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PBOT looks to hire ‘high profile’ Equity and Inclusion Manager

Posted by on February 24th, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Bike to School Day in NoPo-13

Making sure school investments are fairly
distributed is a big part of PBOT’s equity strategy.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has taken a major step toward being a more inclusive agency with the announcement today that they’re recruiting for a new position: Equity and Inclusion Manager.

The agency will pay over $107,000 for the right “change agent” they hope will fill a “high profile within the Bureau,” and, “make decisions impacting all areas and functions” of the 750 person bureau.

Equity is a major initiative not just within PBOT but across city bureaus. The Portland Police Bureau hired their first-ever equity and diversity manager just last month. City initiative or not, PBOT has focused on equity for many years now and the effort has found new life as a priority for Director Leah Treat.

PBOT convened an internal Equity Committee last spring. It includes 14 staffers representing each department within the agency — from active transportation planning to business services and even maintenance. The committee members have received professional training and they are expected to now train other staff members as well as be a resource for project managers.

PBOT has also engaged community groups including neighborhood associations, immigrant and refugee advocacy groups and others, to help them craft their approach to equity.

When it comes to putting equity into action, PBOT spokeswoman Diane Dulken says the agency’s Active Transportation division, “Is best model the bureau has as far as incorporating equity.” PBOT’s Safe Routes to School Policy, a 50-page document published in 2012, mentions “equity” 48 times on nearly half of its pages. Here’s how the city’s Safe Routes program defines equity

“… policies that increase the accessibility of transportation choices and their benefits to currently and historically underserved populations, including people of color, people experiencing poverty, people with disabilities, and people who experience language barriers.”

Making sure that school-related transportation projects are fairly distributed took on even greater urgency when voters passed the Portland Public Schools bond measure last year. That measure will pump an estimated $5 million into Safe Routes to Schools capital projects over the next seven years.

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While many advocates, and city staffers are satisfied with the “Five E’s” of Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Evaluation when it comes to planning and projects, PBOT’s Safe Routes program prefers a sixth “E”: Equity. When they realized state and federal funding for Safe Routes infrastructure projects and programs didn’t include equity as a criteria, PBOT added it to that as well. Now, all capital funding decisions are scored with equity in mind (specifically, more points are given to projects at schools who have a higher percentage of students who receive free/reduced lunch, are within community of color, have physical disabilities, or who come from families where English is not the primary language).

To get a better understanding of what PBOT’s equity and inclusion manager will do, check out the official job description below:

The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) vision is to be a diverse organization that models inclusivity and promotes equity through its service delivery, internal operations, organizational culture, and in its work with partners and the community. The Equity and Inclusion Manager is essential to help ensure that this bureau of 750 FTE proactively implements equitable policies, practices, and actions, as well as to help influence attitudes within the Bureau that will produce equitable authority, access, opportunities, treatment impacts and outcomes for all PBOT employees and stakeholders. This is a newly created position reporting directly to the Bureau Director. The position has a high level of discretion in carrying out duties and assignments and the position’s responsibilities are broad in scope, strategic in nature, and impact all of the Bureau’s employees, operations, programs, and service partnerships.

The Equity and Inclusion Manager combines knowledge of the Bureau’s mission and operations with best practices in equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion to develop and manage initiatives that will contribute to the achievement of the Bureau’s and City’s strategic equity goals. This positon works with internal Bureau staff on a daily basis and works closely with the Bureau’s Equity Committee, the Citywide Equity Committee, and City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights. It also acts as the principle liaison to other City bureaus and external groups on City policy initiatives designed to increase the organization’s capacity to provide culturally appropriate services to all Portlanders, including underserved populations, communities of color, and disabled communities.

The Equity and Inclusion Manager provides expert technical guidance and implementation leadership to PBOT management on equity, inclusion, and social justice issues within Bureau programs that impact the public. In addition, this position provides assistance and support to the Bureau in designing and transparently implementing goals, policies, training, tools, change strategies, metrics, data collection standards, and accountability reporting for Bureau functions. Further, this position provides overall management and coordination in the implementation of the Bureau’s new Equity and Inclusion program, including development and implementation of the annual work plan and an annual program report to the Bureau Director and Equity Committee.

The position closes on March 13th, or as soon as PBOT receives 75 applications.

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56 Comments
  • Avatar
    Glenn February 24, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    just that much less money going toward the actually doing something with maintaining/building streets, etc..

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    Lester Burnham February 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    $107,000 for a warm & fuzzy feeling position. Wow. Just wow.

    Meanwhile we’re being assaulted on our MUPS.

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    J_R February 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    If they are putting “equity mangers” in every department, maybe they can eliminate the “equity bureau.” Fat chance. If Portland did that, they would give up the opportunity to do upward and downward evaluations and reporting.

    More talk. More meetings. More reporting. Less doing.

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    George H. February 24, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    This is why Portland can’t pave its streets, can’t build bike infrastructure. There is no iota of spending it can say no to. Kid in a candy shop.

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      Kyle February 24, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      And it just further reinforces the “We will say yes to every stakeholder involved!” mentality that horrendously reduces the productive value of new projects (*cough* 28th *cough*)

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    nuovorecord February 24, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Good idea. Remember this little debacle…

    http://bikeportland.org/tag/williams-avenue-bikeway-project

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    davemess February 24, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Makes me wonder if having a district form of government would allow us to not need as much focus on equity. You know if people who weren’t being represented, were.

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      J_R February 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      I don’t know if the solution is district or at-large representation, but I think the functioning of Portland government would be enhanced by elimination of the Commission form of government. The Commission form of government appears to have prevented the commissioners from focusing on what is good for the city and its citizens. Their primary focus seems to be on what’s good for their bureaus. There seems to be an attitude of “keep your hands off my bureau and I’ll refrain from interfering with yours.”

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        davemess February 24, 2015 at 9:20 pm

        True. Good points.
        But it is an at large commission on top of that.

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          J_R February 25, 2015 at 11:08 am

          Think of what a disaster it would be if we had a commission form of government overlayed by districts. That way, the commissioner from, say, SW Portland, who had responsibility for water and sewers could focus sewer improvements in that area. Meanwhile, the commissioner from NW who might be in charge of transportation could use most of the transportation money in his/her district. Fire service would no doubt be best in the fire commissioner’s district with fire station closures occurring in other districts. Could never happen, right?

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            davemess February 25, 2015 at 11:51 am

            Yes, I mispoke, I meant we have an at large council.
            I think both that and the commission system need to be changed.

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        Terry D-M February 25, 2015 at 8:47 am

        As I enjoy saying, we have a Victorian City Council Strcture, with a 70’s feminist “advisory committee” overlay. Sometimes, they DO NOT meet…..Hence, why we need a modernization of our city council structure.

        At least 7 districts, preferably nine. It is disturbing that if three members of city council are walking together in a parade they have quorum…..sounds like a set up created by logger barons in 1860…

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          Oregon Mamacita February 27, 2015 at 9:37 am

          “Victorian City Council Structure, with a 70′s feminist “advisory committee” overlay.”

          Comment of the week.

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      rick4redelectrictrail February 24, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Yes

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    el timito February 24, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Obviously one can’t know the racial, ethnic, gender or other identities of the commenters on this site.
    But what I do know is, it’s a lot easier to consider equity a non-important consideration when you’re white, male and employed. (Full disclosure, I share those characteristics too.)

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 24, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    I think this is a great move by PBOT.

    I think it’s easy to poo-poo this position when you are doing so from a position of privilege… But what about the people who struggle to be heard and/or can barely afford rent much less spend time on the internet during the day? If they don’t have someone directly looking out for their interests, will their interests become woven into our investments and policies? I doubt it.

    Portland is full of social, economic, and racial inequities and its transportation bureau isn’t immune from that.

    Most of PBOT is staffed by very privileged people (economically, socially, environmentally, demographically, physically, and so on)… Therefore it’s extremely hard for them to make decisions that are not tainted by that privilege.

    I’ve had to learn about privilege the hard way. I did it in real time in real life and in a very public way. It was not pretty, but I’m very glad for going through it because now I see my entire world for a different perspective. I hope whoever gets hired for this position can make that education happen for PBOT and for the community without them having to make mistakes in the same way I have.

    Beyond the cold calculations of where to spend money, being a more inclusive agency will mean that PBoT is, quite literally, a more complete agency that will ultimately create a better product. And we’ll all benefit from that.

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      Mossby Pomegrante February 24, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Oh Maus…exactly what privilege are you talking about? And for a guy with a bike that cost several thousands of dollars you really are calling the kettle black.

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        shuppatsu February 24, 2015 at 5:12 pm

        What does the cost of his bike have to do with anything? And are you saying that he is or isn’t privileged? I’m very confused.

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      davemess February 24, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      But are these inequalities more likely to be solved by hiring one person to fill a $107,000 roll, or actually getting more diverse backgrounds (and locations, ethnicities, and economic) in positions throughout our government, starting with some of the top elected positions?
      I’d rather have people who actually lived in the underserved neighborhoods have some roles in the government, than one Inclusion manager who drives their car back to Laurelhurst, Northwest, or Irvington at the end of the day.

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      Stretchy February 25, 2015 at 8:26 am

      “The Equity and Inclusion Manager is essential to help ensure that this bureau of 750 FTE proactively implements equitable policies, practices, and actions…”

      What is keeping the 750 employees already working there from implementing equitable policies, practices and actions?

      How about instead of wasting money on yet another make-work position, the PBOT could just hire people with good judgement from the get-go.

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        stasia:) February 25, 2015 at 4:33 pm

        The problem with conflating equity with “good judgement” is that you judge things based on the cultural and social lens you bring to the decision. As many people have mentioned, when you come from a position of privilege, it’s really, really easy to–with the best of intentions–make decisions that seem like common sense that absolutely overlook whole swaths of society. The hardest thing about privilege is learning to acknowledge it, because it’s really good at disguising itself as “normal.”

        I’m psyched that PBOT is making it a priority to have someone hold it accountable for making sure everyone is included.

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          middle of the road guy February 27, 2015 at 9:29 am

          Why do you have the assumption that only someone who is a minority can determine what equity is?

          How is that not their own version of “good judgment” based upon their own values and experiences?

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      Stretchy February 25, 2015 at 8:30 am

      “Most of PBOT is staffed by very privileged people…”

      And, adding another $100+k earner with a masters degree and a self-righteous attitude about how THEY understand privilege in a way that less credentialed people can’t will increase or decrease the average privilege ratio of the department?

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        middle of the road guy February 27, 2015 at 9:33 am

        “privileged” is the new ‘racist’.

        There seems to be a contest of people tripping over themselves to disown their own ‘priviledge’. Ironically, the ‘holier than thou”, “I know what’s good for you types” are kind of the very definition of that.

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    rick4redelectrictrail February 24, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Portland city council needs a district-based city gov’t.

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    shuppatsu February 24, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    On top of the perspectives provided by PBOT employees, there’s also NIMBY activism. It’s a powerful tool wielded by the powerful, and it ensures that agencies pay a political price for ignoring the desires of the enfranchised. So where compromises have to be made, there’s a tendency to have them fall on the heads of the disenfranchised who do not have the time, pull, or faith in the system to effectively fight.

    I don’t know how much adding an equity manager will help even this out. I suppose it depends on how effective she is, and how much clout and cover she is given within the organization. She will have a lot of forces arrayed against her. I’m not sure that $107K will attract the kind of talent that would be needed to make that position effective. But it’s a good start.

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    joe the plumber February 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Equity? I paid more for my house because it was in a better neighborhood with sidewalks and paved streets. Every year I pay higher taxes for the privilege of living in my neighborhood. Now I am being asked to subsidize other neighborhoods who paid less for their homes because they didn’t have sidewalks and paved streets.

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      Lester Burnham February 25, 2015 at 6:39 am

      Hope and change, joe…hope and change.

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      Terry D-M February 25, 2015 at 8:41 am

      My guess is that if you look at your property taxes you are under compression. Most areas with complete sidewalks are, meaning that your property taxes are artificially deflated in comparison to the outer neighborhoods without sidewalks. VOTER APPROVED in the 90’s. Micromanaging at its best, the Oregon way.

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      Oregon Mamacita February 25, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Are you living in a neighborhood where the property taxes are artificially low due to tax compression? People in Lents pay more for their 350,000 houses than the same value house in Richmond. No equity for outer SE.

      Maybe we want a fair share of our higher property taxes. Plus- it isn’t only you. While people kvetch about every little problem downtown, outer SE lacks sidewalks for kids because BDS let the devlopers get away with jamming crapartments in and did not force them to add infrastructure.

      Now, about street equity- we need a PBOT head who focuses on something besides street seats and bike share racks in front of Nordstroms etc.
      We should ditch Leah Treat and get someone more focused and fair at the top.

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        Stretchy February 26, 2015 at 8:56 am

        ^^^This^^^

        One of my common complaints about politicians/leaders is that they are so focused on the shiny new project that they don’t pay any attention to the workaday stuff that needs attention.

        Bikeshare may or may not be a good idea. Let’s assume it is. Where does it rank on the list of priorities? More important that making sure existing bike lanes and routes are well maintained, safe and convenient? More important than thumbtacks, broken glass and yard debris in bike lanes? More important than making sure sewer grates are raised to the level of the pavement on a repavement project?

        The difference is that bikeshare lets you hobnob with ‘thought leaders’ and get your picture in the paper. Proper maintenance of existing bike infrastructure is just work.

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        Psyfalcon February 26, 2015 at 9:34 pm

        How does that work? The Outer east side properties were actually assessed higher back in 1995?

        Seems bizarre to someone who moved here recently.

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      davemess February 25, 2015 at 8:59 am

      They didn’t pay less for their homes because they don’t have sidewalks and streets. They paid less for their homes because they were smaller and further away from downtown and other trendy amenities.
      The problem is that people in these neighborhoods which you deride are in many cases likely paying MORE income tax (as percentage) than you are, but this money is not being spent/reinvested in their neighborhoods because the city decided to arbitrarily not maintain unpaved streets. It’s going to pay for your bioswales and your new pavement.

      And I bet you’re not even a plumber…….

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        J_R February 25, 2015 at 3:20 pm

        I think they did pay less for their houses because they lack sidewalks and full street improvements AND because they are smaller.

        I can tell you that by having city street trees between the sidewalk and street and sidewalks adjacent to my house that I also not only paid more for my house, I pay more in taxes, and I have to pay to maintain those city trees and city sidewalk. On three occasions in the last 15 years, I’ve received notice from the city that I had to repair my sidewalks. Those repairs ran from $400 to $800 each time. Call it $100 per year on average. Also, every three or four years I spend about $500 with the tree service pruning three large maple trees adjacent to my frontage. And, if one of those trees is considered a hazard, the city can force me to pay to remove it at my expense. Removing a diseased elm tree cost my neighbor $7000 a few years ago.

        So, no, I’m not particularly receptive to having city-wide transportation money go to put in sidewalks and pave streets if the adjoining property owners don’t have to kick in at least half the cost. I’ll “share” in the cost, but only to a certain extent.

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          davemess February 25, 2015 at 3:46 pm

          Your tree expenses don’t have a lot of relevance here, as someone without a sidewalk can also have “street” trees and have the same expenses.

          Have you found any studies showing property value differences for paved/unpaved or sidewalk/no sidewalk properties? I would love to see them.

          In a perfect world all houses in Portland would have been stringently required to have sidewalks put in (paid by the city/owner/developer, which still remains a really murky topic in history), but this is where we’re at today. The somewhat recently annexed neighborhoods in Portland were forcibly annexed (often against their will) and given very little in return. It’s nice that you had the option to live in your chosen neighborhood, however most of these neighborhoods are populated by people who can’t afford to live anywhere else, and have little spare money to pay for these improvements. So where does that leave us? Just continue to leave them without at least basic levels of infrastructure, so that inner neighborhoods can have even nicer things because some time (in some neighborhoods) over 100 years ago someone (the city/owner/builder, we don’t really know) paid to put in paved streets and sidewalks?

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            J_R February 25, 2015 at 5:53 pm

            The street trees are relevant because the street trees are what caused the displacement of the sidewalks that I had to tear out and replace.

            I am NOT permitted to remove the street trees without a permit and would have to replace them. Also, if you make an improvement to the house exceeding $25,000 in value you are REQUIRED to put in street trees.

            Also, since I live in a “leaf removal district” I have to pay $30 per year for the city to remove the leaves or I have to do so myself at my individual cost. And, that removal includes cleaning the city’s street from property line-to-property line to the center of the street.

            The point is that the City puts significant burdens on the adjacent property owner to maintain the transportation system and the street trees and those trees, while having benefits, also cause property owners to incur costs.

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              davemess February 26, 2015 at 7:36 am

              Are we really calling an average of $130/year a “significant burden”? More so than the $15K-80K that local improvement districts would cost lower income areas to build sidewalks?

              You didn’t really answer my question though. What is the solution for the problem we’re in now? As far as I can see we only have two:
              1. The city pays for most (if not all) of the improvements, safety and liveabiliy increases in the areas.
              2. The areas continue to not have sidewalks because the vast majority of property owners don’t have the money for a LID.
              Sorry guess there is s third:
              3.The majority forcibly votes for a LID and many fixed and low income people are forced to sell their houses and move (and rents would go up too).

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                J_R February 26, 2015 at 4:42 pm

                There are several elements that I would consider appropriate.

                1. Develop and implement a new street standard that could be used for infill areas. Sam Adams had a proposal for uncurbed, shared streets that might be explored. The key is to having something less expensive, but still useful.
                2. Implement a cost sharing arrangement by which the city (meaning all of us) share the cost with the adjacent property owners.
                3. Develop some sort of LID structure that allowed those assessed to pay over a long period or wait until the property is sold to pay their partial share.

                The current situation is clearly undesirable, but expecting the city to bear the full costs is too.

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                davemess February 26, 2015 at 5:16 pm

                Every one of the things you listed has already been tried and the numbers still come out to a substantial burden on homeowners (the cheapest I have heard, with the minimal street design you talked about AND some subsidization from the city was still a minimum of $18K). Essentially this was going to put $200-300 per month (of course the city would charge interest) onto the neighborhoods mortgages for 10-20 years. And these are mostly all neighborhoods where the mean household income is roughly $45-50k/year. And all this for a substandard 1.5 lane road with no sewer management or sidewalk.

                There is a very good reason that no neighborhood has actually agreed to do this yet, despite a number of them exploring it with the city.
                So that’s where we’ve been for decades with absolutely nothing getting done. Frankly it’s embarrassing for a city that claims to have such a great grasp on transportation. I agree that there aren’t super easy solutions, but eventually someone has to step and do something, and I don’t think it’s going to be a bunch of low income residents who suddenly show up on city hall’s door step with millions of dollars to give them.

                Sorry we’ve gotten so off topic.

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                Oregon Mamacita February 27, 2015 at 9:29 am

                Dave’s comment below is not off-topic!

                The more Asians and Hispanic families in your neighborhood- the worse the street. Not because the city consciously avoids that street due to ethnicity, but the only affordable housing stock left tends to be in neighborhoods with poor streets in the annexed colonies of East Portland.

                What is conscious: Leah Treat’s and Hale’s focus on neighborhoods with rich whites. Flash the case and you get a bioswale. Walk while Asian and you will carefully make you way around the lakes on SE 8Oth between Powell and the third world.

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    Scott Kocher February 25, 2015 at 8:07 am

    PBOT could improve equity by attending to disrepair of roads and sidewalks on a systematic basis rather than on a complaint-response basis.

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    Stretchy February 25, 2015 at 8:21 am

    For outstanding achievement in the field of excellence….

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    Terry D-M February 25, 2015 at 8:38 am

    The City Bicycle Advisory Committee recommended a list of 13 projects that should be the HIGHEST priority. Of these, it includes close to $27 MILLION of investments in North or NE in the 1.25 mile radius from Downtown between Sullivan’s Gulch and Swan Island, not including Bike Share. This includes Broadway-Wiedler, Sullivan’s Gulch phase one, the 7th avenue bridge and north Portland Greenway Trail to Swan Island.

    There are NO projects recommended for all of SEUL (outside of that needed 7th street overpass, which is technically downtown). SEUL has close to one third of Portland’s entire population.

    East Portland gets two projects, for a total of $8.5 million (the three M’s Greenway and 122nd). The west side gets $14.2 million (Flanders, Barbur Terwilliger, Capital), though I think $3 million for the Flanders greenway AND overpass is a little under estimated in cost.

    But what is in there for SEUL? Nothing….no recommended investments for Montavilla, Lents, South Portland…In Fact, outside of the Three M’s and 122nd, the ONLY project east of 21st that made the list is the upper 70’s greenway which is MUCH less needed than access to PCC SE for our low income students. We do have some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country.

    I would think that spending $7.7 million on a fancy multi-use path from the waterfront that only reaches a little more than mile out…only until 21st as further east the ROW is owned by the railroad….when there are ALTERNATIVE ROUTES would be less important than improving bikeway access to school and neighborhoods. That money could build the 60’s, 70’s and 80th greenways AND connect Sellwood to Lents via the new ByBee MAX station with a south Portland bikeway. What I see is almost $8 million being prioritized for professional commuters and recreational cyclists going to their gentrified work and play places. In Central East and South Portland getting to school or Community College is DANGEROUS which could be significantly improved for a very reasonable investment. I would think that THIS work force development would be more important than being able to put on your spandex and do a quick ride to the waterfront from your Sullivan’s Gulch Condo on a new fancy path just for you and your professional neighbors. These routes I have just outlined have been endorsed by their Neighborhood associations, ALMOST completely…..I know, since I was the one who presented to some of these groups and got the endorsements for these needed projects.

    This is why we need an EQUITY manager. Even those in the know, who are supposedly the best, trying to advise city council…did NOT take class issues into account when they ranked them. This group is DOWNTOWN CENTERED. Yes they have a great advocate from east Portland on the committee, but these choices obviously tell me they did not look at the city as a whole…they are mostly downtown focused professionals that made some high profile token additions for those in the outer districts.

    THIS IS WHY THIS POSITION IS IMPORTANT.

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      Oregon Mamacita February 25, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Great post. But we need more than an equity manager. We need new leadership at PBOT and new faces on the city council. Otherwise, it will be the same selfish policies and continued bike stagnation. No guarantee that the manager will be anything more than a jargon-spouting airhead with no real influence. Real equity would anger the BTA.

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        Terry D-M February 25, 2015 at 9:54 am

        I agree. Hence why not only am I a neighborhood activist, but also an active BikeloudPDX member. We are a growing group group trying to fill the void to the left of the BTA. Wearing both hats is very useful to me. Our members have a diverse range of talents…and are actively trying to grow.

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          Oregon Mamacita February 25, 2015 at 3:50 pm

          Well, I love to bike, but I also own a car so I would not feel welcome at your group. I have blue collar friends and friends who aren’t white- so Bikeoutloud does not speak to me. Not enough diversity.

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            Terry D-M February 27, 2015 at 7:51 am

            Cars are just that…..but yes, the group so far is white….but we would love to change that….as would almost every activist group in Portland, that is a tough nut to crack in this white-bread town. We are going to be tabling at East Portland Sunday Parkways.

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              Oregon Mamacita February 27, 2015 at 9:05 am

              Terry, I am thankful to have an opportunity to discuss this hot-button issue
              with you in a productive way. Here is my advice: biking advocates often approach others with this attitude of “bikes are awesome we will convince you.” What if you listened to opposing viewpoints (cars are very important to many people- for both cultural and practical reasons) and kept an open mind. There’s a real elitist attitude of a stay at home moms with expensive cargo bikes lecturing a hotel maid on how she should get around.
              By talking to people about why they love their trucks as much as a BP rider likes his bike-, maybe we can make progress. But first, do yourself a favor and talk to some landscapers about how they feel about their trucks.

              By all means- go to outer Southeast- but only if you come with an open mind and not from a place of privilege and certainty that you are right.
              Non-whites and blue collar whites will smell a snob a mile away. Why are they wrong and you right about bikes?

              Until the brains of the white activists change- they will not attract anyone outside the echo chamber. When the message is coherent (OPAL) the support is diverse. So, maybe there is a flaw in how bikes are understood by the activists and maybe people of color and less money are smart to reject the BTA.

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    • joeb
      joeb February 25, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      Comment of the week.

      Too bad we can’t have it all… Sullivan’s Gulch and 7th Ave bridge would be sweet, but this comment is a good example of the issue.

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      Stretchy February 26, 2015 at 7:49 am

      “Even those in the know, who are supposedly the best, trying to advise city council…did NOT take class issues into account when they ranked them. ”

      Then, I would argue they are not ‘in the know’ nor are they ‘the best’ and should be replaced. We don’t need to hire yet another person to do the job our existing employees should be doing. We need to get employees who will actually do the job they’re supposed to do.

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    wsbob February 25, 2015 at 9:38 am

    The city’s transportation bureau establishing an equity and inclusion manager position in its ranks, could possibly offer some benefits. Avoiding having people left out, or feeling left out of what the bureau and the city have to offer, is a worthy effort.

    Ideas about what “…equity…” is, and who it is that are the “…underserved populations…” in the city, aren’t well defined in the job description. Who exactly, may be able to rightly claim they are part of one of the city’s “…underserved populations…”?

    More or less seems that, relative to the functionality of the city’s streets, at least some people feel that people that bike, are an ‘under-served population’. Would considering these people to be one of the city’s “…underserved populations…” be an accurate interpretation of the city’s use of this term in its job description?

    Or is the bureau intending to confine its’ coverage of this term to people and groups in the city more commonly regarded as being an under-served population? Sounds like an interesting job.

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    groovin101 February 25, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Why so much hate for this position? My kids go to a school where all receive free lunch, where poverty thrives, and diversity is the norm while white privilege is the exception.

    They have no safe routes to school program. There is one measly play structure for a K-8 population, hosted on an island of asphalt. There are bike racks, but they are rarely occupied (one lone bicycle this morning).

    I remember before the bike lanes and sidewalks were added on Sandy. I’d see mothers hauling kids through mud puddles daily. People would walk that route routinely, a lot of them, and I was aghast at how often the route was used while the infrastructure and funding continued to be funneled to the inner city.

    If there’s any doubt that we have an equity imbalance in Portland, I can assure you we do. Seeing the problem up close, I’m a firm believer that we could do a much better job of tackling it. This staffing position makes sense, especially if operating from a position of collaboration, working with neighborhoods and groups like IRCO (a wonderful group BTW) to represent the needs of our under served and under represented communities.

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      Oregon Mamacita February 25, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      I guess I am cynical that the person who fills the position will make a difference. A new head of PBOT, someone who has better grasp of how to collect public comment, who has better math skills, who is willing to stand up to downtown developers- is what we need.

      Note that Leah Treat has had the power for years to remedy some of the inequities. But she’s obsessed with a bike share station in front of Nordstrom’s. She flat out doesn’t care about poor neighborhoods and never has. Ditto Hales.

      The equity position is probably just a smokescreen for business as usual.

      I wish you well with getting some trees at your kids school. I know Floyd Light Middle school in SE badly needs trees.

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        groovin101 February 25, 2015 at 4:17 pm

        I understand your cynicism with what appears to be lack of progress, but I’m hopeful nonetheless. At the very least, we’ll have a name and a face to hold accountable if inequities persist. I’d like to think that’s a positive step anyways.

        Also, here here for trees 🙂

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