The Charlie Hales campaign has significantly edited a page on their website that explains the mayoral candidate’s priorities on transportation.
Since the end of February, Hales has been parroting themes from an article in The Oregonian that blamed the City’s (alleged) priority on “bike routes” as a main reason why we don’t have enough money to pave and maintain “crumbling roads.” The article was the height of bicycle scapegoating and anti-bike sensationalism perpetuated by The Oregonian. The article received swift condemnation from the Portland Mercury, Mayor Sam Adams (who published a lengthy rebuttal) and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
Despite the questionable tone of the article, Hales made it a centerpiece of his campaign’s “roads first” (and by context, bike routes second) mantra. The same day The Oregonian article hit the streets (February 26th), Hales published a page on his website fully endorsing the article.
Given the frailty of our local public narrative around bicycling, I’ve been disappointed to see Hales pander to the The Oregonian’s anti-bike reporting just because he thought it would be a good political move. I’ve discussed my concerns with Hales and his advisors at length in the past several months, but the endorsement of the article remained up on their website. When I mentioned it again in a post last week, Hales defended his position in a comment on BikePortland. I took that as an opportunity to share with the public (via a comment in response to him) why I felt so strongly about his endorsement of the article.
This morning I’m happy to report that, over the weekend, Hales’ campaign edited the post on his website and the reference to The Oregonian article has been removed. Below is the text from Hales’ blog posting as it had read since February 26th (cached version here):
This morning, a front-page Oregonian story got right at something I have been saying: some of Portland’s priorities are out of balance. Today’s article took on misplaced priorities in street repair. It’s about time. In coffees, news interviews and front-porch conversations, I have said it loud and clear: We need to focus on the basics – our children, our streets, our local economy.
The subject of the O’s big story today highlighted poor performance by the Bureau of Transportation…
And here’s what it says now:
In coffees, news interviews and front-porch conversations, I have said it loud and clear: We need to focus on the basics – our children, our streets, our local economy…
I’m glad to see the Hales and his campaign distance themselves from The Oregonian on this issue. That paper has proven time and time again that, when push comes to shove, they would rather fan the flames of ignorance and divisiveness around our City’s transportation issues rather than address problems and solutions head-on. We need our mayoral candidates and local politicians to do more of the latter. If they do, the public will follow their lead.