Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

My opinion: KATU is misrepresenting Hales’ transportation plans

Posted by on November 13th, 2012 at 12:43 am

Expect fewer protected bike lanes from
Charlie Hales says KATU’s Bob Heye.
(Screen grab – Watch video below)

KATU News ran a segment on their newscast and website tonight that made shocking pronouncements about how mayor-elect Charlie Hales’ transportation plans would impact bicycling.

“Charlie Hales said he plans to shift the focus of Portland’s transportation budget from bike projects to road repairs,” reads a caption to a video of the segment (watch it below).

“One big change Portlanders can expect,” continues the story, “Bike projects will take a back seat to road repairs in Hales’ administration. Hales said bike projects are important, but the city has ignored road maintenance for too long.”

KATU News anchor Steve Dunn, in an introduction to the piece, said, “Our top story… A big gripe from people all over the past few years was City Hall putting bike projects over major street repairs…” “But in Hales’ acceptance speech he made it clear he… expects to get back to basics,” continued co-anchor Debra Knapp.

And the reporter on the story, Bob Heye, said, “Hales wants Portland’s 60 miles of unpaved streets covered as soon as possible and other streets repaired before there are any more bike projects.” Then, while standing next to a bike box for added effect, Heye then added, “Sam Adams made bicycles a priority — including these famous green bike boxes, and now these beige bike buffer lanes [on NE Multnomah] — With Charlie Hales as mayor, there’s probably going to be less of this.”

“We will continue to support all modes, including bikes, in our capital improvement program.”
— Mayor-elect Charlie Hales, in response to the KATU story

Not surprisingly, many people were shocked at this story. I was flabbergasted. I could not figure out why Hales would make such a poor communications and policy blunder before even taking office. And why, of all things, would he target “bike projects”? As the story sunk in, I struggled to figure out how to give Hales the benefit of the doubt on this one (which is something I always try to do, but in this case, if KATU was right, his position would have been indefensible).

Then, as I looked more closely at KATU’s story, it appeared that what they were reporting was not backed up by Hales’ actual comments. I began to wonder if KATU misrepresented his statements to make them seem more anti-bike than they actually were. (After all, this is the station that brought us the extremely misleading and divisive “Bike Paths to Nowhere” story.)

After hearing from both Hales and KATU, I think my hunch was right.

See for yourself: Compare the KATU story copy above with the quotes from Hales that were used in the story (in video and in print):

“We do still want to keep building choices for people to move around the city, but job one has to be maintaining the streets that we have better than we have been doing.”

“We have a lot of potholes, a lot of streets with cracks that need repair, so my transportation budget will prioritize that basic maintenance first before we do anything else.”

KATU also tried to make it appear like Hales would take a more auto-centric — and less active transportation-centric — position on the Columbia River Crossing project. “Where Adams wanted a new bridge across the Columbia to favor alternative transportation, Charlie Hales plans to steer the City’s priorities more toward interstate commerce.”

But strangely, their own reporting seems to contradict that. Here’s what Hales said immediately after the reporter’s lead-in above:

“From the beginning, this has been understood as a project where we improve transportation for all modes… for transit, for pedestrians, for bikes and for cars — so it really needs to meet all three of those requirements. It needs to be a better bridge for all purposes, or it’s not worth building.”

And here’s the full segment from the newscast:

To me, none of what Hales says constitutes a “big change” from Adams. Nor do his quotes lead me to believe that, “Bike projects will take a back seat to road repairs,” in his administration.

Saying that road repairs and maintenance will be prioritized above all else, is much different than saying “bike projects will take a back seat.” And it certainly shouldn’t lead one to think that there will be fewer bike boxes or protected bike lanes installed. That’s quite a stretch. Hales also never singles out “bike projects” the way KATU clearly — and repeatedly — did.

I emailed Hales to ask if KATU represented his comments accurately.

Hales is too smart to publicly question or contradict KATU’s reporting. He shared with me that he told KATU the same thing he’s been saying during his entire campaign, that “maintaining the streets we have on a regular cycle… is Job 1 and Management 101,” and that, “Making that a priority is in the interest of all modes.”

“We will continue to support all modes, including bikes, in our capital improvement program,” Hales added in his email (which was CC’d to his campaign staff and a few other advisors.

The mayor-elect also expressed concern that folks were getting worked up over the story. “I hope you can help keep people from hyperventilating about this discussion,” he continued, “and let them know that when I say ‘back to basics’, that means back to prudent maintenance of what we own, not ‘back to cars-only’.”

I also contacted KATU to make sure I wasn’t missing any source quotes from Hales that might not have appeared in their piece. A KATU rep replied by reading back one of the same Hales quotes that appears in their online story. He was unable to share any other source material. When I said their the story seemed to single out “bike projects” in a way that wasn’t reflected in Hales’ actual statements, the KATU rep acknowledged that, “he may not be singling out bike projects, but that everything would be put on hold.” I repeated my concerns with the story and the KATU rep said he’d take another look at the interviews and source comments and get back to me.

It’s strange: KATU seems to be reporting a story that simply doesn’t exist.

This type of misleading and inaccurate story poisons the local narrative around transportation and it fans the “bikes vs cars” flames. (Just read the comments on their story. It’s like throwing red meat to sharks.)

And while I have said for months that I feel Hales’ comments about “back to basics” and “roads first” are easily misunderstood (especially in the context of a discussion about bicycles), I never expected a major media outlet to misinterpret them this blatantly. With a new mayor, I had hoped we could turn over a new leaf and put these fabricated bike controversies behind us. So much for that.

UPDATE, 9:26 am on 11/13: While Hales clarified to me that he still intends to fund bike projects and that “back to basics” doesn’t mean “back to cars-only,” he did not directly refute the KATU story as a misrepresentation of his views. This morning I have contacted him again, asking him to answer, yes or no, whether or not he feels KATU misrepresented him. I’ll update the story when I hear back.

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  • Hart Noecker November 13, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Following the money on Hales leads back to Mark Wiener, coal trains/barges, and the supporters of the Columbia River Crossing. I fear Portland has made a potentially unfixable mistake in electing Charlie Hales.

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    • Bike-Max-Bike November 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

      Sometimes it’s OK to be a single issue voter. When it comes to the CRC, I am.

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    • davemess November 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

      But he’ll probably quit in a year anyway!

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  • Sean G November 13, 2012 at 2:17 am

    I wish I could be shocked that the media blatantly lying to push a political/corporate agenda and there’s nobody to really care about it other than a small minority. As a matter of fact, those of us who call them on it are seen as the ones outside mainstream.

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  • browse November 13, 2012 at 6:32 am

    JM, thanks very much for following up on this so aggressively. I went to bed pissed off at Hales. Now I know to direct my ire towards KATU. Much appreciated.

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    • taiganaut November 14, 2012 at 7:54 am

      One should always direct their ire toward KATU.

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  • Jess L November 13, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Just as concerning in my view is the focus on paving Portland’s unpaved streets. While the news article proclaimed that it is going to be “back to basics” for transportation under Charlie Hales, it should be noted it was safety that was of primary concern for transportation under Sam Adams. Paving unpaved streets is pretty much a red herring in all of this considering the decrepit condition of some of our major arterials and neighborhood connector streets, many without complete sidewalks, inadequate lane widths, shoulder/bike lane markings, etc, especially on the east side. Some streets I’m thinking of include SE Ellis from 84th to 92nd, SE 104th from Harold to Powell, SE 112th from Foster to Holgate, SE 136th from Powell to Foster, and the list goes on. I sincerely do hope the new mayor takes a rational approach based on the needs assessments we already have, rather than pander to what appears to be an easy target; paving residential streets that many residents voted leave unpaved when given the option.

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    • maxadders November 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Seriously. Nobody cares about these unpaved streets unless you need them to access your property– and that usually means the unpaved portion is an alleyway or secondary driveway sort of thing, not the primary street a house is located on. I’ve lived here long enough to have heard lines like “Portland has x miles of dirt roads It’s practically a third-world country””– more than enough times to make it clear to me that the smattering of unpaved blocks is most significant to politicians in need of a red herring.

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      • Friedman November 13, 2012 at 10:37 am

        What city do you live in? Go to NE Portland sometime, and you’ll see many unpaved streets-not alleys or driveways, but streets, with names, street signs, the whole bit. You’re right, only people that need to use them to access where they live care much, since smug bastards that live on paved streets can’t be bothered.

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      • Ben Guernsey November 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

        I lived in the SE Woodstock area for a few years and I was thankful for many of the unpaved streets. It keeps people on main streets without cutting off access completely.

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        • wsbob November 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm

          I lived alongside an unpaved street with potholes, for many years. It wasn’t that much of an inconvenience, and in some ways it was better than paved. People tended to drive much slower on it making it better for walking. Cars get dirty fast on unpaved roads. There’s a practical limit to how badly unpaved potholed roads can be allowed to deteriorate before they excessively reduce use for motor vehicles, but a few potholes and gravel or gravel-dirt to drive on is generally no big deal.

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      • Ian Stude November 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm

        The real red herring in all this talk about unpaved streets is that it can be used to rile up a majority of people who live on paved streets. Those with pavement, sidewalks, etc. in front of their house just can’t fathom how horrible it is that our city has allowed others to live in such backwards conditions. However, the truth is that many (but certainly not all) neighbors on these streets are content to see their street remain unpaved.
        The good news on this front is that PBOT has been working to create a much more flexible and affordable tool kit for “improving” these streets that will scale with the actual resident’s desires, rather than simply imposing a costly new street on every block, which our city certainly cannot afford.
        For more info about the Portland residents who live on these streets and PBOT’s new program called “Street by Street” check out these links:


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        • Greg November 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm

          Thanks for the information.

          Your second link gives a 404 on the site.

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      • Carol November 14, 2012 at 11:14 am

        Please stop using the epithet, “red herring” it is annoying and disrespectful to the fish.

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    • oliver November 13, 2012 at 9:00 am

      When the property owners on those unpaved streets are handed quote indicating the charges for paving the street adjacent to their units, you’re going to see quite a reversal in demand for paving streets.

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      • davemess November 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

        Because many would argue that it’s not the homeowners financial responsibility to update a public right of way owned by the city.

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        • oliver November 13, 2012 at 10:30 am

          That may be a valid argument. But I have never seen a city not levy fees to property owners to pave streets or install sidewalks. Do you know if this is the case in Portland? Usually these fees are hidden from the buyers, having been covered by the developer when a new neighborhood goes in.

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        • Ben November 13, 2012 at 10:44 am

          I learned in the Portland Traffic and Transportation class at PSU that all roads are financed as part of the development. The outlying parts of SE Portland that are unpaved (and often un-sewered!) were unincorporated and didn’t have the same rules, so the developers often cut corners by not paving. So, if you live there and want a paved road, you actually have to pay for it — it wasn’t included in your house/neighborhood price initially.

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          • Joseph E November 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

            Right. Owners of properties on unpaved streets are expecting the rest of us who live or work or shop in Portland to pay to pave their streets, using everyone’s property tax dollars, instead of paying for the cost of initial paving. And paving the street, with sidewalks and curbs and gutters and drains, costs much more than repaving an existing street. I would like to see many of those streets paved, but the land owners on those streets need to be willing to pay the majority of the cost. They will, after all, get the majority of the benefit.

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            • davemess November 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

              Whoa there, no one is expecting anything, except that the city actually have some equity and my neighborhood has the same streets, sidewalks and infrastructure (within reason) as the close in neighborhoods (of which I’m guessing you live). It’s not unreasonable to expect that the property taxes I pay (which is the same rate as every other portlander) goes towards having a similar level of street infrastructure. Yes, areas that have these things will be “subsidizing” those of us who don’t, but that’s what happens when you live in a society and city.

              I mean we’re talking 20-30 years post annexation here. Most of these houses have changed hands at least a few times since then. It’s not like all orginal owners just passed on the option to have their streets paved by the city.

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              • ScottB November 13, 2012 at 4:05 pm

                Wrong. the property taxes are to maintain infrastructure once it is built to city standards (paid for by the property owners).

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              • davemess November 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

                If you can go back and show that property owners paid for all the original streets in Portland, I might buy that argument. Good luck with that!

                Really interesting to think that many of the original streets were dirt roads.

                Bottom line is that unimproved roads almost exclusively are in the poorer neighborhoods in town where people don’t have the crazy amount of money necessary to pave them. I think the city needs to step in a do the right thing.

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      • A.K. November 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

        That is what I was thinking, and why those streets have remained unpaved for so long. I pass many of them up between ~75th-82nd ave when biking to work along the Clinton/Woodward greenway.

        I was always under the impression that the people who own the houses along those streets are responsible for paying for upgrades, which is why it has never happened. But I’ve always lived on paved streets, so I’ve never had to deal with it so I don’t know how it works first-hand.

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        • Art Fuldodger November 13, 2012 at 12:19 pm

          Here’s the process & options for getting your (unpaved) street paved:

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        • matt picio November 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm

          Many of those streets remain unpaved because the city fell through on a promise. In many cases, neighborhoods were annexed into the city without objection with the understanding that the city would pave those roads and construct sidewalks. The city never followed through on that, according to many residents. I doubt that’s the whole story, and I’m quite sure the city met any contractual obligations to the letter of the law. Some of the bad blood with the city goes back 50 years, depending on which neighborhood and which roads one is discussing.

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          • A.K. November 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

            Huh, thanks for that bit of history! No idea. I’ve lived in close-in SE and NE PDX my whole life. I agree, it would be interesting to know the “real” story. You think there would be signed legal documents one way or the other, yeah?

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            • A.K. November 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

              Er, that should be “I had no idea”.

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          • ScottB November 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm

            Prove it. any evidence of a city promise?

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            • davemess November 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

              Think about it. It makes sense. Why would those neighborhoods agree to be annexed (and have their property taxes go up), if they weren’t promised some things in return (like paved streets and sidewalks).

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  • Schrauf November 13, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Another example of why KATU and most other stations do not offer News, but primarily Propaganda and Advertising. Can we say “propaganda reporter” rather than news reporter when referring to such?

    What is sad is that too many people do not know the difference, and accept the propaganda blindly.

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    • Andyc of Linnton November 13, 2012 at 7:38 am

      “Coming up at eleven: our senior citizens are starving, our schools can’t afford to educate our children, and this adorable litter of kittens will be euthanized. Are bike lanes to blame? Some folks are saying yes, more after these commercials.”

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    • was carless November 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

      In all due fairness, there have been a large number of “news reports” that were posted immediately following the election saying why Obama is so much better than the Repubs, and how the Repub party is doomed, etc etc. Its really the same thing – these ARE articles (debatable term) written by individuals to garner viewership.

      Unfortunately, it seems that journalists have forgotten the rule about “media bias” that is central to Journalism.

      Therefore, one could argue that in todays world there exists only Tabloid Journalism; the journalism of old is dead, dead, dead.

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      • are November 13, 2012 at 10:22 am

        it is not as simple a garnering viewers. putting the narrative out there shapes beliefs. this is why it is important for hales to take control of the narrative. if in fact this departs from his script, which it may not.

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      • taiganaut November 14, 2012 at 7:56 am

        And citizen journalism, which is not a direct replacement.

        And outlets like Al-Jazeera English, who produce absolutely top-notch reporting and whose reason for doing so I’m still trying to figure out given that they’re funded by Qatar.

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  • Dave November 13, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Hey–fixing potholes IS a cycling enhancement project.

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  • (moderately) Faux Porteur November 13, 2012 at 7:43 am

    “prudent maintenance of what we own, not ‘back to cars-only’.”


    Do we already own this crazy mega-bridge? I’d much rather prudently maintain the current I-5 bridge.

    See, people in cars already have safe/efficient/convenient ways to get from point A to point B in this city and beyond, so yes, they only need prudent maintenance. On the other hand, the growing number of people that depend on bicycles and transit in this town need NEW infrastructure.

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  • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 7:48 am

    “Hales is too smart to publicly question or contradict KATU’s reporting”

    and so the purpose of their story is achieved…. How unhelpful. They knew he wouldn’t come out swinging for bike infrastructure to set the record straight, so the die is cast.

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    • peejay November 13, 2012 at 8:11 am

      I agree. If a politician feels that a news outlet misrepresented his views, it’s in his interest to aggressively correct that impression, to the point of embarrassing the news outlet into ceasing that behavior. What other outcome is better for anyone?

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      • Paul Cone November 13, 2012 at 8:28 am

        Any good politician knows you have to have the media on your side, as inaccurate and loathed as they may be. As Jefferson noted, they use ink by the barrel full.

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    • Alexis November 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Jonathan, would you be willing to expand on this comment? I understood it to mean something like “Hales is happy enough to let a politically advantageous account of his position stand even though it’s inaccurate”, but this strikes me as savvy rather than smart. And it’s exactly one of the reasons I didn’t want Hales as mayor. I’d like a mayor with the courage to challenge bad reporting narratives and stand by his real positions.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 13, 2012 at 8:58 am


        Sorry, I can’t expand too much on that statement. In my email to Hales I presented the story as KATU reported it and then I asked Hales whether or not he actually said those things.

        Here’s what I asked Hales:

        -Is that indeed what you said?

        – Is that accurate? Did you specifically tell them that there would be FEWER bike-centric projects in your administration?

        – Do you feel that’s an accurate representation of your views?

        His reply to me via email didn’t exactly answer those questions directly. Instead, he went to his campaign talking points and also shared the “hyperventilating” statement.

        I share your concerns about Hales’ communications around this issue. I think he’s trying very carefully to play all sides at once. Eventually he’ll have to get specific and make real decisions. At that point, we’ll see where he stands.

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    • wsbob November 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      If Hales weren’t careful about when and how to respond to unsubstantiated presumptions and assumptions made and presented by the type of news outlet KATU is, neither he or his staff would have time to do anything else. KATU apparently allowing the quality of its reporting to descend to sensationalist tripe should be an almost automatic write-off for anyone with something serious to do.

      I enjoy reading, hearing, thinking about and talking about the news, but realized long ago, the 30 minute with commercials tv station news format is not a good source to rely on for well reported news.

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  • Andrew K November 13, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I have a number of thoughts on this…

    1) Thank you Jonathan for staying on this and bringing it to our attention. I don’t get TV at home so I had no idea this story even aired.

    2) Looks to me like KATU is doing the old, “poke the hornets nest with a stick” routine trying once again to follow the narrative of pitting one group against another as if we only have one of two choices. We can either support cars or we can support bikes but we can’t do both. We all know that is false, but for some people it’s hard to wrap their brain around it.

    3) I dont’ think Hales is wrong to state that he will put effort into paving some streets and doing some basic maintance. In some parts of town it is needed and I think that is good for everyone. There is one street I can think of that I ride on regularly where I often don’t use a hand single because it is so rough I’m afraid I’ll fall riding one handed. That is bad.

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    • q`Tzal November 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Re #2: they are learning to monetize their web presence. The increased traffic to the article comment thread of enraged arguing just drives up their page views and the price they can charge for ads.

      When dealing with these issues in the future we find ourselves in a conundrum: ignore them and it gets worse, try to participate in the “enlightenment” of uneducated readers and contribute to KATU’s (and other media demagogs) profit margin.

      The only solution I can come up with is to plant a redirect on their website to an identical mirror site, not for security or privacy spoofing, but to simply deny the hate monger their page view profit for being professional media trolls.

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      • are November 13, 2012 at 10:24 am

        they could as easily drive the traffic by claiming hales is a bike freak. instead they put out this narrative, which he chooses not to contradict.

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        • q`Tzal November 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

          Yes, that too.
          Doesn’t matter though; the more screaming insanity the better.
          Don’t reward them with page views.

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    • was carless November 13, 2012 at 9:09 am

      You can also view it as a smokescreen – ie, Charlie Hales appears to be against cyclists, so the Clackistani-types will think that the po-po will be arresting Portlanders for bicycle possession, while in reality he is an ambivalent or even pro-cycling commuter.

      Why on Earth would Charlie Hales want to confront KATU, embarass the news station, lose their favor, and piss off 80% of the population of Portland? “No, guys, I really AM planning on spending millions of dollars on bike routes! No, wait, I promise I won’t cancel the CRC! Really! Lets fund it all!”

      That kind of situation can get you killed by the media. Look what happened to Sam Adams. He turned into a lame duck.

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      • are November 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

        adams turned into a lame duck because he had a relationship with a seventeen year old, and this culture does not tolerate that in a homosexual male

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        • JRB November 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

          I’m don’t understand why you are trying to turn this into a gay/straight issue? There’s still a lot of homophobia out there, but a sexual relationship, homo or hetero, with an eighteen year old is a career ender for any politician. I don’t think the result for Sam would have been any different if his partner had been female. I think it says a lot for Portland’s relatively higher tolerance that he was able to finish his term.

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          • are November 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm

            the only recent example at the federal level would be mark foley, republican of florida, who resigned his seat in congress in 2006 after sending sexually explicit e-mail messages to underage male pages.

            back in 1983 there was a scandal involving dan crane, republican of illinois, having sex with an underage female page, and gerry studds, democrat of massachusetts, having sex with an underage male page. both were censured, and crane was defeated in his bid for a third term, while studds was re-elected six times . . .

            which i admit would seem to undermine my thesis, though possibly the difference was that crane allowed the ethics committee to conduct a full hearing, requiring the female to testify, while studds waived the hearing to protect the privacy of those involved.

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          • 007 November 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm

            I don’t know, JRB. I think there are a lot of people out there that don’t consider themselves evenly slightly homophobic that still hold this against Sam. I think if it had been a young woman, they would have forgiven him by now.

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  • Mark November 13, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I don’t like bikes or vehicles. Neither watch out for pedestrians or people in mobility devices, walkers or parents with strollers. Cyclists and vehicular traffic think they *OWN* the roads. Well, sorry, but there is this law “Yield right of way to pedestrians”. Drivers and cyclists like to *BLOCK* the crosswalks so that pedestrians, wheelchairs, scooters and strollers have to wait until the cyclists or vehicles have gone on their merry way. I say unfair. When I have a *WALK* signal, it is *MY* turn to cross the street, yet, I have to wait for cyclist and drivers to get out of the crosswalk. Stay BEHIND the WHITE LINES!!! Allow those of us who are not cyclists or vehicles the same courtesy we allow you. Freedom to cross *SAFELY*!!!

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  • Tom November 13, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I saw this “live” and thought that Hales was shooting himself in the foot even before entering office.

    Just prior to that story, KATU’s big news focus was “which color Care Bear went which name” ?? ie: yellow CB=Sunny Bear green=Share Bear ..WTF ? I noted to the better half that they are no longer news people, just entertainers/sellers. That was their big question of the day…XXX color = what name ?….win a tour of the studio, if you are first correct caller.

    Hope that Hales does come back and clarify….I have some hope for him.

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  • was carless November 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Wait what, the news media provides corporate propaganda focused on incredibly biased “reporting?” You don’t say!

    Personally, I find the cheerleading somewhat amusing.

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  • JRB November 13, 2012 at 8:49 am

    What I find most disturbing is the way KATU stated as fact that bike infrastructure comes at the expense of road maintenance. Their entire story is based on a false premise that is easily disproven if a reporter did the research or wanted to know the truth.

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    • Opus the Poet November 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      The truth has a well-known liberal bias.

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  • was carless November 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Here’s an interesting tidbit that Charlie Hales gave to portlandarchitecture.com Brian Libby in an interview back in April:

    “BL: You mentioned the Columbia River Crossing. What’s your take on that controversial project?

    CL: I was on an interview show, Think Out Loud, back in February. My timing turned out either prophetic or lucky. I said there are three projects that will be downsized, dead or under construction by the time a new mayor takes office: the Oregon Sustainability Center, the streetcar to Lake Oswego, and the Columbia River Crossing. Since I said that, the Oregon Sustainability Center and the streetcar have both cratered. It’s clear the region is going to need to modify its plan for the CRC. I believe there’s a doable version of that project that we can move forward on and actually move to construction, one that conforms with our values and that we could pay for. That’s obviously not the version of the project that’s on the table now. It’s unbuildable and we don’t have any money to build it.”

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  • oliver November 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

    KATU is fabricating a certain set of expectations. If the viewers buy it, then they have created 4 years of stories of how the mayor elect is ‘failing to deliver’ on his ‘promises’

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    • was carless November 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

      You think the electorate really can remember past who they even voted for last week?

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  • Marc November 13, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Local media tripping over themselves to see who can throw some red meat out to the masses and hit the outgoing mayor one last time over his “liberal” agenda.

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    • matt picio November 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      If it’s a trivial complaint over a non-issue? Something where other people are in “their” way? Absolutely. People have an infinite memory for perceived slights – and bikes in the roadway are a perceived slight for many drivers.

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  • Dan V November 13, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I’m all for some street maintenance myself and, what with the huge piles of leaves blocking some bike lanes (but the yards are SPOTLESS!), I can’t use many of the bike infrastructure anyway. We have a huge number of “bike lanes”, they are called roads.

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    • 007 November 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Back in the day, we were supposed to clean up the leaves in your yard, not blow them into the street. It’s a mess out there, for sure.

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      • Greg November 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

        In my neighborhood, we *are* told to rake them into the street – “If you have leaves from other trees on your property, rake them into the street the day before your Leaf Day.” – http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/363504

        Granted, we’re not supposed to do that until the day before, however leaf day is on a Thursday, and people who work 9-5 don’t have much daylight outside of the weekend…

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  • dwainedibbly November 13, 2012 at 9:23 am

    KATU: The Oregonian of the Airwaves.

    If this gives the Clackistanis and their Portland-residing ilk something that they want to hear and takes some of their focus away from any plans for bicycling infrastructure, then it’s ok by me. Hopefully it’s misdirection (by whom? Dunno.) “Look over there, we’re paving streets”, while continuing with cycling infrastructure projects.

    OTOH, perhaps Portland did make a huge mistake in electing Hales. I wrote in Sam.

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  • Erik Griswold November 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Follow the Money too on Fisher Communications, the Seattle-based owner of KATU. They were the same ones involved in this:


    (Which was encouraged by management until it just got to be too much for Nice Seattle)

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  • Jonathan Radmacher November 13, 2012 at 9:46 am

    At one of the very early mayoral debates, at Portland State’s Lincoln Hall, both Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith said that their transportation policy would be “ABC — Anything But Cars.” Hmmm.

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  • Jonathan Radmacher November 13, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Sorry, it was actually “EBC — Everything But Cars.”

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  • Mike C. November 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

    There’s some spin by KATU to emphasize the de-prioritization of bike projects. Which to me just means Charlie isn’t going to be as progressive with bike projects as Sam was. i wouldn’t expect anyone to be.

    Basic road maintenance is an essential service any City provides and it does benefit all modes of transport. The key statement that I think needs clarification and verification is the one by the KATU reporter about the “60 miles of unpaved roads being covered before the city takes on any bike projects.” That seems incongruous with Charlie’s statement about “maintaining the streets we have” because that connotes new street pavement projects and not “basic maintenance of existing roads. “

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    • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

      “Basic road maintenance is an essential service any City provides and it does benefit all modes of transport.”

      I have to disagree. The ‘everyone needs smooth streets’ mantra is a thinly veiled attempt to claim as a universal good something that is in fact a subsidy to the auto-bound.

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      • 007 November 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm

        9watts, I totally agree with you. Smooth streets, ideal but a waste of precious funds. I don’t see our streets as being that bad. If cyclists don’t complain, why should people in the comfort of their own padded cage?

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  • Craig Harlow November 13, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I’m not convinced Hales can be counted on to follow through on any particular leaning that he has represented during the course of the campaign, including his acceptance speech and beyond. I think he’s been deliberately vague. Reposting my remarks from Jonathan’s story on Sept 11.

    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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  • Mike C. November 13, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Swatts – I have to disagree. Sure motorists may be more affected than other group and they are more vociferous about pot holes. But if you’ve ever run into a pot hole on a bike a night you’d understand the benefit. The statement doesn’t automatically imply that all users benefit equally just that everyone does benefit in some way. Let’s not forget that buses and emergency vehicles also benefit.

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    • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

      As I said in my linked prior comment to Hales here on bikeportland, I do appreciate smooth roads as someone who bikes. I just happen not to think that preference is as relevant here as you do. Until we fund our infrastructure like they do in places like Germany with gasoline taxes worthy of the name, we’re always going to be arguing over crumbs.
      In the context of this inadequate funding, arguing about potholes to me is Tiddlywinks. For that matter, our City Council just approved $400M to ostensibly unjam the Rose Quarter. How does that figure into this storyline?

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    • 007 November 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      I find the deep ruts caused by buses, especially those on SW Madison at 5th Ave., much more of a hazard to my health. They should be fixed ASAP, they’re 3-4″ deep. I have yet to see a REAL pot hole here in Portland. I’ve said before, we have no pot holes. Go to the east side of the state, they have pot holes.

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  • Mike C. November 13, 2012 at 10:48 am

    And if basic road maintenance does include sidewalks than it does benefit pedestrians as well. The only real fact regarding pot holes and other damage to roadways is that they are mostly caused by large, heavy vehicles and weather.

    Motorists can make the same statement about bicycling projects being a subsidy to bicyclists.

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    • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 10:50 am

      Can you explain your last sentence?

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    • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

      Sidewalks and bike infrastructure is derivative. Without cars dominating streets and roads, hogging all the space and endangering everyone, we wouldn’t need either. In places that ban cars today, not to mention pre-auto cities and towns, everyone just walks in the road.

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    • 007 November 13, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      Mike, LOL. That’s a good one. ha ha ha

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  • Halley @ BIKELEPTIC November 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    The thing is that here in Portland, bike infrastructure – multimodal infrastructure are intricately entwined with road maintenance. As a cyclist, I don’t like to use unimproved roads just as much as a car user likes to drive on pot holes or a walker or wheel chair user likes to traverse cracked and broken cement – as well as bus facilities such as curb cuts, etc.

    You can’t improve a road without thinking about what kind of users are going to be access it. If you just improve a road by slathering on concrete or asphalt or whatever, then you are going to have a clusterf*ck five years down the road when all the roads in town are exactly like Sandy Blvd, Foster or MLK and none of them are accessible to anyone – more collisions and less traffic calming features.

    By incorporating multi-modal features into your urban planning – because come on! We’re not the 1950s!! We are establishing the future success of our city by making it adaptable for our changing and growing population so that we aren’t forced to go back 5 to 10 years from now and completely re-do the mistakes of our “let’s go back to basics Hale.” There’s a reason why people go to school for a long time for civil engineering and urban planning. It’s freaking complicated. If you have to plan for change and growth and development. You have to look at 30 years from now. Not 4 years from now.

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  • o/o November 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Hales is not like some evil mayor in Toronto, Canada…

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  • Brad November 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Why would KATU do such an unsubstantiated hit piece, ohhhhh…it’s November. Sweeps month! More eyeballs = Charge higher ad rates. Makes sense now.

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  • Rol November 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    KATU is the worst. And I’m not saying that in the hyperbolic sense meaning they’re really bad; I’m saying they’re literally worse than every other local newscast.

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    • Craig Collins November 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm


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  • 007 November 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    “To me, none of what Hales says constitutes a ‘big change’ from Adams. Nor do his quotes lead me to believe that, ‘Bike projects will take a back seat to road repairs,’ in his administration.”
    I think that IS what Hales is saying. He can’t have it both ways. But I can’t believe anything he says because he’s such an opportunist. His pandering to bicycle haters with his patching potholes gimmick just turned me off totally.
    Still, I agree with Oliver above, “KATU is fabricating a certain set of expectations. If the viewers buy it, then they have created 4 years of stories of how the mayor elect is ‘failing to deliver’ on his ‘promises’.”

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  • Pete November 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I’ve never seen a television news broadcast that was not interrupted by frequent commercials for cars and auto insurance. In the evening they are typically watched by people who just got out of their cars. Coincidence?

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    • Pete November 13, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      For that matter, I’ve also never seen a news channel invest in a “traffic chopper” to fly over and report on how jammed up the bike lanes are…

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  • VTRC November 14, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I’ve been following the story and your twitter feed pretty closely, and I guess I’m having trouble seeing the big deal.

    PBOT did the paving it could and some bike projects, and the Oregonian managed to spin it as Bike Projects were the only thing being funded. Hales says that they’re going to do the paving they can and some bike projects and KATU spins it as only roads will be getting paved.

    While both misrepresent the situation, it’s the O’s slant that no “major paving” will happen for streets because of bikes that really exacerbate the bikes vs car problem. I think that the use of terms “maintenance,” “major paving,” and “repaving.” allow the misinformation to flow as steadily as it does and more outreach on PBOT’s part would go a long way to explaining what choices they’re making and what work is happening.

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  • Joe November 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

    hey studded tires really mess the streets up. bikes have less of an impact

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  • Charlie Sponsel May 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Blow him up on twitter. Please.


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