Special gravel coverage

Mayoral hopefuls debate active transportation to sold-out crowd

Posted by on February 7th, 2012 at 11:10 am

Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, and Jefferson Smith on stage at Lincoln Hall.

The three leading candidates for Portland mayor took to the stage at Lincoln Hall on the campus of Portland State University last night. Organized by the PSU Planning Club and sponsored by a host of local transportation, land-use, and environmental advocacy groups, well over 400 people attended the event and organizers say they had to turn people away as the auditorium hit capacity.

It was packed.

The candidates — Eileen Brady, Jefferson Smith, and Charlie Hales — all represented themselves well and it’s clear that no matter who Portland picks as it’s next mayor, active transportation will not be ignored. All of the candidates spoke highly of maintaining and increasing our investments in transit service and making streets safer for walking and biking. That being said, key themes and differences emerged among them.

And, while one of the moderators reminded everyone that, since this is Portland, everyone needs to be “Really, really polite,” there was a minor sparring match between Brady and Smith.

The questions ran the gamut of transportation issues; from how to engage under-represented communities, to the 2030 Bike Plan, to the Columbia River Crossing project.

The night’s first question asked how the City should engage with low-income communities, people of color, and disabilities to make sure their transportation needs are prioritized. The answers each candidate gave reinforced their profile and set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Charlie Hales

Eileen Brady

Jefferson Smith

Hales’ answer drew on his experience as a former Portland City Commissioner in charge of the transportation bureau. He advocated a “sensitive” (modeled after the N. Williams Ave project) and “straightforward” approach that takes citizen input seriously, but that isn’t afraid to make a decision. Speaking of his experience taking MAX light rail to the airport, he said they held two meetings and then, “We closed the books and built the thing.”

As an east Portland resident, Smith seized the opportunity to address this question and spoke energetically and passionately about the need for “our budgets to be linked to our hearts and values.” Smith spoke about building a “broad-based coalition” and he repeated a common mantra in his campaign: “We’re all in this together.” His answer got a rousing applause from the crowd. Below is a recording of it so you can hear the spirit in his delivery…

[audio:jeff_equity.mp3|titles=Jefferson Smith on engaging communities]

Brady’s answer to the first question also played to her strengths. The candidate who has been endorsed by the Portland Business Alliance took a question about how to engage under-represented communities and turned it into an opportunity to talk about creating jobs.

“East of 82nd, they want bus service to be able to get to their jobs… We need to create a virtuous cycle of more jobs, which means more revenue for TriMet [because bus service is funded through a payroll tax].”

“My nightmare is that we’ll be left with green building with no one inside of them and streetcars without any passengers.”
— Eileen Brady

It’s clear that Brady wanted to make jobs and the economy her #1 theme — even at a debate about active transportation. She said she wants to “bust the myth” that, “you can’t have a progressive city and a vibrant city at the same time.” Her “nightmare,” she explained, is that without creating more jobs, “We’ll be left with green building with no one inside of them and streetcars without any passengers.”

When the debate shifted to new funding strategies to get PBOT out of their budget pinch, Smith and Brady had the most pointed exchange of the evening.

Saying “the gas tax is decreasing,” Smith proposed a slew of new revenue including a street maintenance fees (SMFs in wonk terms), a variable parking fee, and congestion pricing. He said the winning idea(s) should be based on our values and done in an equitable way.

Brady started off her answer by saying, “Jefferson, you have to do your homework.” Brady contested the assertion that the gas tax was decreasing. “Our gas tax revenues are up year over year,” she said. To Brady, the problem at PBOT isn’t a lack of revenue, it’s that the agency has “over committed to new projects.” She’d like to find money by squeezing more efficiencies out of PBOT and consolidating their various planning and policy groups “under single leadership.” Brady also advocated for further privatizing of PBOT’s Sunday Parkways event*.

(*NOTE: Sunday Parkways is currently 2/3 paid for by private funding. As for the gas tax question, the truth is that the amount of gas tax collected has bumped up because it was raised in 2009 (in HB 2001). However, as a source of funding overall, it is in steep decline and shows no sign of rebounding. Also, it was a drastically lower projection of gas tax revenue by the State of Oregon that put PBOT in a pinch. They had committed to projects based on rosy gas tax revenue projections that — because it is inadequate and not what it used to be — failed to materialize.)

“We can’t have ’20 minute neighborhoods’ if we have 50 minute bus service.”
— Charlie Hales

When pressed by a moderator for a specific revenue source, Brady said, “I think there’s more dollars there [at PBOT] than you know.”

Hales called the gas tax a “dinosaur” in the long run and advocated that we “move to some new system” and advocated a higher gas tax as a regional decision, not just in Portland.

Not surprisingly, all the candidates put a high priority on safety. When a question was asked about walking safety and sidewalk investments, I was surprised to hear both Brady and Smith mention that, due to funding realities, sidewalks won’t be built everywhere they’re needed. Instead, they both mentioned that in some cases, PBOT could just widen shoulders. Brady called that a “less expensive option,” and I heard jeers from several people sitting next to me (including a member of the City’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Smith also used the walking safety question to address Brady’s “homework” barb. “I appreciate the admonition to do my homework,” he countered, and then pointed out that Brady is, “the one person to talk about no new revenue is the one doing the most drum-thumping for the CRC and PSU Sustainability Center projects.”

When it comes to how our transportation priorities support our Climate Action Plan, each candidate offered a different idea.

Brady said we should build up our electric vehicle infrastructure, saying, “It will be one of my top priorities.”

Hales said the key to stemming climate change is, “EBC,” or “Everything But Cars.” He spoke of building out our transit system and having frequent bus service “across the entire city.” Hales also got in one of his several memorable lines with, “We can’t have ’20 minute neighborhoods’ if we have 50 minute bus service.”

Smith used the question to focus on “pedestrians,” a voting block he said is “sometimes forgotten because most people don’t identify with it so it’s much harder to build political power.” A lack of good walking access, according to Smith, is “a common denominator in a lot of problems we face.” We need to build and plan our city so that, “An 8-year old can walk to school and an 80-year old can walk to the store,” he said.

When the controversial CRC freeway expansion project was brought up, each candidate stuck to their positions.

Hales said he senses a “convergence around common sense” taking place with the project, that it “has to be sized to the funds available,” and that it “must have light rail to Clark County and first-class bike and pedestrian facilities.”

Smith wanted to talk about options to the current design. “What does plan b look like?” he asked. (Smith’s answer echoed the thoughts he shared with me in our interview published yesterday.)

Brady said we’ve come too far in planning the project to give up on it now. She called the $140 million we’ve already spent an example of “government run amok,” and added that, while it’d be “really easy to say, ‘let’s start over,'” she warned, “It may take us another 10 years to get back to the point we’re at right now.” After that line, a man in the crowd yelled, “Good!” and several people clapped.

“We should move on this project,” said Brady, “I want to push this through and get it done… We have the opportunity. I say, grab it!”

After the main questions, a moderator posed a question from a 5th grader in the audience who wanted to know what the City’s role could be in making cycling safer for families and school-aged children. Hales spoke about stepping up enforcement against people riding without lights and helmets, Smith brought up the need to tackle traffic speeds, and Brady said we should have the Safe Routes to Schools program at every school.

After the debate, I asked a few people during the reception what they thought. The reviews of the candidates’ performances were mixed.

The post-debate reception.

Metro Council member Rex Burkholder (L) and activist Jim Howell.

BTA staffers Susan Peithman, Gerik Kransky (plaid shirt) and bike industry veteran Chris Distefano.

BTA Director Rob Sadowsky said, “We win with all of them,” but he noted a collective “gasp” from the many PBOT employees in the room when Brady brought up finding “efficiencies” in the agency. When I asked a friend who works at PBOT about Brady’s comments, he said, “That’s already on par with what we’re doing.” (As per a directive from Director Tom Miller, PBOT is consolidating some of its planning and safety groups.)

David Hampsten, a noted east Portland neighborhood activist said he felt all three candidates were “positive.” He really liked Hales’ points about increasing community policing (specifically, getting cops out of cars and onto their feet and on bikes), especially around transit stops.

Matt Picio, founder and president of the non-profit Cycle Wild, said the event made him realize he’s “absolutely not voting for Eileen Brady.” Picio cited her focus on jobs as a revenue generator and her pro-CRC stance.

Brady’s CRC stance also resonated with veteran transportation activist Jim Howell (he was around during defeat of the Mt. Hood Freeway). “I’m scared of her and her ‘get in and get that project built!’ comments.”

Overall, I think all three candidates should feel good about their performance.

Hales was clearly the most comfortable with these topics — which isn’t surprising given his experience as a streetcar consultant and former City Commissioner. He connected with the audience several times; around his ideas for bold projects like a bikeway to Astoria along the river and his memorable one-liners. While Brady was clearly the furthest from her comfort zone, she held her own and gave voters a lot to think about. Smith had more concrete ideas and passion around his principles than the others; but his delivery and his penchant for cracking jokes sometimes distracted from them.

What did you think? Did this even help you decide who will get your vote? In case you haven’t read them yet, don’t miss my interviews with Hales and Smith. I hope to sit down with Brady soon.

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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

  • craig harlow February 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

    That’s not just any fifth-grader, that’s my fifth-grader :^)

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    • Robert Ping February 7, 2012 at 11:33 am

      And thanks to YOUR fifth grader for bringing the question to the candidates!

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    • She February 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      Craig, I am glad Max’s question was selected. I just wish that the moderator had not mentioned spelling and that Brady had answered as though she were responding to an adult. I did not like the end of her comment, I felt like she would not have responded that way to an adult asking the same or a different questions.

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  • bajo February 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

    “The night’s first question asked how the City should engage with low-income communities, people of color, and disabilities to make sure their transportation needs are prioritized.”

    Not make sure their voices are heard, well represented and get equal footing but “prioritized”. So much for the true meaning of “equity”.

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    • Steve B February 7, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Equity can mean different things to different people, but in the context of this question, it is used in the same sentence as a list of 3 marginalized groups who are not operating on a level playing field with more dominant groups. Prioritized is precisely the right word.

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    • Michael M. February 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      Yeah, that pretty much is the meaning of equity. You might be thinking of “equality,” which is different. In Portland, we have neither.

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    • bajo February 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      exactly, the word “equity” implies prioritizing certain groups of people, valuing their opinions and needs over others. i just think everyone’s voices and needs should be respected equally.

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      • Jeremy Cohen February 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

        Your comment implies one group is not currently prioritized, but clearly it is. The question was asking if the priorities would shift (away, correctly, from the current priority of the majority). After generations of PRIORITIZING white community engagement, it is time for our priorities to shift

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  • Hart Noecker February 7, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I was definitely clapping when “a man” shouted Good at the idea of stalling the CRC for another decade.

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  • Dave February 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Why would we step up enforcement against people riding without helmets when it’s not mandatory to wear helmets?

    Brady kind of scares me in a number of ways – pushing electric cars is not going to make Portland a better place to live, nor is pushing a massive freeway expansion.

    I like both Hales and Smith overall, in terms of their transportation ideas, with Smith maybe having a bit of an edge up.

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    • Hart Noecker February 7, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Charlie says he misspoke, he meant to say riders without lights. I caught that one too.

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      • craig harlow February 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

        I heard it as “lights”. Missed the helmet bit.

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      • Dave February 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

        That’s good to hear 🙂 I certainly agree that people should be riding with lights when it’s dark out. Reflective tire sidewalls are great as well (this is pretty common on modern tires anyway).

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      • Jonathan Gordon February 8, 2012 at 11:35 am

        Also, I think Charlie’s main point was in how enforcement would be carried out. Riders would be stopped by police and instead of receiving a ticket, they would receive free lights from the police. Rehabilitation, not retribution. Plus, it allows the police to connect in a positive way with the community. I think it’s a fantastic idea.

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    • craig harlow February 7, 2012 at 11:54 am

      I think that Ms. Brady’s bold statment about the priority of our EV program is a non sequitur, with respect to the Climate Action Plan.


      If I understand the Climate Action Plan accurately, it’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions generally, not vehicle exhaust specifically.

      Guess what? Unless the EV charging stations are solar-charged (they’re not) then electric vehicles run on electric energy generated by power plants. Aggressive EV goals may improve air quality for the city itself, but they don’t address the general problem of carbon emissions caused by our city.

      They’re also shown to decrease traffic safety specifically for people on foot and on bikes because of their stealthy movement when in full electric mode.

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      • Chris I February 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

        EVs do have lower carbon emissions. They are much smaller vehicles, generally. It really depends on the power mix in your region. Once we close Boardman, our power mix here will be very clean: hydro, wind, natural gas turbine.

        The problem is advocating some sort of subsidy for EVs, when we should be spending this money on bike facilities. Tax the sources of CO2, don’t subsidize EVs and hybrids.

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      • wsbob February 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm

        Would a percentage increase in use of electric vehicles be less effective in meeting goals for the Climate Action Plan than the current percentage use of petroleum fueled motor vehicles?

        “…Brady said we should build up our electric vehicle infrastructure, saying, “It will be one of my top priorities.” …” maus/bikeportland

        It is interesting that Brady would make a point of being this emphatic about electric vehicle infrastructure, but maybe she has hybrids in mind too. I suppose she’s referring to infrastructure for the support of exclusively electric vehicles like the Leaf. Thinking of many of the vehicles in Downtown Portland running on electricity rather than gasoline during rush hour would seem to be a significant improvement to urban livability.

        Some hybrids travel up to 35mph on electric power before the IC motor is activated for drive power. Plenty of speed for motoring through Downtown. Lincoln makes a hybrid that goes up to 48mph on electric. If that’s true in practice, getting on the bandwagon for either all electric or hybrid, at least for the urban setting, sounds like a good objective to campaign on.

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        • craig harlow February 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm

          A good object with respect to urban livability, but not at all connected with the question that the candidates were asked, about the city’s Climate Action Plan, i.e massively shrinking our carbon footprint.

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    • BPJ February 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      I thought the same thing until I had a moment to speak with them after. I like Smith and Hales, both. I just think Hales has been concerned with transportation for most of his life and Smith got into it within recent years.

      I really liked Hales comment about making Portland and the region a magnet for bicycle tourism. I think Smith’s personality would do well in negotiations. It’s a difficult call, but I think Hales has a more experience and genuine passion for active transport and everything that comes with getting out of the car.

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  • Allan February 7, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Is there going to be something uploaded to the web so that those of us who couldn’t make it can see?

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    • Joe Rowe February 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      I think I saw Dan with his music bike and now video bike. He took video of the whole think I think.

      BTW. My question was: How will you support people who want to drive less but the system fails them. Funny that the moderator did not read my name on the card, but read the names of other people. Hmmmm…

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    • the "other" steph February 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Working on it.

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      • craig harlow February 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm

        How’s it going? 🙂

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      • Craig Harlow December 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm

        Did this ever get posted?

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  • Evan Manvel February 7, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Though it came across muddied, I think Hales’ point re: helmets and lights was for the police to give them helmets and lights RATHER than tickets (on first violation).

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    • Dave February 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Which would also be a great idea (at least for the lights). I don’t need to be given a helmet by every cop I pass.

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  • browse February 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I agree with the general sentiment I’ve heard expressed; this debate convinced me I won’t be voting for Eileen Brady. The CRC is a boondoggle of epic proportions, and if it is pursued, I firmly believe the final cost will end up being 10x the current estimates.

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    • Jeff TB February 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

      …..and do very little to reduce traffic congestion in Portland.

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  • shirtsoff February 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I’m alarmed that Hales would respond to the 5th grader’s question about improving cycling safety among school age children by policing cyclists without lights and helmets. Granted for children, they must use a helmet, but in general punishing vulnerable users is not the best approach from the city to improving safety. Handing out lights and helmets to children rather than taking punitive actions would lead toward more long term, positive behavior. This in turn would increase safety for school aged children into their adulthood.

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    • craig harlow February 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      That’s a misunderstanding of Charlies response. He emphasized using our enforcement resources to do exactly what you’ve recommended–educate–rather than penalize people who ride without lights and helmets.

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      • shirtsoff February 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm

        Thanks for the clarification craig.

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        • craig harlow February 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm

          Sorry to come off so corrective–I would rather have said I think that’s a misunderstanding of…. Hindsight :^)

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  • Todd K February 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Your pictures of the candiates are excellent, Jonathan. They’re the best I’ve seen out of any local coverage.

    Excellent write-up as well, but those three images really stood out.

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  • BURR February 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Brady is a Republican in leftist drag and Charlie Hales will be business as usual for the streetcar and other high-profile, big dollar construction projects; Jefferson Smith is the only logical choice here.

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    • Reza February 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      From Jefferson Smith’s interview with OPB on January 3:

      “I do think that there is a chance to reevaluate the social contract between bikes and cars using several things…when looking for more funding from bike lanes, instead of trying to gain them from sources that end up only make it easier to whack government, trying to ask the bicycle community to participate in a more robust way.”

      Hmm, could he be referring to licensing and registration of bicyclists, per chance? Sounds like the best candidate for active transportation to me!

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      • BURR February 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

        That’s not the impression I got from Jonathan’s interview with him.

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      • Doug Klotz February 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm

        Regarding licensing and registration of bicyclists:

        Following that line of reasoning, is the way to fund sidewalks and crossings licensing and registration of walkers?

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  • Joe Rowe February 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks to those who worked to make this happen.

    I want the same forum for city commissioners!

    Brady is a republican-like bully, telling Jeff to quote “do your homework” I sat behind her 5 supporters, who were pretty much the only ones who cheered for her, and the only ones who blocked views by constantly holding up their signs.

    All 3 had their flaws and strengths.

    Worth more mention: Reduction of speed, and who’s on city council. Even Eileen can’t pass the Bike Plan if Mary Nolan and others vote down the bike plan.

    I urge everyone reading this to make a comment or volunteer for Jeff or Mr. Hales or Amanda Or all of the above.

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  • matt picio February 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    To clarify my comment quoted in the story above, it should say “her unguarded focus on jobs as a revenue generator”. As much as we’d like to see greater employment in Portland, it won’t happen overnight, if it does at all. (many factors lie outside the influence of the mayor’s office) We can’t rely solely on payroll taxes and other corporate taxes for funding.

    Also, Brady’s comments about there being a lot of money in PBOT that can be used belies a lack of knowledge – a substantial amount of PBOT’s funding has restricted uses. The funds can only be used for specific purposes, and violating those restrictions is not possible under current state or federal laws without incurring severe penalties or loss of future funding. The funding picture is far more complicated than the general public (and many of the dedicated advocates!) realizes, and Brady seemed to gloss over those issues in her responses.

    I’d really like to vote for Hales – I like his responses, his position, and he seems to have a good grasp of most of the issues. I, too question enforcement of children biking safely when the real issue seems to be speed limits (and the lack of compliance with) and inattentive motorists. I may end up voting for Smith, though – he also seems to have a reasonable grasp of the issues, heavily promotes leaving all options on the table at the start (and revisiting things from the past which were previously rejected to see if the reasons for rejection are still valid), and seems very interested in maintaining the public process and insuring everyone is onboard.

    It was a very useful forum last night, kudos and thanks to Rebecca Hamilton and everyone else involved in making it happen – they are truly rock stars.

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  • GlowBoy February 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I’m a little disturbed too by Hales’ response to the question about cycling safety for kids. We do need to enforce the laws around conspicuity, but that’s not the right answer to that question. Major gaffe for a guy who otherwise has had really good things to say on a variety of transportation issues.

    Even before this though, I would have been unlikely to vote for him, because of the residency controversy. I don’t resent people with the means to have more than place of residence, but I DO resent them trying to claim more than one place as their primary residence. Even if you spend a lot of nights in different places, you declare ONE of those places as your primary residence. You get your driver’s license there, you register to vote there, and you pay your taxes there. Period.

    There are a lot of things I like about Eileen Brady (and I think the smear campaign that she had nothing to do with the founding of New Seasons is sexist BS), but … ehhh… I think we can do better.

    Based on the interview thread, Jefferson Smith seems to have his head in the right place on transportation too, as well as a range of other issues. And it’s about time East Portland got more representation (btw, I say this as a very inner-east-Portlander). I haven’t made my mind up for certain, but if I had to vote today it would probably be for him.

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  • Hart Noecker February 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    It was great to hear gondolas get mentioned.

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  • MossHops February 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    For me personally, it’s a bit comical that Ms. Brady appears to be the least supportive of active transportation considering that I regularly shop at the New Seasons on Hawthorne and 41st BECAUSE it is on a Bike Boulevard, thus easier and safer for me to get to by bike.

    Active transportation naturally constrains the distances people travel and therefore supports business that are in the neighborhood.

    If you make it easier to drive electric cars rather than bike or walk, I might as well drive right by New Seasons and head to Walmart.

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  • Jessica Moskovitz February 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Hi guys,

    I was at the event last night, and I’m Charlie’s campaign manager, so I thought I would clarify what I heard Charlie say – and what I know he supports, as far as enforcement.

    1) He said that yes, there should be more enforcement of bike laws around lights (NOT helmets) in order to raise awareness of that safety issue. HOWEVER, he suggested that the first pull-over be to give someone a light, not a ticket, so that even folks without immediate resources are riding safely.

    2) Charlie has said before last night, and indicated last night although I think it was lost in translation, that enforcement is an issue for ALL forms of transportation in order to keep our streets safe for the youngest and oldest of pedestrians and riders. For example, while our Arlington Heights neighbors are concerned about skate boarders bombing down the hill, the real question is whether ALL traffic is following the law in terms of speed and safety. Perhaps the best solution is one that reminds everyone of their speed, without impeding bike or pedestrian traffic such as this: http://www.good2golawncare.com/images/turfstone2_wqkf.jpg

    Charlie also mentioned supporting the Safe Routes to School program and increased paving and sidewalk construction around school zones. Just to be complete, here.

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    • Dave February 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Thanks for the clarification – that definitely makes sense.

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  • Andrew K February 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this in-depth coverage!
    I must say, I’m very excited about this race. I think all three candidates have their strengths and weaknesses. To be perfectly honest, I think no matter which one wins Portland will be better off. Sorry Sam Adams supporters… I like our current Mayor’s ideas but I don’t think he is very effective when it comes to getting things done. Whether it is justified or not, a great many people do not respect him.

    I like Hales because of his big picture and long term mentality when it comes to transportation projects. It seems he thinks often and about projects that could draw the attention of people outside Portland. His bike path from Portland to Astoria is a good example of this.

    I think Smith is a little more grounded though and I get the sense that he knows how to take charge in a room. He also seems to grasp that government is often about compromise.

    Brady I’m currently looking at more as the “devil you know” candidate which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Let’s face it, Portland needs more jobs and I’m willing to bet she understands what is needed to entice business owners to come here, or expand.

    So yeah, I’m torn. I have a feeling I’m going to be torn until election day but that’s ok. If nothing else it just means I need to keep listening for now.

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  • NL February 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I would push back on the comment about Smith’s humor detracting from his solid points on policy. I think the crowd responded well to his delivery, and even Charlie got a few chuckles around the prune juice line. Humor and levity can be a great way of connecting with people, and not taking yourself too seriously. With a wonky subject like transportation policy, I think there were probably many in the audience who can feel a bit overwhelmed by all the acronyms and inside baseball. One of Jeff’s strengths is being able to stay down to earth while delving into policy, and I appreciate that.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Hey NL,

      I mention Smith’s delivery not just for his humor, but his overall presence that is less polished than the others. For some people (not me), that makes him less electable and I think it can detract from his really exciting ideas and his obvious brilliant political mind.

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  • Barry Johnson February 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Just for the record, PBOT revenues have been going down as the state collects less in gas taxes. So, give that one to Smith, who apparently HAD done his homework: http://www.portlandonline.com/mayor/?a=372157&c=49278

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    • craig harlow February 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Hmm, not sure what that link is meant to go to? The Mayor’s twitter feed?

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  • dwainedibbly February 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks for the coverage. Mrs Dibbly & I had planned on attending but a last minute “thing” prevented us from going.

    Sounds like Brady can forget about our two votes.

    Smith being less polished is almost a positive thing, somehow.

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  • dreww February 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    do us a all a favor and ask brady about her mischaracterization of the gas tax issue.

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  • Doug Klotz February 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I was encouraged by Hales’ disagreeing with the other candidates and saying we needed sidewalks, not shoulders for pedestrians. While shoulders may be cheaper, they are the walking equivalent of bike lanes on busy streets: The “interested but concerned” walkers will not use them, and need a path separated a little from the street, that does not make you feel you may be run down at any minute, even if statistics say you probably won’t be.

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  • 007 February 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I can’t find a link to your interview with Eileen Brady. Can you provide one?

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  • Jim Lee February 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Should I vote for Jefferson Smith or Rick Santorum?

    Smith is an interesting and funny guy, but I heard little of substance from any of the three candidates.

    It was more love-fest than political forum. Four years ago we routinely got much tougher questions. At Roy Jay’s event he sat me between Sam and Sho. I had to prompt Sam on one question, and on another–by an older Jewish gentleman from New York–I was among the few who actually understood what he was asking for.

    I was very disappointed that Sarah did not nail Hales on the bike/streetcar safety issue, which Jonathan has put so much well-deserved effort into recently. Charlie got a completely free pass on that, and sounded like Newt Gingerich preparing to build streetcars to the moon.

    All in all, I have attended more contentious high school pep rallies.

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