6, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    The reason we are shooting off fireworks is because under the new regime such things will not be allowed

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  • Afro Biker November 6, 2008 at 10:01 pm


    Not only will fireworks not be allowed under the new regime, you won’t be able to afford them anyway after Obama swoops down on his magical unicorn and snatches your wallet to redistribute your wealth.

    Have fun!

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  • Afro Biker November 6, 2008 at 10:02 pm


    Not only will fireworks not be allowed under the new regime, you won’t be able to afford them anyway after Obama swoops down on his magical unicorn and snatches your wallet to redistribute your wealth.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 7, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    test comment

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  • jim November 7, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    test ok

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  • jim November 7, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    maybe in 4yrs we will all be riding bikes

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  • Erik January 22, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    How does Ray LaHood (Transportation Secretary nominee) relate to this? Sadly, I don’t think he does at all.

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