Special gravel coverage

Save the Date: The Portland Bike Theft Summit is on December 10th

Posted by on November 25th, 2014 at 11:16 am

sad sight

As many of you have noticed, after nearly a decade of reporting on and working on bike theft here in Portland, we’ve recently been trying to raise the profile of the issue.

On that note, I’m excited to announce the first Portland Bike Theft Summit. It will be held at Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern (1969 NE 42nd) on Wednesday, December 10th at 6:00 pm.

We are still working on a proper flyer and detailed agenda; but wanted to get word out as soon as possible in hopes that everyone who wants to come can get the date on their calendar.

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So far we have an excellent list of interested parties who will be there — from city bureau staffers (including Portland Police officers) to volunteer activists and everyone in between. To give you an idea of the summit’s focus, the title of the event is “The Problem, The People, The Solutions.” It’ll be a fun and informative event that will focus on education, inspiration, and action.

If you have ideas and/or want to help us put this together, feel free to leave a comment and/or get in touch with me directly.

Stay tuned for full details and other announcements.

UPDATE, 11/26: I’m happy to announce that Bike Index has stepped up as our sponsor for the summit! They are doing awesome work to prevent theft and recover bikes. Meet their staff and learn more about their tools at the event.

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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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Todd Boulanger November 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Jonathan, excellent effort on this. It is a long time in coming.

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  • patrickz November 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    A timely event and more than welcome!!

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  • F.W. de Klerk November 25, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    What kind of bike security will be present to keep bikes from being stolen while at this event?

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  • PdxMark November 25, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Will there be a discussion of whether any/many of those bikes locked to random street signs are likely or not to be in “storage” after having been stolen?

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  • Dave November 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Any experts on racks and/or locks there?

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  • bryan hance
    bryan hance November 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Very much glad to see this come together. I’ll see you there 🙂


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  • JV November 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    At the summit there should be a demonstration of how easy it is to cut various locks…and a declaration to ban the sale of cable locks by all reputable Portland bike shops.

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    • GlowBoy November 25, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      Terrible idea. Cable locks are useless as primary bike security, but they have many other uses: as secondary security (for wheels, saddles, etc.) and to lock up other not-quite-as-desirable objects. I use them to lock up my BBQ, wheelbarrow and various garden implements.

      What I would like to see is every bike shop label their cable locks as secondary security, and prominently indicate that you need a U-lock or equivalent level of security to lock up nearly any bike.

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  • Eric November 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    “OK, thanks to everyone for coming. First topic tonight is bike locks. We would like to touch on two important points on this topic. 1. Use one 2. Use a good one. OK, next topic. A representative from Vengecycle.com has joined us tonight. He is here to discuss his new explosive bike security device. Lets all give him a “hand”….No really, he needs someone with hands to assist him.”
    “Thanks Jonathan, It’s a real pleasure to be here….”

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  • Granpa November 25, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks for this brainstorming session. In addition to police participation, is there anyone with the DA who can attend?

    Also, to be comprehensive does anyone know a recovered (or even an active) bike thief to invite? it would be interesting to know that perspective. What they look fore? how they “chop”, how do they sell, and what do they do with the money… food?, drugs ?, beer?, blankets?, helmet and blinkie lights? I am hardly a bleeding heart, but from previous threads on the subject it is noted that thieves are human beings and that some bike theft may be a result or symptom of poverty and disenfranchisement and not merely malicious, lazy greed. Should a social worker care to chime in, I bet there would be valuable insight.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Hi Granpa,

      I’m hopeful that someone from the DA’s office will be there. I’ve been talking to Deputy DA Vivian Godsey about bike theft recently so I’m hopeful the date/time works with her schedule. And I’ve had the same feeling about having a bike thief in attendance. That would be great and I’ll ask around the PPB to see if they have any possible candidates.

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      • GlowBoy November 25, 2014 at 9:38 pm

        I think it’s pretty essential to have someone from the DA’s office in attendance. Maybe some can remind them that now that they are ceasing most prosecutions of marijuana crimes, they should have new resources available to prosecute bike theft.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate November 25, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Yeah cable locks do suck. And let’s please stop victim blaming people who use them. I’m sure theft victims as a result of cut cables feel bad enough. Besides Maus here and his rather bizarre bike “theft” didn’t appear to use any kind of theft prevention at all.

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    • Joe Suburban November 25, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      Having had a bike stolen (I used a cable-:( I upgraded to a U-lock + a foot or so of chain and padlock from Home Depot. I stuck the chain in a piece of cut up tire tube to protect my paint. I always use both. It’s cheap and effective enough to have thieves move along.

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    • F.W. de Klerk November 26, 2014 at 6:48 am

      If you go back and read that story, the whole thing seemed a bit suspicious. Headline generator maybe?

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

        Mossby and F.W.,

        I know you want to believe that my stolen bike thing was fake and just some sort of craven clickbait. But it wasn’t. I have been an employee of the internet for way too long to be anything other than transparent and honest with everything I type and publish.

        It does seem crazy though, I will admit that, and I can totally understand why some people would be skeptical of how the story went down. Heck, if it happened like that to someone else, I’d be skeptical too!

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      • davemess November 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        I kind of feel bad for people who think that that whole “incident” was really that far-fetched (let alone fabricated).

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  • John Landolfe November 26, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Unfortunately I have a conflict I can’t break that night but thought I’d spit ball some topics I’d love to talk about if I could make it:

    –how to reduce the black market
    –registration at point of sale
    –diversion programs for low-income thieves
    –municipal bike parking network
    –residential bike parking hubs
    –valet (it’s cheaper than you think and it works!)

    I know I’m salmoning against the general current of thought on this one but I’d suggest avoiding instructions on U-locks (anyone who shows up for a bike theft summit PROBABLY understands and appreciates U-locks).

    I’d happily be involved in any follow up events.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

      Dang John. I was hoping you could make it because I’ve always respected your insights on this issue. Those are some great topics and ideas that I will definitely represent at the event.

      Surprised you didn’t mention anything about your strong concern about how the fear of bike theft is a big reason why people choose to not ride bikes.

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    • bryan hance
      bryan hance November 26, 2014 at 11:35 am

      If I can throw one more in here as well: residential/biz security tips

      SF has a program where an officer (ex-, maybe) does security assessments for people + biz’s, teaches them how to harden buildings etc. against thieves and common break-in attacks and methods. Would be interesting to see if there’s anything along those lines here, compile tips, etc.

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  • J_R November 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I think that we really need to have policy level leaders (elected officials) from Portland and Multnomah County (Police Commissioner/Mayor and County Commissioner, District Attorney) hear our concerns. These are the people who actually direct resources.

    We can all talk about improved locking devices and keeping our bikes in visible locations, that we should record serial numbers, etc., but that isn’t going to accomplish much.

    We can hear about the hard work by dedicated professionals in law enforcement and the courts, and I’m sure they are doing good work within their job descriptions and even beyond, but that’s also not going to accomplish much.

    I think the leadership is simply not taking the issue seriously because “it’s just a few bikes.” And what underlies that is the belief that bikes are just toys and that bikes are not all that expensive in the overall view of things.

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  • Eric November 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Serial number registration at point of sale of new bikes is a VERY good idea. In fact, shops could even offer this as a service to their customers who buy new bikes. Most shops have an internet-connected computer sitting there anway. I really really like this idea….bravo.

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  • John R November 27, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Huge props to Bike Portland and Jonathan for keeping this issue front and center in a very constructive way.

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