Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Ghost bike, recovered by TriMet operator, now returned

Posted by on November 26th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

The ghost bike at SE Cesar Chavez Blvd and Salmon St (photo taken a few hours ago).
(Photo © J. Maus)

The ghost bike that was stolen last week and then recovered thanks to TriMet bus operator Ryan Ferro, has now been returned to the corner of SE Cesar Chavez Blvd and Salmon.

I just thought some of you would want to know.

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  • Mork November 26, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks, Jonathan.

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  • Hart Noecker November 26, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Great shot of the motion-blurred heavy truck in the background. Not so subtle reminder.

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  • wsbob November 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Nice work. Poor bike looks so forlorn there. By the background, it looks like a nice little neighborhood. A reminder of the big trucks that can get you in unlikely places is important to remember.

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  • mello yello November 26, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I thought the Portland Bike Share program was over. Those were yello stupid.

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    • are November 27, 2010 at 6:24 pm


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  • CaptainKarma November 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    kudos on how the photo turned out. And the effort and attention paid to getting the bike back.

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  • Max Rockbin November 27, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I appreciate the sentiment of the ghost bikes but I wonder about the families. Do they want this permanent reminder? Maybe after a year someone could ask if the family would like it taken down.

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  • maxadders November 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Max Rockbin
    I appreciate the sentiment of the ghost bikes but I wonder about the families. Do they want this permanent reminder? Maybe after a year someone could ask if the family would like it taken down.

    That’s a good question. I’m all for friends and family of a fallen cyclist creating their own roadside memorial, but when it’s done by bike advocates not personally involved with the victim or loved ones, it seems a bit self-serving.

    I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion around these parts. Fully expecting a knee-jerk offended response to this…but again, I’m not opposed to ghost bikes– I just think the concept is a little under-developed.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

      maxadders and Max Rockbin,

      you bring up very valid points. In fact, I share your ambivalence about ghost bikes and have made my opinion known to many people privately. But it’s a multi-layered issue for me and one that does not have a clear-cut answer. Yes, I find too much focus on death — with things like ghost bikes and Ride of Silence — to be somewhat selfish… in that, they feel good for the people involved in the ceremony, but they are often done without regard for the families and/or the bigger picture (like, how a constant focus on death might scare people from biking, which ultimately leads to more dangerous roads for all of us). But on the other hand, there is no organized effort behind ghost bikes and therefore no one to speak up for them or to speak for them… they are community memorials and usually done by whoever feels compelled to act.

      In this specific case, I became involved because the TriMet operator contacted me and then left the bike in my name at Lost and Found. Given the circumstances, I felt the best decision was to just return the ghost bike to where it was before it was stolen.

      To compare situations, I feel if a ghost bike goes missing for some reason (thieves, vandals, etc…) than whatever happens, happens. I don’t feel that we need ghost bike caretakers or anything like that. In my opinion they are, by nature, ephemeral and they can come and go.

      What I’m hoping to convey is that each ghost bike is different. Tracey Sparling’s (14th/Burnside) for instance, was maintained by her family and its meaning transcended the location and it now sits in a sanctuary of a church.

      Thanks for raising these questions.

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  • Jean November 27, 2010 at 10:48 am

    It is a great shot, Jonathan. As someone who recently lost her sister (1 yr. younger than I. But not by a vehicle accident.) I’m not convinced that a family needs to be constantly reminded visually of a loved one’s death. I know it’s meant to educate the living about road safety but for a local family, they are already reminded of the missing “gap” in their family..nearly daily.

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  • mello yello November 27, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I think they’re eyesores and would rather have a miniature version tacked to a phone poll at eye level that’s not too intrusive for everyone else.

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    • deborah November 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

      An eyesore? Wow. I find their presence appropriately solemn. I would bet that intrusive is the point. Death IS intrusive. I can only imagine that those that live in the area appreciate the stark warning that a human has died so close to their homes and thorough-fares. No sticker would give the same gravity as a full-sized bike.

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  • Daniel November 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Is there a map showing locations of all the ghost bikes? Mostly I was wondering how many are out there.

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  • wsbob November 27, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Hey Red…For many decades, Chavez was up until about 6 months ago, 39th Ave in SE. Portland.

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  • Augustus November 28, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Here is a map and more information on ghost bikes for those who are curious-Daniel.

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  • peejay November 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    That’s a block from my house. It is a nice neighborhood, with the exception of 39th/Chavez (I use both names until everyone is used to it), which is a cramped, crowded, fast 4-lane street.

    I am puzzled by all the people riding their bikes on this street — or more commonly, on the crappy 4-foot wide sidewalk. There aren’t even any businesses worth going to on it, like Hawthorne or some other major streets that cyclists ride on because their destination is somewhere on it.

    If you’re looking for a broken street design, 39th/Chavez is one of the worst in inner Portland. I’m surprised that ghost bikes are not lined up along this street.

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  • Joe November 29, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Total respect, the cars wizz’n by great photo, not to many City’s let one put up these reminders to slow down and watch for life.

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  • jim November 29, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    People aren’t here permanently, The ghost bikes shouldn’t be here permanently either. There is a proper place for remembering the fallen.
    Perhaps we could build a memorial dedicated to fallen cyclists. Something that could have things added in an appropriate manner, ceramic plaques, or ??

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