Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

My opinion on Charlie Hales’ ‘approach to active transportation’

Posted by on September 11th, 2012 at 10:29 am

charlie hales bike sticker

(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last month, a who’s-who from local active transportation planning and advocacy circles gathered around a table at the Charlie Hales for Mayor campaign headquarters on the central eastside. Hales called the meeting to have a “lively discussion” about walking, bicycling and transit. He asked questions. He took notes. Last night, Hales turned some of what he heard during that discussion into a blog post on the topic titled, Active Transportation for Portland today and tomorrow .

In the blog post, Hales wrote that we need to “further our progression” with active transportation because Portland’s progress so far has, “helped our economy, health, fitness, air, congestion and worldwide reputation.”

With less than two months before election day, the blog post gives voters a window into how Hales — a former City of Portland Commissioner of Transportation — would handle the bureau if he were elected. Below I’ll share excerpts from his post and offer my opinion on what it might mean.

Here’s how Hales frames his approach:

“In recent months, community, business, transportation leaders and Portlanders from across the city have told me that they do not feel safe walking and bicycling, that transit needs and opportunities have not been completely met, and that those that drive – for freight delivery or access to jobs and services – are concerned that they might hurt someone. It’s important that we find solutions that maintain traffic flow for drivers and businesses while making our roads safe for those on foot, bike and public transit.”

“Maintain traffic flow for drivers” is going to be a hard promise to keep in a compact city that must absorb millions of new residents in the coming decade. Also, as we’ve seen with many recent projects, maintaining existing auto “traffic flow” is often directly counter to “making our roads safe” for people not in cars. It’s also unfortunate that he tied “those that drive” with “freight delivery” and “access to jobs and services” when all of those things apply equally to people who bike.

Hales then goes on to say he will work to make our transportation system, “safe and convenient for all users.” Again, this feels like nothing but safe politics to me. I don’t think we’ll ever make the imperative changes to our existing, car-centric transportation system unless we begin an honest and respectful conversation about our need to make driving single-occupancy cars less convenient.

On a more personal note, Hales makes a pledge to “engage in safe behavior”:

“When I drive, I will drive the speed limit; behave cautiously around our most vulnerable users; and stop for people trying to cross our streets on foot. When bicycling, I will stop for red lights, yield to pedestrians, use our network of bikeways, and smile and wave at motorists who behave courteously toward me. I will also ask all city employees to make a similar commitment. In short, under my leadership, Portland will not tolerate a single avoidable fatality, but rather we will work diligently to prevent crashes, reduce their severity and increase physical activity.”

“When bicycling, I will stop for red lights, yield to pedestrians, use our network of bikeways, and smile and wave at motorists who behave courteously toward me.”

I found the “use our network of bikeways” comment interesting. It’s the latest sign that in Portland, as our network of neighborhood greenways gains attention, it will be considered bad form for people on bicycles to use commercial main streets and arterials when a low-stress bike street is nearby.

Also of note is that Hales said by investing in “bicycle and pedestrian safety… Our arterials will work better for all users.” That seems to me like someone who will continue to encourage people to not ride on major roads — like Sandy, Division, Hawthorne, and so on — as one solution to “maintain traffic flow for drivers and businesses.”

“As your Mayor, I will insist on the safest transportation policies, street designs and programs,” Hales added. Now that’s a statement I can’t wait to hold him too if he’s elected!

On the topic of funding, Hales said “we can’t afford not to complete our streets and bikeways.” To pay for these projects, Hales said he’d explore “new and flexible standards and funding opportunities.” That’s pretty vague; but I look forward to hearing more about it.

Hales’ post also mentioned his support of equity, completing our big “off-road trail network” projects, and continued support of Safe Routes to Schools, Sunday Parkways, and so on.

Charlie Hales at Sunday Parkways

The final paragraph contained the most specific policy pledge of all. Hales said he plans to “explore options with the Oregon DMV to revise our education standards to make our roads safer.” He also mentioned something that he brought up at the roundtable last month — that he feels Portland’s “innovative” infrastructure like bike boxes and bike-only traffic signals are confusing to visitors. To combat that confusion, he said he likes the idea of rental car companies passing out an informational brochure to their customers.

It’s good to see a mayoral candidate take time to address active transportation. But overall, especially given Hales’ hands-on experience leading the transportation bureau back in the 1990s, I wasn’t impressed by this blog post. To me, it seemed to lack specifics and it’s clearly an attempt to appeal to everyone while not taking any risks to change the existing status quo. I remain very skeptical that we can continue to “maintain traffic flow for drivers” while still building a system that will feel safe enough to bicycle on for the “interested but concerned”.

Also of note is that Hales — who is tied so closely to streetcar and light rail that he’s been given the nickname “Choo Choo Charlie” — left out rail transit except for a few passing mentions. This could be because he feels it doesn’t play as large of a role in active transpotation as biking and walking do (I agree with that), or it could be because he knows streetcar tracks are a hot-button issue for many bicycle advocates.

At the roundtable discussion, Hales asked us what we thought about “how we’re doing with the streetcar and bicycling issue.” I didn’t hold back at all and expressed my grave concerns about how the new streetcar line has made bicycling worse in Portland and that streetcar planners must have a financial and legal obligation to improve bicycling in future projects. Another independent bicycle advocate at the event backed up my concerns, saying she feels the new eastside streetcar will have a negative impact on bicycling. It will be interesting to see how Hales integrates his deep support for rail with his promises to improve bicycling.

As for reaction to Hales’ blog post, BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky tweeted that he was glad to see Hales “come out and strongly support our key issues including vision zero.” Mia Birk, the former City of Portland bike coordinator who worked under Hales, who organized the active transportation roundtable, and who is an active supporter of his campaign, tweeted, “Wow! One awesome statement on active transportation.”

What do you think?

— To learn more about Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith, mark your calendar for the Portland Mercury’s Mayoral Inquisition event on Tuesday September 18th (I’ll be one of several inquisitors).

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

  • dan September 11, 2012 at 10:40 am

    East side streetcar strikes me as an incredible boondoggle with zero practical benefits that couldn’t have been delivered via bus. What if the streetcar lane was instead a shared bus/bike lane? Much more useful, and much less expensive.

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    • Andrew K September 11, 2012 at 11:17 am

      I for one would much rather share a lane with a streetcar than a bus. A streetcar is predictable and the tracks don’t scare me.

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      • peejay September 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

        Well, you are in a minority here. I’m experienced and fairly brave, and since my latest rail crossing crash, I’m very gunshy around any tracks.

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        • Hart Noecker September 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

          I’ve had lots of crashes for lots of different reasons, and I’ve never let the cause of the crash deter me from riding. Obviously others’ experiences are different than mine, but I have to agree with the rail vs bus argument made above, buses often make unpredictable maneuvers where streetcar can only follow the tracks. Additionally, once installed rail is cheaper to operate and pollutes less than buses. While the tracks do make that particular lane slightly less safe for anyone riding on narrow wheels (like me), the net benefit to all road users and air breathers far outweighs the risk. I applaud Hales’ support of light rail, but overall I think he is out of touch with the idea of the bicycle being a real transit option that thousands of Portland’s work force use every day. Whether he personally rides matters little to me, unless he plans on riding to City Hall once elected.

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        • Ed September 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm

          If you cross the tracks with your front wheel at a slight angle you will never have a problem. Every Dutch person knows this (where there are far more tracks and bicycles).

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          • AG September 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm

            I completely disagree based on personal experience.

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          • davemess September 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

            like 90 degrees?

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  • peejay September 11, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Very, very vague. Jonathan, you did a good job parsing the hidden meanings out of that weak stew of his, and it does not taste good to me at all.

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  • Bob K. September 11, 2012 at 10:47 am

    You might want to reconsider your growth projections. I don’t think anyone is predicting Portland will absorb millions of new residents in the coming decade. I’ve seen projections of a million new people in the region (not city) by 2035 but even that seems unrealistic given the growth rates of the past decade.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 11, 2012 at 10:51 am

      Thanks Bob K., You’re right. I am not an expert on those numbers.. However the point is clear. To stay competitive and to have a solid economy, Portland must figure out a way to squeeze more people into our downtown core. This isn’t just me talking, that’s what I hear from very smart people (including one guy who sits on the Portland Planning Commission). We can’t increase system capacity by continuing to make roads “convenient” for driving and “maintaining traffic flow for drivers”.

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      • Zach September 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm

        Sure, but when you do that you create more places to *go* in the central city core. It’s not like everybody who lives downtown will work downtown, or vice versa.

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      • dwainedibbly September 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm

        The bike counter on the Hawthorne Bridge is an excellent example. Can you imagine the jams if that bridge had to carry 6000 more cars every day?

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  • Evan Manvel September 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

    We have no shortage of people willing to call for good choices, safety, and “we can’t afford not to complete our streets and bikeways.” That’s good rhetoric, but without meaning.

    What we have is a shortage of people willing to fund them.

    Hales “new and flexible standards and funding opportunities” is not a real answer. It’s pretty standard for campaign promises (from various candidates, not only for Hales).

    As far as I can tell, the only specific funding proposal Hales has been backing is *cutting* funding for transportation by reducing systems development charges for developers. While he’s backed away from blanket cuts since the primary – and moving towards Jefferson’s continual stance on it – he’s still talking about targeted cuts. http://www.blueoregon.com/2012/05/difference-development-fees/

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  • Allan September 11, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I think ‘maintain car flow’ doesn’t have to be taken to mean keep 100% of the existing auto lanes. It leaves room for road diets, etc which will help cycling. The part about his personal pledge is hilarious, just a shot at Jeff. I’m glad to see that the bike lobby is being pandered to, even if not in as aggressive a way as I would like.

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    • Chris I September 11, 2012 at 11:12 am

      His post seems to pander to everyone. It says a lot without really saying anything…

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    • ScottB September 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      I agree. It could mean reduce delay, but that is not the same as ‘go faster’. Signals are a big time suck and not very safe. There are alternatives, but they are costly in built environments.

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  • 9watts September 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

    “I will stop for red lights, yield to pedestrians, use our network of bikeways, and smile and wave at motorists who behave courteously toward me.”

    I mean I do that too, mostly*, but to trot it out like that is so pedantic & a little condescending.
    You’re point about this pointed mention of bikeways rankles as you say.
    Of course ‘drive the speed limit’ is a dig at Smith.

    *except I don’t just ride on the network of bikeways.

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  • Kathryn September 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Well, at least Charlie actually rides a bike and transit, and can govern from experience in this realm. I also don’t think his pledge to use our bikeways meant that he wants bicyclists to be sequestered to side streets, but thank you Jonathan for reminding us our how important language is. I also think it is a hard thing to run for office and then to govern, and last time I checked, I didn’t see many people brave or capable enough to do so, so cheers to Charlie.

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  • Charlie Burr September 11, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Sprinkling the phrase “let me be clear” throughout a statement isn’t a substitute for actually being specific, precise and clear.

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    • Rol September 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      Indeed! In fact it’s a big ol’ red flag that some not-well-clarified or obfuscatory BS is a-comin’. Also see: “No offense but…” which always precedes something offensive, “FYI…” which always precedes something you don’t care about, etc.

      If you have clear principles and a clear position, you’ll never need the phrase “let me be clear.” If you’re the sort who likes to have things both ways and please everyone, you’ll need it often.

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  • Ben DuPree September 11, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Sounds better than “Let me be intentionally vague,” Charlie… 🙂

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  • Steve September 11, 2012 at 11:38 am


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  • JNE September 11, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Agree with comments above that there’s not really any solid content to be judged, just campaign mush. Kind of silly to read tea leaves here.

    Most compelling fact I see, is as noted above: Hales actually, regularly rides a bike. That’s more meaningful to me than all the cotton candy fluff the candidates may spin out in the next few weeks.

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    • davemess September 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      where is that documented?

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  • Evan Manvel September 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    When we’re considering the most expensive highway project in the region’s history, I think it’s smart to remember:

    – Jefferson took out TV ads explaining his opposition to the CRC as a matter of priorities.

    – Jefferson SWEPT the environmental endorsements – OLCV, Sierra Club, Bike Walk Vote all say vote Jefferson.

    Hales has received some of the endorsements of pro-CRC mega-highway folks like the Carpenters, probably for his stance on the CRC.

    If you want a mayor who bikes, vote for Charlie.

    If you want a mayor who is in line with our transportation investment priorities, and is willing to take on the CRC monstrosity despite huge political pressure to buckle, and has been leading the charge for equity, vote Jefferson.

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    • Andrew N September 12, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Can anyone explain to me what his CRC policy IS exactly? He’s infuriatingly non-specific while trying to suggest that his approach is in line with Jefferson’s. No one seems to want to talk about the Environmental Impact Statement — from what I’ve been told, the planning process will have to be re-started if we don’t build something close to the current (monstrous) plan. Hales seems to be saying that he’ll change a few things, but neither one of them (to my knowledge) has said what I want to hear, which is something to the effect of “I will do my best to ensure that the CRC as currently designed never happens; I will advocate for re-booting the planning process and seriously examining a broader range of options, including the ‘common sense alternative’; and I will publicly advocate for the immediate firing of everyone responsible for wasting 160 million dollars, starting with ODOT Director Matt Garrett”.

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  • Terry D September 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Hales was canvassing in the primaries and I had a good conversation with him early on in front of my house. He had good rhetoric and seemed to understand the issues. Then I have seen how he has handled different issues and I began to question his authenticity, so I e-mailed him directly and asked him if he was going to continue to fund the expansion of our greenway network as Sam Adams has done.

    He returned with the standard line of his primary campaign of “back to basics” and “pot holes hurt everyone”…bla…bla..bla” and did not answer the question.

    Suddenly, as the election draws near “back to basics” includes “complete streets” and of course he will work to expand and fix gaps in our bikeway network….Which is the answer I wanted, but he refused to give…until it was politically safe for him to do so…or until he thought it would give him an advantage. Even so his wording seems so specific and yet so vaugue…

    Now that he has beaten Brady he needs to pander to the left. Jefferson Smith, who has defended cycling from the beginning, has his flaws (as Hales is pointing out by his promise to follow all traffic laws…) but has been consistent.

    Reading this and Hales blog leaves me with the taste of “So which Charlie will we actually get?”…if he wins. Also, him having the endorsement of the Oregonian says a lot….

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    • davemess September 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Reading into his history, this should not be a surprise at all. He has consistently shown himself to be a chameleon on issues, pandering to whom ever he needs to woo at the time. In this way in particular he has a lot of similarity to Romney.

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  • J-R September 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I like Hale’s statement, priorities and pledge. What’s Smith’s pledge? — I’ll try to keep to less than 10 mph over the speed limit, I’ll try to keep driver’s license suspensions down to 1 every couple years, I’ll try to have insurance.

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  • MossHops September 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Hales hasn’t made a convincing argument to the people who walk and bike in this city, and I think that’s intentional. He isn’t promising a thing to active transportation. No separated paths, no expansion of greenways, no road diets, nothing. The only concrete thing that he’s promised with regards to transport is to fill potholes. An idea which would see autos as the primary beneficiary.

    Charlie’s been saying quite a few platitudes, but his comments seems intentionally designed to offer less in the way of concrete promises to the active transportation community as compared to Smith. I think he is intentionally trying to put Smith in box where Smith can be construed as “pandering to the bike vote,” whereas Charlie can paint himself as the business friendly candidate (as if the two were mutually exclusive).

    Of course, Charlie could easily prove me wrong on this. He just needs to make some concrete promises to active transportation and his mayoral candidacy would look far more attractive.

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  • Gregg September 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    “I wasn’t impressed by this blog post. To me, it seemed to lack specifics and it’s clearly an attempt to appeal to everyone while not taking any risks to change the existing status quo.”


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  • spare_wheel September 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    “in Portland, as our network of neighborhood greenways gains attention, it will be considered bad form for people on bicycles to use commercial main streets”

    “That seems to me like someone who will continue to encourage people to not ride on major roads — like Sandy, Division, Hawthorne, and so on — as one solution to “maintain traffic flow for drivers and businesses.”

    I agree. IMO, there has been a concerted push by the political establishment, PBOT, and corporate transportation consultants (e.g. Alta Planning) to discourage bicycling on commercial streets. Instead of “sharing the road”, PBOT and mainstream advocates push for separate, unequal, and underfunded infrastructure.

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  • Dabby September 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    For quite a while now I have been loudly stating that this urgency for separation in cycling will pigeon hole us into riding where they want us to, instead of where we want to ride.

    This blog post of course seems to be pushing in that direction.
    If there is one direction cycling should not go, it is in this one.

    We should concentrate more on sharing, and getting people used to sharing the road everywhere.

    Remember that “Share the Road “campaign?

    Let’s get back to that…

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  • John I. September 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    “That seems to me like someone who will continue to encourage people to not ride on major roads — like Sandy, Division, Hawthorne”

    When driving on Hawthorne it feels as if there just isn’t room to give cyclists an acceptable amount of space when passing. It feels very unsafe. For that reason I avoid Hawthorne as much as I can when riding.

    That is why I am grateful for the greenways. They provide a safer way to travel around town and feel friendly. I thinks its great to encourage people to ride on them. I would love to see the system expanded.

    I would personally encourage everyone to use them. Don’t see how that is a bad thing. Just so long as it doesn’t become Law that we HAVE to use them.

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    • Paul in the 'couve September 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      When driving, if there isn’t enough room to pass, or if you aren’t sure then don’t pass. You don’t need to pass and you have no excuse for passing unsafely.

      As a cyclist, I take the lane and recommend you do the same. Taking the lane makes sure that the motorists KNOW there isn’t enough room to pass. When there is room to pass or crossing the center line would be safe, I make it easier for the car behind me to pass, but I decide for myself when it looks safe enough. I also always leave myself an extra 1.5 feet or so for maneuvering.

      I reached this point because I more and more frequently encountered cars passing me with less than 1.0 ft to spare, but leaving 3 feet from the centerline because the can’t judge the space on the road or are too lazy to think.

      I take the Lane and I do the thinking and the deciding about when it is safe to pass.

      And I ride where I need to ride to get where I need to go. Including Sandy, Hawthorn, MLK, even 82nd.

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    • Jon September 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      I agree. Why ride on Hawthorne when Salmon is a fantastic low traffic and low stop sign option that is only a few streets away? I never ride on Hawthorne but ride Salmon all the time.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson September 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    If you want to know how Portland will accommodate a lot more people (not “millions,” maybe a million over 20 years) take a look at what’s happened north of Burnside on the westside. You may not like it or want to live there, but lots of people do; enough to make it work financially for the folks who are going to put up the money to “in build” Portland. And to make it work for residents and businesses there. Charlie Hales when he came on Council in the 90’s got it, amazingly since he had been the ED of the Homebuilders Assoc. prior to getting elected. We were all very pleasantly pleased to say the least.
    He supported investments in rail transit, including Streetcar which was a key catalyst for the dense development north of Burnside. He understood the role that bikes can play (there were not so many of us then) in transportation as well as the need for parks and greenspace in a more dense city. I believe he understands that the way you move freight is to give people an option to driving alone in the peaks, and that the massive proposed CRC is unbuildable…meaning a deal needs to be cut for something smaller and more affordable.
    I support him because he has the commitment and skills to make business owners like the guy who wants bike licensing understand that the more bikes out there the better the transportation system works for everyone; that you remove 2 SOVs in the peak hours and you make room for a semi; that I can be in my car in the lane in front of you or on my bike in the bike lane next to you.
    Sam’s great failure…and I for one will miss him…has been his difficulty in making that sale. I wish Jefferson had run for council this go around; I don’t think he is ready for the mayor’s chair.
    re Streetcar…if Amsterdam can have both, why not Portland?

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  • Craig Harlow September 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    …the blog post gives voters a window into how Hales … would handle the bureau if he were elected.

    I’m not quite sure this shows us of how he would handle PBOT. I am sure that this shows us how he’ll talk about PBOT during the rest of the campaign, now that his only challenge is to win over more progressives.

    He no longer has to compete with Eileen Brady for the votes of conservatives, and he was singing a slightly different tune back then, as you may recall…

    Bike lanes are needed so that we can provide efficient and inexpensive transportation choices, but not at the expense of other basic city services that need attention as well. You can count on me to bring that focus back to our city.

    – Charlie Hales, answers KATU questionnaire in March

    My agenda as Mayor will be to focus the City on delivering core services … [By] cutting funding for programs that don’t deliver core basic services to all Portlanders … we will be able to make headway in repairing one of the City’s most valuable assets – our roads and sidewalks.

    – Charlie Hales, May primary Voter Guide, response to question about the PBOT budget and a backlog of road repairs

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  • Ethan September 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I think the problem for me Lenny is that we have spent millions “for both” but the lions share is for rail, and the tax abatements adjacent to rail, not for other (real) active transportation modes. Paint = bread crumbs, something I am reminded of every time I ride the dilapidated NE Holman “Greenway” in my neighborhood. The car-centric streets that straddle it (Dekum and Ainsworth) are ribbons of smooth pavement, which I happily commandeer at will because I pay plenty in taxes and people are speeding all the time anyways.

    Anyone who truly believes that a person riding a bike means faster roads and freer parking for other cars/trucks, cleaner air, lower health care expenses and a happier populace who DOES NOT loudly champion significantly greater funding for real world class bike infrastructure is a coward. There is nothing visionary of bold in this supposed policy statement, and I think you know it. It breaks my heart that Charlie, who is truly “one of us” is at the same time not our champion.

    Jefferson does not always tell me what I want to hear regarding active transportation, I don’t see him out riding and his appearances at cycling events are just that, but at least I am clear that developers, rail boosters and the rest are in the same boat. It is not a bait and switch, and many positions are crystal clear and not nuanced double speak, like the CRC, and no free ride for developers at everyone else’s expense. I am glad to see the race down to one between these two candidates, but sad to suspect I know what camp the Brady crowd (and their horse barns) have taken their checkbooks and expectations to.

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  • paul g. September 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Jonathan, you should pay closer attention to the reports coming out of the PSU Pop Center and Lenny’s response above. Neither population growth nor job growth have been occurring in the central city core, no matter what your planner friends tell you. The data are pretty clear.

    We hear all about the “million new resident” figure bandied all about, seldom are we told what proportion of that is natural increase and what is in-migration. And seldom is it pointed out that the most rapidly growing areas are not Multnomah County–it’s Washington, Clackamas, Clark, and other outlying counties. The data are here: http://mkn.research.pdx.edu/2010/05/population-dynamics/, see esp. Tables 2 and 4.

    The central core doesn’t even represent the major area of employment–that’s in industrial areas, especially the Columbia river / port area. See here: http://www.portlandonline.com/portlandplan/index.cfm?a=392784&c=51427. Look especially at pg. 27 which shows that employment growth rate from 2000-2008 was an anemic .1% annually in the Central City. Washington County’s average income and employment growth rate far outstrips Multnomah’s (http://www.bls.gov/ro9/qcewor.htm).

    If we’re going to remain competitive, as you say, we need to figure out how to deal with a Metro area where job growth is focused away from the urban core, in Washington County and near the port, and how we can efficiently move residents around by some means OR focus our development strategy on those regions, NOT on the central city core.

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    • J_R September 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      Great post, Paul G. Far too few people pay attention to data and facts. Too many planners and wanabee planners have “drunk the koolaid” and want to believe things contrary to the facts.

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    • Joe September 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      I’m definitely a pro-central city person as I think it is nice that we have a functional downtown. But your post Paul G hits the nail on the head. The streetcar boondoggle and all the focus on the very central core where the majority of the population neither lives nor works has been a huge waste. One million people will not be living in the core in the next 20 years, not even 1/10th of that either.

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    • 007 September 13, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      The real estate agents steer people out of Multnomah County.

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  • brian b September 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Good post, Jonathan. Please continue to keep the light- and heat- on these candidates while they campaign and court the voters w/ their position statements and promises…

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson September 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Paul, don’t confuse what has been with what will be, just like with stocks and bonds. Also don’t confuse job growth rate with the absolute numbers. Then be sure to factor in the Bush jobs crash of 2008-9. Lloyd District and Central Eastside have a lot of employment, together probably close to 30K, and will get more if the Streetcar gamble pays off. It definitely paid off north of Burnside in terms of private investment, housing and jobs. SoWa may even pan out as its adjacent to the City’s largest employer, expanding OHSU. These two efforts were under taken in the 90’s in order to get a piece of both population and job growth that the region has experienced. Hasn’t worked out too bad. Now we can take that model…denser housing and jobs in upgraded transit corridors along Williams/Vancouver, Broadway/Weidler, Hawthorne, and elsewhere. It had already started before the Great Recession.
    On Swan Island we think there is capacity for a 50% increase in jobs to 15,000, but not sure how to get there. Ideas are welcome! Superfund is a huge disincentive to invest in the Harbor area.

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    • 007 September 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Swan Island, the city’s best kept (polluted) secret.

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