Portland Cascadia Pedicabs.
(Photos © J. Maus)
Today in City Council chambers, Commissioner Dan Saltzman proposed an amendment to the City of Portland’s proposed changes to the Private For Hire code. The amendment, which passed unanimously, will create an ad-hoc committee to address the issue of how the City regulates pedicabs.
Last month, we reported that one local pedicab business owner, Ryan Hashagen of Portland Cascadia Pedicabs, was very concerned that the new code would have a negative impact on his business.
The City issued a statement refuting Hashagen’s concerns, but that didn’t stop Hashagen from swinging into action. He organized fellow pedicab owners, he rounded up pedicab operators to testify at City Hall, he did the local media circuit, and he met with Commissioner Saltzman to present his concerns.
Now it seems like Hashagen’s work has paid off.
According to Hashagen, the new committee would include representatives from pedicab companies, pedicab operators, the BTA, PBOT, the Police Bureau and the Revenue Bureau. The committee will be tasked to meet and come back to Council within 60-90 days with revisions to the current Private For-Hire code, or Hashagen says, “Maybe even an entirely new set of codes specific to pedicabs.”
The proposed Private For Hire code changes are slated for a Council vote next week. In its current form, Hashagen says that it still contains “huge contradictions” because the Private For Hire Board of Review is “dominated by taxi cab companies that could still seek to cap the number of pedicabs or eliminate them altogether,” he said.
As for Saltzman’s amendment that passed today, Hashagen had this to say: “Saltzman showed amazing leadership by listening to constituents and stakeholders and by putting forth this thoughtful amendment.”
Saltzman’s Policy Manager Matt Grumm said the Commissioner put this motion forward because he wanted to more clearly define who the stakeholders were in the pedicab community so they could be fairly represented in any policy changes. Grumm also told me that Saltzman has gained quite an education about Portland’s pedicab scene of late. “In listening to testimony and digging into this issue in the past few weeks,” he said, “he now realizes that pedicab operators don’t just do this to make a buck. They’re unique and they love being out there, being carbon-free… So seeing that, he felt they needed a separate group to look into this.”
Grumm also credited Hashagen’s activism around the issue. “He did a great job advocating for this. He met with the Commissioner and he was instrumental in how this turned out.”