Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Saltzman creates new pedicab committee to oversee policy changes

Posted by on May 13th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Ryan Hashagen, owner of
Portland Cascadia Pedicabs.
(Photos © J. Maus)
-Video below-

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.”

Story continues below

advertisement

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.

Filmed by Bike 08-29.jpg

Pedicabs are growing in
popularity in Portland.

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.”

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.

6 Comments
  • K'Tesh May 13, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Glad to hear this News!

    Good luck guys

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • rainbow May 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    way to go Ryan! and now the real work can begin!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • joe adamski May 13, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    So I have never operated a pedicab for hire.. what are the issues that the City feels the need to regulate them?

    I realize for-hire bikes are different than for-hire cars. At the same time, the footprint is much smaller for the pedicab. Are pedicabs likely to siphon off cab customers, and the cab companies are doing a pre-emptive strike? ( the towncars are much more a threat,IMHO, than pedicabs..)

    It appears its not a ‘stacked’ committee..one pedicab operator vs ‘the status quo’. One thing I believe the City will discover, regulating/taxing pedicabs will prove to be ‘revenue negative’,that is, costing more than it brings in.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Q`ztal May 13, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    This is good. Seems like a a no brainer.

    bikes:pedi-cabs :: SUV:Semi-trailer truck

    Pedi-cab operators do need to be held to a higher standard than the drunk cyclist weaving down the street but I don’t think that said standards should be made by people who have never ridden a bike on crowded urban streets or that can’t imagine the road if they are not behind a steering wheel.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Cindy Jennings May 14, 2009 at 7:14 am

    The bike block is coming

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • tori! May 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    F YEAH! Thanks for covering this Jonathan! It’s been hard trying to keep up with the news of Portland’s developing and evolving “Private for hire” code, while I’m in Mayland.

    I’m glad to see that Cascadia Cabs Ryan is leading an organized effort and my biker friends are representing! HIGH FIVE! (good job guys!)

    After being a pedicabber last summer, I now can’t imagine downtown Portland without it!

    Pedicabs are such a positive force within Portland streets at night; while “rolling” with Cascadia Cabs we always promote fun, comradery, safety, and direct communication between our riders and each other.

    This new genre to the Portland’s bike scene is great! It helps us poor bikers make a living doing what we do best- dressing up, promoting green energy, making people smile, while we simply ride humungous tricycles!

    The presence of PDX and Cascadia Cab companies in the Portland night life has been a positive one as far as I can see.

    This new medium of communication has bridged a gap between local bike lovers, the gay community, artists, bar goers, families, and tourists.

    It is easy to see the direct connection between the pedicabbing business and tourism within Portland. We let everyone know what’s going on for the day/evening; First Thursday, Last Thursday, Beer fests, Farmer’s Markets, local music shows we know what’s up… and we help keep the cash flow from tourists to the area. It’s fun, good for us, and it’s great for Portland’s economy.

    When you climb into our cabs you might get serenaded with a Russian children’s song or some opera singing, some beat boxin’ as you ride Tomass, some refreshing compliments, radiant sunshine and crazy stories from our crazy lives as Portlanders and gypsies. It is a great anthropological experience for tourists, biking addicts, and locals alike.

    I’m glad that Saltzman and the “Private for Hire Commitee” has spotted the need of creating a new committee that will begin to consider how Pedicabs are regulated by the City of Portland. Hopefully we will be regarded in a special light, because after all, we are pretty special.

    Keep up the good work guys! 🙂

    Recommended Thumb up 0