Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

County-sponsored ‘Race Talks’ series to tackle N Williams project

Posted by on October 31st, 2011 at 3:02 pm

The event will include facilitated group discussions.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Race Talks, a discussion series sponsored by Multnomah County, will tackle the complex and sensitive topic of how race has impacted a local transportation project.

The free event, “Coming Together on North Williams Avenue: Reconciling Neighborhood’s Past with Proposed Bike Lane” will be held at McMenamins Kennedy School Gym on Tuesday, November 8th.

The format of the event will be short presentations by four panelists, some time for Q & A, and then a facilitated discussion among the audience. The discussions are moderated by trained volunteers from the non-profit group Uniting to Understand Racism and Portland’s Intergroup Dialogue program.

The event is co-organized by Donna Maxey. You might recall Maxey’s name from our reporting back in July when the specter of racism first reared its head in the Williams Avenue project.

I’ve accepted an invitation from Ms. Maxey to be one of the panelists. I’m looking forward to this discussion and to sharing my perspective on this issue. I hope you’ll consider showing up and taking part.

UPDATE, 4:48pm:
Here are the other panelists:

  • Noni Causey: North Williams Traffic Operations Safety Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee Member; Education Specialist; small business owner
  • Ellen Vanderslice: City of Portland, Department of Transportation; Project manager, North Williams Traffic Operations Safety Project
  • Thomas Robinson: Photo historian, lecturer; owner of HistoricPhotoArchive.com, which features remarkable and rare images of the historic Albina neighborhood through which N. Williams Avenue passes.
    RACE TALKS: Coming Together on North Williams Avenue: Reconciling Neighborhood’s Past with Proposed Bike Lane”
    Tuesday November 8, 2011, 7:00 to 9:00 pm (Doors open at 6:00, come early for networking)
    McMenamins Kennedy School Gym (5736 NE 33rd Ave.)
    (503) 249-3983
    More info here

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Kiel johnson
    Kiel johnson October 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I’ll be there! I wonder if OPB will do a follow up.

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    • Hugh Johnson October 31, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      Good luck with this. As long anyone with white skin is still held accountable for slavery and oppression this problem will never go away. It seems impossible to move on.

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      • grumpcyclist October 31, 2011 at 10:48 pm

        Never mind that the white “progressive” community in Portland still is ignoring the desires of people of color who live in the N Williams area… let’s pretend this is all some illogical complaint that has nothing to do with the present and recent past.

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        • Hugh Johnson November 1, 2011 at 6:21 am

          well in the that case I’m glad to see white progressives are guilty of something for change.

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          • middle of the road guy November 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm


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        • Chris I November 1, 2011 at 8:33 am

          Color should not be a factor. Anything that impacts the community should be approved based on majority numbers. If a majority of the people want the change, then make the change. You can’t give certain people more value based on the color of their skin.

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          • middle of the road guy November 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

            You are talking about equality, which seems anathema to many people. God forbid we have the same standards for all people.

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          • WhitePDXer November 8, 2011 at 11:21 am

            LOL – Riiiiight. So white people get to dictate the rules because they are higher in number. That’s worked well so far. (Hopefully you’re getting my sarcasm here).

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      • 007 November 1, 2011 at 9:38 am

        Good to see some people of color involved in something, though I don’t understand why a bike lane which promotes safety and improves bicycling in the longterm future for everyone in the n’hood is so controversial.
        My experience is that Big Brothers (especially) Big Sisters and countless other organizations and causes certainly have a greater need of minority involvement.
        But it takes more effort to be a solution than a hindrance.

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  • SilkySlim October 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    “Coming Together on North Williams Avenue: Reconciling Neighborhood’s Past with Proposed Bike Lane”

    The Onion called, they want their headline back.

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  • q`Tzal October 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Here’s hoping for discussion that is rational and productive and not simply accusatory and divisive.

    For these talks to be productive they need to focus on the elimination of current and future race issues and not on retaliatory measures against cyclists as a proxy for the Oppressor race.

    Racism and discrimination can go both ways.
    It would be a dishonor to their predecessors for the North Williams Avenue coalition members to allow themselves to be drug down to the level of those that committed racist acts against them in the past.

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    • el timito October 31, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      Umm, actually no – racism can’t “go both ways.” A system that is built on preferences and privilege for white folks does not go into reverse when a few Black folks demand consideration.

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      • q`Tzal October 31, 2011 at 5:04 pm

        Minority is minority no matter the skin color.

        Racism is perpetrated by those of the majority that are immature intellectually and/or ethically.

        It should be little surprise that this “white boy” (racial slurs deleted) has been harassed when cycling through areas in Portland, multiple times.

        I’ve been witness and staunch critic of Anglo-American stupidity, in all its varied hues, against: blacks, Asians, Jewish, “Blue vs Grey” and many others. Most disturbing was the US active duty military culture that could in one breath be inclusive of blacks, Asians, Jewish, Catholics and even atheists but then issue blanket death threats to anyone of Muslim heritage.

        This hatred of Muslims was echoed equally from whites, blacks and every other ethnicity represented in the US Armed Forces that I saw.

        It is apparent that racism by my ignorant ancestors is having an impact on my life and other Anglo-American whites even though we haven’t done a single thing to contribute to racist bias.

        If my crime is being white, simply existing, and I am to be held at a disadvantage in negotiations regarding public works projects simply because I am white

        … then THAT is racism.

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        • neighbor October 31, 2011 at 6:57 pm

          I’m with El Timito on this one.
          It is NOT true that “Minority is minority no matter the skin color.”

          In South Africa (And in neighborhoods in Portland that are majority nonwhite), Whites have been the minority but have enjoyed having privileges of class, political and social power, etc.

          Big thanks to the Kennedy School for hosting these talks. They also host history talks Monday nights (I think at 7pm) FREE

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          • Hugh Johnson November 1, 2011 at 10:16 am

            Ironic it’s at Kennedy School. I can’t think of a more “white” establishment.

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      • middle of the road guy November 2, 2011 at 3:38 pm

        demanding consideration and hatred are two different things. It can both ways quite easily – people don’t want to say that because they are afraid to criticize the behavior of minorities, even when it is obvious an *ism.

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  • cold worker October 31, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Here’s hoping for a discussion that gets people to realize this traffic/lane/safety change has nothing to do with race and the history and future change of the neighborhood.

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    • Chuck October 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      Translation: Hopefully this shuts up those uppity folks who have the audacity to question this project.

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    • Natalie October 31, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      “Here’s hoping for an unequal discussion that focuses on and celebrates only my perspective.”

      A true discussion doesn’t need a concrete decision or unanimous agreement at the end. It can just be about furthering understanding of each other’s perspective.

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      • sorebore October 31, 2011 at 9:49 pm

        @Natalie… i believe your perspective on the comment by “coldworker” is a bit more inclusive. I don’t believe his comment was meant to be elitist, as implied by “Chuck”. Here’s to wishing well to all involved in these discussions with the hope of a harmonious Portland.
        P.S. Bicycling is for everyone! peace y’all

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    • 9watts November 1, 2011 at 10:56 am

      “Here’s hoping for a discussion that gets people to realize this traffic/lane/safety change has nothing to do with race and the history and future change of the neighborhood.”
      Do you really believe that a policy proposal such as the (admittedly innocuous sounding) one we’re talking about here can be viewed without reference to the history of city policy in this part of town? Do you really think that racism and gentrification and city policy are either unrelated, or have no bearing on this matter?
      Maybe you should come and listen, and perhaps you’d learn a few things. I’m pretty sure I would.

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      • huey lewis November 1, 2011 at 9:34 pm

        Gentrification is weeeellllllll underway. A change in lane formation on Williams is needed. For the safety of road users. This neighborhood is not what it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 50 years ago. And I’ll bet you anything you like it won’t be the same 10 years from now, 20 years and 50 years from now. Try as you might, change will and does occur. It’s a constant. You know this, you’ve lived this. It is always happening. It’s not always welcome and it serves some better than others. That’s a fact. A tragic fact for some, great for others. So it goes. But traffic safety is what concerns this project, not hurt feelings, not what this neighborhood was, is, and what it’s going to become. If one auto lane and a big ass bike lane on Williams calms traffic and makes it safer for road users, I don’t care about hurt feelings. I realize that will read as totally horrible and as racist. That’s your knee jerk reaction. Meh.

        If gentrification and the changing face of Williams is a concern then where is the backlash against all the new building development? That is driving gentrification more than this bike lane crap.

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  • le sigh October 31, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    “You might recall Maxey’s name from our reporting back in July when the specter of racism first reared its head in the Williams Avenue project.”

    The phrasing here is dismissive and I think doesn’t offer much respect for the (legitimate) concerns Donna Maxey and Michelle Depass brought up. Maxey’s engagement and commitment to the process is admirable in the face of commentary that divorces the gentrification and whitening of the Vancouver/Williams corridor (and N/NE Portland as well) from the infrastructure changes that encourage it.

    Maxey made it clear that cyclists are not a proxy for the oppressor race, they’re just one of the more visible facets, a connection I totally understand. When I was living out in deep Southeast, in the part of town detailed in WW’s recent article “The Other Portland,” I was very often the only cyclist on the road for my commute until I rode past Cesar Chavez. When I moved into a gentrifying part of the city, my daily encounters with cyclists mushroomed, something I connect both with safety and facilities, but the relative wealth of both neighborhoods. To me, it seemed like Maxey was making very real connections between people for whom infrastructures are being changed (basically, through traffic and new to the area people like me) and the people whose community would be negatively impacted (such as the members of the Life Change Christian Center).

    Engaging the community and listening to their concerns and incorporating that input into the final design seems like it would result in a much more successful and less disruptive project. I don’t think that these folks are sinking down to the level of the myriad people and institutions that are a part of Portland’s history to ask the city, the wider community and our cycling community to take a moment to consider and respond to their concerns in the overall design of the project.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 31, 2011 at 4:51 pm

      Sorry if you feel the phrasing is dismissive. I don’t agree with that and I certainly am not trying to make any judgment on Maxey or Depass’s opinions. My goal with this post was to keep it brief and focused on the event, not to delve into the issue itself. Hopefully you can come to the event next week. Thanks.

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      • janis November 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

        Jonathan, I think the phrase “when the specter of racism first reared its head” does show that you are making a judgement.

        Check out the definition of specter – a visible incorporeal spirit, especially one of a terrifying nature; ghost; phantom; apparition.
        2.some objector source of terror or dread: the specter of disease or famine.

        Personally, I am looking forward to the conversation.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm

          Thanks for the definition. The word just came to me and I think it fits. Racism is such a powerful thing. When it first appeared around this process, it changed the entire dialogue instantly.

          I’ll stick to my story as written and look forward to trying my best at the event to tiptoe around all the semantics and sensitivities and complexities this issue — and my role in it — entail.

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  • Natalie October 31, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I think it’s a great variety of panelists and am appreciative that you are joining the ranks. My one hope for this is that everyone listens to each other. There’s something very satisfying about sitting back and observing, thinking quietly, and limiting one’s own input to a fair amount so that everyone gets a chance to contribute. It’s not as immediately satisfying as a juicy, aggressive debate, but then again, I don’t think respect has ever been seen as the sexiest virtue in our society.

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  • adampdx October 31, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    More affordable cycling options and getting a lot more bikes to minority kids is a possible bridge to compromise on some of these disagreement.

    Bicycle prices have gone through the roof. Steve Jobs getting thrilled when he could walk into a bike store and buy any bike in the place made it to his eulogy. Finding a way to get good sturdy bikes in the hands of every person that wants to ride one will have to be part of these compromises.

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  • q`Tzal October 31, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I’m setting up a temporal transponder so that future historians know where and when to send the nuke after all the hatred, reprisals and blood oaths lead to the sort of intractability we see in the middle east.

    If we can’t peacefully resolve this we deserve no better.

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  • Justin Morton October 31, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    “RACE TALKS: Coming Together on North Williams Avenue: Reconciling Neighborhood’s Past with Proposed Bike Lane”

    This would also make for a great Portlandia sketch.

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  • are October 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    the simple fact is that as a white person you are living in a different world from that inhabited by a black person. if your imagination cannot grasp that, you are unlikely to benefit from this conversation. no one is asking you to be “accountable” for slavery. they are asking you to acknowledge the situation we all find ourselves in and to try to work together to find a path to justice and equity. if you remain in denial, you cannot help with the work.

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    • cold worker October 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      yes. but how is this a traffic safety issue?

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      • adampdx October 31, 2011 at 8:05 pm

        Oh… just about as much as “Driving Ms. Daisy” was movie about cars. Nothing is ever just about ______.

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    • q`Tzal October 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm

      if your imagination cannot grasp that, you are unlikely to benefit from this conversation.

      It might be difficult for your imagination to grasp but you don’t have to be black to be harassed.
      You don’t have to be black to be shunned.
      You don’t have to be black to be isolated socially and economically.
      You don’t have to be black to be attacked by your “peers” and have no redress with authorities.
      I know what each of these things and more is like INTIMATELY so don’t assume that you are the pinnacle of suffering simply because of the color of your skin.

      no one is asking you to be “accountable” for slavery.

      Actually, it seems like we are.

      they are asking you to acknowledge the situation we all find ourselves in and to try to work together to find a path to justice and equity.

      The racism issue in regards to the N Williams project references things that occurred IN THE PAST. They were real transgressions of grave impact but they WERE NOT committed by us.

      if you remain in denial, you cannot help with the work.

      If you remain close minded you cannot help either.
      I can really, truly, honestly and EMPIRICALLY say that I have not contributed to the issues to which I am being accused of.
      But if we are going to toss around psychological terms how about

      Persecutory delusions
      are a delusional condition in which the affected person believes they are being persecuted. Specifically, they have been defined as containing two central elements:
      The individual thinks that harm is occurring, or is going to occur.
      The individual thinks that the persecutor has the intention to cause harm.
      According to the DSM-IV-TR, persecutory delusions are the most common form of delusions in schizophrenia, where the person believes “he or she is being tormented, followed, tricked, spied on, or ridiculed.”

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      • are November 1, 2011 at 7:59 am

        try re-reading my comments from the assumption that they were written by a white male

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      • are November 1, 2011 at 8:17 am

        or do a similar DSM search on “narcissism”

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      • Sigma November 1, 2011 at 9:00 am

        People are holding you personally responsible for slavery? What a ridiculous straw-man argument.

        This isn’t about you, or slavery – it’s about the city government. the city government that has a very recent history of promoting gentrification in this neighborhood. The gigantic apartment complex at Williams and beech (the one for which the developers tore down 2 dilapidated but historically relevant buildings) received a $750,000 tax credit from the current city council. that’s only the most recent of many, many examples.

        This isn’t about you. Try to look beyond your own biases and see the real issues folks have, which are quite legitimate.

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        • q`Tzal November 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm

          I agree 100% about the gentrification impact.
          Unfortunately some in the North Williams anti-bike lane coalition have chosen to spin this as a racial issue. What happened to the businesses that claimed loudly that they had to have on street parking?

          It is not just a racial issue but part of a larger issue of poverty versus wealth. Our country’s Pursuit of Wealth allows disregard of those poverty stricken regardless of race.
          The insistence in our economy on continual growth places us in a situation much like was stated by the character Agent Smith “You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area.”

          Our insistence on growth at all costs will always put the poor at odds with the rich as the price of their existing living spaces is affected my market forces until they are driven out: it is a simple market driven function of capitalism. This is bad. We are stuck with it until we come up with something better.

          The racial blame game gets us no where but it does keep us distracted from the money makers.

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    • middle of the road guy November 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Okay, perhaps.

      And surely the reverse is true. That a black person’s perception is (pardon the term) colored by their environment and culture – which does not mean it is any more or less valid than anyone else’s.

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  • Omynoggin October 31, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Yeah. . . good luck with this. It’s become such a maligned issue I’m done with it.

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  • Chris October 31, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Not this again..

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  • sorebore October 31, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Let’s not forget that cycling “in gentrifying parts of the city ” are geographically closer to urban cores. It is without doubt a common problem all over our country that developers and bankers reap rewards of blight whenever possible. Perhaps the perspective that cyclist’s in and of themselves are responsible for this cultural reversal in large part is amiss. I for one grew up in one of the nations most famous “white flight cities”. The urban core with all it’s diversity was left a shell to repressed minority’s. As time went on, patches of this economic mess were reversed to benefit those with money and foresight to seize it. I chose to live “close in”, send my white child to school within blocks of our home (as apposed to other parents who send their kids across town ) and rent because I am not rich.
    Bicycling is a lifestyle that must be adopted by the uninitiated, it is not for everyone, as much as I wish it were. In my opinion, it will take discussions such as this to help all people see how it is we are where we are now. With that ,I might add that I see lots of expensive cars out in the “other Portland” owned by people of color, and lot’s of “liberal NoPo” parents sending their kids to Sunnyside or Buckman. go figure.

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  • Stephen Upchurch
    Stephen Upchurch October 31, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    In reading the comment thread from previous articles on this subject I, as a white male, came to what I believe is a deeper understanding of this issue and how it is connected to institutional racism in our nation by looking here…
    Thank you Kronda.

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  • Stephen Upchurch
    Stephen Upchurch October 31, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Link did not show up in the above comment. It is the website of Tim Wise. http://www.timwise.org

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  • Dude October 31, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Sounds like you got a panel all set up to tackle the problem in the hood. To bad instead of trying to “Tackle” it you all didn’t just ask us what we thought in the first place

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  • Andycigarettes November 1, 2011 at 10:00 am


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  • Frank November 1, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Oh for the love of god can we just widen the bike lane so we don’t crack our heads open on the way to work? Its a supply demand issue. Ethicity has ZERO to do with it, and this little “dialogue” (nearly gets sick) is giving credibility to an important issue that has nothing to do with cycling. How did you guys allow cycling to be a forum for this???

    Oh sorry, sorry, I’ll fall back into line.

    We should plan to have a few ad hoc powwows next week to discuss the meeting situation, vis-à-vis the project. The prioritized goal of these meetings will be to draw up a comprehensive road map for what we should be aiming for while avoiding the stumbling blocks we’ve encountered in the past. The point here is to take a step back and reevaluate how we do things here, on a macro level.Once we’ve highlighted a list of problems, we’re going to break up into smaller groups to tackle inter-group communication problems and idea bottlenecking, and then hopefully do some real blue-sky thinking.

    Pardon me, now I really am sick…

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  • JRB November 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Here we go again. If people are really interested in moving this dialogue forward, perhaps we can start with people refraining from demonizing anyone who holds a different opinion. I am particularly tired of anyone who supports the project being characterized as racist or oblivious to race and gentrification issues. Unless we are willing to accord every reasonable opinion respect, these discussions, whether at Race Talks or on bikeportland will devolve into meaningless blather with everybody shouting past each other.

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    • q`Tzal November 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      So what you are saying is the frame of reference for negotiation is X and X is:
      “0 < x < 1"
      where 0 and 1 are either extremes of debate?

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  • JRB November 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    So what you are saying is the frame of reference for negotiation is X and X is:”0 < x < 1″where 0 and 1 are either extremes of debate?

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    If I follow, you are asking whether I think the only fair resolution is if their is some compromisen on the project, e.g. it moves forward but on some reduced scale from what is currently planned. No, that is not what I am trying to say. I am not suggesting any particular resolution is better, whether that’s stop the project, build the project as originally designed, or something in between.

    What I am saying is that what we choose to communicate in discussions over community issues factors largely in the potential success of those discussions. Ultimately a decision is going to be made and that decision is much more likely to be broadly accepted, even by those who disagree, if people believe their concerns were heard, respected and considered.

    In watching and sometimes participating in the N. Williams debate, I see opponents and proponents dismiss each others opinions out of hand as the proudcts of racism or the misplaced anger over past injustices. You can support or oppose the project, but you shouldn’t ignore the fact that there are lots of thoughtful, well-meaning people on the other side of the debate from you. In an increasing polarized society where the possibility of having a civil disagreement is becoming more remote every day, what I am advocating for is less rhetoric and more understanding.

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  • q`Tzal November 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I am trying to ask question from the standpoint of neutrality.
    Hypothetical situation:
    () Suppose a person who is “white” is born on an uncharted island, grows up and survives based solely on the fruits of their own labor.
    () At some point they decide to leave, to come to that mythical land of opportunity: America.
    () This person ends up in Portland and their travels takes them on N Williams avenue frequently.
    () Mode of travel unspecified.
    () This imaginary person supports the installation of a bike lane.

    Does their unknowing support of a part of gentrification process make them part of the racial inequity at work in the North Williams neighborhood or is this person simply a pebble in an avalanche too late to vote on the outcome?

    Is this person, who has been outside the entire American racial injustice issue all their life up to now, suppose to accept:
    () not that “0” – they are not racist AND,
    () not that “1” – they are racist BUT,
    () that they are racist in some small degree in because verbal compromise needs to be made? ie 0 < x < 1?

    Is this person supposed to lie about their own internal motives just to mollify the issue of racism?

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    • JRB November 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      Lie? No. I am certainly not suggesting that anybody misrepresent their motivations to further compromise or resolution. I am suggesting that people be not so quick to ascribe ill-motives to others just because they disagree.

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    • are November 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

      taking your absurd hypothetical at face value, a person who is dropped into this situation with absolutely zero baggage can nonetheless make an effort to learn something about the situation he has been dropped into.

      a bike lane does not come into existence in a vacuum. why does your imaginary alien “support the installation of a bike lane” (which, incidentally, is not exactly the question on north williams, but let’s leave that aside for the moment). high volumes of motorized traffic, maybe? where does it come from? where is it going? who is going to use the bike lane? who lives near this street? what are their needs?

      but your underlying theme throughout this discussion has also been that the average american white male is somehow like your imaginary alien, who is dropped into this situation with no baggage. don’t blame me for slavery, etc.

      i would submit that on average, and of course everyone has her own story to tell, but on average an american white male has arrived at this moment with considerable material and social advantages that have not been available to the average american black female, or however you want to slice the demographics.

      and yes, in some degree these came to you because somebody else, four hundred years ago, for whom you are not morally responsible, did thus and such. deal with it.

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      • q`Tzal November 2, 2011 at 3:16 pm

        and yes, in some degree these came to you because somebody else, four hundred years ago, for whom you are not morally responsible, did thus and such. deal with it.

        Read American Holocaust by David Stannard.
        All of us who live HERE, NOW directly benefit from the enslavement and genocide of ethnicities and cultures that unable to defend themselves.

        Note current USA standard of living.
        It is supported by overseas economic and societal inequities that meet and exceed in cases the conditions that existed here.

        Doesn’t make what happened here right.
        By no means does any one here in this country have the moral high ground.

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        • middle of the road guy November 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm

          My people (the Jews) were held in bondage in Egypt. Where are MY reparations????

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          • sorebore November 5, 2011 at 12:25 am

            North Williams and Vancouver Ave. truly belong to the Chinook, Multnomah and Wappato. IMO. jus’ sayin’.

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        • are November 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm

          and here i was trying to educate you about inequities within this narrow slice. yes, the 99 pct. who are on the streets in this country are well within the one pct. on a global scale. anyway, it would seem that at some level you actually do “get” the argument, so i am not sure why you have been pushing back so hard.

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          • q`Tzal November 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm

            I don’t like to be pigeon holed or stereotyped.
            I suspect that the main reinforcing force for long term racial injustice stems from the natural homo sapiens tendency to stereotype people as a mental shortcut to knowing them as real, separate people.

            The internet has done wonderfully for both the instantaneous (nearly) access to info and the positive cultural changes that have occurred from the wholesale sharing of knowledge and experience.
            Unfortunately it has also helped to foster a balkinization of social and intellectual groups to a level unsustainable in meat space social interaction. People are now able to bury themselves in ideas, opinions and news sources that serve only to reinforce their view of reality.
            Unfortunately, again, these views have a nasty habit of being fantasy that they want to impose on the real world.

            The now constant bleating of extremist view points serve only to stop all societal action, progressive or otherwise, until those people can people can be brought back to reality or … cease to exist.
            It seems a lot of these extremist disagreements eventually end up in bloodshed.
            This I am determined to help stop.

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  • jim November 1, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I still like thew idea of moving the bike lane over one block. No more buses playing cat and mouse, children could use it without parents fearing for their safety, traffic lanes on Williams could be restored to a safer width (they are to skinny right now, count all the broken mirrors of trucks parked on williams)

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  • q`Tzal November 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    While driving (a mortal sin, I know) back from Troutdale to catch a sweat deal on Craigslist I heard a story on NPR that puts even our divisiveness here in to perspective.
    From the summary of the audio clip “Voters in Ohio go to the polls Tuesday to decide, among other issues, whether to keep the controversial law that stripped public unions of much of their collective bargaining powers”
    What puts our argument in new light is the fact that this measure has even unionized firefighters sharply divided.

    While we may not all agree on our current debate a small sign of progress of the “bike movement” might just be that we are arguing about an issue that does not directly impact the visceral experience of cycling; it affects everyone.
    Rather than geeky debates about Campy or other brands, tire widths, frame materials or any of the other esoterica that alienates “normal” people we are debating some thing with an impact on a majority.

    Now enough with seriousness; I’m off to debate Star Trek warp field dynamics with attention to practical application of Alcubierre drive theory.

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  • Hugh Johnson November 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    meh, steel is real.

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  • Karl Zenk November 3, 2011 at 12:47 am

    We recently moved from the Kenton neighborhood to Eugene. I used the Williams corridor to get to work for years fighting with the bus all the time. Down here they have simply moved the bike paths on the main streets to the left side of the street, no right hooks and no leap frogging of buses. Racism is alive and well in Portland and that needs to be addressed but creating workable thoroughfares should not be that difficult.

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    • gma November 3, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      I thank God for your comment. Why can’t the bike lane be moved? “Can we go get alone or are the city plans ALWAYS RIGHT?

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      • are November 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm

        last i heard putting the bike lane on the left was still under consideration here.

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  • WhitePDXer November 8, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Gentrification is Colonialism on a small scale. The key to all of this is to listen to the people who lived here before any of “us” (meaning white transplants from other areas) moved in. LISTEN. That’s the point of this whole talk tonight. You might find that it helps with the understanding much more than just posting defensive comments here.

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