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City transportation director’s bike stolen from outside office

Posted by on September 9th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

PBOT Director Leah Treat

PBOT director Treat.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The bike that introduced Portland transportation director Leah Treat to pedal commuting can’t catch a break: It’s now been stolen once from each of the three cities where she’s worked.

Its most recent swipe came some time Thursday night, when Treat cable-locked her blue Breezer Greenway in the loggia outside day care entrance at the Portland Building, where she works.

“Because I had a ton of meetings that night at various places around town, I ended up leaving her overnight,” Treat, who joined the bureau in July, wrote in an email Monday. “I now know that wasn’t such a smart thing to do.”

The bike, which she’s named Beatrice, has a white seat, white grips, black fenders and a “LaSalle” parking permit on the front fender.

Treat’s stolen bike, presumably before
a change to white seat and grips.
(photo courtesy Leah Treat)

Fortunately for Treat (and hopefully for Beatrice), the Portland Building has outdoor cameras.

“The building security has the event captured on film and I think we’ll be turning over a face to [Police Bureau] soon, which is great news,” Treat wrote. “Whether that means I’ll get Beatrice back, I don’t know.”

Treat’s bike (which isn’t the only one her six-person family owns — she’s recently edited her Twitter bio from describing her spouse as a “bike fanatic” to merely a “cyclist”) was stolen from the family’s Washington DC garage, and then recovered, Treat wrote. It was later stolen and recovered in Chicago, where she worked until this year.

Treat said she’s baffled as to why her bike might be a theft magnet.

“I have no idea why someone would want Beatrice,” she wrote. “She is totally functional and a great ride, but she’s a hodgepodge of parts because she’s been nabbed twice before. Each time she was recovered parts were banged up or missing, so she wasn’t the prettiest thing. But she is the bike I started commuting on and [I] grew more attached to her because she’d been stolen and recovered twice.”

It’s obviously the thief, not Treat, who’s responsible for this crime. That said, Treat’s experience that a cable lock isn’t enough to prevent theft jibes with trends at Portland State University a few blocks to the south. PSU, the city’s ground zero for bike theft, doesn’t even offer cable locks for sale in its campus bike shop.

Let’s hope Treat is able to recover Beatrice one more time, and that a theft doesn’t deter her from getting around by bike when she wants to.

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9watts
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9watts

High time to upgrade to a real U-lock.

Dave
Guest

My bike sits outside on NW 21st and Flanders overnight every night and no problems yet after more than a year, but it is locked up with a good lock.

And it is also named Beatrice 🙂

JL
Guest
JL

go check by Ross Island sand and gravel at the start of the springwater, lots of bikes there, also up in the bushes a few yards up from where the path starts, lots of bike up there too

Lillian Karabaic
Guest
Lillian Karabaic

The buried lede in this story: our new transportation director personifies and names her bike. I’m liking Ms. Treat more and more.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

I don’t understand why people only use cable locks.

Editz
Guest
Editz

Great to hear they have the event on video, but it would be nice to have a few sting operations set up to help root out the thieves and their parts networks.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Cable locks are great, when used on bike thieves.

(tongue in cheek. this poster does not endorse whipping anyone with steel cables)

Ted Buehler
Guest

Does the Portland Building have indoor bike parking?

If not, maybe they’ll get some now.

Indoor parking is soooo much better for bikes. They’re more secure, of course, but if its climate-controlled, bikes dry out during the day, so their seats, tires, cables and lubrication all last longer.

You can also set out your jacket, booties, gloves, and helmet to dry in the bike room, too, instead of have them drip all the way to your office.

Ted Buehler

Ted Buehler
Guest

I stole my own bike at City Hall last fall. Part of the cable lock combination lock guts fell out just as I was locking up the bike, and the lock wouldn’t open.

I came back at 4:30 pm with a hacksaw and cut it free. Done in 5 mins, nobody noticed.

I’ve always used a U-lock on my valuable bikes since then.

FWIW

Ted Buehler

Scott
Guest
Scott

A mass produced bike with a hodge podge of mass produce parts is exactly what an opportunist thief would want. The cable lock just make it THE bike they want.

Emily G
Guest
Emily G

Is there no indoor bike parking at the Portland Building? I’m asking because I’m genuinely baffled as to why such a thing wouldn’t be available (when lots of other office buildings have it) for an important person like the head of our transportation department.

TOM
Guest
TOM

“”The building security has the event captured on film and I think we’ll be turing over a face”

turing=turning ? you need a spell checker MA

sure wish everybody got front page treatment on stolen bikes. she shuuda maybe learned after the first theft ?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Somebody that’s a big city transportation department director gets their bike stolen not just once, but twice, and now…three times…still doesn’t realize their bike, for various reasons, is one thieves like to steal. Apparently is also slow to realize that one of the wimpiest types of bike locks, the pathetically feeble cable lock..hardly discourages bike theft.

How Treat hasn’t yet picked up on and taken effective measures to keep her ride from being stolen, isn’t easy to figure. Maybe the city should put together some more, better public service announcements about avoiding bike theft. Featured in those PSA’s, if she’s on for it, the theft of Portland transportation director Leah Treat’s bike may make some kind of positive difference.

Hope she recovers the bike. Looks like a nice one, scratches or not. Worth spending $80-$100 or more on a quality u-lock and hauling the extra weight around, to provide some solid dissuasion to the next thieves that scope her bike out.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

my vacuum cleaner is named beatrice.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

My U-lock is named beatrice. She doubles as a training weight.

Joe Suburban
Guest
Joe Suburban

Yep, been there (at Lloyd Center actually) and done that (locked with a cable to preserve the paint on my $90 Walmart bike), and got it swiped from under the security camera by somebody who just purchased a bolt cutter from Sears! The fat rent-a-cop security guys were useless.
I now use a beefy U-lock and a chain with padlock!
I put the chain in a piece of tire tube, to preserve the paint on the bike.

sabes
Guest
sabes

The best security is locking up your bike (with a U lock) next to a bike locked with a cable lock.

Leah Treat
Guest
Leah Treat

Points of clarification – Beatrice was stolen out of my garage in DC, along with almost everything else in it. I learned from that lesson to keep your bike locked in your garage. Beatrice was stolen out of my garage in Chicago locked up to other bikes with U Locks — the thieves just took all the bikes in a bundle. Now I know a cable lock isn’t the safest way to go. I have invested in a much better lock but have been advised by Police that they’ve got video of thieves cutting just about every lock made. Please keep track of your serial numbers and take pictures of your bike. Update those photos anytime you change a significant feature.

And I miss Beatrice.

Ted Buehler
Guest

The PBOT Bicycle Program staff have done great things for City of Portland bicyclists.

They’ve installed bike lanes, bike blvds, wider sidewalks on river bridges. They’ve motivated people with Smart Trips, Sunday Parkways. They’ve fed the wonks with Bicycle Brownbags and the PSU Traffic and Transportation Class. They’ve pioneered many infrastructure features that are now replicated across the country, like bike boxes, cycletracks, buffered bike lanes, colored bike lanes, active neon signage to prevent right-hooks, etc. They’ve modified city code to require good bicycle parking at all new and renovated buildings. They’ve produced the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030, one of the best bike plans ever written, and now they’re getting it built. They’ve researched bike infrastructure, bike behavior, & bike safety. PBOT current and former staff like Mia Birk, Roger Geller, Denver Igarta, Ellen Vanderslice, Greg Raisman, Rob Burchfield, Mark Lear, Timo Forsburg, Peter Koonce, Janis McDonald, Tom Miller, and many others are known around the world as leaders in the field of bicycling, presenting at conferences everywhere.

But, though PBOT staff have done the impossible, and transformed a car-oriented American city into a Bicycle City of The Future, they appear to be unable to get decent indoor parking for their own steeds.

Maybe we can reciprocate and gracefully ask that the city come up with better bike parking for employees.

Looks like this might be who we talk to —
Facilities Division Manager
Bob Kieta, (503) 823-2039, robert.kieta@portlandoregon.gov
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bibs/article/12499

Ted Buehler

Ted Buehler
Guest

I sent Bob this note —

Bob —

I read a BikePortland story that reported that a PBOT employee’s bike
was stolen from the outdoor parking area at The Portland Building.
http://bikeportland.org/2013/09/09/city-transportation-directors-bike-stolen-from-outside-office-93694

How about adding some indoor, climate-controlled bike parking for city
staff? Lots of other downtown buildings now have indoor bike parking,
and it provides incentives for people to leave their cars at home and
bike to work.

For instance:
* Bikes are more secure when parked indoors, they’re not subject to
theft, vandalism, or theft of lights and accessories. This allows
people to confidently invest in faster, more comfortable bikes, making
their travel times more competitive with driving or transit.
* Bikes stored indoors dry off during the day, so the chains, cables,
tires, seats and handlebar grips last longer before they need
maintenance or replacement.
* Indoor bike rooms allow folks to hang their wet jackets and gloves
by their bikes to dry off during the day, rather than bring them up to
their office.
* Dry bikes make for happier bike commuters. This is an extra
incentive not to drive.

Portland city staff have done great things for the other bicyclists in
this city — can you folks help them out by giving them a great place
to park their bikes?

Thanks,
Ted Buehler,
Portland resident (& fan of the PBOT Bicycle Program)

dr2chase
Guest
dr2chase

I could sure see some merit in ongoing bait-bike stings. Ever notice how in NYC with all their hoopla about “broken windows” and “stop and frisk”, that they never thought that bicycle theft was the sort of gateway crime that they needed to take seriously?

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

My bikes are not genderfied, nor are they named; however, every blue bike I’ve owned has been stolen.

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

a Fuhgettaboutit lock and chain left on the hitching post you usually tie off to isn’t getting schlepped around and its premium protection. You can still carry a U-lock for other stops, but leaving a chain/ulock combo where you tie up 90% of the time improves your odds considerably.

BIKELEPTIC
Guest

It’s interesting that I think every stolen bike of note (or the most, don’t call me on it!) article I’ve read on bike portland has been locked with cable.

Do you know what takes up the same amount of space in your bag (or can even be attached externally), weighs apprx the same, uses the same size key and and is easier to latch to the bike/stand? A u-lock.

The only person I would be afraid of stealing that is Ted Buehler in the middle of the afternoon in front of city hall with a noisy cordless cutter.

Josh Gold
Guest

Even a heavy U-lock is not good enough if you leave your bike outside overnight. I had a Specialized Allez stolen from SE 6th an Alder when I made the mistake of leaving the bike overnight. The next day I went back to find the U-lock obliterated. Maybe they used a sledgehammer.

Ian Stude
Guest

I hate to be overly-sensitive about this, but I think calling PSU “ground central for bike theft” is a little off the mark, Michael. The theft reports for downtown and PSU would seem to indicate that the university district actually has a slightly lower rate of theft than downtown. It should also be noted that the number of bicycles parked outside in the university district is considerably higher than the quantity in downtown, old town, etc. So looking at a ratio of bikes stolen to number of bikes parked would be a more accurate measurement.

Terry Nobbe
Guest

Of course, using a bike that doesn’t look like much as one’s commuter and using a basic u-lock might be the best solution.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

It’s been found!