Transportation activist Joe Rowe looks to unseat Kotek from Oregon House

Rowe create and distributed these “Politician
report cards” at an anti-CRC rally in April 2009.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

North Portland resident Joe Rowe has announced his candidacy for Oregon House District 44. Rowe, a teacher and active transportation activist who comments frequently here on BikePortland, will attempt to unseat Democrat and House Leader Tina Kotek.

Rowe is an outspoken critic of the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) and he plans to use Kotek’s record of support for the controversial project against her. Kotek was the lead legislative proponent of the CRC when it flew through the legislature last year.

“She’s lost a huge opportunity by going against many of her constituents,” wrote Rowe in a statement about his candidacy. Rowe also accuses Kotek of being too cozy with corporations, not doing enough to stop coal exports, and not supporting the “Health Care for All” bill when it came up last session.

At a campaign kickoff party last Friday, Rowe featured two veteran activists who helped stop the Mt. Hood Freeway: Jim Howell and Ron Buel (both of whom have been profiled on BikePortland).

While many voters are tired of the fight that has been waged over the CRC project, it’s likely that talk of pushing some type of bridge replacement and highway expansion will ramp up again considerably in the coming weeks. Later this month a state legislative committee is set to vote on Oregon’s next step on the project.

In addition to his citizen activism, Rowe is a father and teacher who can often be found riding his cargo bike around Peninsula Park. You can learn more at

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