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Former Portland Mayor Sam Adams named to League of American Bicyclists board

Posted by on June 5th, 2015 at 11:36 am

adamspic

Sam Adams
(Photo: World Resources Institute)

Sam Adams might have left Portland for a job in Washington DC back in January; but it looks like the biking bug he caught while serving as our city’s mayor between 2008 to 2012 traveled with him.

Adams, who — for better or for worse — was a champion for bicycling throughout his political tenure in Portland, is now the newest member of League of American Bicyclist’s board of directors. In an announcement by the League yesterday they described Adams as “a strong advocate for safe bicycling and pedestrian options” who “helped expand Portland bikeways system by 75 miles, and focused new investments.”

After leading the Portland City Club, Adams is now director of the U.S. Climate Initiative for the World Resources Institute.

I caught him via email yesterday and asked him a few questions about his new role with the League and how bicycling might fit into his work on climate change:

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BikePortland: Why did you want to be on the League’s board?

I want to use lessons learned as a local government leader to help bicycling reach its full potential in this nation as a neighborhood-strengthening, cost-effective transportation option that offers multiple benefits to promote health, environmental sustainability, affordability and access equity.

Any particular focus/emphasis/interest you will represent on the board?

As a Board member, I hope to help strengthen the League’s partnerships and connections with both national business and racial justice organizations.

Mayor's entry into Grand Floral Parade-1

Adams in the 2009 Rose Festival.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Has bicycling played a role in your work on Climate Change at the WRI yet?

At WRI, we have just embarked on an effort to compile and report on greenhouse gas emission data on a U.S. city-by-city basis — hard believe but this has yet to be done. We are working to include all transportation-related climate pollution data, including a more accurate accounting of avoided greenhouse gas emissions base on bike trips. Nerdy stuff but important research that can serve as a factual basis to improve how we plan and operate bike infrastructure and more fully integrate more it into all transportation projects.

Do you miss Portland?

I am fully engaged and into my national climate action work here in DC but I do miss Portland a lot. Take a bike ride for me on the Springwater Trail!

Looks like Adams is in a position to have impact on climate change. Here’s to hoping his experience in Portland and now with the League allows him to fully leverage bicycling as a powerful tool to stop it.

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jeg
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jeg

I wish he were still mayor. None of these current ***word deleted by moderator*** say a word. They are beholden to their monied lobbiers, not the lower or middle class.

They don’t promote dense planning, they don’t promote transit, and they don’t promote bikes.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Well Portland now is a shoe in to keep its Platinum Status.

(Well played my friend, yes check and mate.)

Oregon Mamacita
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Oregon Mamacita

Adams will always been known for kissing a teenager in a bathroom at city hall. I guess the League of American Bicyclists has very few applicants for its board. Sad.

9watts
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9watts

“a more accurate accounting of avoided greenhouse gas emissions base on bike trips.”

Aha. Well, that’s a first step.
The Germans, though, are far ahead of us when it comes to bikes and climate change policy:

http://bikeportland.org/2011/06/02/blumenauer-led-task-force-releases-blueprint-for-freedom-from-oil-54196#comment-1854469

Tom Hardy
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Tom Hardy

More active promotion of the anti car is a good thing. WNBR is great since we all ready have the biggest. Maybe we need more than one per year.

PDX SE Rider
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PDX SE Rider

Tiny quibble… 🙂 We (‘Merica) aren’t actually going to STOP climate change. I don’t think anyone’s trying to actually do that… I mean… you know that’s like stopping the earth from rotating. BUT we are going to reduce our contribution to worldwide greenhouse gases through initiatives like those sponsored by WRI. And we are going to take steps now to mitigate harmful effects brought about by a changing climate.

So they say. Just wanted to clarify. I know what you mean by stop it, but wanted to add some context there. Cuz it’s Portland and we love accuracy on our socio/politico issues. 🙂

joe adamski
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joe adamski

So once we get past the woulda-shouldas.. who are our champions and who are our foes? My guess the narrative shifted somewhere along the line and politicians don’t feel the need to promote or embrace the cycling community. And we let them go on ignoring us. Adams was the most prominent of our champions but once his other issues forced him out, I felt it politically was a repudiation of cycling, not of poor choices Adams may or may not have made.
The Mayor and two council members are up for election next year. Will we give them a pass or a mandate?

Mark
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Mark

I remember reading about a an intersection in Sellwood that was reconfigured for traffic calming and bike access. Mayor Sam Adams rode up on a bicycle for a publicity event. The reporter noted that he was dropped off by car a few blocks away. It was just a show.

jj
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jj

The reason we have Hales right now is because of Adams. He was smoke and mirrors. Cozied in with the developers, pushed a few high profile projects but underneath the city was disfunctional. Now we inherit the problems. Can’t believe people still want him back.