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Bike Plan vote delayed until next week: Full wrap-up

Posted by on February 4th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

— Check out my slideshow and recap of the Build It rally.
— Read live updates from the hearing.

2030 bike plan at city council-3

They’d like to think a few things over.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The big news from today is that there’s no big news. City Council, expected to vote to adopt the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 at a public hearing today, postponed the vote until next week.

Council heard over two hours of public testimony about the plan today. The testimony was overwhelmingly positive, but there were a few people who showed up to express concerns. Representatives of the freight community expressed concern that some routes proposed as “City Bikeways” are on priority truck routes. One St. Johns residents made a strong point about how people on bicycles do not pass people walking with enough care and consideration. “Until more education and enforcement is done, I don’t support this plan.”

Of course there was also immense praise for the plan. Read more of today’s testimony on my previous story.

bike plan city council-1

There was also a lot of discussion about funding today. Commissioner Saltzman was very engaged and put forth an idea to use sewer and water utility fees paid to the city and put them into a bike infrastructure fund. He wanted to make it an amendment and vote today, but that didn’t end up happening. It will be among the items discussed this week and we’ll see what comes of up. (UPDATE: More on Saltzman’s amendment from the Willamette Week).

That idea, as well as a host of others (I’ll try to share a full list) will be discussed by commissioners more thoroughly before they vote on the plan next week.

Another item of note today was the impact of the Build It campaign. Signs were everywhere in council chambers and, as directed by BTA Advocacy Manager Michelle Poyourow, whenever a testifier said “Build it,” the signs were to be raised. And they were. The signs — and more importantly the message — was heard loud and clear. The best part is that the signs in the air were usually followed by smiles from commissioners.

This delay will likely do nothing to prevent a 5-0 vote next week. But it does give the commissioners time to absorb media coverage, take another look at the plan, read over leave-behinds and written testimony they got tonight, read the Portland Business Alliance’s long and late letter, and who knows what else.

Before the gavel dropped to close tonight’s hearing, Adams addressed the pro-bike crowd:

“Don’t worry, it’s going pass… You want your city council invested in the details… taking another week to get these questions answered is really worth the cause … thanks for your patience.”

For more on today’s bike plan hearing, read the live blogging from The Portland Mercury and from The Oregonian… and of course, stay tuned for more bike plan coverage!

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  • Matt Picio February 4, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Why do I get the impression Randy Leonard’s amendment was an attempt to nix the vote? Call me paranoid, but Leonard has been very cozy with business interests in the last couple of years, and not the cool, on-fire personality he used to be.

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  • joe adamski February 4, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Count to three. Three votes are whats needed to pass this,or anything that requires a vote by Council.
    Who are the likely yes votes, who might go the other way?
    The only thing that I dislike about this delay is it gives other interests, especially ones that enjoy ready access to Council, time to make that back room deal, water things down, or whatever.
    We shall see. I suspect it will pass,but the gavel hasn’t dropped.

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  • Mediated » Democracy in action February 4, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    […] Today I went down to Portland City Hall to participate in a rally in support of the passage of the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 to build out a more comprehensive network of bike routes through the city.  The rally was followed by the City Council meeting to hear citizen testimony and vote on the plan.  It was the first time I had attended such a session, so kind of interesting.  Many of the initial speakers were clearly ‘insiders’ who had worked in various areas of city government and knew the players.  But there were plenty of neighborhood association representatives and others who mostly spoke in favor of the plan, with a few raising concerns and a few outright objecting to it.  Here’s more coverage from bikeportland.org. […]

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  • […] Slidshow and Recap Bike Portland – The 2030 Bike Plan at City Council — Live Updates Bike Portland – Bike Plan vote delayed until next week: Full Wrap Up Portland Mercury – Council Delays Vote on Bike Plan Portland Mercury – Liveblogging the […]

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  • Mark C February 4, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Meanwhile, check out the comments over at Bojack:


    I know, I know, about as much of a time-waster as reading comments at oregonlive.com, but it is nice to see some defending the plan with common sense.

    I think the vitriol from the anti-bike crowd stems from the fact that even though nobody is being forced out of their car, the anti-bike contingent can see that the days of them being subsidized so that they can cheaply drive their 150-pound body around in a 3000-pound car anywhere they want are coming to an end, and they are reminded of it every time they see someone on a bike. Plain and simple, they are scared s**tless, and they are lashing out.

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  • Ian C. February 4, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Mark C., I agree with you. Many people feel that the ground is shifting underneath them for many reasons- resource scarcity, unemployment, Obama, the real prospect of decreased standard of living in the future, climate change. In short, the world they thought they were going to live in the rest of their lives is changing in unexpected ways.

    People who are seriously anti-bike have the distinct air of desperation and fear about them. They know that We’ll All Be Bicycling Soon, but they have not accepted this yet.

    Ian C.

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  • Marcus Griffith February 5, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Sam Adams says “Don’t worry it will pass”

    Umm..the same Sam Adams that lied for months about the Breedlove scandal only to admit both the scandal and the cover up?

    Excuse me if I am not willing to take Sam Adam’s word at face value. I will count the plan as passed when the vote is finalized and official, till than, diligent activism is required.

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  • Ted Buehler February 5, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Jonathan — thanks for all the great coverage of the event!

    And I like this photo.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler February 5, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Like Marcus says, it’s not over until its over.

    Do you want council to approve this plan? Build this plan? Better make sure they know your position.

    Sam Adams: samadams@ci.portland.or.us
    Amanda Fritz amanda@ci.portland.or.us
    Randy Leonard rleonard@ci.portland.or.us
    Nick Fish nick@ci.portland.or.us
    Dan Saltzman dan@ci.portland.or.us

    Be passionate, give them the love, share personal anecdotes about people who are only biking now because of the great bikeways we already have.

    & tell them to “Built it!”

    Ted Buehler

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  • david....no the other one February 5, 2010 at 7:04 am

    …I was fortunate enough yesterday to catch most of the comment meeting, or should I say “BUILD IT.” meeting, televised. I guess that the delay is just a procedural delay, one commissioner stated, I just want some clarification on public input. Reguardless, we should all send our city commissioners and mayor an e-mail thanking them for their action and urging them to “BUILD IT”.
    One interesting blurp from the meeting “Bike Bonds”

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  • k. February 5, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Funding the plan is a great idea but doing it by using Water Bureau and Storm Water Management fees is probably not the way to do it. That path is fraught with pitfalls. Mark my words.

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  • A.K. February 5, 2010 at 9:40 am


    I agree with you on that. The anti-bike crowd already feels that we don’t pull our own weight with funding, no matter how many times it is explained to them.

    The worst PR move for this would be funding it from water and sewer fees… which are already very high.

    Biking is transportation, and I think the money should come from transportation funds. Also, with a 20-year time span, that is plenty of time to apply for federal grants, etc.

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  • Aaron February 5, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I want to second ‘K’s comment. Politicians very commonly use secret fees (like city maintenance fees) to pay for politically unpopular costs. One person even commented that he saw through that charade. I believe that this shows a lack of courage and it’s becoming more visibly so. I suggest that we not only tell our commissioners to ‘BUILD IT’ but also to make it clear that if they want a legacy like Tom McCall, then bold decisions are needed.

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  • AaronF February 5, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Bike fees can be paid for by sewer fees, and then in exchange maybe we (cyclists) can all clean the sewer out twice a year in appreciation.

    Let’s face it, this is a really good idea. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to the council meeting to present it.

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  • Paul Tay February 5, 2010 at 11:21 am

    PDX Bike Plan is almost a MOOT point, kinda like bike lanes. You guys ALREADY got a bike plan. Each individual cyclist is its own bike plan.

    The delay is merely a way for each Commissioner to gauge how many votes they will lose to extremists cagers and how many votes they will gain with extremist cyclist.

    Siting in their seat, with other agendas they might be passionate about, and wanting to keep that seat in the next election, I wager 50 clams, 2-3, NO bike plan.

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  • Duncan February 5, 2010 at 11:22 am

    A long time ago, duck hunters became the first to willingly tax themselves to preserve wetlands habitat. I think that there is a difference (duck hunting is a hobby, but transportation is a necessity) what about a non-mandatory bike tax? That way there has to be no enforcement, and it wont effect those who cannot pay, but those of us who can (and as 90% of bicyclists are car owners I am sure I am not alone) can fork over 20$/year (lets say) for bike only pathways and use the money to get matching federal money?

    Hell I would be willing to shell out 20$/bike cause I only have two….

    Wait a second while I get my flame suit on…

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  • Dennis February 5, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Bicycle fees are simply un-enforcable. what about little three-year old judy’s tricycle? gonna give her a ticket? How about people that are passing through town? a day pass perhaps?

    Quite simply, bicycle infrastructure benefits drivers. They can’t see it, but it does. What happens when no one bicycles? parking is impossible, fuel prices rise, and traffic congestion is untenable. Someone needs to remind drivers, that they should be thanking cyclists, for the benefits they provide to a city.

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  • rixtir February 5, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    @ 16– One of the speakers suggested “bicycle bonds” as one means of raising funding for bike infrastructure. Personally, I find this idea interesting, because it gives those of us who want to the opportunity to step up to the plate and contribute (beyond what we already contribute in taxes), without acquiescing to the bicycling-suppression effects that mandatory licensing and registration would have, and without having to buy into the lie that we don’t pay our way.

    As an added benefit, we would be receiving our investment back, with interest.

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  • Duncan February 5, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Dennis- That is why I said “non manditory”…. because the cost of enforcing the laws would be more than the income generated.

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  • Lazy Spinner February 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Slap a 25 cent surcharge on tires, tubes, floor pumps, mini-pumps, and CO2 cartridges and dedicate the funds to bike infrastructure. That way we can claim payment without it being as onerous as licensing and bike registration. I suspect this amounts to about $2.00 taxation or less for casual cyclists and less than $10.00 for serious high mileage riders annually.

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  • Steve B. February 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I would buy a bicycle bond.

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  • Paul Tay February 5, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Bike bonds, bike fees, bike taxes…Git REAL. Who side you guys on? Beyond the of-quoted benefits, shouldn’t you get some modicum of PLEASURE sponging off cagers? I do.

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  • Anonymous February 7, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Do you understand what any type of sales based tax requires in terms of support?

    First look at what the retailer has to do. Those who use computerized systems now have to program them for taxation, something that’s never been done in Oregon. Those who still use cash registers have to figure out how to track that tax and somehow flag items to know to collect the tax.

    Then lets talk about the staff at the government level to collect the tax, audit the retailers, manage the revenue etc etc etc. How much of this revenue will be eaten up by the administration cost?

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