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A Williams Ave resident addresses history, traffic safety issues

Posted by on July 26th, 2011 at 10:11 am

The N Williams Ave project continues to inspire a robust discussion about race, bicycle infrastructure and gentrification in North Portland. If you are interested in how these topics intersect in Portland (or how they don’t), I recommend reading through the many thoughtful comments left on previous posts.

Early this morning, a comment came in from Donna Maxey that I felt was worth bringing to the Front Page. You’ll recall that Ms. Maxey was featured in my recap of the last meeting where she explained the context for the hurt and anger that she and others in the community feel around this project.

Maxey is not only a long-time Williams resident, she is also the co-creator of Race Talks, which is billed as an, “interactive panel presentation and dialogue on race.”


Donna Maxey
(Photo © J. Maus)

Since my name was mentioned so frequently, I thought I would weigh in on this topic in print. By the way, I, too, am a bike rider and an enthusiastic walker. Somehow the point I made initially about this meeting was lost in the fervor. Let me say at the onset, I am not a spokesperson for “the Black community” because it doesn’t exist as a monolithic entity anymore than the White community does.

Our family has lived in this community and had businesses on Williams Avenue and its corridor since the 1940’s. We were notified of the planning committees’ alternatives for Williams Ave. after the public meetings were scheduled by a local business owner who is a friend (by the way, that person is White and felt we should know what’s going on).

Our concern has always been for the safety of the entire community, whether they are residents, passing through as motorists, bike riders, or walkers. As I stated, these are not the first meetings held in this community about the safety of walkers/bikers on Williams — they date back to 1950’s, at least.

“The hurt and anger are not at the cyclist — it is at the losses we suffered and the historical hubris exhibited by the power structure…”

What we, my family, requested of the staff holding the meetings was to be notified so that we could be a part of the planning process since the changes will affect us. We feel that as property owners on Williams we have a right, and presumably should be given the courtesy, to be a part of this discussion. We were met with some arrogance and rudeness for making that request. We persevered anyway.

As to the quote that “I am pissed”: that comment was made in reference to the fact that our family lost our home (which was on a double lot with 2-3 car garages and full of manicured vegetation), my father’s business, our school, our church and our community — some of whom I haven’t seen in over 50 years. We all were forced to sell our homes and businesses to the City, for minimal value, to provide the land for construction of the Broadway Bridge, the I-5 corridor, the expansion of Emanuel Hospital, and the Lloyd Center.

“I would like to see Williams have crosswalks… and possibly have parking on just one side to help ensure visibility for both walkers and vehicular traffic.”

The hurt and anger are not at the cyclist — it is at the losses we suffered and the historical hubris exhibited by the power structure and evidently now some people who don’t know the history of the many attempts to have Williams be a safe avenue. By the way, check out the corner of Williams and Russell — that vacant lot which has been empty for 50 years replaced a drug store, attorney’s office, shoe store, shoe repair shop, bar, pharmacy, hardware store, and apartments, to name a few.

The community will continue to be concerned. And not everybody was Black — there were many White residents/business owners, who were a part of the concern for safety and displacement, as well.

This posterboard, part of the “Lost Black Neighborhoods” exhibit, was on display at PBOT’s last Williams project meeting.

No one seemed to remember me saying this, so hear me now: I would like to see Williams have crosswalks that ensure the safety of walkers and bicyclists, especially between Fremont and Alberta and extending to Killingsworth and possibly have parking on just one side to help ensure visibility for both walkers and vehicular traffic (I’m including cars, bikes, skateboards, etc).

What also needs to be addressed is the safety hazard that bicyclists pose to themselves, walkers and drivers by their lack of observance of traffic laws and “common courtesy”. I’m a nervous wreck driving down the street watching to make sure that I don’t hit someone — and that goes for every community I drive in.

I believe that we all want and should have the safety and well-being, both physically and emotionally, of the entire community as a goal. How we achieve that is up to us. Continuing with a us and them attitude will not help. For the record, “some of my best friends are White people” as well as numerous family members. (Yes, I was being derisive).

Since it was mentioned, please come to Race Talks, which is the second Tuesday of every month, 7-9pm, (sponsored by McMenamins Kennedy School and Uniting to Understand Racism). Race Talks offers the opportunity to hear speakers from the major Communities of Color discuss their personal and historical experiences in Oregon. The panels are followed by facilitated small and large group discussion. I think you will find it enlightening and may help in your understanding of Oregon’s historical events. It may even help you to further develop your opinions with a perspective that include viewpoints to which you may not have been otherwise exposed.

I will be at the future safety meetings. Here’s to a speedy and cordial resolution to this issue.

— Donna Maxey



— For background on this project, browse our previous coverage. You might also consider attending the next Portland Bureau of Transportation meeting which is scheduled for tomorrow night from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

Please support BikePortland.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

92 Comments
  • 9watts July 26, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Thanks, Donna and Jonathan for opening my eyes to some of the history and hurt in this part of town.

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    • q`Tzal July 26, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      And thank you JM for posting this.

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      • Gregg Woodlawn July 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm

        Ditto. Thanks Ms. Maxey for the letter. Thanks to Jonathan for giving space for voices to be heard.

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  • Kronda July 26, 2011 at 10:23 am

    ::APPLAUSE::

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  • naomi July 26, 2011 at 10:24 am

    This issue has nothing to do with race. If both “sides” (for lack of better terms) agree that this corridor needs to be safer then what is the hold up? Stalling on this in order to revive racial issues from days gone makes no sense. Donna says these meetings about improving safety for cyclists/peds on Williams has been going on for 60 years, and now that there is light at the end of the tunnel she apparently wants to block the way until we address racial issues? Come on. These two issues have nothing to do with each other, and saying “if you don’t see the connection then you aren’t listening” is a cop out in my opinion. You can’t expect the city to listen to every concern you have for your neighborhood the very first time. Sometime it takes a collective voice from the community, from MANY groups (ie not just the black community or the cyclist community or what have you, but multiple groups unified). All I see is Donna trying to fracture that attempt at unifying our voices for safer streets.

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    • Chris I July 26, 2011 at 10:34 am

      When I went to the NE 50s bikeway meeting at Providence Portland, I don’t recall anyone complaining about I-84 being jammed through east Portland 50 years ago. It wasn’t relevant to the discussion at hand.

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      • fiets503 July 26, 2011 at 10:38 am

        Chris: look up your history before you make comments like that. I-84/Banfield Freeway was built within the Sullivan’s Gulch. I don’t think many people had to be displaced to construct that. I-205 is another story.

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        • Paul Manson July 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

          I-84 displaced homeless camps – and in some documents this was an explicit purpose for building the highway. The lower part of the gulch had a long history of being shelter for the poor, then displacement by the golf course and then the highway.

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        • Chris I July 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm

          What Paul said, and add Providence Hospital. Also, A freeway does not have to physically displace homes to ruin a neighborhood. Just look at the houses all over town that now have a 10ft concrete wall in their backyard, or as a “neighbor” across the street.

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      • noah July 27, 2011 at 12:22 am

        I’d suggest that nobody in that neighborhood has any reason to feel victimized by the freeway, and that that’s a good explanation why nobody was there to object.

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    • Spiffy July 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      exactly what I was thinking… her article was awesome, but it doesn’t say why the community is standing in the way of these simple changes… nothing will be displaced…

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    • grrlpup July 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

      I don’t see Ms. Maxey trying to “stall” or “block” anything, but rather trying to participate and contribute to decisions about the neighborhood. I think pointing out flaws in the process and how they are repeating a pattern _is_ a step toward unified action, and a necessary one.

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      • sorebore July 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm

        @grrlpup… it seems you are correct. i am an acquaintance of Ms.Maxey and when first read this,had the feeling this would happen! She is very passionate about this topic. The truth is, that the issues she addresses concerning Portland in its past planning and development are all too similar to actions in so many American cities. Freeways, sports complexes and the like, were and have been a weapon to displace communities of all types across the country. Donna does ride a bicycle,(i have seen her do so), she is an educator in her community, and I am certain her heart is in the right place. It is good that all of us are having these discussions, that creates true community for all moving forward through this.

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  • Mindful Cyclist July 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Thank you, Donna! Your message was well received and really put things in perspective about how things have progressed throughout the years in your neighborhood.

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  • fiets503 July 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

    yes, thank you Donna. I am still learning about the rich history of this area. I really enjoyed listening to Boise Voices ( http://boisevoices.com/ ) and hearing stories in people’s own words.

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  • patrickz July 26, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Thank you Donna. And thanks, Jonathan.

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  • Chris I July 26, 2011 at 10:32 am

    What about the safety issue posed by cars speeding on this street? Isn’t that more of an issue if we are talking about pedestrian safety? I am concerned every time I stop my car at a crosswalk to let a pedestrian cross Williams, because the jackass in the lane next to me will typically only stop about half the time.

    What are cyclists doing that could possibly be more dangerous than driving 10 mph over the speed limit in a 4000lb vehicle and ignoring crosswalks?

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    • Esther July 26, 2011 at 11:43 am

      Bikes CAN kill pedestrians. It has happened recently including in San Francisco. They can also disrupt car traffic and cause auto accidents. Unsafe and illegal behavior doesn’t only happen by car drivers (though it more likely to be unsafe when a car is involved).

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      • Easy July 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm

        FWIW I haven’t read any articles that said she had passed:
        http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/baycitynews/a/2011/07/15/bicyclist15.DTL

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      • Chris I July 26, 2011 at 1:36 pm

        I never said that they couldn’t. I am asking which is the bigger risk? Donna is calling out cyclists here for unsafe behavior, without stating specifics, and ignoring what I would consider to be a much greater risk: speeding cars and trucks.

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        • Mike July 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm

          “What ALSO needs to be addressed is the safety hazard that bicyclists pose to themselves, walkers and drivers by their lack of observance of traffic laws and “common courtesy”. ”

          I don’t see where she is absolving the behavior of motorists. It reads that cyclists should be responsible and courteous road users as well.
          Why is that arguable?
          Automobiles can cause more damage, so cyclists shouldn’t ride responsibly?

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          • Spiffy July 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm

            I think what Chris I is pointing out is that she didn’t single out the deadly automobilists who disobey traffic laws and have no common courtesy when they’re obviously a far far greater risk than cyclists… it’s as if a car and a bike both run a light in front of her and she calls out only the bike… why point out the lesser threat and not the greater?

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          • wsbob July 26, 2011 at 11:12 pm

            “…why point out the lesser threat and not the greater? Spiffy

            Because…the greater threat is a given. Compelling people to incessantly restate the greater threat each time they endeavor to raise awareness of lesser threats is sometimes done as attempts to stifle voices struggling to have legitimate concerns be heard and understood.

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      • Joe C July 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm

        Until bikes crack the record held by cars, of 30,000 pedestrians killed in a single decade, I will not ever buy this argument.

        As it stands, bikes are probably about as dangerous to pedestrians as dogs, low-hanging signs, improperly marked construction trenches, overhanging vegetation, skateboarders, rollerbladers and oblivious joggers.

        If a bike comes at me at 20mph I can probably jump out of the way. If a car comes at me at 40mph (which I have recorded some cars on N Williams going), I’m a pancake.

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      • Randall Sewell July 27, 2011 at 7:40 am

        Shoelaces “CAN” kill pedestrians too, but the vast majority of pedestrian deaths are not caused by them. Your point is purely red herring. There are 34,000 people killed a year by automobiles.

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    • middle of the road guy July 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

      quit making excuses for yourself.

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  • lyle July 26, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Thanks Donna for sharing your family’s history on Williams.

    I would like to point out a glaring bias you have. While you quite correctly state that blacks are no more a monolithic group that whites, you lump all cyclists together with this,

    “the safety hazard that bicyclists pose to themselves, walkers and drivers by their lack of observance of traffic laws and “common courtesy””

    Now some cyclists, like motorists or even pedestrians do pose hazards to all around them but to lump us all together is disingenuous.

    Obviously, having a dedicated lane for cyclists would make the street safer. You’ve advocated for better crosswalks, are you against cycle lanes? This entire issue came about because of the intention of PBOT to put cycle lanes on WIlliams, and yet you make no mention of them whatsoever. Could you clarify your position?

    Lyle

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    • Mike July 26, 2011 at 11:44 am

      “What also needs to be addressed is the safety hazard that bicyclists pose to themselves, walkers and drivers by their lack of observance of traffic laws and “common courtesy”. ”

      She does not say all cyclists. She doesn’t imply all cyclists. You are reading too much into what she did not write.

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      • q`Tzal July 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm

        Mike
        She does not say all cyclists. She doesn’t imply all cyclists. You are reading too much into what she did not write.

        Equal Opportunity Jumping to Conclusions.
        Some times it is a simple matter of perceived bias; doesn’t make it any less applicable when whites do it.

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        • Mike July 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm

          So it’s ok to jump to conclusions and perceived implications because someone else might do it.

          Telling her she has a “glaring bias” based on a “perceived” notion about a statement taken out of context seems a little Fox or Oregonian -like.

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          • q`Tzal July 28, 2011 at 12:57 am

            I’ll take that bait:

            Go to an Equal Opportunity Educational program as mandated by the US military or large business.
            You’ll hear things like:
            “Harassment is any verbal, visual or physical behavior that meets the following criteria:
            is reasonably perceived by the receiver as unwelcome or offensive.”

            This is easier to visualize with sexual harassment: some comments made in jest by a man to a woman may be taken in jest where a different woman with a seemingly similar disposition will be offended and possibly threatened depending on the hierarchical command structure.

            So too it is easy to see that a hopelessly white guy, like myself, can easily say something that will offend some part of the black community, have no idea I’ve done it and they are still rightly offended.

            So why is not the reverse true?

            Donna Maxey
            What also needs to be addressed is the safety hazard that bicyclists pose to themselves, walkers and drivers by their lack of observance of traffic laws and “common courtesy”.

            my emphasis in bold.
            Her generic lumping of a minority of a minority (idiots on bicycles amongst cyclists VS all road users) is no less an insensitive and radicalizing discriminatory statement then when some old white guy makes political statements about:
            “All (racial stereotype 1) are suicide bombers.”
            “All (racial stereotype 2) are drug runners.”
            “All (racial stereotype 3) are gang bangers.”

            Her uninformed perception is that ALL CYCLISTS are a hazard. This is the statement she wants to bring to the table to represent her neighborhood.

            In that African-Americans can not afford to allow negative stereotypes damage their collective reputation so too should we cyclists not simply “brush off” stereotyping slights against law abiding cyclists for the sake of someone else’s verbal or mental laziness.

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  • Esther July 26, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for the article Ms. Maxey, and to Jonathan for publishing it.

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  • Steve Hoyt-McBeth July 26, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Here is the corner of the historic business district at N Russell at Vancouver that was cleared as part of the Emanuel Hospital urban renewal projec that Ms. Graves refers to in her post. One of many tragic stories of early urban renewal in Portland: http://web.oregon.com/trips/images/n_williams.jpg

    The dome from the building is still in Dawson Park.

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    • Chris I July 26, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      So sad. I would really like to see this community actively involved in fighting the CRC (and the resulting expansion of I-5), something that will degrade their community far more than any bike lane ever could.

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  • RH July 26, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Come on now…it’s a simple lane reconfiguration to make all modes of traffic safer…buildings are not going to be torn down. The past does not equal the future!!

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    • cold worker July 26, 2011 at 11:17 am

      this is the thing that is blowing my mind the most. it is literally just re-striping the road, right? no buildings should be razed to help me get home on my bike safely.

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      • RH July 26, 2011 at 11:27 am

        I agree. Maybe her concern is that it will make the area more livable, which will make more people want to move there, which means more houses and businesses could come along…which means things could get torn down and rebuilt? Maybe higher property taxes too?

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        • jeff July 26, 2011 at 11:31 am

          it takes considerably more than a bike lane to make a neighborhood ‘more livable’ and attract new folks.

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          • 9watts July 26, 2011 at 11:34 am

            “…and attract new folks.”
            maybe not everyone shares that goal?

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          • cold worker July 26, 2011 at 11:58 am

            9watts, everyone doesn’t share that goal, no. as a lifelong resident of the region i can relate. i’d prefer most everyone from minnesota, wisconsin, pennsylvania, texas, california, arizona and on and on, had not moved here. but it happens and you can’t stop it. you can try in vain to resist it, but it’s gonna happen.

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    • Jimmy P July 27, 2011 at 8:14 am

      She even says she wants to take out one side of the street parking. So does everyone. So, what’s the hold up? Why do we have to solve 60 years of racial issues to make a simple solution that results in no buildings being torn down, no property being sold, and no extra road being built?

      I feel her frustration. But, I think she’s grandstanding a bit here, using this issue to get her voice heard because it hasn’t been heard anywhere else. Prohibiting safety improvement – especially to save the lawless and reckless cyclists from themselves – so that she can have her soap box is not fair to anyone.

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      • q`Tzal July 28, 2011 at 2:10 am

        We’re an easy target.
        We don’t have the money nor political clout of the highway lobby; they would have shot this controversy down before it blip on anyone else’s radar.

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      • wsbob July 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

        “…I feel her frustration. But, I think she’s grandstanding a bit here, using this issue to get her voice heard because it hasn’t been heard anywhere else. Prohibiting safety improvement – especially to save the lawless and reckless cyclists from themselves – so that she can have her soap box is not fair to anyone. …” Jimmy P

        Activists commonly use such strategies when there’s a reluctance on the part of government, and/or the public to hear them out and offer assistance in resolving long standing problems. For example, here in Portland:

        Repeated picketing of stores selling fur garments, one store in particular, that likely went out of business in no small part due to the actions of said activists.

        Elsewhere in the state: people that have chained themselves to trees, sitting in on roads to protest logging, etc.

        Lots of people, including some of those in government and the police department very likely don’t care one wit about Maxey, the black community, or other communities of people of color in Portland, especially if those communities don’t particularly have money and working capital to invest. Even more so, for ethic groups who have had a history of chronic social problems. There might even be some people that think Portland would be a lot better off, if certain communities in the city just kind of disappeared. So, if gentrification indirectly accomplishes that, they’re discreetly happy.

        I think Maxey and others that have resisted approval of the bike lanes are primarily doing, not because they don’t want a safer place to ride bikes on Williams, but to leverage attention to their communities plight. Nothing much wrong with that. This has been a completely peaceful protest.

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  • Ron July 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Thank you Donna. As a long time Portland resident and lifetime Oregonian, I’m well aware of our state’s terrible history with regard to racist sentiment and actions. The I-5/legacy projects you mentioned were unfair and destructive to the communities effected and we’re living with the that tragic freeway today. I must however object to your lumping together all cyclists as essentially non-law abiding scofflaws. Yes, some cyclists do not follow traffic laws and it appears arrogant, unsafe and disrespectful. However, I would argue that a like % of drivers also disobey traffic laws with a potentially much greater tragic outcome. Namely the killing of my children. Yes, cyclists can pose a danger to peds and others, but driving a 2k pound hunk of metal is orders of magnitude in a different category. And your contention that you’re a “nervous wreck” while driving your car? Well, so am I and that is as it should be. It is a huge responsibility and our streets aren’t as safe as they should be. The Williams project should move forward and we should revisit the pain and hurt that the power structure has inflicted on many people as put forth so eloquently in your comments. People should know about this history and that Oregon happened to be a major Klan enclave in the early and mid part of this century.

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  • roger noehren July 26, 2011 at 11:18 am

    +1 on: “I would like to see Williams have crosswalks that ensure the safety of walkers and bicyclists, especially between Fremont and Alberta and extending to Killingsworth and possibly have parking on just one side to help ensure visibility for both walkers and vehicular traffic (I’m including cars, bikes, skateboards, etc).”

    In addition PDOT should divert through motorized traffic away from Williams and lower the speed limit.

    At the very least, parking should not be permitted along the east side of Williams during the evening commute time period (a common practice on other neighborhood feeder streets such as SE Division).

    Bike corrals (such as the one at the Waypost) would have to be moved, but that’s not a big obstacle.

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  • beth h July 26, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Thanks to Ms. Maxey for an eloquent, thoughtful contribution to this discussion. I would welcome the opportunity to attend a “Race Talks” meeting if and when my work schedule allows. Thanks to Jonathon for posting this as a separate article so it can get the attention it deserves.
    Bravo.

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  • Charley July 26, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Well put. But I still fail to see how re-striping Williams to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists constitutes an offense to the neighborhood to the degree that Ms. Maxey needs to invoke the long history of racist auto and business oriented development.

    Improving Williams means no buildings razed, no eminent domain, no evictions, no realtors with a white map and a black map. . . just a street that has more room for people and less room for SUV’s with Washington plates.

    If PBOT refused to implement safety improvements in the neighborhood, residents would justifiably complain that all the improvements go to whiter neighborhoods. Catch-22.

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  • Charley July 26, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Oh, and I’m sorry that PBOT was rude to Ms Maxey when she asked to be kept up to date. I’ll just think of that next time I’m squeezed in that tiny bike lane between a speeding SUV and a parked car. I’ll gladly pay for PBOT’s rudeness to one citizen. Not.

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    • are July 26, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      frankly i would like to hear a slightly more specific statement of the rudeness encountered — or i would rather not hear imagined rudeness reported.

      obviously i have not been privy to conversations ellen vanderslice or michele poryourouw may have had with ms. maxey or others, but i have been sitting in on this process from the beginning, and those two, at least, have made a very serious effort to bring the local community and yes, the racist history to the table and get it out there for everyone to examine.

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  • velowocky July 26, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Glad to hear constructive feedback. Thanks Ms. Maxey for sharing your perspective. One thing I’ve realized reading through the comments and considering my own thoughts on the issue is that it’s not just about who is more right or wrong on the facts but how empathetic the process is.

    My assumption was that any enlightened neighborhood would want improved bike ways. Given the history of the area, especially in terms of ‘neighborhood improvements’ it’s not hard to see why Williams was not an obvious go-ahead project for many. Hope you continue to post here.

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  • pdx2wheeler July 26, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Maybe we can rename N. Williams to Major Taylor Ave/St/Blvd (or another famous Afican American cyclist) to tie the Afican American community with the new bike improvements proposed in that area? I’m usually not a big fan of renaming streets, but this would be cool!

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    • dwainedibbly July 26, 2011 at 6:43 pm

      That’s a great idea, assuming that the residents of the neighborhood are ok with that. Who was “Williams” named after originally?

      Thank you, Ms Maxey, for sharing.

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    • shirtsoff July 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm

      I like this!

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    • middle of the road guy July 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Why don’t we just rename EVERY street in Portland for a minority. that will surely solve all the problems.

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  • BURR July 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Cyclists are not the only road users who fail to observe traffic laws and common courtesy, and they don’t deserve to be singled out for this.

    Feeling disenfranchised as a black person in a white world and simultaneously entitled as a motorized user of our public streets is understandable but contradictory; it’s just too bad that this entitled attitude is pervasive among motorists of all races and colors.

    Most motorists don’t understand traffic law as it applies to cyclists, and motorists are by far the most dangerous road users.

    If cyclists had more room on the street, instead of the substandard bike lane that exists now, conflicts between motorists and cyclists would decrease; as it stands now, the ‘do nothing’ attitude of the neighbors just serves to promote and perpetuate conflicts between motorists and cyclists.

    Insisting that cyclists improve their behavior in order to be ‘rewarded’ with a better bike lane is not the way to go about this.

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  • 9watts July 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    cold worker
    you can’t stop it. you can try in vain to resist it, but it’s gonna happen.

    There’s a world of difference between, on the one hand, repeating endlessly that it is just going to happen, that no one can do anything about it, or worse, encouraging it, and, on the other hand, taking steps to discourage it, recognize the costs it imposes on those already there, etc. To take an example: 1,000 Friends of Oregon for quite a while now have taken to peddling the ‘growth is going to happen; let’s make it efficient’ approach. Another group, Alternatives to Growth, Oregon, now defunct, took a very different approach: problematize growth, expansion, sprawl in all their myriad forms. Ask folks if this is really what they want. When most people say ‘no,’ you realize that we could change our policies, reorient them to favor what we’d like rather than what benefits a few.

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  • Ryno Dan July 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I’m surprised she didn’t mention the Rose quarter.

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  • john July 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Yes to Major Taylor. Still is (and probably always will be) a huge cycling hero in France. Major was so huge, it amazing how clueless we are about him. Babe Ruth, Michael Jordon, Tiger Woods, Lance: paltry in comparison.

    Interstates/Freeways ruined cities all throughout the US. I-5 use to be called the Minnesotan cause that is the street that use to be there.

    Sounds like the main complaint here is negative impact of automobiles. I am with you on that.

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  • oldcollegetry July 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I still fail to see how these bike lanes will negatively affect the community in question. If anything it will allow cyclists to more safely utilize the corridor. If it’s that the opponents don’t want people from other communities visiting theirs, then they should come out and state that rather than throwing out irrelevant arguments. The fact that her families properties were bought out by the city under imminent domain is irrelevant to this plan as there are no intentions to tear down any buildings.

    Maxey’s assertion that “What also needs to be addressed is the safety hazard that bicyclists pose to themselves, walkers and drivers by their lack of observance of traffic laws and “common courtesy”.” is false. What needs to be addressed is the safety of cyclists with a legal right to the road. Adding bike lanes isn’t going to contribute to ‘the lack of courtesy’ Maxey thinks cyclists practice.

    If what Maxey says is true; that she “…believe[s] that we all want and should have the safety and well-being, both physically and emotionally, of the entire community as a goal.” Then why isn’t this project moving forward? If she has some real concern about the safety of bike lanes vs road riding, then that’s another issue altogether and one that I’m sure the cycling community is more than willing to address. However, when a project is held up for the vague reasons Maxey lists (most of which are completely irrelevant to the issue of adding bike lanes to the corridor) then I feel she and others like her should take responsibility for the fact they are continuing to make the area less safe for cyclists.

    I would love to see a real explanation of the opposition to this project by Maxey and others in her community. So far all I see is “What we, my family, requested of the staff holding the meetings was to be notified so that we could be a part of the planning process since the changes will affect us.” Well, you’re welcome to attend these meetings and continue to give your input. Now what’s the hold up on creating a safe corridor for cyclists except your own bias against development in the city based on your families experiences with grossly different projects.

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    • are July 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      and again, i think poryourow and vanderslice should be given an opportunity to rebut the suggestion that they refused ms. maxey or anyone “an opportunity to be part of the discussion.” the allegation seems unlikely in view of how this process was rolled out.

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    • wsbob July 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

      “…The fact that her families properties were bought out by the city under imminent domain is irrelevant to this plan as there are no intentions to tear down any buildings. …” oldcollegetry

      It’s not irrelevant. The bike lane may be, so to speak, the tip of the ice berg. The bike plan’s construction isn’t knocking down any buildings, but people characterizing it as part of a movement that’s likely to further disrupt and displace historically less upwardly mobile residents of the NoPo neighborhood are probably correct.

      They’re looking for the city to do something to counteract that impending force, pleading with people to recognize the pattern. Instead, consideration of what Maxey explains, reverts to superficial inspection and dismissal, referring to the bike plan as merely ‘lines on the street’. Other people commenting to this story have attempted to isolate some of her statements in order to draw a charge of prejudice against people that ride bikes, even though Maxey herself rides a bike:

      “…By the way, I, too, am a bike rider and an enthusiastic walker. …”

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      • oldcollegetry July 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm

        But HOW does adding this bike lane factor in? Your assertion that “the bike lane may be the tip of the iceberg” is still unfounded. How exactly should the neighborhood be protected in your opinion? By halting development of community infrastructure intended to provide safer, low-cost transportation? It seems to be that a lower income community (myself being in that category) would welcome increased bicycle infrastructure which is one of the most affordable modes of transportation available.

        Where is your evidence that “The bike plan’s construction isn’t knocking down any buildings, but people characterizing it as part of a movement that’s likely to further disrupt and displace historically less upwardly mobile residents of the NoPo neighborhood are probably correct.” I certainly agree on your first point, but is there something I’m missing in the cities plans that entail they’re going to make a conscious effort to drive residents out of the neighborhood? If making an area more livable and investing money in making it a better place is a bad thing, please explain why.

        I understand Maxey says she’s a cyclist which is why I’m even more puzzled about her position. Being a cyclist myself and dealing with several near misses riding in North Portland I’d think a safer means of getting around would be welcome with open arms by Maxey.

        I’m not arguing that Maxey’s family wasn’t wronged. What I’m arguing is that I don’t believe there is a link between the construction of a freeway years ago along with the imminent domain issues involved and the addition of a bike lane. I’ve yet to hear any argument beyond comparisons of this plan to past instances of completely unrelated construction projects. I see no evidence in Maxey’s statements or yours that indicate this bike lane will be a threat to the existing residents. On the contrary I feel it will end up being of great benefit to the people who regularly commute in these neighborhoods.

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  • Randall Sewell July 27, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Well that sounded like a decently thought-out response, right up to the good old blame-the-victim.

    “What also needs to be addressed is the safety hazard that bicyclists pose to themselves, walkers and drivers by their lack of observance of traffic laws…”

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    • Chris I July 27, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Exactly. As far as “posing risks to themselves”, I think she is completely wrong. Over 30,000 auto drivers killed themselves in the U.S. last year, either through actions of their own, or actions of their peers. I saw three seperate car accidents on my ride home yesterday. I’m tired of dealing with prejudiced people, that appear to believe that bikes are some sort of danger to themselves or others.

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      • middle of the road guy July 29, 2011 at 10:21 am

        Well thankfully this issue is just with Williams street, and not about the purported 30,000 pedestrians killed by vehicles nationwide.

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    • oldcollegetry July 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      What a phenomenally well thought out response you came back with Randall! How exactly am I “blaming the victim”? Who is the victim here and how are they victimized?

      You apparently took the time to read my response, but not the time to analyze it or respond with any substance.

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      • oldcollegetry July 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm

        My apologies Randall. I thought you were responding to my post and then claiming it was cyclists who were the problem. I guess I’m the one who needs to practice my reading comprehension!

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  • Thomas Le Ngo July 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Great statement, Donna. Thanks for speaking out. And bravo to Jonathan for posting this.

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  • BURR July 27, 2011 at 11:20 am

    are
    frankly i would like to hear a slightly more specific statement of the rudeness encountered — or i would rather not hear imagined rudeness reported.

    For example, leaving the bike lane to pass other cyclists, avoid parked car doors or debris in the bike lane, or to pass a right-turning motorist on the left, while potentially disconcerting to a following or an overtaking motorist, is all nevertheless legal cycling behavior.

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    • are July 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      sorry, i meant encountered by ms. maxey when she asked PBoT to bring her into the process

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      • BURR July 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm

        still, she has claimed that cyclists don’t obey the traffic laws; I’d like to know how well she really understands the traffic laws for cyclists.

        Plus, if I was a stronger cyclist and used this route regularly, I’d probably be tempted to jump the lights, too, just to avoid riding with the motorists as much as possible.

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        • oldcollegetry July 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm

          I’m really puzzled as to how she feels cyclists don’t obey traffic laws as well. I’ve commuted in several cities and cyclists here are probably the most respectful I’ve encountered. Some people misconstrue safe and legal cycling with being unsafe simply because they’re worried about being a ‘bother’ and they themselves are afraid of cycling in such a manner. That’s fine if someone wants to ride next to some car doors so you don’t inconvenience anyone, but I’d prefer to ride safely. Regardless, if it’s “taking the lane” or “riding too fast” or any number of reasons I’ve been told constitute unsafe cycling then wouldn’t a bike lane help with this? There wasn’t much in her response actually addressing the issue of the bike lane.

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  • Kirk July 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Wonderful explanation!

    Let’s use our minds to determine what a safe street should be.

    The goal of this project is to specifically HELP the neighborhood – whereas older projects have HURT the neighborhood. We can all agree on that.

    Let’s include everybody, and let’s do it right, the first time.

    Thank you Ms. Maxey!

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  • John Landolfe July 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks, Donna, for illuminating me on your perspective. You make a lot of valid points. I agree that some of the people arguing this debate have been insensitive to the history and culture in the neighborhood. I just think it’s unfortunate that some of the people who have taken the most heat, on both sides of the issue, are those willing to show up at meetings or put their names to a personal perspective. I hope we can come to a solution together.

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  • Joe July 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Finally, someone talking about concrete design issues (ie. wanting more crosswalks, clarifying the cyclists’ behavior, etc.). How can the City “listen” to the community if they don’t bring these concrete issues up? Instead, based on reporting of last meeting, we heard that meeting basically got shut down because a few people felt there was some sort of institutional racism going on. We are in a much different time than 50-60 years ago. It only moves us backwards to say this is a race issue. There appears to have been miscommunication about design issues. In my experience in the public sector, it’s usually the public that doesn’t listen to the full story (but not always). Hopefully everyone can listen to each other about concrete concerns related to the project. History lessons are great and relevant to an extent, but not the purpose of this project.

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  • Joe July 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Anyhow, I’m checking out of this project. It’s become so drawn out (like every other city project) that I can’t devote enough time or energy to keep up.

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  • wsbob July 27, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    oldcollegetry
    But HOW does adding this bike lane factor in? Your assertion that “the bike lane may be the tip of the iceberg” is still unfounded. How exactly should the neighborhood be protected in your opinion? By halting development of community infrastructure intended to provide safer, low-cost transportation? It seems to be that a lower income community (myself being in that category) would welcome increased bicycle infrastructure which is one of the most affordable modes of transportation available.
    Where is your evidence that “The bike plan’s construction isn’t knocking down any buildings, but people characterizing it as part of a movement that’s likely to further disrupt and displace historically less upwardly mobile residents of the NoPo neighborhood are probably correct.” I certainly agree on your first point, but is there something I’m missing in the cities plans that entail they’re going to make a conscious effort to drive residents out of the neighborhood? If making an area more livable and investing money in making it a better place is a bad thing, please explain why.
    I understand Maxey says she’s a cyclist which is why I’m even more puzzled about her position. Being a cyclist myself and dealing with several near misses riding in North Portland I’d think a safer means of getting around would be welcome with open arms by Maxey.
    I’m not arguing that Maxey’s family wasn’t wronged. What I’m arguing is that I don’t believe there is a link between the construction of a freeway years ago along with the imminent domain issues involved and the addition of a bike lane. I’ve yet to hear any argument beyond comparisons of this plan to past instances of completely unrelated construction projects. I see no evidence in Maxey’s statements or yours that indicate this bike lane will be a threat to the existing residents. On the contrary I feel it will end up being of great benefit to the people who regularly commute in these neighborhoods.

    To this story, and earlier ones on the Willimams Ave bike lane plan, in comments people have touched on the phenomena of gentrification being a force that can and has displaced residents.

    It’s a hard to pin down cause and effect phenomena, making it difficult to identify a direct link between something so seemingly benign as a bike lane, and long term residents of a neighborhood having to sell out and leave because property values and taxes rose to the point they could no longer stay.

    I’m not sure what the city and individual citizens could do for long term Williams Ave residents to counter the effect of gentrification, or ‘progress’, as some refer to the general phenomena. Maybe rent control, or a 50 year freeze on property taxes. That would at least give them some time.

    Somehow enable greater upward mobility for up and coming young people of color of the neighborhood, because…it if was they that were soon to be buying up the houses and businesses and making improvements to them, reception to the idea of bike lanes and other nice features would likely be much more enthusiastically supportive.

    If someone was not looking to have to leave their neighborhood, why would they support anything that would invite someone with comparatively far more money than they, to come into their neighborhood and buy up their and their neighborhood’s houses? Even if it was something so simple as a bike lane? A safer bike lane doesn’t mean a whole lot if you aren’t going to be able to stay in your neighborhood because of people buying everyone out due to a trend which the bike lane helped get rolling.

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    • oldcollegetry July 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      I appreciate the response! However, as you stated “It’s a hard to pin down cause and effect phenomena, making it difficult to identify a direct link.” Perhaps I’m naive, but I’d like to think that bike lanes help create more of a community. When you’re driving in your car you hardly have time to stop and look around. You miss out on a lot of the sights, sounds and smells of a neighborhood. On the contrary, when cycling you get to take all that in. I don’t see a link between advocating cycling (with the addition of this bike lane) and driving people out of their neighborhoods.

      Maybe if there were more time spent encouraging cycling in the community, then more residents would be on board. I don’t even want to get into the issues Maxey brought up with “the safety hazard that bicyclists pose to themselves, walkers and drivers by their lack of observance of traffic laws and common courtesy.” Were she to provide some examples I may be apt to listen, but it sounds to me like she may not understand cycling laws. It’s completely within a cyclists right (and indeed is usually the safest course of action) to ride in the lane EVEN if there were a bike lane present. I’ve been yelled at by drivers many times for my supposed “reckless driving” when I’m simply driving in the most predictable and safest manner possible. Swerving over to the shoulder in between parked cars because you’re “inconveniencing” a motorist behind you is NOT safe cycling.

      Listen, I do understand the concerns with gentrification and definitely encourage residents of the city to attend these meetings and add their 2 cents. However, I’ve yet to see a bit of evidence that adding a bike lane is going to be detrimental to the community and in my opinion it seems it will do quite the opposite.

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      • wsbob July 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm

        “…I don’t see a link between advocating cycling (with the addition of this bike lane) and driving people out of their neighborhoods. …” oldcollegetry

        Not ‘cycling’ per se, but bike lane infrastructure, particularly that which, in this case, displaces a main lane of travel primarily used by the dominant mode of personal travel for this neighborhood: the car.

        As others have commented previously, bike lanes have to some extent become seen as signs indicating communities in the transition of gentrification. Communities with generally low economic income go years and years with little infrastructure improvements…like those streets out in…I think it’s Lents, or felony flats…that are still gravel, no sidewalks or streetlamps.

        Then a new different segment of population, one with money comes along, riding bikes down an old neighborhood’s street, causing a very visible, conspicuous, appealing demand for room on the road that didn’t exist prior. Boom! Now the city at last seems to have money for improvements to the neighborhood.

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        • oldcollegetry July 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm

          I can see some of the frustration being justified here, but again a bike is quite a bit more affordable than a motor vehicle. To suggest it’s only residents outside this neighborhood that commute by bike seems a stretch to me. Additionally, as some other commenters have pointed out, I feel that there is some bias in classifying certain residents as part of a community and other residents as not. No neighborhood “belongs” to any one group and to say that the main concern with the project is the influx of another seems, well, a bit biased.

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          • wsbob July 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm

            “… To suggest it’s only residents outside this neighborhood that commute by bike seems a stretch to me. Additionally, as some other commenters have pointed out, I feel that there is some bias in classifying certain residents as part of a community and other residents as not. No neighborhood “belongs” to any one group and to say that the main concern with the project is the influx of another seems, well, a bit biased.” oldcollegetry

            You don’t have to take my, or anyone else’s suggestion of what ethnic group predominately makes up and defines this neighborhood. Make your own observations.

            Just ride your bike over there, or drive your car, park it and walk around. Take note of who is walking around on the sidewalks, who is coming in out of the shops an businesses. Stick around for rush hour, on Williams Ave, and see for yourself what color the people riding bikes are. Think about whether the people you’re seeing, live in the neighborhoods around Williams where the bike lane is planned, or whether they’re living in neighborhoods or cities beyond.

            Read LGM’s comment, Fact #1:

            http://bikeportland.org/2011/07/26/a-williams-ave-resident-addresses-history-traffic-safety-issues-56815#comment-1898636

            “As a longtime African-American resident of this community (over 40 years), let me see if I can shed some light. What follows may seem like sweeping generalizations to you, but given that I have over 46 years of anecdotal experience under my belt I feel qualified to make these statements:

            Fact #1) Black people for the most part just aren’t that into biking as a primary mode of transportation …” LGM

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      • Ian Olsen July 30, 2011 at 10:27 am

        Read the article below and integrate this knowledge with my post. There is crisis in Portland’s “black” population privileged birthed from white supremacy and internalized white supremacy. “White” people are generally without understanding of this fact.

        http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/28/wealth_gap_between_minorities_and_white

        This subject is about the living history of white supremacy in Portland for “blacks” and about bicycles for “whites.” Because “white” people NEVER discuss our own participation in the white supremacist construct we don’t put things into their proper context when confronted.

        Ms Maxey,I get it completely but I have no fear of the truth in any direction. 90% of your “white” brothers and sisters refuse to look in the mirror of racism where I am not. So I will just tell MY truth.
        —————————————————–
        Here is a true to life statement that illustrates my point.

        “Black” person:

        Turning Williams into a bicycle only road is going to keep me off one of the streets that I have been driving on my whole life. Gentrification has moved all my friends and family out of our neighborhood and into Gresham. “White people” have been doing this to my people since the 1940’s. This bike lane represents the white supremacy that has oppressed my people ever since coming over in slave ships. “White” people care more about dogs and bikes more than they do “black” people. They refuse to look at their own participation in white supremacy let alone acknowledge that it even exists.

        “White” person:

        I can’t believe anyone would be against a short road for bicycles. Seems crazy not to want one. I moved into the community I want to help it’s development by riding a bike and I believe it is the right thing to do. Wait you said race issue? How can this be a race issue in any way? I’m not racist I love everyone. I voted for President Obama. Wait you are clearly conflating the issue because this is about transportation and safety not skin color. Why is she so angry? Oh, she has a grudge about “whites” moving into her neighborhood and that is her personal problem that I had nothing to do with. Racism is not over I know but this is not a race issue.

        ——————————————————-
        “Whites” don’t have to conceptualize skin color in this issue but “blacks” absolutely have to. This incredible disparity in acknowledging white supremacy is proof of it’s presence. I believe that “whites” including myself should work to end this evil construct because it is the right thing to do. Trust me when I say that sadly, 90% of our “white” brothers and sisters could truly careless about gentrification, poverty, and it’s impact on Portland’s “black” people and that is just shameful.

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        • Nancy July 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm

          Well said.

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  • LGM July 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    “Well put. But I still fail to see how re-striping Williams to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists constitutes an offense to the neighborhood to the degree that Ms. Maxey needs to invoke the long history of racist auto and business oriented development.”
    ———————————————————–
    As a longtime African-American resident of this community (over 40 years), let me see if I can shed some light. What follows may seem like sweeping generalizations to you, but given that I have over 46 years of anecdotal experience under my belt I feel qualified to make these statements:

    Fact #1) Black people for the most part just aren’t that into biking as a primary mode of transportation – never have, and I’m feel pretty safe in saying, never will. This may be utterly incomprehensible to you, but it is a fact. We drive. We like our cars. We like driving our kids around in cars. That is not to say that Black folks don’t like bikes and don’t occasionally bike through town themselves. But stand on any corner along N. Williams Ave and do your own demographic study of who is biking – there are very few Black folks biking. Yes biking is healthy and we know that. Attempts to “educate” us on the wonderful benefits of biking in order to solicit our support for this project feels very much like the historical “missionaries” that came to Africa usually with this intent: “If you only knew what you were missing by not being just like us, you’d change your ways”. It condescending and disrespectful. It’s why I always say that Portland has a “myth of diversity” – the majority culture here (read: White folks) is happy to be among diverse cultures, as long as those cultures act like them. I don’t have to be like you to be me.

    2) There’s a fair number of Black folks who are STILL upset that a lane was removed on Vancouver Ave without buy-in from this community to make room for that bike lane. As a matter of fact, I vividly remember the morning I was driving S. on Vancouver St. going to work and me and several other cars almost crashed into each other because we had NO idea a lane had disappeared overnight! (absolutely TRUE story!)

    3) Given the very real and present history of this neighborhood (gentrification, racist realty practices, back door schemes perpetuated on longtime Black residents, and a string of broken promises), and in light of my point #1, removing a lane for cars to make room for more bikes feels like a “nod” to the majority culture while ignoring the desires of longtime (read African-American) residents. Many African-American’s in this neighborhood (more than you’ve seen show up at meetings thus far) do not want to endure the traffic hell that will ensue by removing one lane of traffic on N. Williams. We want to keep it 2 lanes. Will the city acquiesce to the biker’s wishes in spite of our wishes? And if they do, yes, the city will hear a backlash from the Black community.

    Now I realize this will be highly frustrating for many of you to hear, but I’ve tried to lay this out, respectfully, from my vantage point (and the vantage point of many others I assure you).

    Thanks for letting me share. Peace.

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    • are July 28, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      people still upset about a lane being removed on vancouver. and i do understand the objection to having this stuff done without community input. but can i ask this: do you find that vancouver is in fact more difficult to navigate by car than it was before the lane was removed? and if so, where and how? or is it only about the process and the disrespect?

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      • Ian Olsen July 30, 2011 at 10:14 am

        Read this and integrate this knowledge with my post. There is crisis in Portland’s “black” population and you say Ms Maxey is doing the disservice to the community. You could not be more wrong. How privileged we are without understanding. Afterwards reflect to see the folly in your statements. Odds are you won’t say a word back.

        http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/28/wealth_gap_between_minorities_and_white

        This subject is about the living history of white supremacy in Portland for “blacks” and about bicycles for “whites.” Because “white” people NEVER discuss our own participation in the white supremacist construct we don’t put things into their proper context when confronted.

        Ms Maxey,I get it completely but I have no fear of the truth in any direction. 90% of your “white” brothers and sisters refuse to look in the mirror of racism where I am not. So I will just tell MY truth.
        —————————————————–
        Here is a true to life statement that illustrates my point.

        “Black” person:

        Turning Williams into a bicycle only road is going to keep me off one of the streets that I have been driving on my whole life. Gentrification has moved all my friends and family out of our neighborhood and into Gresham. “White people” have been doing this to my people since the 1940’s. This bike lane represents the white supremacy that has oppressed my people ever since coming over in slave ships. “White” people care more about dogs and bikes more than they do “black” people. They refuse to look at their own participation in white supremacy let alone acknowledge that it even exists.

        “White” person:

        I can’t believe anyone would be against a short road for bicycles. Seems crazy not to want one. I moved into the community I want to help it’s development by riding a bike and I believe it is the right thing to do. Wait you said race issue? How can this be a race issue in any way? I’m not racist I love everyone. I voted for President Obama. Wait you are clearly conflating the issue because this is about transportation and safety not skin color. Why is she so angry? Oh, she has a grudge about “whites” moving into her neighborhood and that is her personal problem that I had nothing to do with. Racism is not over I know but this is not a race issue.

        ——————————————————-
        “Whites” don’t have to conceptualize skin color in this issue but “blacks” absolutely have to. This incredible disparity in acknowledging white supremacy is proof of it’s presence. I believe that “whites” including myself should work to end this evil construct because it is the right thing to do. Trust me when I say that sadly, 90% of our “white” brothers and sisters could truly careless about gentrification, poverty, and it’s impact on “black” people and that is just shameful.

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  • q`Tzal July 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    All we have to do prevent this problem is stop all economic and population growth.

    Good luck!

    As long as we multiply, spread, consume and destroy like a metaphorical viral strain we can expect that we will injure and kill ourselves off in our struggle to succeed.
    If we want to lay any claim to being superior to simple animals, capable of subsuming instinctual territorial impulses, we will need to lay to rest our disguised Manifest Destiny philosophy and ALL work together.

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  • ta July 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I’m pissed too! I listened to Ms. Maxey’s statements during that PBOT meeting on an audio recording, and read pretty much everything that has been written about it since then. What I hear is she does not like white people riding bikes through her neighborhood, and she has a very large chip on her shoulder from a life of experiencing racially discriminatory events. I’m pissed racisim has made her bitter. I wish everyone grew up being treated equally, but some things can’t be undone. I dislike that everyone is tiptoeing around the stalling, or, more likely, the killing of the Williams bike lane widening/driving lane removal project, because racism was brought up. Ms. Maxey and the local preacher/spokesman (can’t remember his name, sorry) have not made a single valid transportation argument against the Williams project. They only state that people who drive cars on Williams should have two lanes, and the black community is uncomfortable with so many white people passing through and moving in the neighborhood. The neighborhood most likely has lost an opportunity for practical transportation improvement, that probably would have increased local business profits, and real estate value.

    The fact is, a traffic study was performed, and the new bike lane/road configuration would have improved multi-use transportation efficiency. This is urban transportation infrastructure progress. It is expensive owning and operating a motor vehicle, and everyone should have an opportunity to get around town without one. Using the bicycle with mass transit enables one to get around a large territory in the city. Concerning the city’s spending criteria, I would like the city to clarify where the money is coming from for the project. It is probably mostly federal money for bicycle transportation, and the future is not looking very bright for more bicycle transportation federal money. Ms. Maxey is actually doing a disservice to the neighborhood. She should encourage more city interest in making the neighborhood more livable for everyone. Portland is not near a racist a city as most other cities in the US. I think 85% of the people in Portland voted for President Obama. Integration is good. Segregation is divisive, isolating, and leads to people feeling uncomfortable in other cultures.

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    • Ian Olsen July 29, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      Read this and integrate this knowledge with my post. There is crisis in Portland’s “black” population and you say Ms Maxey is doing the disservice to the community. You could not be more wrong. How privileged we are without understanding. Afterwards reflect to see the folly in your statements. Odds are you won’t say a word back.

      http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/28/wealth_gap_between_minorities_and_white

      This subject is about the living history of white supremacy in Portland for “blacks” and about bicycles for “whites.” Because “white” people NEVER discuss our own participation in the white supremacist construct we don’t put things into their proper context when confronted.

      Ms Maxey,I get it completely but I have no fear of the truth in any direction. 90% of your “white” brothers and sisters refuse to look in the mirror of racism where I am not. So I will just tell MY truth.
      —————————————————–
      Here is a true to life statement that illustrates my point.

      “Black” person:

      Turning Williams into a bicycle only road is going to keep me off one of the streets that I have been driving on my whole life. Gentrification has moved all my friends and family out of our neighborhood and into Gresham. “White people” have been doing this to my people since the 1940’s. This bike lane represents the white supremacy that has oppressed my people ever since coming over in slave ships. “White” people care more about dogs and bikes more than they do “black” people. They refuse to look at their own participation in white supremacy let alone acknowledge that it even exists.

      “White” person:

      I can’t believe anyone would be against a short road for bicycles. Seems crazy not to want one. I moved into the community I want to help it’s development by riding a bike and I believe it is the right thing to do. Wait you said race issue? How can this be a race issue in any way? I’m not racist I love everyone. I voted for President Obama. Wait you are clearly conflating the issue because this is about transportation and safety not skin color. Why is she so angry? Oh, she has a grudge about “whites” moving into her neighborhood and that is her personal problem that I had nothing to do with. Racism is not over I know but this is not a race issue.

      ——————————————————-
      “Whites” don’t have to conceptualize skin color in this issue but “blacks” absolutely have to. This incredible disparity in acknowledging white supremacy is proof of it’s presence. I believe that “whites” including myself should work to end this evil construct because it is the right thing to do. Trust me when I say that sadly, 90% of our “white” brothers and sisters could truly careless about gentrification, poverty, and it’s impact on “black” people and that is just shameful.

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  • Ian Olsen July 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    This subject is about the living history of white supremacy in Portland for “blacks” and about bicycles for “whites.” Because “white” people NEVER discuss our own participation in the white supremacist construct we don’t put things into their proper context when confronted.

    Ms Maxey,I get it completely but I have no fear of the truth in any direction. 90% of your “white” brothers and sisters refuse to look in the mirror of racism where I am not. So I will just tell MY truth.
    —————————————————–
    Here is a true to life statement that illustrates my point.

    “Black” person:

    Turning Williams into a bicycle only road is going to keep me off one of the streets that I have been driving on my whole life. Gentrification has moved all my friends and family out of our neighborhood and into Gresham. “White people” have been doing this to my people since the 1940’s. This bike lane represents the white supremacy that has oppressed my people ever since coming over in slave ships. “White” people care more about dogs and bikes more than they do “black” people. They refuse to look at their own participation in white supremacy let alone acknowledge that it even exists.

    “White” person:

    I can’t believe anyone would be against a short road for bicycles. Seems crazy not to want one. I moved into the community I want to help it’s development by riding a bike and I believe it is the right thing to do. Wait you said race issue? How can this be a race issue in any way? I’m not racist I love everyone. I voted for President Obama. Wait you are clearly conflating the issue because this is about transportation and safety not skin color. Why is she so angry? Oh, she has a grudge about “whites” moving into her neighborhood and that is her personal problem that I had nothing to do with. Racism is not over I know but this is not a racist issue.

    ——————————————————-
    “Whites” don’t have to conceptualize skin color in this issue but “blacks” absolutely have to. This incredible disparity in acknowledging white supremacy is proof of it’s presence. I believe that “whites” work to end this evil construct because it is the right thing to do.

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    • spare_wheel July 30, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Word.

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  • ta July 30, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Working on a response. I like listening to doctor Harris, from Howard University. I will say, bicycling infrastructure probably will increase the housing values in the neighborhood.

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