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Comment of the Week: Nike’s self-inflicted recruitment challenge

Posted by on December 5th, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Nike World Campus

Gilded cage? Inside the berm of Nike World
Headquarters near Beaverton.
(Photo: Tracy Lee Carroll)

Is one of the region’s most important companies turning its back on talent by locking its campus off from biking and transit?

It’s hard not to feel that way after reading a series of comments this week from reader s30t. Here’s what s30t wrote in response to last week’s post about the potential for Nike’s planned expansion to finally upgrade nearby bikeways:

Interesting reading through all the comments here. I recently joined Nike, despite having heavy concerns about the commute. One year in I can say my concerns are justified. I try my best to commute by bike (or at least a bike/max combo) – but the time investment is huge. I’ve tried multiple different routes, but I live in NE Portland and it is almost impossible to keep the round trip commute less than 2-2.5 hours via bike or combo bike/public transit combo. if you work with Asia and Europe (which I do) you end up with many early a.m/late calls…that means hopping on my bike at 5 am and not getting back home until 7pm or later. I can see why commuting by bike is not an option for anyone with children (or even a dog for that matter!)

I have been very surprised at how inflexible Nike is about alternative working arrangements (i.e. working from home) which is not what I was led to believe when I interviewed. They want their employees on campus, and do very little to support/encourage biking to campus. It makes me sick to hear of their expansion plans to accommodate an additional 2,500 cars on campus. This place is a zoo already, and the traffic on 26 is horrific. I have enjoyed working for Nike, but honestly, the commute and changes to my work/life balance that I’ve been forced to accommodate due to the commute have me rethinking them as a choice employer.

Several other readers responded thoughtfully, and S30t had a rich exchange about the job and its commute. A few more passages from the thread:

There are many of us in my department who wonder why Nike does not run a shuttle service to campus to cut down on the number of cars. This could be either a centralized ‘park-and-ride’ option – like renting a parking garage downtown (with car AND bike parking) and bussing from there, or something like Microsoft does in Seattle where they have multiple buses picking up employees from different neighborhoods around town. Either would be a great way to cut down on the number of vehicles on 26 and the need for constructing additional parking garages on campus. I also believe charging employees for an annual parking pass would help as well.

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You’re right – it’s totally my choice to live in NE and commute to Beaverton. At the time I received the job offer in Beaverton it was not a job I actively looked for (they recruited me) – and I own a home in NE. I was very concerned about the commute, but decided to give it a try anyways. I was optimistic about enjoying my time on the max to read, and get in some extra bike miles every week. At the end of the day though, it just feels like too much time out of my life to give up to getting to/from work and I’m looking for a position back in town.

I’ve been disappointed in Nike for their seeming lack of effort to get people out of their cars. Yes – before anyone pipes up – we do receive TriMet passes, but I know about 3 employees in my building who have actually ever used theirs (aside from taking the max to the airport to avoid paying for parking out there…not exactly the goal of subsidizing transit passes for your employees). I think without a corresponding move to make driving to campus painful (apparently sitting in traffic is not enough for most!) they will continue to see many single car drivers. I believe asking employees to pay for the right to park on campus would generate an immediate drop in the number of cars out here. Offer annual and monthly passes – with a select number of spots reserved for in/out day privileges. If day parking is $15 for a day pass, monthly $250, and an annual pass $2,500 I bet a LOT more people would figure out how to map their TriMet route to campus.

This is just one Portlander’s experience, of course. But that person happens to be a recent hire who Nike went out of its way to recruit and who focuses on exports to the company’s massive overseas markets. It doesn’t seem likely that Nike would be pleased that someone with s30t’s skills is being driven away by the numbing commute — but it does seem as if whatever in-town employer eventually snaps up s30t will be pleased to have those skills on its team.


(Note from the publisher: Starting next week, we’ll be trying a new program to encourage quality commenting. The person we choose for Comment of the Week will receive a crisp $5 bill and a BikePortland sticker pack in the mail. Yes, we pay for good comments. — Jonathan)

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78 Comments
  • Avatar
    Charley December 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    “Good comment.”

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    John Lascurettes December 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I can concur about working out that way that the time it takes to commute. I used to work at Murray Business Center up to about 8 years ago (and I also live in NE). It’s even closer to the MAX station than Nike is, but it still would take me over an hour and half to get home most nights on MAX and then waiting for a bus transfer at Hollywood TC. After a while, I started driving on days where it was important to get hime quicker than that. Then that became a habit. It was then that I sought out a job downtown and started commuting exclusively by bike.

    There were so many benefits to that lifestyle change it isn’t even funny. I lost weight, lots of it. I was mentally healthier (depression was much more in check). My back (which has had problems in the past) got healthier than it had been in many, many years.

    The issue with MAXing it across downtown is that the trains stop every two blocks, It would take me 20 minutes to go the couple of miles from Hollywood to Steel Bridge. Another 20 minutes just to get across downtown. And another 20 minutes to get all the miles out to the Murray stop. It was so frustrating how long it took to get through downtown. A few times I used to get off and just walk a few stops downtown – sometimes, I would actually beat the MAX I left at 1st and Oak to the stop at the Galleria. MAX is also prone to crippling (so many TriMet tweets go out every week about the delays because of some problem on the tracks).

    I suppose MAX is great if you live out of inner Portland and need to get into downtown, but it’s like molasses to get across the metro region at commute time.

    Even now, on the rare occasion that I choose TriMet to get downtown instead of my bicycle, I can almost always get there (to the transit mall) quicker on a bus than I can on a MAX – with our without a transfer, it doesn’t matter.

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      Rupert December 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Random Tangential Comment of the Week:
      If you have a bike with you, you can bike between Goose Hollow and Old Town and actually, not just beat your train, but jump forward to the next train. Or rather the previous train. In other words the earlier train that’s further along.

      You have to time the lights, pass stopped cars in an imaginary bike lane at times, and be able to average at least 13 MPH. Which is harder in the uphill direction of course. It works during most of the day when trains are no more than 8 minutes apart.

      OK say Train A is 8 minutes ahead of Train B. Each one takes at least 15 minutes to transit downtown. Say you get off Train B at Old Town at 0:00. That train will be at Goose Hollow by 0:15. But Train A, at most 8 minutes ahead, gets to Goose Hollow no earlier than 0:07. So if you can make the 1.5 mile trip in 7 minutes, you can get on Train A!

      It’s like a sport. But don’t do anything reckless out there.

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        9watts December 5, 2014 at 6:51 pm

        My kind of suggestion! Now tell us what your success rate is accomplishing this little cue-jumping-feat-by-bike.

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          Rupert December 8, 2014 at 7:31 pm

          I would say around 75%, and most of those were in the downhill/eastbound direction! But I’m kind of fat.

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            GlowBoy December 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm

            I used to catch the train at Goose Hollow because it was so slow through downtown. But if you happen to miss a train because it was too crowded to bring your bike on — and a couple of years ago, TriMet was strictly enforcing the rules — you’ve more than lost any savings from beating the train across downtown. I just catch the train at Pioneer Square now, because it’s a LOT easier to get on with a bike there.

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        Aimee December 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm

        Remember it all depends on your level of bike fitness (and interest in speed) when talking about how long it takes to get places and where some cyclists are to go by bike. Taking the Williams corridor, for example, one will see that commute times just to downtown can vary widely. 🙂

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        Mindful Cyclist December 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

        I do agree with your comment. I think most folks that ride on a fairly regular basis will be able to beat the train from old town. However, getting on the max at Goose Hollow with your bike is a very popular spot. And, from my experience, all the hooks are filled along with all the area around it. Okay, if there is no fare inspector. But, if there is one, there is a chance you may get booted off.

        I used to go all the way to Galleria and noticed I could beat it if I hit the lights right and saw it go by on 3rd. I quit doing that, though, because there is a lot more room for bikes on the mall stop compared to Galleria.

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      Brian K Smith December 6, 2014 at 12:23 am

      This is a perfect opportunity to plug my impossible dream of having the red/blue line dive underground between Hollywood and Lloyd Center (go down instead of up on the hill right before Lloyd) and not come back above ground until the west side of downtown. Combine this with the elimination of the east side stop at NE 7th and consolidation of Convention Center and Rose Quarter stop into one. (They are one block apart, argh!) Downtown would be fine with three stops at roughly NW Couch and NW 3rd, Pioneer Square, and Providence Park.

      Bam, I just spent $4 billion dollars to save thousands of people 30-60 minutes each day. If we value people’s time at $20 an hour it only takes 400 million trips to pay off.

      It does also remove the biggest challenge to increasing system capacity though: the fact that trains can’t be longer than a downtown city block.

      Bury the Red and Blue!

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      El Biciclero December 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

      The time commitment is a thing. I do the opposite direction commute, I live in the Beaverton area and commute downtown to work. I used to work in Beaverton, but the office moved. Now my commute is a 26-mile round trip over the Tualatin Mountains (heh). It takes about an hour each way (54 – 65 min. in, 63 – 75 min out)—and that’s cranking it (for me, anyway).

      Driving, it would take me about 35 minutes each way on average. So I spend an extra hour each day when I ride. I rationalize by telling myself I don’t need a gym membership, although I probably wouldn’t spend anywhere near an hour a day in the gym. Days I have to drop off/pick up kids or such, I can drive to drop-off and ride from there, but the extra preparation required, especially on rainy days, inspires laziness. If I have to be anywhere after work (and not be sweaty and/or rain-soaked), I just drive. Some weeks I drive way more than I’d like.

      When it works out, I enjoy the long-ish ride through the hills, and would almost miss it if I managed to find a job closer to home (although I’m sure I could find a “scenic route” to any such mythical job). It does clear the head, enhance sense of well-being, keep the body in shape, etc., but it’s hard to communicate the value of those real benefits to someone who doesn’t ride much, and who kind of wishes you would just get home an hour sooner.

      I’m sure that if driving (i.e., parking) were made prohibitively expensive, I’d be able to overcome much laziness, and have a better “excuse” to give to the family for taking the time to ride. But when I (and my fam) compare cheap driving to riding, driving wins hands down for convenience and time. It almost makes me feel selfish for riding to work and depriving my family of an extra hour of time together on riding days. When we can afford a car, and work offers “free” parking, I’m sure that my riding appears as nothing more than a superfluous, eccentric affectation to many around me.

      Now if driving were out of the question and I had to decide between MAX and bike, or a combination (combining is virtually impossible if you don’t have a reverse commute; trains are crowded to the “max” heading from B-town into P-town in the morning), it would be easy to choose the bike, and the family wouldn’t think my riding to work was such a needless hassle.

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        Fourknees December 8, 2014 at 11:30 am

        I’m in the same boat as your commute.
        35 minute average by car.
        60-70 by bus/max
        60 minutes by bike
        I’ve thought about getting an electric bike to keep me on the bike more. I love hills but 5 days a week total of 125 miles and 6000 feet of climbing where me out. I only averge 1-2 per week by bike.

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          GlowBoy December 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm

          My situation is very similar to El Biciclero’s too, except opposite direction. About 60-70 minutes by bike (my usual evening mode) or bike+MAX combo (my usual morning mode), or about 35-40 minutes by car (that’s typical – but once every couple weeks the Ross Island Bridge backup would clobber that).

          For a while I drove 2-3 times a week due to the time savings, but last year or two I’ve cut that down to 2-3 times a month.

          I should point out that although the non-car modes do take longer, biking all the way home helps me avoid a gym membership (as noted by EB), and taking MAX with my bike allows me to get an extra half-hour of productive work done with my laptop on the train, effectively wiping out the car’s advantage.

          I’m not saying I like the length of my commute – in particular, the grind over the West Hills is starting to get to me, because it forces me to choose between safety and speed. So I’ve been starting to park my bike downtown and hop on MAX without it. But it was my choice, and I can’t fault my westside employer for being where they are. If I were staying in the Portland area I think I’d finally be starting to look at living in central Beaverton.

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            GlowBoy December 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm

            Also like Fourknees I’ve contemplated the electric bike option. By my conservative figuring it would take at least 20 minutes off the trip (I’m a slow climber), which would be enough to get me riding the full distance both ways instead of using MAX in the morning. Which, FWIW, means I’d probably get more exercise overall, not less.

            But now that I’m leaving the area, e-bike plans are on hold.

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        Andy K December 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm

        El Biciclero, I do the same commute. Are you still doing it daily? I’ve noticed that winter commute rate over the west hills drops 70-90% from November to March.

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      Adam H. December 8, 2014 at 11:37 am

      There should really be a crosstown express MAX or commuter rail with only one stop downtown or at Union Station. I’d love to see a Vancouver-St.Johns-Union Station-Tigard or Hillsboro-Union Station-Gresham commuter line. MAX is great for getting around Portland and shorter distances, but for longer commutes, it is too slow.

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    wsbob December 5, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    S30t’s comments about their commute from NE Portland to the Nike campus in Beaverton, made for a good contribution to the discussion of last week.

    Logistically, a commute of that nature, i.e. distance, connections, etc, is going to be a difficult to overcome challenge that a cycle track, or cycle track system isn’t likely, between Portland and Beaverton, to be able to be dealt with, for years to come. So far, in this area, awareness of what cycle tracks are, remains small, and any push to create them is even less.

    Living much closer to the Nike campus, makes the challenge of commuting to the campus, far more manageable. For those of whom, living near the campus can be an option. Perhaps this is something Nike could help prospective employees with, especially those it recruits. Even so, though, living near the campus doesn’t necessarily provide people working at the campus, with great biking and walking infrastructure to use to get to work.

    I think in the same previous discussion about Nike’s consideration of bikeways adjoining its campus, someone else posted a comment described infrastructure for biking on their commute from home, a mere three miles to the campus, in words I understood to mean, as being insufficient, intimidating and dangerous in places.

    I’d like to think that major Washington County employers such as Nike, and Intel, are giving thought to focusing some of their creative energy and influence on infrastructure development for biking, and walking, within three mile radius of their campuses.

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      lumpy December 5, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      I “know someone” who works at Intel, and commutes there by bike regularly and the complaint is that there are bike lanes up until they arrive at campus. On the Intel campus there are no bike lanes and that is the most dangerous part of the commute. There are thousands of cars and many impatient drivers.

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        Pete December 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm

        I used to work at an Intel-owned company (in California) and traveled there frequently (coincidentally also used to live and work near there). There was a time when I lived for the day there’d be bike share at Max stations so I could fly and ride with just a backpack. Sadly even if there were, the campus accessibility is another issue entirely, and when I lived up there I knew friends both at Intel and Nike who bike-commuted daily and were hit by cars on multiple occasions near work.

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    davemess December 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    “You’re right – it’s totally my choice to live in NE and commute to Beaverton. At the time I received the job offer in Beaverton it was not a job I actively looked for (they recruited me) – and I own a home in NE.”

    This sums it all up for me. There are tradeoffs for working at Nike, and one of the big ones is that it’s probably prudent to live either in Beaverton or at least the West side.

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    Dwaine Dibbly December 5, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Move closer to work.

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      Aimee December 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Or work closer to home! 🙂 I live in NE and before going into business for myself, only worked for places easily accessed by bus or bike. I turned down a Nike offer because of the commute – quality of life doesn’t include a 90-120 minute commute each way 🙂

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      Jeff December 7, 2014 at 9:33 am

      that’s my thought… I purposefully choice where I live in relation to my job. complaining about the location of your job in relation to your home is pretty damn silly…the job isn’t going to move for you.

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      KristenT December 8, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Not everyone can afford to buy a house closer to where they work. Or rent a house, or apartment, closer to work.

      With the high-tech employers, the housing closest to their place of work is going to get more expensive, so people have to look further and further afield to find something they can afford.

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      GlowBoy December 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      “Move closer to work.”

      Simple-sounding suggestion from a 30,000 level. Devil is in the details.

      Some of us like living in the city, enjoying the amenities the city has to offer, have kids enrolled in city schools, and may even have a spouse who doesn’t work on the west side. When a person may own their home, on average, longer than they hold a particular job, that’s a hell of a decision to make.

      I think if we ever returned to Portland after our upcoming move to MN, we’d have to consider living in Beaverton due to the employment prospects. But only because we will have completely uprooted ourselves already.

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    Lynne December 5, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I wouldn’t put this on Nike. It happens whenever the place where one lives and the place where one works are not close. All the years I worked at Tek and Nike (they are right on top of each other, almost), I commuted. 3.5 to 4 miles each way, and it was great. We have lived in the same place since 1980. My cycling commute has varied from the 3.5 to 4 miles one way, to the 10 miles one way to Intel. My husband’s job site locations were often not quite so fortunate. There were a few stressful bits on the closer commute (crossing Walker and Jenkins) and one on the longer commute (getting left hooked on Evergreen, which trashed my bike and banged me up a bit). Think of those people who have to drive over an hour to get to work. Not just a cycling problem.

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      wsbob December 5, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      “I wouldn’t put this on Nike. It happens whenever the place where one lives and the place where one works are not close. …” Lynne

      That’s a good point. What extent Nike, may be inclined to go to keep a recruited employee for the particular skills and abilities they have to offer the company, is something to consider. It’s not like every employee hired by recruiting, is going to have their arduous traffic congested long commute be dealt with by being chauffeured back and forth to work in a town car.

      There’s lots of housing, new and older, and more coming, around the Nike campus. Conceivably, to attract and retrain high skilled employees, Nike could help help recruited employees with relocation to this housing. If such an option could work out for the employee.

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    Mike December 5, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I have two comments to add about paying for parking. First Oregon cities should be able to charge property taxes on land not the improvements. So the more land wasted on parking, the less cost effective it is to the landowner. Second, here in Salem the State charges employees to park and the parking lots are still full. Maybe (probably) the State’s not charging enough for parking to incentivize other ways to get to work. But our Governor of Portland chooses to drive to Salem instead of live here so can I blame other folks?

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    Chris Shaffer December 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm
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    Matt December 5, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Wow. Whoever this person is that is taking 2-2.5 hours to get to NIKE must either be:

    a: really, really, really slow
    B: not very familiar with route planning in portland metro.

    I have worked at nike for 5 years. I haven’t driven my car to work since June 16th. I live in deep North Portland. If I cycle the entire distance to nike, I get there in 1:20-1:35. If i do a multi modal trip combining MAX with my bike ( riding to Goose Hollow, exiting at Sunset TC), I can get to work in under 50 minutes. I am not exactly a conventional cyclist either. I am fit, but built like a bowling ball rugby player.

    There is bike parking all over campus, bikes all over campus, and a company that is coming to a full realization that better biking infrastructure is imperative for the expected growth in facilities and employees.

    I am sure the poster is having these issues, but NIKE cannot control where it’s current HQ is in relation to transit and his/her home. Additionally, nike is fully aware of the shifting culture of the workforce and the needs of it. The employee experience is at the fore front of everyone’s minds in the talent acquisition and retention game.

    I do not speak on behalf of NIKE. However, my experiences are so utterly and polarly opposed to this persons post that I feel compelled to offer my story.

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      Alex Reed December 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      I think you’re comparing apples to oranges here. The “commenter of the week” reported their round-trip time. You appear to be reporting your one-way time. 2x your one-way time is actually longer than their round-trip time.

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        Matt December 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm

        Fair point. However, so would the counterpoint that I travel farther and have zero issue with it. I know many cyclists that go these types of distances to work at the swoosh. Portland Has an amazing bike culture and transit system and nike does what it can to promote it. Is it perfect? No, clearly not.

        If you want to write about something that needs to be fixed around nike as it pertains to cycling why not focus energy towards solutions to Murray, Jenkins, Walker, and 158th. All of these roads are scary to cyclists and require extreme extra vigilance.

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          Alex Reed December 6, 2014 at 7:19 am

          I see that you like/are OK with the length of your commute. But do you see that lots of other people don’t want to spend that long commuting? Adding 2-3 hours of commute time on top of a 8+ hour day makes it really hard to do anything else. “Anything else” like kid pickup/dropoff, making healthy meals for yourself and your family, etc.

          Most Eastside Portlanders I know who started working for Nike either ended up moving to the Beaverton area or stopped working for Nike. For now, Nike seems to be throwing money at the problem (paying higher wages than most other employers in the metro for similar work). And given that average professional wages are significantly lower in the Portland area than most other coastal metros, Nike is probably not too worried about that money.

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            Matt December 6, 2014 at 8:30 am

            I don’t think “throwing higher salaries at people” is a problem is it? Also, as mentioned nike is where it is. I have a kid, and a wife, and 2 dogs, and a house to maintain, and hobbies. I make a conscious decision to commute and understand that NIKE doesn’t choose where I live, or how I live. I am responsible for those. I think you nailed it. People need to make their own conscious efforts on where they work and how they live, and how they commute and then deal with it accordingly. Also, a lot of eastsiders drive to nike every day. They are in a car for that amount of time because Highway 26 is usually packed. So no, I don’t agree with your point.

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            davemess December 6, 2014 at 9:10 am

            “Most Eastside Portlanders I know who started working for Nike either ended up moving to the Beaverton area or stopped working for Nike.”

            Why is this a problem though?

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              Jeff December 7, 2014 at 9:38 am

              Its not. this is nothing more than people venting about something they don’t realize they have control over. Whining on bikeportland is an art form.

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                ~n December 7, 2014 at 10:59 am

                Jeff, I have to disagree. The neighbors living directly around Nike have legitimate complaints, little recourse, and far too few forums to speak out against corporations behaving disrespectfully. They’d–we’d–LIKE at least a little more control over our environment. Many of the comments here stemmed from neighbors upset about being overrun by cars rushing to and from Nike, as well as Nike’s plans to close off even more bike & walking routes to and from MAX for those living north of Walker. Comments here are addressing other angles of that, yes, and I think that’s great. I also don’t want to lose sight of Nike’s neighbors in all this.

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              Alex Reed December 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm

              I wasn’t intending to sound complainey about it. I thought those people who didn’t like a super-long commute and weren’t willing/able to move to the west side made a bad choice in taking the job at Nike. I wasn’t trying to say Nike had abused them somehow, or that Nike paying higher wages to recruit people to an undesirable location is a bad thing. For the health of the region and the planet, I wish they had located in a more bike/transit-friendly locale (like, the parcel they own that’s right next to the MAX, for crying out loud!) but that’s really neither here nor there.

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      John Lascurettes December 6, 2014 at 1:18 am

      My experience 8 years ago when MAXing it out to Beaverton from NE was that the commute home was almost always longer than the morning trip out because of overcrowded trains and it was more prone to delays because of some emergency on the tracks, or mechanical failure, or a problem with the Steel Bridge. Also, the transfer to the 75 northbound at Hollywood seemed to be a non-stop sore spot every evening. YMMV.

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        GlowBoy December 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm

        Having ridden MAX over the West Hills at least two thousand times over the past 11 years, I’d agree. That too was one reason I liked bringing my bike on MAX in the morning, then biking all the way home. Morning MAX has seemed much less prone to disruption than evening MAX, not to mention less crowded.

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          John Lascurettes December 11, 2014 at 9:21 am

          Yeah, if I ever did a commute like that again, I’d definitely look into a folding bike to make the multi-moding that much easier and skip the bus transfers.

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    Peter W December 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    For a while one of the tech companies in Portland (I think it was either Urban Airship or New Relic) had a recruitment video that touted their downtown location and the quality of the urban environment (good coffee and cafes just a short walk away).

    Nike… definitely doesn’t have that. I’d never want to work out there.

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      Aimee December 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      Yup, that was New Relic a while back – now most of the tech companies have some type of PDX video as that’s what gets people here from other cities – not the suburban life 🙂

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      Adam H. December 8, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Working at Nike after working in Downtown Chicago for three years was depressing. I was on the West Campus where all the buildings are surrounded by a sea of parking and the only food options were the Nike-owned cafeteria (since they ban food carts from their campus if there is a Nike cafeteria). I now work near the Pearl and bike to work and it’s so much better.

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    Aimee December 5, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    That’s why when I had the choice some years back, I chose to work for adidas. Same salary, with a 10 instead of 150 minute bus/max/bike combo commute. Problem solved.

    That being said, Nike is not having a recruitment challenge. As a longtime recruiter and career coach, I’m constantly approached by people who want to work for Nike.

    Ultimately like others have noted, it’s a culture thing. I always have said, Nike is the Suburbs and adidas is the City. Each have their positives and negatives. But both are big corporations – and therefore not for everyone.

    And IMHO, neither make good clothes for cycling 🙂 Let me see great product lines for bike commuters introduced and then my ears will perk back up. In the meantime, I’ll wear the three stripes while walking to the coffee shop or riding to the store (something I could never do in the Burbs).

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      John Lascurettes December 6, 2014 at 1:21 am

      I don’t think Adidas makes any specialized bike clothing – I’ve never seen it in their employee store anyway. I did find my favorite pair of shades for riding at Adidas though. I do own several things specialized for riding by Nike for my rides (mostly found at thrift shops).

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        davemess December 6, 2014 at 9:13 am

        Adidas does have cycling lines. They actually used to sponsor the Telekom professional road team.

        http://www.adidas.co.uk/cycling

        Looking at google results now though, they might only be offered in Europe.

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        GlowBoy December 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm

        Nike pulled out of the cycling market around 2007. It would make sense that you’re finding Nike stuff at thrift shops, because nothing new has been made for quite a few years now. (I have some favorite Nike bike shorts and shoes myself, though the jacket I liked finally wore out).

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      El Biciclero December 6, 2014 at 11:03 am

      “…when I had the choice…”

      This is the key.

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      Pete December 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      I’m glad your comment is sensitive to those of us who don’t like cities (or coffee) and prefer to live in outer suburbs where we have space and easier access to less crowded roads for biking longer and faster. Like you say, to each their own!

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      Adam H. December 8, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Nike doesn’t even make any waterproof shoes!

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        GlowBoy December 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm

        Actually, although Nike doesn’t make bike shoes anymore, they do make waterproof shoes, both in the Pegasus and Free lines as well as others. Look for the word “Shield” in the name (they’re also highly reflective, BTW). As a flat-pedal user, these are what I usually use for riding around here in the wet season.

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    TOM December 6, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I live 2 miles east of 205. In the late 90’s, my dream job at Intel was offered.
    It was at the Jones Farm campus (next to the Hillsboro airport). The 205>26>I5>26 commute was about an hour each way. On Friday afternoon’s , it was closer to 2 hours (to go 24 miles) getting home.
    Got to figuring that I was giving away over a day per week just for commuting.

    After 18 months of that, I resigned. The Dream Job just wasn’t worth the Nightmare Commute.

    and YES, I own my home and was not willing to relocate.

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    ~n December 6, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Actually, you CAN walk or bike to non-chain coffee shops & bike to stores in the suburbs. I know that because I live across the street from Nike & own no car, so that’s how I do it. Sometimes I do fight off a late day craving for a pint of ice-cream because I’m too “lazy” to make a special trip to the Fred’s. Or sometimes, it turns into a pleasant long walk with my honey. I incorporate trips to the library or shopping into my jogs: Run a roundabout way there, walk back with bags of stuff. Totally doable if you overcome the mindset that that you “can’t.”

    I imagine that the more people who take up ‘burb walking & biking, the more we’ll demand and see infrastructure that doesn’t cater to fast-moving cars.

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      Adam H. December 8, 2014 at 11:57 am

      My walk from the MAX down a narrow sidewalk on SW 158th to Nike’s West Campus was less than comfortable. Beaverton (and all suburbs, really) needs wide sidewalks and protected bike lanes along arterials.

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        Dan December 8, 2014 at 10:05 pm

        No way around it, 45mph arterials are obnoxious.

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    ~n December 6, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Matt said above, “If you want to write about something that needs to be fixed around Nike as it pertains to cycling why not focus energy towards solutions to Murray, Jenkins, Walker, and 158th. All of these roads are scary to cyclists and require extreme extra vigilance.”

    I agree. But the reason they’re scary, I submit, is due to the amount of employees driving to Nike. Let’s prove it: Nike, hold a no-drive-to-work day on which employees must walk, bike or use transit. Or better yet: Stop by the area on Sunday! See how scary the roads feel now, with fewer cars on them! Look how we don’t need to widen them anymore! And look how we have plenty of room to build protected bike lanes. I don’t expect that 100% or even 50% of people have the creativity to overcome their belief systems that they “can’t” give up their car for whatever reason. But they’re wrong, most of them. I mean, I’m here as proof. I’d love to see the speed limit lowered to 35 of course. Not that ANY impatient freeway-bound drivers would go for that.

    People have been bringing up Intel, and one difference I see is, they’re zoned & planned such that their car driving employees don’t block neighbors into their driveways for two+ hours per day as Nike drivers do. In fact, the residential areas near Intel, which are mostly limited to one side from what I can tell, are on the opposite side from where most Intel traffic exits and heads to & fro the 26, keeping them separate. Nike has a bus that circles around to the MAX stop many times a day. The neighborhoods around Orenco are carefully enhanced with sidewalks, bike racks, shopping & restaurants, and again, nearby homes are protected from the river of cars that flows in the AM and the PM. Of course, the infrastructure on trips TO Intel by bike from Beaverton, etc, wouldn’t suffer from some attention.

    With Nike, residential areas are pretty much on all four sides. And the neighbors living to the north, some in decades-old ‘hoods, are in right in between Nike and the 26! Who would plan it this way?! Maybe Nike just did it, without planning or thinking it through. Hopefully with this expansion, they are listening to the thought we are putting into it on their behalf.

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      Matt December 6, 2014 at 10:11 am

      I disagree. I take the right turn into campus 5 days a week off of Murray. Ninety+ percent of the automobiles keep on going south on that road.

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        ~n December 6, 2014 at 10:33 am

        You turn on Jenkins? Or into the entrance just prior to Jenkins? There’s a Nike entrance on Jenkins, too.

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          ~n December 6, 2014 at 10:37 am

          Also, my understanding from Lynne’s comments is that many Nike contract employees are housed in non-campus leased buildings off of Jenkins to the east there, just before Hocken Road. So yes, those Nike drivers would keep going south on Murray a bit longer than you.

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          Matt December 7, 2014 at 8:05 am

          There are 4 entrances into NIKE main campus that I am aware of. The same logic holds on all of them, including Jay street, Murray, Jenkins, and Walker……90+ percent of traffic drives right on by NIKE at the accelerated rate available to them.

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            wsbob December 7, 2014 at 10:57 am

            There’s no disputing the reality that roads on the immediate boundary of the Nike campus perimeter are heavily congested with motor vehicle traffic, some percentage of which are cars driven by Nike employees.

            Fact remains that those roads, Murray, Walker, Jenkins and 158th, and roads connecting the campus with surrounding neighborhoods, are rather deficient of infrastructure that could have walking and biking be a far safer and enjoyable option than it is currently, for employee commuting to campus.

            Seriously, from a simple perspective, why is a person employed at Nike’s Beaverton campus, that has a nice house in NE, going to be very interested in unloading that house and move closer, say within a three mile radius, if road traffic and deficient infrastructure for walking and biking, means they’ll still feel they need to drive to the campus?

            The commute by motor vehicle would be less lengthy, but still kind of lousy, because Beaverton rush hour congestion is very bad. I know that transportation planning is something that many people in the Beaverton area have their minds on. The city, the county, and big employers such as Nike and Intel, as well. Everyone could be doing more to have areas around the big employers, provide road infrastructure that would help people feel that living here is very appealing.

            In Beaverton, it’s just a bit astonishing that better than the current infrastructure planning for travel to and from work and home by walking and biking, is not being incorporated into transportation improvements. True, bike lanes slowly get added to roads that don’t have them, but a connecting network of pedestrian esplanades and cycle tracks prioritizing safety and comfort from high rates of motor vehicle traffic use on main routes, is nonexistent.

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            ~n December 7, 2014 at 11:13 am

            I’m not 100% following your logic, but as I suggested, having the No-Drive-To-Work-Day at Nike could end up proving your point, or it could prove mine. Any percentage of cars not heading to/from Nike would not be part of the problem being discussed in relation to, for example, the Meadow Park Middle School on Downing, as those drivers would have no reason or incentive to cut through the neighborhood.

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              ~n December 7, 2014 at 11:22 am

              wsbob and I posted simultaneously; the logic I was referring to is Matt’s. Maybe I’m alone in not understanding it.

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              Matt December 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm

              But there will never be a “no drive to work day” in which 11,000 employees, and temporary employees in the thousands, along with suppliers and visitors will all be able to do that. We live in the real world here.

              As you can recall, we had a BTA bike to work a couple of months ago, and again NIKE topped its corporate challengers.

              I cannot speak for your experiences, and I have no Washington County or City of Beaverton factoids to utilize. I can just say that that I estimate 15-18 thousand visitors go to NIKE a day. This Is by car, walking, mass transit, cabs, bikes, skateboards. Therefore it I fair to assume that the 4 entrances take in a lot of traffic.

              However, the City of Beaverton has 100,000 residents and Washington County has so somewhere between 400-500,0000. Walker, Jenkins, 158th, and Murray are major arteries for these residents and that cannot be disputed. Simple logic, combined with my 5 years of eyeball test and experiences lead me to what I feel is a valid conclusion.

              Let’s stop making NIKE a transit boogeyman cuz it ain’t.

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                ~n December 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm

                Matt, I do see this as a larger problem, and I’m not trying to attack individual Nike employees such as yourself. That is not my intention. In fact, it sounds like you use an entrance that takes you directly to the 26 (via Murray) or south on Murray, depending on your route. It is the Walker road Nike entrance responsible for producing the (rather rude) rush hour flows (both AM & PM) of traffic onto Meadow, Downing, and other neighborhood streets. Because Saturdays and Sundays are MUCH slower traffic days on all the roads we’ve been discussing, and because of the direction of the rush hour traffic on weekdays, it’s my conclusion that the other Beaverton and county residents you mentioned can’t really be as responsible for the congestion as you are suspecting. But it would be great for me to gather actual stats, and I’ll attempt to. I think the county may be in the process of collecting some, and I believe Nike is being surveyed to see if the 3% active transportation figure remains accurate. If it is, it seems like a great idea for Nike to help this county fund safer bike & pedestrian infrastructure on these roads, rather than just build parking garages to house more cars.

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                wsbob December 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm

                There’s way too much motor vehicle use of main roads in the city and the county Nike’s campus is located. Nike is situated within some of the most congested rush hour used roads.

                It behooves that company and others in similar situations, to enthusiastically, even aggressively promote and help design and construction of infrastructure for walking and biking, towards dealing with this problem head on. That could be a major boon towards helping the employee experience on the commute to and from work, be much better than it is today.

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                wsbob December 7, 2014 at 11:18 pm

                There’s way too much motor vehicle use of main roads in the city and in the county Nike’s campus is located. Nike is situated within some of the most congested rush hour used roads.

                It behooves that company and others in similar situations, to enthusiastically, even aggressively promote and help design and construction of infrastructure for walking and biking, towards dealing with this problem head on. That could be a major boon towards helping the employee experience on the commute to and from work, be much better than it is today.

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                Rupert December 8, 2014 at 8:05 pm

                So Matt, if there are 11,000 employees, comprising only 10% of the cars on the roads surrounding the campus when you’re in the area, it follows that the total amount of traffic consists of 110,000 cars, which (if we assume they are single-occupancy) is the entire population of Beaverton (93,542, thanks internet), plus an additional 16,458 cars.

                Assuming for simplicity that these 110,000 cars are distributed evenly amongst Walker, Murray, Jenkins & 158th, and further assuming they all make the trip during a 2-hour span (“rush hour”), that means each of the four roads handles 13,750 cars per hour. If we generously pretend they all have 2 lanes in each direction (they don’t), that’s 6,875 cars per lane per hour, or 115 cars per minute, which is 1.9 cars per second, or a car every 0.52 second. Some songs at that tempo (114 or 115 beats per minute): Bowie “Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes,” Jimi “Crosstown Traffic,” “Car Wash” by Rose Royce, and Lady Gaga’s “Sexx Dreams.”

                In short, I disagree.

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                ~n December 8, 2014 at 9:44 pm

                This math thing is a fun tool; I want to play too! So, we know that 3% of employees bike (that’s 330 people, not counting the temporary workers). Let’s assume and say that an additional 7% of the 11,000 are completely eager to jump in and also bike, if only Nike’s perimeter streets weren’t so nerve-racking to bike on. That adds 770 cyclists and brings the total number of cyclists to 10%, for a total of 1100 bike-to-workers. Even if only this meager one tenth of Nike employees (again, not counting the temporary workers) were biking, that’s a HUGE number of people! Fewer than half that number shut down car traffic in Portland streets last Saturday in the Ferguson protest. At those kinds of numbers, surely Nike is listening?!

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                Matt December 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm

                Rupert, feel free to do the research and prove/disprove any point you like.

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      Adam H. December 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      “Maybe Nike just did it, without planning or thinking it through.”

      Having worked at Nike, I can assure you that this is how they tackle basically any business decision.

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    ~n December 6, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Tom’s comment above reminds me that Intel has multiple campuses–I was speaking of the one closest to the 26, near Orenco.

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    Aaron December 8, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I work in tech and get recruiter emails all the time about Nike, but it’s never on my radar solely due to the commute. Even by bus it would be 1 hour, 8 minutes from my inner SE Portland home. No job is worth putting up with a 2+ hour commute. I’m glad there are a lot of software companies downtown to work for.

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    Adam H. December 8, 2014 at 11:29 am

    My experience at Nike was the same. I live in Goose Hollow and my bike commute would have been 10 miles each way over the West Hills. I usually opted to take MAX, and had to walk 15 minutes down a narrow sidewalk on SW 158th to a building on Nike’s West Campus surrounded by a sea of parking lots.

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    Fish December 8, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I work for Brooks in Seattle, which is a running shoe company that competes with Nike. Since we have moved our office from our suburban office park to Fremont (really cool neighborhood right off of the burke gilman trail) we have been able to attract a ton of highly skilled people that refused to commute to the suburbs. Not that we are a serious threat at all to Nike but it is amazing how many of their former employees work for us now. I’m not saying they left just because of the suburban location but there is certainly a lot of competition for talent in the PNW and there are many options besides Nike even if you are only interested in the sporting goods industry.

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    jered December 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    If you have to be there early or late/have a dog/kid then it is challenging. I live off of Mississippi and this is my route home, which if I ride all the way home I can do in 45-55min depending on how I hit the lights. Ride park way to the bike path along 26 descend to the zoo, jump on the shoulder of 26 down to goose hollow, 19th to the steel bridge and then either climb the Mississippi hill or rip up Williams.

    On the AM commute I cruise to PGE park and get on the MAX there, get off at Sunset Transit Center and ride from there (much faster than sitting on the train) – if you do that your total commute is under an hour and you haven’t really broken a sweat.

    This time of year, in the dark, in the rain jumping on 26 is a bit scary. Of course dropping through the Zoo is even more scary…

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    Jayson December 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    There’s a disputed concept out there about the travel “budget” people are prepared to spend on traveling to work. I think it’s about 30-40 min max for most people who have other options. Going from eastside of the river to the westside (Beaverton and beyond) is just not feasible within that travel budget by bike or train for most people. It takes that much time for me to get from NE Portland to south downtown Portland by MAX, bus, or bike, which is pretty sad.

    We should all be pushing for improved transit through downtown to help whittle down those travel times and of course push Nike and other employers to work on a more pedestrian, bike, and transit friendly workplace.

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    Andy K December 7, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    You know that feeling when you’re in the bike lane on Burnside Bridge and you have a minor panic attack as a motor vehicle passes you a little too close, at 40-50mph? That’s pretty much every commuting street around Nike for miles, and that’s why there’s a 3% bike commute rate (which seems inflated, to be honest).

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