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The Monday Roundup: Empty highways, King Tut’s death & more

Posted by on November 11th, 2013 at 9:46 am

The future?
(Photo: Maryland DOT.)

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Before we share the news and other interesting items that caught our eyes last week, we’d like to give a big shout out to our veterans. Happy Veterans Day. As your mind wanders during your ride today, think about how much we ask of our fellow citizens in uniform and how fortunate we are because of their service.

And now, here’s the Monday Roundup…

Empty highway: “This is what a boondoggle looks like,” writes Aaron Renn of the Intercounty Connector in Maryland (above right), a $2.4 billion project that was supposed to fix the country’s worst congestion but is carrying shockingly small amounts of traffic due in part to an $8-a-day toll. Renn sees parallels with the Columbia River Crossing and lists seven common traits of ill-conceived highway projects.

Ancient traffic victim: Scientists have used traffic simulation software to piece together how Egyptian pharaoh “King Tut” was killed at age 19: a chariot crash that apparently crushed his heart. Update Nov. 12: As reader TOM notes below, other analysts dispute this conclusion.

Public shaming: Yes, that’s the D.C. Department of Transportation tweeting a photo of a Mercedes parked in a bike lane for their “Hall of Shame.”

Copenhagen politics: The Copenhagen mayoral race coming up Nov. 19 sounds like a Bizarro Portland, with the center-left mayor trying to appeal to the 29 percent of Copenhageners who still own cars.

Killing “share the road”: The advocates at Bike Delaware have successfully convinced their state to remove the misleading “share the road” sign from their inventory.

Westside bike links: Washington County will put $1.4 million into four bike path projects in and around Beaverton, Tigard and Tualatin, The Oregonian reports.

Bike lane horrors: A proposal to replace auto parking with a bike lane has been more traumatic than the Civil War for the Alexandria, Virginia neighborhood of F.H. Buckley, he writes in the Wall Street Journal, because (he explains) his plumber won’t be able to park out front any more.

Small apartment horrors: Elizabeth Van Staaveren of McMinnville has figured out who’s to blame for the sort of neighborhoods she wouldn’t want to live in: Mexicans. The Oregonian has given her a guest column to make this point.

Inequality and cars: Streetsblog’s advice for New York’s poverty-busting new mayor: stop shoveling public resources at relatively privileged car owners.

Comparing project costs: Chicago blog Transitized compares the cost of various high-profile transportation projects. Guess which ones are infinitesmally cheap.

Leadership vacuum: Where is the American Planning Association on “the issues that are urgently relevant to our time”? Strong Towns’ Chuck Marohn is so unimpressed that he considered letting his certification lapse.

Infrastructure power: The most remarkable part of this story about British cities “going Dutch” is actually from Seville, Spain, which built 50 miles of protected bike lanes in two years and promptly “went from 0.2 percent of all journeys done by bicycle to to 6.6 percent of all journeys. … Women now make up 50 percent of cyclists in Seville, up from 20 percent.”

New bike capital? Washington DC is making a plan to build 70 miles of protected bike lanes. “If even half of what is proposed happens it will be like we’ve gone to bicycle heaven,” writes Washcycle.

Transportation turnover: The nation’s three largest cities are all looking for new transportation bosses. The League of American Bicyclists explains why the shoes left behind are so big. Driving advocate Barnet Fagel, meanwhile, calls Chicago’s outgoing Gabe Klein “a two-wheeled zealot.” Klein, for his part, predicts that he’ll be doing “something entrepreneurial” in the world of “technology and transportation.” Cities, he says, are “no longer in a position to provide all of the consumer services they want to, and they will be relying more and more on the private sector to provide high-quality, low-cost-to-the-government services.”

Food truck crimefighting: We already know food carts drive up real estate values. Seattle thinks they put eyes on the street, too.

Still a car: A Santa Cruz man said he fell asleep at the wheel of his electric Tesla just before it hit and killed a man on a bike Nov. 2. The car had 118 miles on its odometer.

Bike-license follies: “No one says we should license pedestrians and arrest anyone who crosses the street outside the crosswalk,” writes Bill Savage in Crain’s Chicago Business.

Violent bikers: When people riding bikes plow down people on foot or slug people through their car windows, nobody wins.

Rental lawsuit: The company that loaned a Chicago man a tandem (but not a safety lesson to go with it) will pay him $350,000 as part of a settlement related to his being doored, then hit by a driver who fled the scene.

Car-free vision: Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke has some unforgettable images of his young daughter pedaling on Brooklyn’s usually hectic Fourth Avenue, in the hours of silence before the New York Marathon.

National transpo bill: One close watcher of the national transportation policy sees both good news and bad news for the next transportation bill in recent Congressional actions.

Mode share comparisons: A series of simple bar charts compares the cities with the most transit/biking/walking in each U.S. region.

Safe bikeshare: Despite predictions of disaster from everyone from John Pucher to Jon Stewart, Citi Bike hasn’t seen a single fatality in its first five months.

Finally, before you watch your video of the week, the artfully presented and repeatedly viral “invisible bike helmet,” consider the analysis from Slate when it made the rounds last year (short version: it costs $600 and works once). To me, the main lesson of this video is that there are a lot of people in the world who find helmets really annoying.

The Invisible Bicycle Helmet | Fredrik Gertten from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

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.

  • Justin Buri November 11, 2013 at 11:06 am

    The varying levels of insanity in the anti-urban, anti-immigrant Oregonian column are simply beyond words. Rarely is unhinged ignorance, entitlement and fear of the other so perfectly captured in 19 short sentences.

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    • davemess November 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Bigger question is why is this used to be notable paper running guest columns by out of town folks who are just trying to stir up craziness? I know it’s really going to rally the base of their commentators section, but don’t they have any integrity left?

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      • q`Tzal November 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        The taboo word you’re looking for is “racist” or “bigot”.
        Why is it that these appropriate descriptive adjectives are verboten but it’s ok to publish “anti-immigrant” rants as “both sides have an equally valid opinion”?
        Just because someone says something is their deeply held opinion does not make it correct. Respecting people as humans worthy of all the law requires of us does not require that we cater to the crackhead hate thought spouted constantly by our “equals”.

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  • Kristen November 11, 2013 at 11:06 am

    SO GLAD the county and Tigard are FINALLY working on getting the Tigard St Trail done.

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  • maccoinnich November 11, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Elizabeth Van Staaveren lives in McMinnville. So why exactly are her opinions considered relevant on a matter that’s primarily about the Portland Zoning Code and Urban Growth Boundary?

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    • wsbob November 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      I suppose many people would consider her opinion to have relevance because the matter she addresses is over-population due in part to poor immigration regulation, and the possible role it’s playing in the move towards creating 200 sq ft micro-apartment housing.

      The U.S. receives immigrants from many countries around the world, which Van Staaveren’s editorial notes in saying “…international migrant…”.

      The editorial does not include the word ‘Mexican’, which bikeportland’s news editor Michael Andersen used in his link description of the Oregonian editorial, to this Monday Roundup. In fact, no country of origin for any immigrants to the U.S. is mentioned in the editorial, nor is a country of origin derived name.

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      • maccoinnich November 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        She linked two utterly unrelated things together. Oregon isn’t running out of room any time soon: in any area slightly larger than the United Kingdom, it has a population of less than 4 million people. The UK has 63 million, and somehow has managed to escape a Blade Runner like fate. These small apartments are happening for a number of reasons: the zoning code allows them; the urban growth boundary contributes towards a national trend towards more development in core urban areas; and people are willing to pay a premium per sq ft to live close in. Meanwhile, immigrants are largely locating in the suburbs, where housing has become much cheaper.

        And let’s not kid ourselves: she’s worried about immigrants from Mexico, not Denmark or Canada. Of course, wIth a name like Van Staaveren I think we can be sure there were some immigrants in her family tree at some point.

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      • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
        Michael Andersen (News Editor) November 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm

        This is true and worth noting, wsbob, but I don’t think there’s any disputing that the context here is Mexico. In Yamhill County, 5,500 of an estimated 8,300 foreign-born residents were born in Mexico. The second most common country of origin was Canada, with 400.

        In case it isn’t clear, I think her claim is ridiculous and I am attempting, above, to make fun of it.

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        • wsbob November 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm

          Michael…regardless of immigrants’ country of origin, overpopulation producing greater need and demand for housing has been the result which, is the main point Van Staaveren raises in the opinion piece.

          Overpopulation has figured into sprawl in Portland Metro Area counties. Agencies such as Metro, and a range of local leaders, business concerns and so on, have successfully used population growth to argue for expanding the UGB into undeveloped lands that are the countryside.

          Fundamentally, micro-apartments have come about due to congestion resulting from suburban and urban overpopulation, one object of them apparently being to attempt to stem some of the traffic congestion by inducing would be residents of micro-apartments into not owning or driving motor vehicles.

          Since you seem to consider the idea or fact of any connection between immigration, overpopulation, and a possible increase in the construction of micro-apartment housing, to be ridiculous, I suppose you’ll go on and make more fun, laughing your head off, attempting to dumb down the issue by suggesting it’s just some notion from a woman you’ve concluded, has put the blame for all these problems, on, using the ethnic name you introduced dismissively into the discussion: “…Mexicans…”.

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          • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
            Michael Andersen (News Editor) November 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

            Wsbob, I respect your opinion and I’m glad you’re sharing it. We do disagree on this.

            I’m not questioning that (globally, at least) overpopulation is a serious issue; I’m questioning that overpopulation is the cause of high demand for tiny urban apartments in Portland. What we’re short of in this country isn’t acreage, but rather comfortable, well-connected, economically productive, human-friendly neighborhoods like the ones common in central Portland. Fortunately, we know how to make more of these.

            Since I started this exchange, I’ll let you (or anyone else) have the last word on this if you like. Pushback is always welcome here at BP.

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            • wsbob November 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm

              “…I’m not questioning that (globally, at least) overpopulation is a serious issue; I’m questioning that overpopulation is the cause of high demand for tiny urban apartments in Portland. …” Michael Andersen (News Editor)

              Michael…In reading the opinion piece, I find that Van Staaveren is in part postulating a hypothetical, thus the Soylent Green reference, etc. and the third paragraph of the piece. That is, not suggesting a direct connection between the construction of micro-apartment buildings and people immigrating to the U.S. from Mexico or any other nation of the world.

              Unless as a society, we’re prepared to regard nearly every bit of undeveloped land in city, county, and state as appropriate for development, there actually is a shortage of acreage. Those “…rather comfortable, well-connected, economically productive, human-friendly neighborhoods like the ones common in central Portland. …” are from an idyllic era. It’s a challenge to not have infill and micro-apartment construction diminish their attributes.

              This is an important subject for discussion. The needlessly insinuating, ‘making fun’ way the opinion piece was introduced into the roundup, is regrettable for the malicious remarks the opinion piece description prompted.

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              • bendite November 12, 2013 at 7:36 am

                Portland isn’t overpopulated. There’s a difference between I think there’s too many people here and overpopulated.

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              • wsbob November 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

                That’s not the point of Van Staaveren’s opinion piece. If you’ve read it, it may do you well to read it again. The piece addresses: overpopulation in general, the threat overpopulation poses globally and locally, poorly conceived and regulated immigration policy contributing to overpopulation, and in our area…how the result of those things may oblige construction of micro-apartment living to house an overpopulated society.

                People do have differences in opinion about what constitutes overpopulation. Maybe you don’t feel overpopulation to be an issue in Oregon or the Metro Area…and that’s fine, just as long as you don’t feel everyone else should be obliged to embrace the view that overpopulation isn’t an issue in the places mentioned.

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              • davemess November 12, 2013 at 10:27 am

                I don’t think anyone one here posted “malicious remarks” to the opinion piece because of how Michael introduced it. We wrote them because we find the piece ridiculous, small-minded, and contrived. I’d like to think most here are more than capable of thinking for themselves and actually reading things before they comment on them.

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              • wsbob November 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm

                “I don’t think anyone one here posted “malicious remarks” to the opinion piece because of how Michael introduced it. We wrote them because we find the piece ridiculous, small-minded, and contrived. I’d like to think most here are more than capable of thinking for themselves and actually reading things before they comment on them.” davemess

                I think the link to Van Staaveren’s opinion piece and Andersen’s description of the piece, was posted for a cheap laugh. That’s what the description’s words suggest. In turn, some people responded about the opinion piece, perhaps unthinkingly, certainly maliciously, the first comment to this comment section being a prime example.

                I too…to borrow your words: “…would like to think most here are more than capable of thinking for themselves and actually reading things before they comment on them…”. But regularly, their comments suggest they don’t do either.

                In this instance, it was quite a stretch for bikeportland’s news editor Michael Andersen to draw from the opinion piece that the writer blames, to use the word he introduced: “…Mexicans…”, but that’s what he did.

                “…Elizabeth Van Staaveren of McMinnville has figured out who’s to blame for the sort of neighborhoods she wouldn’t want to live in: Mexicans. …” Even though the opinion piece basically refutes that notion.

                As if someone from bikeportland ever made even an effort to contact the writer, and ask her personally where she places the blame, before making such an insinuation.

                Of course, this The Monday Roundup, where the temptation to include a certain amount of filler material (nothing to do with biking in the opinion piece.) for ‘lighthearted’ humor, apparently can’t be resisted, even for the sake of accuracy.

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          • davemess November 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm

            Bob she’s not going after overpopulation (is there any mention of lower family numbers?) she’s going after immigration plain and simple.

            Micro apartments have come about because there is a growing population of middle to high income people in this city who all want to live in the same trendy areas. “Immigrants” are not taking the dream apartments they want in east Portland. People looking to move into micro apartments are just making a sacrifice to live in the area they want to. If the author really wanted to stymy these apartments maybe she should think of way to prevent white 20-somethings from moving here, as they will be the main residents of these places.

            So I think the link she made between the two issues is very tedious.

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            • wsbob November 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm

              “Bob she’s not going after overpopulation (is there any mention of lower family numbers?) she’s going after immigration plain and simple. …” davemess

              Dave…the opinion piece is worth re-reading. She most definitely is going after overpopulation as one of the problems in need of being addressed, locally and nationwide. She does not specifically cite lower family numbers but does cite some numbers related to population increase.

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              • Chris I November 11, 2013 at 7:42 pm

                This woman does not have a problem with white Christian babies. This is why she didn’t mention family planning.

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              • Caleb November 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm

                Do you happen to have a link providing information which supports that claim?

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              • Chris I November 12, 2013 at 7:59 am

                Of course not. My comment was posted in the “opinion” section, so I can make outlandish claims and draw ridiculous conclusions without providing any supporting data.

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              • davemess November 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

                Bob, I don’t know what you’re inferring from the article that isn’t there. I mean the title states “immigration”. She says that the only thing capable of stopping this growth is changes to government policies. The article is CLEARLY about immigration, not overpopulation (which is she believes is only happening because of immigration).

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              • wsbob November 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm

                The opinion piece, title aside, is in part, about overpopulation in the U.S. due to what she considers to be poor immigration policy. (all quotes from the Van Staaveren guest opinion piece in the Oregonian http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/11/without_immigration_reform_200.html )

                Third paragraph: “…Ballooning population increases…”

                Fifth paragraph: “…Current U.S. population is over 317 million, with one international migrant coming every 44 seconds and a net gain of one person every 14 seconds, according to the Census Bureau population clock. …”

                Seventh paragraph: “…Birth rates among the native-born have been barely at replacement level for years. The huge increases in population are due to high levels of immigration, both legal and illegal. …”

                Second paragraph from bottom: “…How many people can live in Oregon and in the United States and have an acceptable quality of life? Already the natural environment is seriously degraded from overpopulation. …”

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          • spare_wheel November 11, 2013 at 6:33 pm

            “Fundamentally, micro-apartments have come about due to congestion resulting from suburban and urban overpopulation”

            Strawman. Micro-apartments are attractive because many want to live more sustainably and/or simply.

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            • wsbob November 11, 2013 at 11:22 pm

              If it’s what you intend, I’ll accept the simple explanation you offered as to why micro-apartments have come to be, as your opinion.

              Personally, I think the reasons for their coming to be are far more complex. Van Staaveren may not be completely correct in her theory, but it’s not at all out of the realm of possibility that overpopulation and congestion have helped create an environment that may be somewhat ripe for micro-apartment housing.

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            • davemess November 12, 2013 at 10:19 am

              And want to live cheaply in expensive neighborhoods!!!!

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      • davemess November 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

        She also fails to acknowledge that the 200 foot apartments are all going up in UPSCALE, wealthy, hip neighborhoods. Don’t really think you can link low income immigrants with that. It was clearly just a spring board for her to go on an anti-immigration rant.

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        • Psyfalcon November 11, 2013 at 8:56 pm

          I think this is a case of someone not believing that this is a desirable lifestyle not only for herself but for anyone else. Therefore the only people who would live there are not only very poor but also as far removed from who she knows as possible.

          Its a really common way for people to think about others. (“I could never ride my bike to work, so they’re just playing on the roads”)

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    • Paul Souders November 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      It takes a … special … kind of person to turn news of ultra-small apartments for upscale 20-somethings (in another city!) into a dystopian anti-immigration rant. Reasonable people can make reasonable arguments against lax immigration but a) Van Staaveren’s are not those arguments and b) they are baaaaarely related to the subject at hand anyway.

      As usual, special shame here goes to the Oregonian for publishing this bizarre non sequitur. And for extra fun, read the comments. [DISCLAIMER: DEAR LORD NO, DON’T READ THE COMMENTS. They are OregonLive’s usual open sewer of rational discourse.]

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  • pdxpaul November 11, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Helmets kill Santa’s elves. Only evil people wear them. (Just thought I’d get out ahead of the discussion there…)

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  • SilkySlim November 11, 2013 at 11:45 am

    “Excited” to visit the inter-county connector in MD for Thanksgiving. The house I grew up in (0-5 y/o) is <200m from the ICC. I haven't visited there in a while, and can't believe that a major highway now runs through the neighborhood!!

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  • Evan Manvel November 11, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Here’s hoping our legislators are actually willing to learn the multi-billion-dollar lessons from projects across the country (from the ICC in Maryland, to the Bay Bridge in California, to the 520 bridge and viaduct replacement projects in Washington state, to…).

    As has been repeatedly documented, the almost-certain problems with the latest round in polluting highway expansions are all predictable: cost overruns, revenue shortfalls, and construction boondoggles. If Oregon’s legislators don’t buy the hype from the highway lobby, they’ll realize the extremely costly, risky Columbia River Crossing simply isn’t Oregon at its best — and we can do better.

    Contact your legislator today by calling 800-332-2313 and tell them to vote NO on the costly, risky, Oregon-only CRC — and to instead spend our limited resources on making our roads, bikeways, trails, and sidewalks safer for everyone. Safety, maintenance, and better networks of choice for all — not polluting highway expansions.

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  • GlenK November 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    “Bike lane horrors” link isn’t correct; you’ve linked to the immigration article again

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  • Anne Hawley November 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Slate’s response to the invisible helmet is hilarious. It could have been written at any point in the past about any new technology: it’s expensive, it has design flaws, if God meant us to fly he’d have given us wings, the old ways are the best ways, blah-blah-ludditecakes.

    PS, Slate: you’re only supposed to “use” a regular helmet once, too.

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  • Anne Hawley November 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    The photo from Maryland DOT is a perfect illustration of the power of congestion pricing. Too bad they had to spend billions to learn that simple Econ 101 lesson.

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  • Anne Hawley November 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm
  • TOM November 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    immigration ? what a can of rotten worms.

    Have a friend with an Asian wife. She wanted to bring Mom over to the US for a visit. Repeatedly turned down for 5 years for a tourist visa (Mom is now 66 y.o) , the US embassy then advised her to apply for an immigration visa instead. She got approved in 6 months.

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  • Ted Buehler November 11, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    That Maryland project is nuts — the intersection in the photo, a mega freeway intersection with about 5 different levels, just connects the freeway to a normal highway. Those 70 mph ramps dump you onto a 6 lane divided highway with traffic lights. Going north, there’s one freeway-style interchange, then traffic lights. Having 2 lanes of freeway ramps exiting off, and dumping into the highway makes it unbikable, too.

    They could have saved about $500 million by just running down a couple ramps to traffic lights on the highway. Would have left a lot of developable Real Estate for the tax coffers too.

    See the context at https://maps.google.com/maps?q=maryland&hl=en&ll=39.077492,-76.949379&spn=0.014159,0.031221&sll=45.543408,-122.654422&sspn=0.408769,0.999069&t=k&hnear=Maryland&z=16



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    • Chris I November 12, 2013 at 8:02 am

      They’re “building for the future”. It looks like they are trying to turn HWY 29 into a full-blown freeway, one billion dollar interchange at a time.

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  • Brian Willson November 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    “As your mind wanders during your ride today, think about how much we ask of our fellow citizens in uniform and how fortunate we are because of their service.”

    Fortunate because of their (our) Service? Give me a break, being an ex-uniformed military person myself who served as a commander in combat. Every one of the 390 US military interventions since WWII has been illegal and grotesque, in violation of domestic and international laws, robbing others of their freedom and self-determination to assure our insatiably consumptive “American Way Of Life” as we outsource the consequential pain and suffering on others and the earth put of our view.Our fossil-fuel based lifestyle is one of the reasons I became an avid cyclist so at least I seek to reduce my carbon footprint. PLease Do NOT thank me for my service!! It has nothing to do with our freedom as it assures the freedom to rob, pillage and rape others while making trillions for the weapons makers. It was/is DIS-service to humanity, including USers, and myself. Our phoney baloney patriotism and nationalism masks the huge profits behind our plundering policies.

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  • Brian Willson November 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    As a former commander of a combat unit in a foreign land I take issue with your introductory statement: “think about how much we ask of our fellow citizens in uniform and how fortunate we are because of their service.”

    “Thank you for your service.” I cannot stand this constant phrase that I hear over and over again. I cringe. My service? Nothing I did while in my 3 years, 11 months and 17 days of military functioning could be even closely defined as service – not to the US people, not to the people of the world, and certainly not to myself. And the implicit, if not explicit message is a thank you to veterans for preserving “our freedom.”

    This constant expression of “appreciation” serves to eradicate memory of a long historical pattern of US imperial power. It is a shame that the public seems unwilling to grasp that virtually ALL our military adventures are lawless, imperial barbarisms, violently robbing others of their freedom and autonomy enabling the US people to continue living in fantastic opulence justified by a sense of exceptionalism while we callously outsource the consequential pain and suffering inflicted on innocent others and the sacred earth. Our veteran “service” does not protect our “freedoms”, though it does preserve freedom to rob, pillage, and rape, destroying and repressing others devoid of any genuine diplomacy or “democracy”.

    Since World War II alone, the US military has intervened at the direction of our President, funded by Congress and the US American people, at least 390 times against dozens of sovereign countries in violation of both domestic and international laws while bombing 28 of them, and launching thousands of covert interventions to boot. All have been criminal, conducted with virtual total impunity while murdering and impoverishing millions. A diabolical history beyond comprehension.

    Please do NOT thank me for my “service.” I observed atrocities inflicted on inhabited civilian villages, murdering and maiming thousands of them. In effect, I was a complicit cog in a vast murder money-making machine organizing mass murder against people I knew virtually nothing about, people simply seeking preservation of their own self-determination from outside lawless forces. Thus, it is painful to hear the persistent “thank yous” which serve only to justify an unthinking continued support of US wars, ad nauseum. This absurd habit of thanking veterans for our service performs a terrible DIS-service to a genuine search for a truthful national history.

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    • TOM November 12, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Brian : As a Vietnam Vet with 3 tours behind me, I agree with your post and wish more people understood where you (and I) are coming from……I too cringe at someone who does not know me throwing a “Thank You for Your Service” my way. it feels like they are tossing a bone to a dog.
      My thoughts are that by muttering (or typing) that phrase they are actually trying to make themselves feel better to compensate for their lack of “service” to their country. The phrase is the modern day equivalent of “Have a nice day” , but specialized for vets. I think it really means “Thank You for serving so that I didn’t have to” and actually feels rather condescending.

      And as long as I’m at it. Appreciate vets one day a year and think you’ve done them justice ? BS. I gave every day for 4 years (+ 2 years in reserves) and the military did NOT care if I came home in an airplane seat or in a box.

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    • Anne Hawley November 12, 2013 at 10:05 am

      This is the best Veterans’ Day post I’ve ever read. It’s hard to know where to stand: American people *have* given their lives for their country and they deserve our respect. Those who have come home alive deserve support and recompense. But when we magnify their “glorious sacrifice” on one ponderous day of the year, we’re contributing to a future of endless war.

      Thank you for speaking out. I hope you’re sharing this post more widely.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 12, 2013 at 10:58 am


      Thanks for your comments. You have a perspective on this issue that I will likely never have. I assure you, my comment was meant to simply recognize veterans, it was not intended as a position on war and/or consideration of the deeper and more complex issues that you touch on.

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    • wsbob November 12, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Appears you really weren’t cut out to serve in the military. Sorry the U.S. role in the military conflict you became a part of didn’t meet the standard of honor, morality and virtue you believe in and expect of the U.S., even in this imperfect world. Buy hey…war, and politics for that matter, have a tendency to often suck. Maybe you considered, but didn’t opt for CO status, or going AWOL, which may have been the better choice for yourself.

      I’m not sure why you’d arrive at the opinion that in the U.S. today, respect and appreciation accorded to service men and women, is a one day a year only affair, on Veteran’s Day. Just in casual, day to day observation, I often see people…civilians, expressing appreciation for regular folks’ effort in the military. The memory of many U.S. citizens with regards to services and sacrifices made by soldiers…that is…their family members, those of their friends, and many others…is long. For these people, awareness of and reflection upon the value of that service and sacrifice is, if not an everyday thing, it is nearly so.

      You want to be the activist, after the fact, pointing out the evils of U.S. involvement in this or that intervention in the affairs of other countries…fine…but please don’t unthinkingly dismiss sincerely felt respect regularly extended by common U.S. citizens, to people serving in this country’s military, today and in times past.

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      • 9watts November 12, 2013 at 12:36 pm

        “You want to be the activist”

        Um, wsbob, I think you’re a little out of your depths here. Brian isn’t wanting to be the activist, he pretty much is the definition of an activist. Might want to click on his name/link if you’re curious.

        “please don’t unthinkingly dismiss sincerely felt respect regularly extended by common U.S. citizens, to people serving in this country’s military, today and in times past.”

        Brian, I don’t think, is dismissing sincerely felt respect. He’s calling into question what actions/logic/priorities that respect (which I’m sure is often sincerely meant) actually corresponds to, is directed at, means for the world. What the implications are of *not* interrogating that sentiment, which he argues is so deeply wrong, so based on lies and murder.

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        • wsbob November 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

          Yeah, Um…whatever, 9watts. If he’s got the bonifides to give him the cred that some people eat up, good for him, you, whoever.

          I’m sorry to say that despite whatever good intentions he had in his comment(s) here, the content unfortunately took the form of a rant, and a slam to people that really do try understand and appreciate the contribution and sacrifice that servicemen and women make for others.

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      • TOM November 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm

        wsbob …I read many of your posts and they are generally good. but I read this one and shook my head …wondering what planet you woke up on today ? guessing that you are NOT a vet ?

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        • wsbob November 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm

          Tom…explain. What are you asking, besides whether or not I’m a vet?

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    • John November 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Brian, I can only guess that you are the author of ‘Blood on the tracks’ as I believe you do live here in Portland still. If so I really appreciate you continuing to make your voice heard and encourage everyone reading this to go read his book as well.

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  • TOM November 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm
  • Brian Willson November 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Yes, you can read my life story and political transformation, and my handcycling history, in my 2011 book, “Blood On The Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson” (PM Press) now in its 2nd printing. I live in and handcycle out of my Woodstock neighborhood home. And my Viet Nam experiences certainly radically changed my perspectives from being a rural conservative kid to an awakening that never has stopped.

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  • wsbob November 13, 2013 at 12:14 am

    By the way, with an even more provocative title than the Oregonian’s opinion piece, from the Sunday NY Times is a bike related opinion piece with the following title: Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?


    The piece itself isn’t as provocative as the title. The subject of the opinion piece is one that’s fairly familiar to bikeportland’s readers. The writer attempts to dissect and analyze the varying, seemingly contradictory rationale prompted in response to collisions involving people riding bikes and people driving motor vehicles; compared to that for collisions involving people driving motor vehicles only.

    The writer does a fairly good job of laying out some of the issues brought about in situations where bike traffic and motor vehicle traffic together are increasingly common. In terms of suggestions as to how responsibility for collisions between people driving motor vehicles, and people riding bikes may be more fairly and justly assigned, there’s not much help in this opinion piece. It’s still worth a read.

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  • Caleb November 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Chris I
    Of course not. My comment was posted in the “opinion” section, so I can make outlandish claims and draw ridiculous conclusions without providing any supporting data.

    Please keep in mind I didn’t say you couldn’t make outlandish claims or draw ridiculous conclusions without providing any supporting data. Yes, you can, but is that something you are okay with others doing? I prefer that neither myself nor other people clutter conversation and/or our minds with presumption, so I asked my question only to draw attention to it.

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