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Guerrilla traffic diverters installed – then removed – on SE Clinton

Posted by on December 17th, 2014 at 10:31 am

Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-6

Police observe while people ride down Clinton and City of Portland crews work to remove the unpermitted traffic diverters.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“It’s important for us to take over these spaces… and show the city that there are people willing to go out and do it themselves because the city isn’t willing to do it.”
— Activist responsible for unpermitted diverters

I woke up this morning to the buzzing of my phone at 4:33 am. I didn’t catch it in time, but I listened to the message: “I would like to report,” said a voice, “that a group of anonymous members of BikeLoudPDX installed guerrilla diverters at 34th and Clinton and you should definitely check it out and take some pictures when you get up this morning.”

By the time I woke up, did my family stuff, and made it over there, it was 8:00 am and City of Portland crews were busy removing six large steel drums that had been placed in an arc on SE Clinton. The drums were placed on their sides and they stayed in place thanks to square steel rods welded onto them. A hole was cut into the middle where soil and plants had been placed. Each drum was hand-painted with an array of colorful scenes. One of them had “Don’t drive, fly a kite,” scrawled on the side.

The aim of the diverters was to block drivers from continuing east/west on Clinton and force them to turn onto 34th.

Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-10

Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-7

Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-5

Police were telling people in cars to turn around.
Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-3

Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-1

By 8:30 am they were gone.

The man who left that 4:30 message on my phone, said he and about eight other people were up several hours before dawn to install the diverters. “The city isn’t doing anything on Clinton,” he said, when I called him back. “There’s so much community support and they refuse to do it… It’s important for us to take over these spaces… and show the city that there are people willing to go out and do it themselves because the city isn’t willing to do it.”

The man, who asked to stay anonymous, said he and the others involved all live in the area. Their goal, he said, was to “Get enough people seeing it and realizing that it’s very feasible and possible [to install diverters].” He added that he was inspired by last year’s placemaking demonstration at 26th and Clinton by Better Block PDX.


One person who rode through before city crews and two police officers arrived, said the diverters were working “perfectly.”

is a grassroots, all-volunteer activist group that has made SE Clinton their first major campaign. Just two days ago, we published a guest article by the man who started the group, Alex Reed. Reed and others from BikeLoudPDX recently met with PBOT staff to discuss conditions on Clinton.

The man I spoke to on the phone acknowledged that he and his cohorts represent a more aggressive wing of BikeLoudPDX. He wants to stay anonymous because he’s aware that some people active with BikeLoudPDX aren’t interested in these kind of guerrilla action. “We want to show there are people in the group who want to push things a little further,” he said.

Reached for comment this morning, Reed said he had no idea this was happening. We did however, receive a press release from a “Bike Loud” Gmail account*. “BikeLoudPDX is declaring a war on car culture,” it read, “a culture that values convenience over human life and takes away valuable investments that make our neighborhoods livable and enjoyable for Portlanders of all ages.” (Read the entire statement below.)

SE Clinton has become the focus of major concern since this past summer. Increased development on nearby Division Street has caused more people to use Clinton as a cut-through when driving in the neighborhood. The increase in auto use has come at the expense of what is supposed to be a pleasant and low-stress cycling environment.

The guerrilla activists responsible for this morning’s traffic diversion say they hope what they did inspires others to take action. “We encourage folks to go out and do this kind of stuff in their neighborhoods. Making safe streets is actually something they can do themselves. Even if it gets taken down, it makes a statement.”


Full press release from “anonymous members of BikeLoudPDX”:

December 17, 2014

In the early hours of this morning, anonymous members of the grassroots bike advocacy group BikeLoudPDX and Clinton neighbors took the initiative to do what the City of Portland has continued to drag its feet about: Install a traffic diverter on SE Clinton St at 34th. Cars traveling Westbound during rush hour are now required to turn onto Division and Eastbound auto traffic must turn onto Woodward.

Over the last several years, Inner Southeast Portland has seen a continued escalation of automobile traffic on Clinton Street, a neighborhood greenway, beyond the national guidelines for acceptable auto traffic. This is a street that should be safe for people from ages 8 to 80 to enjoy and use for transportation, but aggressive drivers have clogged the streets and subjugated cyclists on one of the few spaces that are designed for nonmotorized travel. The lack of stop signs and traffic diverters on the street make it appealing for cars wishing to bypass already-congested Division and Powell. As wealthier residents are moving in and redeveloping the area, they are also bringing more car traffic with them.

Recent detours onto Clinton and disproportionate targeting of bicycle riders in traffic stings on one of Portland’s most-heavily traveled greenways have made it clear how seriously the City takes our concerns. City Hall has become a place where “bike” has become a dirty word and Charlie Hales is out of touch with the needs of Portlanders to have safe streets. With no indication that there will be concentrated action in meeting the goal of 25% of trips being made by bike in 2030, we are demanding a truly connected system of bikeways that start with making all greenways, like Clinton, effectively car-free with a series of diverters and public gathering spaces to eliminate car traffic and promote community.

There is a worsening crisis of air pollution in Portland, a changing climate, and regular casualties from a war on people-powered travel. In response, BikeLoudPDX is declaring a war on car culture; a culture that values convenience over human life and takes away valuable investments that make our neighborhoods livable and enjoyable for Portlanders of all ages.



(Photo by “anonymous members of BikeLoudPDX”)

*CORRECTION: The original version of this story said the press statement claiming credit for the diverters was sent from the “BikeLoudPDX” Gmail account. That is not true. It was sent from “Bike Loud” and from a Gmail account that is not the official account of the group. Sorry for the confusion.

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  • anonymous December 17, 2014 at 10:40 am

    right on!

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  • John R December 17, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Awesome! Nice to see Bike Loud and the neighborhood pushing it.

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  • Alex Reed - BikeLoudPDX December 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Just to be clear, I have sole access to and I did not send the press release through that account. It’s possible that someone sent it with the appearance of being through that address (I hear that’s an easy thing to do) but as far as I know, no official communication channels of BikeLoudPDX were used in this action, nor did BikeLoudPDX as a whole know about it or decide to endorse it.

    Speaking personally, I’m way too wussy to do this guerrilla type stuff and so was neither consulted nor involved.

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    • soren December 17, 2014 at 11:40 am

      This was definitely not an official bikeloudpdx action and to my knowledge it was never discussed or planned at bikeloud meetings/events/rides. Nevertheless, as a non-anonymous member of bikeloudpdx I think it’s kind of cool that the anonymous members attributed the action to bikeloudpdx.

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    • Terry D-M December 17, 2014 at 11:52 am

      I third on the “This was not done with the knowledge or vote of BikeloudPdx.” As a member of BikeloudPDX and the Neighborhood Association system I could not support this action. However, we are a loosely knit group without defined boundaries/membership. There are bound to be radicals that go above official positions.

      Using an official e-mail from us however to claim credit for something that was NOT approved via our fast-traack or official approval process I feel is an attack on us, as well as automobile culture.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      And I just realized that it was sent from… NOT BikeLoudPDX@ …. I have edited and corrected the story to reflect that. sorry for any confusion Alex.

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  • Tyler December 17, 2014 at 10:48 am


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  • dan December 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

    LOL that there’s no budget to install real diverters but when guerilla diverters are installed it’s magically no problem to send a removal crew lickety-split

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    • Kyle December 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

      I still think it would be cheap and easy to install the curb-style dividers at the major cross-streets on Clinton in the style of 20th and Ankeny, at least as an interim solution to prevent drivers from using Clinton as a through route. The same dividers should be added on Ankeny at 12th, 16th, and 28th as well.

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    • Adam H. December 17, 2014 at 11:34 am

      So maybe these guerrilla diverters should be put in every day until it’s cheaper for the city to just install real ones instead of paying to remove them constantly. 🙂

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      • Aaron December 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm

        If memory serves, that’s how the diverter on NE 16th was created.
        I think that’s great. I’d love to know who did it and although I didn’t participate, I appreciate.

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    • PJ Souders December 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      In 2008 or 2009 some neighbors along SW Capitol Rd. wanted speed control on that street, specifically speed humps (tables?). They were turned down for budget reasons and raised the funds separately to install them. This was in my neighborhood and I contributed. (I think it was about $2k/bump FWIW) When it came time to calm traffic on SW Spring Garden the city didn’t throw out the money excuse again and now it’s sharrowed, bike lanes etc.

      To be clear: I think the city should prioritize this kind of spending and we shouldn’t have to pass a hat to get needed safety improvements. But if a bureau says “we don’t have the money for that” and you retort “well HERE’S the money for that” they look kind of stupid.

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    • paikiala December 17, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Dan, are you volunteering your funds if the City is sued?

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      • Brian Davis December 17, 2014 at 3:56 pm

        Are folks at the City not worried that the liability issue runs both ways? You’ve got a greenway where bicycling is clearly being encouraged despite the fact that it does not adhere to guidance that the City was instrumental in developing, and well-informed folks are loudly & regularly citing safety issues and close calls there.

        Certainly, the City is at least as liable if someone is injured or killed on Clinton due to the known safety issues that they took no action to correct as they would be if something occurred due to a guerrilla installation that they had no prior knowledge of, no? (Not asking rhetorically…I really don’t know how those liability issues work).

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        • paikiala December 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm

          You’ll need to clarify what the safety issues are, or perhaps you mean the fear of safety issues? There is no need to worry, because frequently the City is sued regardless of the events of a collision simply because of the deep pockets and distribution of responsibilities that typically result from trials. This is also why the City, prudently, negotiates settlements to avoid going to trial. That said, much of PBOT’s efforts go into making roads safer.

          ‘Safety’ is a subjective word. In the last ten years there have been twelve reported bike involved crashes on Clinton between 12th and 50th, representing 12% of the reported crashes. Of those 12, 7 (58%) were blamed on motorist errors while 5 (42%) were blamed on cyclist errors – all crashes involved injury to cyclists.

          Clinton has been retrofitted more than once (three times in the last 20 years) to alter the patterns and behavior of users. This process is happening all over the city on an annual basis where problems are occuring as resources permit. Citizens of portland see their local street or commute problems, while City workers see the problems of the City as a whole. The perspective is different.

          What guidance are you citing? If you mean the most recently adopted ideal plan, true. But most streets fail to meet new policy every time new policy is adopted. It takes time to massage current systems into the new paradigm.

          Lastly, regardless of those that say ‘do both’, daily PBOT front line staff is faced with choices. Say you’ve got $80k today to do what you want with for traffic safety in Portland. Do you add 2-5 diverters on a single greenway (that’s not so bad), or do you add one rapid flash beacon ped crossing (without refuge island) on a busy road in east Portland? You choose, and be prepared to defend your choice in court.

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          • Alex Reed - BikeLoudPDX December 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm

            We want change at a political level, moving funding from motor-vehicle-focused things to bike/ped/transit things, and growing the pie through a variety of measures – the street fee, much more widespread priced parking, gas tax increase, etc. We certainly don’t want to defund or slow down bike/walk/transit improvements in much more dangerous areas. In fact, I have a personal goal of having a BikeLoudPDX campaign focus on an underserved area in the relatively near future.

            There is a very strong cost/benefit case -the strongest benefits of which are not safety, although safe biking is important and valuable!- to be made for providing a high-quality bike network that is of comparable comfort and convenience to our existing high-quality motor vehicle network. The funding for this new bike network does not have to be taken from pedestrians. There are opportunities for new funding, and there is also opportunity to de-prioritize motor vehicle-focused spending.

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    • Dean December 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      The other irony is that the guerrilla dividers actually worked whereas the city-installed dividers tend to be driven over when people see fit.

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      • paikiala December 18, 2014 at 12:42 pm

        The City has added steel post signs on temp bases at Ivy and Cook.

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  • Kyle December 17, 2014 at 10:55 am

    This is great! Working through the official channels has proven to be futile, and more of this sort of action will likely push the city to make some rapid and official changes that the community wants and needs.

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  • PNP December 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I love it! It’s great to see people taking action for themselves and being willing to stand up and make a statement. I grew up in the 60s, when people took to the streets to fight for their rights, and sometimes, I think we need some of that spirit back today.

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    • Alex December 17, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Unless it is in Forest Park where they criticized to no end.

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    • paikiala December 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      BTW, portland’s traffic calming program happened because of media attention to protests (“people lying in the street”).

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      • soren December 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm

        but that’s illegal!!!

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  • Beeblebrox December 17, 2014 at 11:03 am

    The permanent diagonal diverter at 16th & Tillamook was originally a guerrilla diverter, put in my Irvington residents sick of cut through traffic. So there’s precedence for this tactic to yield results. Keep up the pressure, folks!

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    • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Really? I did not know that! I use that diverter and those streets a lot, and it’s some of the most pleasant riding I do. The local residents must value the quiet and safety, too. Mind you, Irvington. Very posh. Perhaps their voices and actions weren’t seen as quite so easily dismissed? Just a thought.

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      • Adam H. December 17, 2014 at 11:35 am

        Money talks.

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  • JJJJ December 17, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Why were those two cops being paid to stand there and do nothing?

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    • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 11:09 am

      Why, to protect the Maintenance crew from guerrilla street people, of course!

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      • was carless December 17, 2014 at 11:51 am

        Criminals often return to the scene of the crime soon after their crime spree. Cops are probably just waiting for a trio of neck-beard wearing hipsters to haul off to jail.

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    • J_R December 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      They were human diverters reducing the use of Clinton as a cut-through by motorists.

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  • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Those barrel planters are charming! Much in the same vein as intersection art, and well thought out. They fit in with the style and spirit of the neighborhood. This was a brilliant demonstration of how cheaply, effectively, and quickly needed street improvements can be made, if only regulations could be relaxed in some instances.

    Personally, my heart grew three sizes just seeing the cute planters. Pity PBOT couldn’t have left them in place for a few days and measured their impact before roaring in with the trucks.

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    • Gary December 17, 2014 at 11:40 am

      I agree! I wonder what becomes of them now? Abandoned property that the city will dispose of at some point? If that’s the case, hopefully they’ll find a good use somewhere (Hint: PBOT, get them bolt them in place for the permanent diverters!)

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    • Pliny December 17, 2014 at 11:52 am

      Actually my first thought was that they were lucky that some driver on autopilot didn’t run into them in the dark. While the art is nice, retro-reflective art would have been safer.

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      • Pliny December 17, 2014 at 11:53 am

        …and evidently I didn;t read far enough down. D’oh!

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      • Psyfalcon December 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm

        4 way stop. Pretty much the safest place to leave something in the street.

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      • lyle w. December 18, 2014 at 8:23 am

        Zomg, some a-hole who doenst care about car saftey just put some barrls in the road that i just hit!!! BRB!

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    • Grandpa December 18, 2014 at 8:05 am

      I to disagree that they are charming. To call them “hillbilly” is an insult to hillbillies. They would be more suitable beside a rural trailer than in a neighborhood that has pride in its appearance and sense of place.

      They are effective in demonstrating how easy a diverter would be to install and how passionate proponents of traffic calming are. I believe the powers that be will address the issue. But oil drum planters will not be the solution

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      • MaxD December 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

        well put! I thought they were intentionally ugly to be sort of ‘in your face’ to the City.

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  • peejay December 17, 2014 at 11:07 am

    This needs to happen every single day, until they get tired of removing them. 100% support!

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    • Scott H December 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      +1 I hope they do this every night.

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  • chris December 17, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Although I’m not a fan of these kind of “guerilla actions”, I do think that diverters on side streets, combined with some flipped stop signs and median crossings as main streets is probably the cheapest way to create a bike friendly city, in addition to being something that Portland has showed itself capable of doing without screwing everything up. It’s a pretty simple operation, and pretty difficult to do incorrectly, and the city government could probably double the number of bike boulevards/greenways via this method in a month, if it was really determined.

    (Separated bike lanes on main streets, however, have to be engineered perfectly to not end up worse than what they replace, and our city’s record in that arena is patchy. The separated bike path on Moody to the OHSU tram is great, but one on SW Broadway next to PSU is awful.)

    Diverters every five blocks seems like a good frequency.

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    • soren December 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      i definitely agree about sw broadway. car-protected bike lanes are not “best-practice” in any nation with high cycling mode share.

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  • Dan G December 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

    As much as I appreciate the enthusiasm, those planters look dangerous to me. If a car did hit one, those welds would likely break and send the planter rolling toward the sidewalk.

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    • hat December 17, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Keep them doggies rollin’

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    • ricochet December 17, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Bikes are dangerous, because if a car hit one they would break and go crashing toward the sidewalk.

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    • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Note to guerrillas: Next time, could you hammer a flat area into the barrels to prevent rollage? Voilà, problem solved. Next?

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    • Adam H. December 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

      The barrel by itself is not dangerous until someone in a car hits it. Sounds to me like the dangerous object is the car, not the barrel.

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    • Adron @ Transit Sleuth December 25, 2014 at 1:55 am

      Yeah, true that. Cars crashing into things is a BIG problem. We should get them off the road ASAP!

      Sarcasm or truth? 😮

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  • SilkySlim December 17, 2014 at 11:15 am

    So proud of these go getting guerillas!

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  • Boris Kaganovich December 17, 2014 at 11:18 am

    The folks who did this really shot themselves in the foot by doing it without a permit. The permit for a temporary installation is really not that hard to get, and they definitely made it much harder for those of us trying to do things by the books, collect data, and get it built permanently.

    I applaud the spirit of it, but those bollards are missing reflective striping, there was insufficient signage. I imagine even cyclists using Clinton could have difficulty seeing those things in the dark…meeting with PBOT to get the temporary permit are where things like that get caught and fixed.

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    • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 11:24 am

      This is what I call crowd sourcing an idea! The planters were up for four hours, no one was harmed, and already design improvement ideas are flowing in!

      So, simple roll away prevention, reflective paint…what else? By the time BikeLoud is ready to go for that temporary permit, they’ll have such a well thought out design that cities everywhere can copy it!

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    • soren December 17, 2014 at 11:32 am

      “and they definitely made it much harder for those of us trying to do things by the books, collect data, and get it built permanently”

      Do you have *any* evidence that PBOT blames bikeloudpdx or betterblock for this guerilla action? And do you have *any* evidence that PBOT will look less favorably on betterblock’s mainstream demonstration due to this guerilla action?

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 19, 2014 at 9:16 am

          This action on Clinton is not comparable to the illegal trail in Forest Park. Not even close. The major difference in the two issues is that Forest Park has an organized, passionate, and entrenched anti-bike opposition. Therefore, the illegal trail threw gasoline on the fire. On Clinton, there’s no opposition to making biking better. No controversy at all. So the optics/politics/narrative, and reaction to DIY/guerrilla action is totally different.

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          • Alex Reed - BikeLoudPDX December 19, 2014 at 10:56 am

            We do have to be careful that we don’t spur the creation of an organized opposition. There is the potential for neighbors on parallel through-streets (principally Woodward, but also Brooklyn, Tibbetts, Kelly, and Franklin) to get organized in opposition in fear of increased cut-through traffic on their streets. Speed bumps or the like on some or all of those streets could be a good option in order to head off that problem.

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          • Brad December 23, 2014 at 9:49 am

            Oh, there certainly is…. if you want less car traffic on Clinton, why not oppose the insane level of development on Division?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 17, 2014 at 11:33 am


      I hear your points in your comment.. just wanted to share a photo (taken by those who claim credit) of them pre-dawn… looks like they did have signage and reflectivity.

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      • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 11:44 am

        Wow! Thanks. This was even better thought out than I imagined. Go guerrillas!

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      • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 11:46 am

        By the way, Jonathan, was there any TV coverage that you know of?

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm

          I didn’t see any out there Anne. But I do know that one of them is doing a larger story about it right now. I’m in touch and sounds like they might come downtown to interview me.

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          • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm

            Good. I imagine that public response will be more negative than what’s reflected here, but this may be a case of any publicity being good publicity. This is a prime moment to raise questions about how the City’s byzantine regulations affect the costs of safety improvements. I hope lots of people, even bike haters, will notice how PBOT could afford to remove donated safety improvements while asking us all for more money, mostly not for safety.

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          • jimmy at kboo December 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

            hi Jonathan,
            any input you could give me for possibly getting some coverage on the evening news at KBOO? “No comment” from Novick’s office, waiting to hear from Simpson at PPB, as well as Alex from Bikeloud. Can you get me in contact with anyone from bike swarm who might know about this?


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      • 54andcloudy December 17, 2014 at 2:14 pm

        You might also note that 34th and Clinton, where these diverters were placed, is a 4-way stop, so there is little danger of high-speed collision and little need for more signage.

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        • lyle w. December 18, 2014 at 8:27 am

          Haha… little need to prevent reckless driving? Stand on that block for 5 minutes during rush-hour, and you’ll take that back.

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    • Agit December 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Direct Action gets the goods!

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    • Peejay December 17, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Because people doing it by the books are having such runaway success all these years, right?

      Civil disobedience is used when civil obedience fails. Through no fault of the people working official channels, playing by the books has failed. This is the next logical step.

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  • q`Tzal December 17, 2014 at 11:23 am

    People, PEOPLE, PEOPLE!
    The last method of communication you want to use to remain anonymous in a surveillance state is the phone system, wired or wireless.
    JM’s journalistic integrity aside it takes zero effort police departments to get phone records and the cell phone companies serve them up within hours or minutes.

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    • soren December 17, 2014 at 11:52 am

      *buy cheap burner phone and phone card with cash (preferably a few months in advance at a very large retailer some distance from your residence).
      *load card minutes over phone (at some distance from your residence).
      *make anonymous call.

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      • q`Tzal December 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm

        There are some holes in this plan Hollywood has intentionally failed to fill in in order to not be liable for educating criminals.

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    • Pliny December 17, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Not to mention the Exif data in the image…

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  • Adam H. December 17, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Keep at it and hopefully it will end up like the official protected bike lane in Seattle that the city made permanent after several illegal/guerrilla bike lanes were put in by an activist group.

    Portland needs more guerrilla bike installations like this to show the city that people want change and are sick of the bureaucracy.

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  • Brian December 17, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I fully support this idea. Smart, harmless, attention getting, and aesthetically pleasing. Well done.

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    • q`Tzal December 17, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Oh wait, the old canard “but if a surgeon got stuck here someone could have died” will get drug out and waved in the path of any progress.

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  • Adam H. December 17, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Before anyone compares this to Uber breaking the law, let me remind you that this was done for safety for all, whereas Uber is only concerned with corporate profits.

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    • Reza December 17, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Mentioning Uber in a post that has absolutely nothing to do with them means that they have already won. What ever will you do when they get the City’s lawsuit dismissed?

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      • Adam H. December 17, 2014 at 11:50 am

        I was trying to pre-emp any discussions around the potential similarities of a group breaking the law to provide a supposed benefit to society. Why would you say that they have won? Simply mentioning a company’s name doesn’t mean they have “won”. What are they trying to win anyway?

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      • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 11:52 am

        Well, for better or worse, if that happens, wouldn’t it at least open up the discussion about loss lf the City’s archaic regulations and requirements?

        Also, unless I’m just suffering from a malfunction of the sarcasm detector, I’m not sure how mentioning Uber confers victory on Uber.

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        • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 11:54 am

          Darn it. “…about lots of the City’s archaic regulations…”

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    • random December 17, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Nice try. Uber reduces the amount of drunk driving, since it gives people a new alternative to driving drunk home. Data from Seattle confirms this.

      There is a definite safety benefit to Uber.

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      • Brad December 23, 2014 at 9:53 am

        Like getting raped literally and metaphorically by Wall Street. Uber aren’t heroes, they are pariahs foisting corporate rule on little democratic entities called cities that are powerless to stop them. Lowest price for the consumer hardly equals ultimate public good.

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  • Kevin @ Pedal PT December 17, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Wow- I came upon the police with lights flashing this morning, wondering what was going on- and here we go.. From the pics, the concept looks pretty solid- A great, simple attempt at a solution for the craaaazy car traffic on Clinton- Too bad I was few hours late to enjoy those diverters!

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    • Allen December 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      I rode right through around 7am. Worked perfectly! No cars from there all the way down the hill.

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  • Dmitriy Zasyatkin December 17, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Keep up the good work and lets keep complaining to about the need for diverters on Clinton and Lincoln. If the City doesn’t address the issue, then residents will continue to make their own solution to make streets livable.

    Here is what I wrote to
    I just read about the diverters placed on Clinton by an activist group and I would like to state my support for this community built diverters and ask that they be put back or another temporary diverter be installed. This was addressing a major safety concern on Clinton.

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  • Andyc of Linnton December 17, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Man, too rad. Way to go you guys.

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  • Reza December 17, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Is the the first documented example of bicycle-related guerrilla action in Portland? I know about incidents in Seattle and elsewhere but I’m trying to think of previous examples here.

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  • Ryan December 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    This is counterproductive. Not only is it extremely dangerous to block a road, but it takes valuable city resources away from actually dealing with these traffic issues, not to mention all of the other issues they roads crews are dealing with.

    Would you suggest someone who doesn’t like bikes “take it into their own hands” as well? Maybe by panting over a bike land or pulling down a wayfinding sign?

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    • Anne Hawley December 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      This isn’t about liking or disliking cars or bikes. If a bike lane or a wayfinding sign actually created *danger* for the neighborhood and the City had ignored repeated requests for a fix, then yes, I–and I think most of this community–would approve of a similar guerrilla action.

      When I see a bike wayfinding sign actually creating a hazard, heck, I might knock it down myself.

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    • Bill Walters December 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Keep in mind that this was *charitably contributed* infrastructure while your examples involve the *theft or sabotage* of infrastructure.

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    • Peejay December 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Illegal, not counterproductive. There is a long history of people breaking the law to highlight an injustice. Why it works sometimes and not others is that the attention and publicity it raises can force the public to decide whether the law should be changed. If an illegal act is unsupported by society, it tends to remain illegal, and its instigators continue to face the consequences.

      As for valuable city resources, more of them have been wasted by doing nothing for so long.

      Look, there is a direct example of exactly this tactic being successful (16th and Tillamook). Do you say those people shouldn’t have done that guerrilla action?

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    • Scott H December 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how 7 people agree with you.

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      • jeff December 18, 2014 at 9:37 am

        Maybe that’s because at least 7 people here have the ability to think through the problems something like this creates. It illegally blocks a road which is used for things like police response, ambulance response, and fire response. It was stupid, juvenile, and counterproductive, and a little dangerous.

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    • jeff December 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      no, they never think through any opposing actions. Its called selfishness.

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  • meh December 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Cowardly, hijacking the Bike Loud name in that way.
    If you stand by your actions then use your own name or your own groups name.

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    • eli bishop December 17, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      THIS. at least call yourselves Bike Louder or something.

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  • Kirk December 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    This absolutely made my day! 🙂

    I certainly hope that the City of Portland will follow the City of Seattle’s precedence and turn guerrilla bike facilities into code-compliant permanent bike facilities.

    Click here to read more about how a city government can effectively work WITH the people:

    Cheers to all who were involved in making a #CarFreeClinton possible!

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  • Aaron December 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Whether BikeLoudPDX sanctioned or not (doesn’t sound like it was), this action is creative and gets attention on the issue.

    Having recently tried to get PBOT or the police to do something about the homeless camp on a bike path I use (not Springwater, but it is in SE) and having NO luck at all, I can understand how people get frustrated with official channels. Bureaucracy moves too slowly, and sometimes ignores citizens entirely.

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  • Gerald Fittipaldi December 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Holland, where Portland has borrowed many of its bicycle infrastructure ideas, owes much of its bicycle network to guerrilla actions. Below are the two best mini-documentaries I’ve seen on the citizen push to transform Amsterdam into a bicycling mecca:

    1972: Child activists create “play streets”:

    General overview, including protests that lead to the greening in front of the I-Amsterdam sign:

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  • kt December 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Is there any interest in starting a campaign, To save the barrel planters? They could be installed at pre existing traffic circles. Or diverters. It would be nice to try to save them.

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    • davemess December 19, 2014 at 9:06 am

      And another Portlandia sketch is born………

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson December 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    The “citizens'” diverter at NE 16th and Tillamook was one of the reasons the CAC put the bikeway on Tillamook in the 90’s. The diverter went up in the 70’s when houses in Irvington were cheaper than they are now in SE, adjusted for inflation. Do diverters contribute to gentrification? Maybe so, but bring ’em on!

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    • Brad December 23, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Yeah, bring them on! Who cares about people being displaced by wealthy millennials? As long as it makes MY cycling commute easier. If it works for ME and people like ME, then how could it be bad?

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  • carye bye December 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Good STuff! Time for a bike mass ride on a regular basis up & down Clinton to raise continued awareness!

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  • Brian Davis December 17, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I tend to be one of those that prefers to make change through “proper channels” and all that other good citizen bullshit, but I absolutely applaud this effort and think it’s a huge step forward for the cause.

    I’m glad that people at PBOT are willing to take the time to meet with us folks who are concerned about safety on Clinton, thrilled that the everyday staffers largely seem to agree with us, and am 100% committed to forging those alliances to get results here. But I also came away from the meeting underwhelmed by PBOT’s sense of urgency here, and surprised that they portrayed themselves as being relatively helpless to change the situation without an overwhelming consensus from all who would be even remotely affected. It’s a delicate balance, but we need to be able to work productively with PBOT while at the same time holding their feet to the fire.

    To do this will require not only people who have the patience to work through the bureaucracy and do things the Right Way, but also people who have no patience for the excuse-riddled inaction. I’m glad that both elements are pushing the issue on Clinton. I think it needs to be politically riskier for PBOT to do nothing on Clinton Street than it is for them to do something, and this action moves the needle in that direction (as does bikeloud’s continued work within the system). Bravo!

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    • Peejay December 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      You’ve hit upon how the city works: they make a decision, then they require those who disagree to prove unanimous opposition before they change their minds. They call this whole process “consensus building” but I call it something else.

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    • Eric December 17, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      Who needs to lose their job before things change? I’m thinking the “proper channels” are just protecting the status quo. The safe line seems to be a distraction/outlet, not something that gets results. How does this get taken down in 4 hours but a speed enforcement requests takes 4 months?

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  • John December 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    For me, the real bummer of this being an anonymous effort is that I don’t know where to send my support for future endeavours.

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  • Daniel Lerch December 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    +1 on the observation that guerrilla actions like this are sometimes the only way to force the city’s hand. City Repair’s “intersection repair” street murals are a perfect example:

    In the mid-90s some people in the Sellwood neighborhood put a plan together to paint up the intersection of SE 9th & Sherrett so that they could slow traffic and create a community gathering place. They brought the plan to the City but the City said they weren’t allowed to do it — so they did it anyway. A few months of threats and meetings and surveys and presentations followed, and when the neighbors were able to present to City Council that the project had support and was meeting City livability goals without spending any public dollars, the project was finally allowed to stay:

    The City worked with the organization City Repair to develop an ordinance to allow these projects city-wide. Sunnyside Piazza at SE 33rd & Yamhill was the first to be done under that ordinance:

    And now there are projects like this all over the city!:

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  • Chris Shaffer December 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    It’s not clear to me that this was an effective place to put a diverter. My daughter rides south on 34th to Clinton to get to Cleveland High School. Diverting traffic from the Clinton to 34th only shifts the problem from one greenway to another. Surely we (and whoever did this) doesn’t want diverters to shift traffic directly onto other bike routes?

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    • Chris I December 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      A diverter like this has the effect of reducing cut-through traffic on both streets. Forcing a right turn destroys the route as a cut-through option.

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    • Lupita December 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Thank you for bringing this up. My elementary school aged children have to cross 34th to get to their bus stop and sometimes it’s like a game of Frogger out there. Diverting automobile traffic away from Clinton is a good idea, but 34th is already problematic, given the mix of big delivery trucks, bicycles, and cars that use it as a cut-through.

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      • paikiala December 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

        At an all-way stop?

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  • Todd Boulanger December 17, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    My tool box for low cost / quick and “professional” looking devices from your local Coastal Farm Store would include supplemental reflectors/ tape and vertical landscaping:

    Galvanized 2x2x8 tubs for diverters:

    and for 10 ft dia Mini Circles:

    PS. don’t forget to add a watering tube down to the gravel and add media to the soil so it does not require as much weight nor get too heavy.

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    • Alan 1.0 December 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      add media to the soil so it does not require as much weight

      Oregonlive seems pretty lightweight.

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      • q`Tzal December 18, 2014 at 11:56 am

        Add “instant set” concrete to the mix so that it is a PITA to remove.

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  • zuckerdog December 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    With words when you may, with metal (barrels) when you must.

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  • armando December 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    cyclotram (@brx0 on twitter) has a write up on history NE16th and Tillamook diverter. I also heard this story in the PSU Transportation class.

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  • rick December 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Portland’s “Active Right of Way” community said: Folks who have taken the city’s Traffic & Transportation class may recall that an unpermitted diverter was one of the successful tactics employed by neighbors to get a much requested diverter at NE 16th and Tillamook.

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  • brian sysfail December 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Funny, our group that originally started noise about this issue was told by core Bikeloudpdx member that our Clinton Social ride group wasn’t radical enough and referred to it as Considerate Mass, which was taken as belittling & negatively to us. Obviously a Bikeloudpdx action but why don’t they take credit for this action when in past they have wanted to take all the credit for Clinton activism and pretty much took the steam out from what we where trying to do?

    I think action needed to happen, but come on BikeloudPDX why don’t you claim your radical action dogma after belittling our group?

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    • Alex Reed - BikeLoudPDX December 17, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Hi Brian,

      I’m not sure who talked to you but I’m sorry they told you that belittling thing.

      I’m also sorry that we took the steam out of your group and that we have seemed unappreciative of others’ efforts around Clinton. I’d like to try to rebuild that bridge. If you’re willing, please email me at and we can discuss talking over beers, apologies, and perhaps ways to work better in the future.

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    • soren December 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Are you the same brian sysfail that wrote this on facebook?

      “Pretty much, I have no respect for that [person] XXXXX that writes XXXXXX blog, known repeated liar, XXXXX, and sexist. … Oh yeah he’s one of those idiots that repeatedly rides into coming traffic. legit slimeball.”

      If this is the person you are referring to, then I don’t think I’ve ever seen them at a bikeloudpdx meeting. There are lots of people peripherally involved with bikeloudpdx via rides/events. Hopefully, you will not tar us all based on what one person said to you once.

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    • jeff December 18, 2014 at 9:41 am

      grow thicker skin.

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    • Terry D-M December 18, 2014 at 10:10 am

      I have been to each BikeloudPDX meeting, and was verbally supportive of your Clinton actions. Our core has not said ONE bad word about your actions Brian. You as placing blame from statements made by someone who is taking CREDIT for being part of our group, but has NEVER shown up to a meeting.

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  • mh December 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    That was not one of the diversions I wanted and want to see on Clinton, but I’m glad someone forced the issue. Doesn’t our request to put one at 28th look better now? Remember the proposal to make the stretch of 34th between Division and Clinton one way northbound for motor vehicles? Counterflow bike lane southbound? That should start to look good to those hunting for a solution.

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  • Allen December 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Our family uses Clinton every day on the way to school and work. It’s a real bummer that although my daughter is able to ride her “big girl” bike to school, she’s not allowed to because the Neighborhood Bikeway is too dangerous. 8 to 80? Not even close.

    Permanent diverters on Clinton. Now. Please.

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    • soren December 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      If you live in richmond please be sure to let the neighborhood association and pbot know your position. Neighborhood association and local resident support is really important.

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  • Anthony December 17, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    So much for sharing the road

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    • Bill Walters December 18, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Aw, you could still share it when you need to be someplace on it. But if you’re a cut-through motor commuter trying to dodge Division or your natural habitat on Powell between the low-numbered streets and Chavez, just don’t plan on sharing it *all the way through*.

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  • mikeybikey December 17, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    i approve of this tactic. long overdue imo.

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  • Kyle December 17, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I don’t see why the city can’t immediately install temporary diverters using Jersey barriers, “road closed” barrier signage, or some combination thereof while they work over the medium to long term to come up with a permanent solution.

    It seems that PBOT will not actually do anything without consulting with every possible affected party for 100% happiness, which often results in a severely watered down project that’s several years too late. Or, as is the case with East Burnside, the city will march ahead with a project that’s applauded by neighbours (removing a lane to slow traffic speeds) while simultaneously ignoring the consequences (heavy traffic diversion on Ankeny to avoid the increased congestion).

    I’m so tired of this kind of stuff… all this bureaucracy is making it increasingly difficult to get around Portland via any mode – increased congestion for cars, unsafe greenways and lack of facilities for bikes, and pedestrian nightmares due to lax sidewalk closure rules for new construction.

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  • Dan Kaufman December 17, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    There is an interesting history behind the use of barricades and the closure of 13th St. on the UofO Campus. The city of Eugene had dragged it’s feet on the student safety issue here for 20-years prior to the indecent. Shortly after the indecent a barricade was made permanent and students ever-after have been able to enjoy the benefit of safer streets near the heart of campus.,+Jennifer+final1.pdf.txt;jsessionid=3DC8E9CA03A1C3C40581047720D4E31B?sequence=3

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    • Eric December 18, 2014 at 9:30 am

      That is interesting: “Because of this lack of violence, while city police were at the scene during the barricading of the street, they took no action to stop the students for fear of provoking the crowd into violence.”

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  • soren December 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Hey Anons: PBOT is holding the barrels. If you need help picking them up contact me/us here:!topic/bikeloudpdx/TP6Iyq6zFHk

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    • Adron @ Transit Sleuth December 25, 2014 at 1:56 am

      Hey so… if someone that had nothing to do with the barrels wants to pick one up for historical relevance… and to put on their balcony. Is that cool?

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  • Nicholas Skaggs December 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    These tactics worked really well for Uber, I guess that’s how things get done in Portland! Go Bike Loud!

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    • Jeff December 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      except Uber just left for a few months, so actually it didn’t work. this was little more than self-serving justification for what is essentially vandalism.

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  • Adam December 19, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    It took a guerilla group blocking a car across NE Alberta during Last Thursday for that street closure to happen.

    This is amazing!!

    This is what happens when PBOT continues not to care.

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  • q`Tzal December 19, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Install on all 4 corners of the intersection something that looks like a red light camera but is nonfunctional.

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  • Ivan December 22, 2014 at 9:37 am

    If only the local DOT’s and police would respond as quickly when unlawful obstructions are placed on the sidewalk.

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  • Oregon Mamacita January 7, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Let’s take yr thought one step further. Let’s stop being surprised when
    over-the-top polarizing language (to drive a car is to rape the earth)
    is connected to violent acts.

    Guess what- other affinity groups in town don’t have the problem with macho behavior that radical/ livable streets folks have. The HN problem is very much specific to a certain group for a certain reason. Maybe its the almost religious worship of bikes. Compare the allegations against HN with the abuse you see in very conservative churches.

    How ironic to see the videos of young women trapping drivers in cars on SE Belmont while HN films them. Then, we find out that HN liked to trap sexual targets.

    It is time to radically change the way PDX bike activists talk about cars, because HN’s hatred of cars and women were intertwined. And dozens of damaged people followed him like the Pied Piper of radical urbanism.

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  • Oregon Mamacita January 7, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    My reply was for a comment that was deleted (not necessarily improperly-
    certain allegations have to be handled with care).

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