Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Bike Theft Summit recap: Our big, collective step forward

Posted by on December 11th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Great crowd.
(Photo by Guthrie Straw)

Note: Please join me in thanking Bike Index. They were our sponsor for the summit, and it just so happens that Co-director Bryan Hance is the same guy who’s behind our Stolen Bike Listings here on BikePortland (which are back up and running by the way!). Thank you Bike Index!

Because of everyone who showed up and took part in last night’s Bike Theft Summit, Portland has taken a giant step forward in the battle to curb bike theft.

After years of frustration and disjointed efforts from the community and various agencies, I finally feel like we’re creating a real foundation for change. One potent illustration of that fact was evident just by looking at who showed up last night. The panels and the crowd included: four Portland Police Bureau officers; several bike shop owners; staffers from the Bureau of Transportation, Office of Neighborhood Involvement (who debuted their new bike theft prevention flyer), the Office of Mayor Charlie Hales; Portland State University; the Multnomah County DA’s office; homeless advocacy groups JOIN and Transition Projects; the tech innovators behind Project 529 and Bike Index; and many other community leaders who want to fix this problem.

(Photo by Fred King)

And last night’s show of force still didn’t include some key local leaders who weren’t able to make it. One of them happens to be Portland’s future Chief of Police Larry O’Dea. At the start of the event, I shared an email Assistant Chief O’Dea shared with me a few days ago in response to my invitation to the summit:

“I can’t make it to the summit… But I wanted to let you know that the Police Bureau is here to support and help wherever we can. Know that we will help you and the bicycling community wherever appropriate around this crime. Let us know where we can best be of service.”

Suffice it to say: bike theft is on the map in Portland and we’ve pulled together a formidable team to fight back against it.

While police and enforcement issues were a big part of last night’s discussions, we also talked about the issue from many other perspectives.

Before we got into the panel discussions, someone in the crowd took the mic and asked the room: How many of you have had a bike stolen? Nearly every hand was raised. During Bike Theft Storytime, one woman stepped to the mic and made a heartfelt plea for folks to be on the lookout for her red Saracen mountain bike. She broke into tears sharing about her travels with the bike and how much it meant to her. These were real-life examples of the broad scope and personal impact of the problem.

We got another dose of reality when Marc Jolin, executive director of JOIN, and Halley Weaver, a life skills coordinator with Transition Projects, shared how bike theft is connected to the people they work with. Weaver said that her clients don’t have cars and often can’t afford public transit. To them, bikes are often the only way to make it to a job interview on time. Halley helped paint a picture of desperation that helped us understand why some people might resort to theft. Jolin urged the community to not paint with a large brush. “It isn’t part of the definition of homelessness,” he said, “that a bike is stolen.”


Jolin and Weaver said one way to combat theft would be to provide more homeless people with reliable bikes. Also on the enforcement panel was PPB Officer David Sanders, who told us there’s an estimated 800 unclaimed bikes in the property room right now that will eventually be sold at auction. “Why not donate some of those bikes to the homeless?” asked Jolin. That’s an idea worth exploring. (I also mentioned my idea of using a portion of auction proceeds to fund a Bike Theft Unit in the PPB.)

Officer Sanders was a great resource last night. He’s working hard on this issue; but it’s clear the PPB needs to allocate more resources to the effort. One way we’ll be able to help him make that case is by using data. Last night, Sanders shared a new data report that takes a closer look at reported bike thefts between 2012 and 2014. I’ll share more about it in a separate post, but one stat that popped out at me was the total value of bikes stolen. According to the PPB, they handled $1.85 million in stolen bikes from January 1, 2014 through October. The total number is likely to be well over $2 million.

Why don’t more people see jail time for this crime? Deputy DA Vivien Godsey told us that these cases are hard to prosecute. One reason why is that they are often delayed and victims either give up or never come forward to begin with. She urged everyone to help them build cases and gather evidence by reporting all suspicious activity to the police.

JOIN Executive Director Marc Jolin (L) and PPB Officer David Sanders.
(Photo by Guthrie Straw)

Project 529 CEO J. Allard (L) and Bike Index Co-director Bryan Hance.
(Photo by Guthrie Straw)

Halley Weaver from Transition Projects.

Our discussion about education, prevention and technology started with big news from the CEO of Project 529, J. Allard. His company reached their goal of 50,000 signatures on a petition asking eBay and Craigslist to require serial numbers on all listings. Holding a thick book full of pages of signatures, he said a copy of the book and a letter formally requesting the action was delivered to the heads of eBay and Craigslist on Monday. So far there’s been no response. Allard said if he doesn’t hear back soon, “ratchet up the pressure.”

It was great to have 529’s Allard seated next to Bryan Hance, a co-director of Bike Index. Both of their tools have similar goals and some overlap in functionality. Unfortunately, they don’t share data. Bike Index’s entire business model is based on open-source code that can be easily used and implemented by anyone with the coding chops to make it happen. So, why don’t they team up and integrate their data?

“Our problem isn’t integration,” Allard said, “It’s getting more data. We need more registrations.” The way to do that, he added, is to simply keep spreading the word about the tools 529 offers.

Hance explained that one way Bike Index is tackling the registration gap is through direct integration of point-of-sale systems at bike shops. Bike Index is a certified partner of POS system used by thousands of bike shops across the country. They expect that in the next several months, many of these shops will be able to provide instant registration for every new bike sold.

Another way we can increase registrations is through the City of Portland’s outreach efforts to new residents. PBOT staffer Danielle Booth works on a program that does outreach to new residents and gets them information about walking and biking. Among the materials they send in the mail is a bike registration card. “I know it’s old-school,” Booth said, “But these paper cards work too.”

Our final discussion of the night was about parking. Where we park and what type of rack we use is often overlooked, but it can have a huge impact on security. Kiel Johnson, who runs the bike valet service under the Aerial Tram, happily shared that even after parking their 100,000th bike recently, they’ve never had a single theft. He’d like to see valets expanded throughout the city.

A different twist on a valet could be what Bikestation VP of Operations Todd Boulanger described as a “Smart Park for bikes.”

While valets and automated parking facilities are nice, most of us primarily use the trusty blue staple racks provided by the City of Portland. Sarah Figliozzi with PBOT’s bike parking program, told us security is something they’re keeping in mind with a future redesign of their standard rack. The new design might include larger “feet” at the bottom of the racks. “That way,” she explained, “Even if thieves unscrew the rack from the ground, they wouldn’t be able to slide the u-lock through.”

Our panelists were all excellent, but we also heard great questions and dialogue from the crowd. And of course, the event was also about networking. I loved watching all the side conversations and introductions that took place. For the first time, all the key players on this issue are getting to know one another. And more importantly, we’re all learning how each of us fits into the bigger picture.This is how you grow the connective tissue that will eventually be strong enough to create change!

So, what’s next?

First, rest assured that we’ll stay on this topic here on BikePortland. We’ll continue to cover the people, the problem, and the solutions every chance we get.

Next, I think we should focus on two main policy efforts: Establish a citywide Bike Theft Task Force, and create a Bike Theft Unit within the PPB. I look forward to sharing more about those initiatives as we move them along. But that’s just my opinion, I’d love to hear what all of you think.

— Special note of thanks as well to Kai McMurtry @kainotkyle for live-tweeting the event, to Guthrie Straw for filming it, and to Velo Cult for hosting!

Please support BikePortland.

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

  • BIKELEPTIC December 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Check out my blurb with all the photos I took!

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  • J_R December 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for the report, Jonathan. I was unable to attend due to family conflicts.

    Were there specific recommendations from the DA’s office?

    Any discussion about bait bikes?

    Are there some specific actions we can take to get more resources for the DA and PPB to allocate to the problem?


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  • Mike December 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    – Jolin and Weaver said one way to combat theft would be to provide more homeless people with reliable bikes. –

    If you give them nice bikes, then they won’t be forced to steal yours.

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    • TonyT
      TonyT December 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Or to put it less cynically, if people who are in a desperate situation can get a donated bike legally, they won’t need to buy/barter for a stolen bike. Not everyone involved in the bike theft food chain is a thief; many of them are merely desperate for transportation.

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      • Lester Burnham December 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm

        Funny…I remember my parents falling on hard times when my sister and I were growing up…sometimes both of them out of work at the same time, but never was their misfortune an excuse for victimizing somebody else.

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        • Todd Hudson December 11, 2014 at 4:36 pm

          I really wish people would stop rationalizing why homeless people are justified stealing bicycles. It just enables the problem.

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        • BIKELEPTIC December 11, 2014 at 6:36 pm

          It’s not a homeless issue – it’s a theft issue. The people that you see on the streets experiencing homelessness are less than 2% of the homeless in Multnomah Co. Being homeless isn’t fun or something that people want to walk around peacocking. It’s embarrassing. Homelessness is very much an invisible issue. Many people that are homeless double-up at friends or family member’s places, stay in their cars, find secret hidey holes and when you see them walking on the street you would never know they were homeless from Adam. Transition Projects serves over 9000 participants a year. JOIN serves approx 5000. There’s probably some overlap in services – but the point being that there’s a ton of people experiencing homelessness.

          But they are people trying to get help.

          Bike theft is a separate issue entirely. It’s an issue of desperation. It’s an issue of someone that may have a home, but could be suffering from addiction, drug abuse, alcoholism, mental health issues. They could have many barriers to housing such as previous criminal records that make it difficult to get housing and are in that primal survival mode. Theft is never justifiable.

          But when crap hits the fan it’s best to be prepared. Put everything in writing. Keep records of your property, not just the bikes but the components. Utilize social media, email bike shops within 50 miles post signs, report it every where. Register your stuff. Get renters insurance with replacement clause.

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      • J_R December 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

        So the explanation that the stolen bikes are needed by people desperate for transportation would explain why they avoid taking bikes way too big for them and bikes with clipless pedals, right? It also explains why these bikes “borrowed for transportation” are recovered quickly and intact, right?

        Yeah, sure.

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  • Blair December 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Well, even when my bike was sold to a pawn shop, and they had the police report with the serial number, and the pawn shop had the name and contact of the person who sold the bike to them…

    As far as I’m aware the PPD hasn’t done anything. It took 6 months just for me to figure out what hoops to jump through to get my bike back. And I still had to pay the pawn shop! And get to the pawn shop with no car.

    So that’s how much the PPD cares, in my experience. Oh, your 800$ bike, your sole form of transportation and the second most expensive item you own was stolen? We won’t lift a finger. We won’t help you get it back. We won’t investigate. Nothing.

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    • Jeff December 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Why are you waiting for someone else to help you? Help thyself.

      Pawn shop won’t give back a bike you bought? I’d have sent a notice of intent to sue and then would have filed a civil suit within a week. While you’re playing with the police bureaucracy, I’d be discussing what damages I’d be receiving in addition to the return of my bike with the pawn shop’s attorney.

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  • Jim December 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    The liberal in me wishes success with donating bikes to the homeless. The realist in me knows that most of those bikes will be sold or traded (regardless of any laws in place) as soon as they can manage it. I’ve watched it happen.

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    • BIKELEPTIC December 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Do you bundle minorities all in the same stereotypical pejorative bunch the same way that you bundle people experiencing homelessness? “Oh those civil engineers, they’re all the same.” “Oh you know, they’re just that way because they come from Andorran descent.” “I’ve seen people like them. They must be graphic designers. They look just like them.”

      Judging people by their economic situation is as equally not right as racism. I have worked with more clients than I can count over the years that have budgeted and scrimped to be able to afford their own form of transportation whether it’s buying a bike from CCC or City Bikes or craiglist. I can count on 1 hand the number of clients that I have worked with that have had known bike theft issues. (In 10 years of social work)

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      • J_R December 12, 2014 at 10:46 am

        So, when I ride past a camp along the Springwater Corridor or the Eastbank Esplanade and see a whole pile of bikes and bike parts partially covered by a blue tarp, I should assume it’s really a bike valet parking facility and mobile bike repair station, right? Because if I assume it’s a collection of stolen bikes and a chop shop, I’m stereotyping.

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        • BIKELEPTIC December 13, 2014 at 11:11 am

          That’s maybe a few people. On any given night up to 15k people experience homelessness over the course of a year in Multnomah County.

          Just like all black people listen to rap music, all asian people all good at math, all white people are bad dancers at weddings, all people with disabilities are on the government doll and all people who have served in the military are gun nuts. All homeless are drug addict bike thieves. Yup. You’re accounting for less than 2% of the homeless situation. It’s very much an invisible situation. As someone stated above that when their parents suffered financial hardship, they didn’t steal or anything – of course. That is the norm. Many people experiencing homelessness stay with friends or family, hide in the shadows.

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    • Alan 1.0 December 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm – Those bikes get ridden by their new owner.

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  • Bill December 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Bike Index and 529 sound great, but do police agencies ever use the service when they recover a bike?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Yep. Happens a lot. Police will use whatever they can. They often pull out their phones and search the web and various listings to determine if bikes are stolen.

      We have also worked directly with the PPB to have our listings show up in their patrol cars!

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  • Editz December 11, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Might be interesting to get input from manufacturers on the idea of making frame ID stamping more visible. Anyone having that ID ground off or altered is on a stolen bike. Also, get a stupid bait bike program going. If Ashland can do it, so can Portland.

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  • Anne Hawley December 11, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    How does the insurance industry figure into this equation? I’m one of the lucky few who’s never had a bike stolen in Portland, but I would imagine my first (or second) step on discovering my missing bike would be to contact my insurer. I wonder if the industry has any data, or anything to add to the discussion.

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    • J_R December 11, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      My bikes are covered under my homeowners insurance policy, but my deductible is $1000. Due to my commuter bike’s age, I doubt the insurance company would pay me anything for its loss. Check your deductible.

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  • Dwaine Dibbly December 11, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks you, Jonathan, for organizing this summit.

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  • J Allard December 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    “Unfortunately, they don’t share data. Bike Index’s entire business model is based on open-source code that can be easily used and implemented by anyone with the coding chops to make it happen. So, why don’t they team up and integrate their data?”

    I took a few minutes to write a response on the topic up on our blog for folks that weren’t at the event last night. It’s a long posting, but it’s a very nuanced topic and I feel gets oversimplified.

    To repeat my statement last night – we have active discussions ongoing with Bike Index (and others) in terms of integration opportunities that would serve the community and even have some early code up and running. While I don’t believe the solution is to simply “merge data” as it’s been suggested by some, I absolutely believe that we should demand that the various efforts involved collaborate on defining some key standards and points of integration. Remember too that there are several other registries that weren’t in the room that pre-date both efforts!

    Thanks again to Bike Portland, Velo Cult and Bike Index for bringing people together last night and especially Jonathan who reached out to so many people individually to make it happen.

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    • Alan 1.0 December 11, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      J, I read it. It’s good and I’m glad I read it. Thanks for laying out many points worthy of discussion.

      But. And I say this with my personal interest in privacy up front and center:

      Please, PLEASE, share – or at least accept into 529’s searchable system from sources like BikeIndex – serial numbers of stolen bikes. Serial numbers are not PII in any country that I’m aware of, not even Germany (about the most PII-protective jurisdiction I know). Serial numbers will not compromise the bike theft victim’s privacy or identity in any tangible way. It makes no sense, and it dilutes the good effects of every such list, if the object we’re looking for is hidden under more and more shells. The optimal number of notifications for a theft victim, or of serial number searches by someone considering acquisition of a potentially stolen bike, is one.

      Here, you said it yourself about automobile VINs:

      “Aspects of registration databases connect to one another.”

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      • J Allard December 11, 2014 at 10:35 pm

        Alan, thanks for pushing on the value of integration and encouraging collaboration.

        On your specific recommendation, here’s where we are at: candidly, our search is not good enough and BI’s API is not complete enough to deliver an experience that we think is compelling today. As I mentioned last night, the two companies are working on improving this. Nothing to announce or to commit to here, but know that we are both pushing on this issue, together and you should expect to see movement from both of us (and hopefully others) along the lines you suggest.

        While you are correct, a serial number is not “PII” (Personally Identifiable Information) per se, the implementation of how ones data is exposed can get interesting. “Serial numbers”, while a critical part of the data in question is not the only data in question (both in terms of search terms and results)

        For example, you can query serial number “H0012ELO1938” on Bike Index right now… go ahead, this is my bike (or query Yellow Santa Cruz Portland, or….). This bike is not stolen. Skim through the photos… When you see the profile shot of the bike, you’ll see that my name is on it.

        As a user, while I may have in fact read the T&C’s that said “all content you upload is public,” I might not have thought about the ramifications of my name on my bike in the database when I added it. Or, like many users’ photos we’ve seen, other details included in an image like license plates, mailboxes or children in the photos alongside their bikes that do give more information than intended. In fact, at 529 we encourage members to submit a photo of them with the bike as a means to demonstrate, with a timestamp, that they were in possession of the bike for law enforcement purposes. Have you used Google’s “search by image” feature or other facial recognition engines? The are surprisingly good and inevitably going to get better.

        Rest assured that there is no arbitrary or casual dogma here interfering with doing the “right thing.” Rather, our conundrum is that peoples’ definition of the “right thing” varies and 529’s philosophy is to make sure that our members can decide what they want to see done with their data – all of the data they trust with our registration service. Remember, it’s a bigger issue than just a serial number.

        Please don’t interpret this as defensive, just an expansion on why it’s not “simple”. I’m optimistic that in the next 12 months, there will be an incredible amount of traction in online bike registration and collaboration not just between the registries but other agencies.

        In the meantime, please, pick your favorite registration and promote it as aggressively as you can within your cycling community. GET.BIKES.REGISTERED!

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        • Alan 1.0 December 12, 2014 at 11:27 am

          Thanks for taking my point to be just about serial numbers, J; that’s all I intended. I am *very* pleased to know that particular piece of data is on your radar to share (and I’d obviously encourage sooner rather than later!) because, while certainly not the only important part of the puzzle, it is the most critical data for stopping illicit traffic and recovering bikes. The more Balkanized that one piece of data, the less effective all registration programs are, and that effectiveness is going to be a big part of any growth-to-scale which needs to happen to the number of registered bikes.

          There is one other piece of data which needs to be attached to each shared S/N, but which does not breech privacy in any way: identity of the registry which holds the registrant’s info. (The registrant could be a party other than the owner, for example a bike shop, providing yet another layer personal privacy in the system [yes, and yet another surface of attack for bad guys]). That’s the way that someone finding a stolen S/N via a simple, one-source search can link that information through possibly multiple d/b back to the owner, or someone proxying for the owner, and from there recover the bike.

          I checked out your bike on BikeIndex. Besides being gorgeous, you use it to make a great case study of how that info could identify the owner. 😉

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  • Adam December 11, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Was there any discussion about bike LOCKING? I want stats on HOW bikes are stolen. Locked with a u-lock? A cable lock? Left unlocked in a garage overnight?

    I would also like to see the conversation rolling about bike shops stopping selling cable locks. And bike shops explaining to every single person who buys a bike from them in excruciating detail how they should lock up their expensive, 800 buck new purchase if they don’t want it to walk two weeks later.

    For every one thousand dollar bike I have purchased at Bike Gallery, River City, Western Bikeworks etc, not once, not ONCE did an employee explain how to lock it.

    I’m sorry, but I think bike shops are incredibly culpable in the bike theft arena. Their inaction and unwillingness to inform consumers is infuriating and is the mai reason bikes get stolen in the first place. End rant.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 12, 2014 at 8:50 am

      We did talk a bit about that Adam.

      We heard Katie from Western Bikeworks announce that they no longer sell cable locks. She also said they have the how-to-lock discussion with each new bike customer. PSU Bike Hub manager Clint Culpepper also mentioned they don’t sell cable locks and they also give bike locking instructions to new students.

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      • Adam December 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm

        They do not have a he how-to-lock discussion with each new customer. I know this because my partner purchased a road bike from them two months ago. No advice given. Perhaps they need to remind their employees…?

        Very glad to see no cable locks in some shops though!

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  • Steve Scarich December 12, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Was there any discussion of LoJack technology? I am a motorcyclist, as well as a cyclist, and many moto riders install LoJacks (devices that emit a signal to indicate where they are) and that has led to some quick recoveries. It seems to me that if every bicycle in a dense environment like Portland was LoJack equipped, it would justify a dedicated team of paid ‘interveners’, who could recover bikes quickly. There are lots of motorcycle thefts and would be more if they weren’t so heavy. Humor intended.

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    • K'Tesh December 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Yes, I mentioned it. Got a lot of reasons why people think that it’s not practical. 🙁

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  • Jeff December 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    “Suffice it to say: bike theft is on the map in Portland. . .”

    What a crock. Wow, great, a bunch of folks got together to chat about a problem. I’ve got $100 that says there isn’t a noticeable change in thefts, arrests, prosecutions, bike returns, or any other daydreams that may have been discussed.

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    • joebobpdx December 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      A suggestion – of this effort troubles you so, don’t read about it, don’t comment on it. Do your own thing. Use that $100 for seed money for your idea.

      On another note, I’m looking for the connection between addiction and bike theft to be made explicit. I work around addicts who are trying to lead clean lives and have heard many a tale about the bikes-to-drugs economy. My unsupported belief is that the bulk of thefts come about this way. When folks are saying “homeless” I wonder if they really mean “addict”?

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      • Jeff December 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm

        The effort doesn’t trouble me. The scene of a bunch of white folks sitting around and patting themselves on the back for doing so troubles me.

        I may as well use my seed money to try to establish a drug free America. I did some interviewing of bike theft victims about five years ago. We can blame addicts or whoever, but like good white people we’ll never blame ourselves. Most of the folks I interviewed made it easy for their theft. I heard things like “It was on my back porch, so I never thought someone would steal it.” Uhh, yeah. Unlocked. In plain view to houses on the other side of the backyard. Or one person who left it locked to the same street sign while they were out of town for a week. Shocked to find it missing, just totally shocked they were. But that’s not the point, either.

        If you folks think, as the headline suggests, that you as a group took some “big, collective step forward,” that’s just comical. You sat around being proud of yourselves and feeling smart. Let’s talk about it in five years, when you’ve accomplished nothing. That’s not to say that any of your intent isn’t pure or that it would be anyone’s failing. You’re just not going to make the slightest dent. But you are going to be proud of your effort regardless. I find that behavior to be suspect.

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        • J Allard December 13, 2014 at 3:09 pm

          Jeff, I confess, I was one of the white folks in the room. And, admittedly I did a lot of talking. Guilty! Like you, my initial reaction to Jonathan’s headline was similar to yours… that “big step” is a gross overstatement, but I changed my mind.

          Mainstream media, bloggers and yup, even commenters increasingly pour on the hyperbole (are you really putting up that $100?) to grab the eye of the reader. I’m reminded of the intro of Boondock Saints 2: Words without action are just that.

          Jonathan and I connected after the event and are explicitly getting together next week to talk concretely about mobilizing the movement. It’s good to have you and others call BS and push leaders to take action. Thank you, constructive pressure is healthy and motivating.

          I’d like to pose a challenge for you, Jeff, and others frustrated about this topic and wanting to see action:

          Commit to spending 1 hour/week next year to work on this problem with us to move the needle. In turn, we will commit to put together an Agenda and an Action Plan that will put you (and others) to work – in a focused way – to help us move the needle on this.

          We need people aligned and committed to make headway on this. Together, as a community, focused on tackling some specific activities arm in arm. Bike theft is massive epidemic that is going to be a massive undertaking to materialize the ‘meaningful results’ that you, I and everyone there on Wednesday and on this thread want to see.

          Several times on Wednesday night I was antsy and anxious for action, but had to remind myself that the first step in any revolution is words – recall “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth”

          The next step is organization. Without words, you cannot align the team.

          The third step is action. Without organization, action is arbitrary.

          You can argue the size of the step, but if we want to do something about bike theft in Portland, the summit was a necessary, valuable and timely one to start on both the words and organization.

          So, can the community count on you to contribute an hour/week next year to help?

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm


          You’ll have to excuse my excitement about the summit and how it trickled into my choice of words for the headline.

          But that being said, I do think it was a “big” step forward. The first step is often the hardest, and I’ve been hearing for years that bike theft is a huge problem — yet we have never all come together to plant a flag and say, “enough is enough, let’s work together!” That’s what happened at the summit and I think that’s a big deal.

          I feel like your comment is way more negative and pessimistic than the facts warrant. I also disagree that we are “not going to make the slightest dent” in the problem. Thanks for giving me the motivation to prove you wrong.

          And J. Allard is right… Hopefully you are willing to help with this problem. Because like I said at the summit, this is a community-wide issue and it needs a community-wide response.

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          • Jeff December 17, 2014 at 10:59 am

            I barely have time to reply to a post like this, much less waste 1% of my available time each week on an effort that sounds like Nancy Reagan trying to make a Drug Free America. You can call that pessimistic if you wish.

            I hope you prove me wrong. I really do. Good luck. I’ll keep track of the data and I’ll make sure to follow the story so I can be the first to admit I was wrong when that time comes.

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  • TOM December 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Why are you waiting for someone else to help you? Help thyself.
    Pawn shop won’t give back a bike you bought? I’d have sent a notice of intent to sue and then would have filed a civil suit within a week. While you’re playing with the police bureaucracy, I’d be discussing what damages I’d be receiving in addition to the return of my bike with the pawn shop’s attorney.
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    I worked in a downtown pawn shop for a couple of months when between jobs. (1986 ?)

    IF they follow the law …. all purchases must be held in quarantine for 30 days , a “buy ticket” written on each purchase , and the PPD does (did) come in and check the tickets every month. Of course, I had a crooked boss who kept dual books and hid tickets. Only spent 30 days in the city’s care for that offense.

    IF something was proven to be stolen, PPD would come back and confiscate it to be returned to victim , if possible.

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  • Joaquin December 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Does anyone know when/where the unclaimed recovered stolen bikes get auctioned by PPB?

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