The Classic - Cycle Oregon

A challenger to Charlie Hales wheels into mayoral race

Posted by on September 9th, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Safe Routes conference VIP ride-70

Wheeler at a 2009 ride during the
Safe Routes to School National Conference.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The race is on.

Today Ted Wheeler announced that he wants to unseat Charlie Hales as mayor of Portland.

If Wheeler’s name sounds familiar it’s because he’s the former Chair of Multnomah County and is just coming off a stint as Oregon State Treasurer, a position he assumed in March 2010.

“I know a gas tax is unpopular; but right now that’s probably my first choice.”
— Ted Wheeler on how he’d fund streets

At his announcement event in southeast Portland this morning, Wheeler made it clear he intends to run to the left of Hales. “I’m running because I believe we can’t call ourselves a progressive city unless we’re making real progress for those who need our help the most.”

After being introduced by Oregon State Rep. Lew Frederick, the 53-year-old Wheeler gave a very sharp and high-energy speech and then answered questions from the media. Wheeler laid out a classic progressive agenda mentioning how he’d fight for taxpayers, low-wage earners, older adults, and so on. He also spoke a lot about the hottest political topic in town right now: homelessness.

“Do we want more promises on helping the homeless, or do we want progress?!” he asked. And later he added, “Let’s be honest with ourselves, we have a crisis on the streets of our community.”

When it comes to transporting ourselves on those streets, Wheeler’s event had much more on the topic than I expected. He mentioned “progress on fixing roads” as one of his top priorities. He mentioned that he wanted to make developers “pay their fair share of the costs of roads,” and he wasted no time in bringing up that perennial populist political football: potholes.

“I believe we can rebuild our roads, improve street safety, and finally do what has dogged so many administrations… How about this? Let’s fill those potholes!”

As Chair of Multnomah County Wheeler has real-world experience with transportation funding policies. He also, very notably, was one of the few elected officials who had the guts to question the Columbia River Crossing project.

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When Wheeler concluded his speech today, the first question he got asked was about transportation funding. “How will you pay for streets?” someone asked.

After rattling off a few statistics for context (and to show he’s done his homework), Wheeler said, “We cannot wait for Salem to pass a transportation package.” Then he stole a line from the Hales administration by adding that, “We can’t go to our taxpayers and ask for additional revenue when we haven’t built trust with those same taxpayers.” That’s a concept Hales has been operating under since he took over and it’s why his “Back to basics” message has resonated with so many people. For Hales, the “we must build trust first” concept always felt (to me at least) like a back-handed way of insulting former Mayor Sam Adams’ transportation policies.

While Hales has made ground in building trust with some voters by focusing on paving and maintenance, the fact that he and Commissioner Steve Novick have failed to pass any new funding for the work is something Wheeler plans to use against him at every opportunity.

Wheeler said City Hall needs to “apologize for not being good stewards of the basic infrastructure of this city.” He then promised that any new funding policies would go before voters.

“I think the mayor made a mistake when he ruled out one and then two and then three and four and five different [transportation funding] ideas and said right up front that the public won’t get to vote on this.

“What does that say,” he continued, “About the city’s view of the public it works for and represents?”

Then he offered a specific proposal: raise the gas tax. That idea was dismissed by Commissioner Novick and Mayor Hales before the public process for their street fee even began because it “didn’t poll well”.

Despite its unpopularity, Wheeler thinks it’s the best option. Here’s more from his answer today:

“I say keep it simple. I know a gas tax is unpopular; but right now that’s probably my first choice and I’ll tell you why: Prices for gasoline are falling and they’re expected to remain low; people understand what a gas tax is and they know how it works; and it spreads the cost of roads over a relatively wide population. So that’s where I’d start.”

In terms of his bicycling credentials, Wheeler has plenty. When asked for a comment today he offered this general statement:

“As an avid cyclist, I don’t distinguish between riding for recreation and riding for transportation.Everyone on a bicycle, no matter the goal, deserves safe roads and good routes. As Mayor, I’ll make sure the daily experience of cyclists lives up to our image as a bike-friendly city.”

How “avid” is he? Wheeler has completed an Ironman triathlon and he’s no stranger to riding around town.

Wheeler has also shown that his talk of working with the community isn’t just speech fluff. On two past occasions he’s left comments on BikePortland while in his position as Multnomah County Chair.

In March of 2010 he weighed in on the studded tire debate:

I agree with those who say that metal studded tires do substantial damage to the roads. I’d love to see an estimate from ODOT. I believe that this is best addressed at the state level rather than with a patchwork of local ordinances that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. We have family in Central Oregon so we go there a lot in all conditions without trouble. We don’t use metal studs – they are no longer necessary as there are lots of good alternatives now that don’t gouge the roads so badly.

In April 2009 he left a comment assuring us that the county would continue to have a bike advisory committee:

As County Chair, I am currently working with the Department to find an alternative solution. There is no support among Board members to suspend the work of this committee, and we will find a way to staff its efforts going forward. Ted Wheeler

And tomorrow, I can now share that Wheeler will meet with a roundtable of professional bicycle advocates, volunteer activists, and other insiders. The meeting was put together several weeks ago to help him learn the current state of cycling in Portland and get a better feel for the issue.

I’ll be at that meeting. Stay tuned for a recap.

Portland Century August 19th

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84 Comments
  • maccoinnich September 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    ‘He mentioned that he wanted to make developers “pay their fair share of the costs of roads,” ‘ is populist nonsense. Developers already have to pay thousands of dollars a unit for new buildings in transportation SDCs, and almost always have to rebuild the sidewalk at no small cost. Many small transportation projects (the signal at the N Williams / Cook; the extension of NW 20th under highway 30; NE Couch Ct between NE Couch and 3rd) are paid for by developers through Local Improvement Districts. Overall as much of 20% of a projects budget can go towards City permitting fees and charges.

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    • davemess September 9, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      And yet we still have tons of development in Portland. Clearly they’re not doing it all for charitable reasons.

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      • maccoinnich September 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm

        Most people don’t do their jobs for charitable reasons. It doesn’t mean their jobs aren’t valuable.

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        • davemess September 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm

          I’m saying if we had such oppressive fees on developers we wouldn’t have this much development. They clearly are making a profit at it.

          So call it “nonsense” all you want, but there is a very sizable portion of this city who has grown weary of the pace (and apparent lack of planning and regulation) of development in this city.

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          • maccoinnich September 9, 2015 at 4:25 pm

            I agree with you that if we suddenly implemented punitive fees with the purpose of stopping development it would probably dramatically slow down development. Where we disagree is whether that would be a good idea.

            That’s a different argument though than how transportation improvements should be paid for.

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    • Adam H. September 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Why not make corporations pay their fair share instead? Stop giving them tax breaks!

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      • maccoinnich September 9, 2015 at 1:35 pm

        What tax breaks are being given to developers in Portland that you object to?

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        • Adam H. September 9, 2015 at 2:18 pm

          Large corporations in Washington County are routinely given tax breaks each time they threaten to leave Oregon. Not sure if this is happening in Portland, but it is still a problem for the state as a whole.

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          • Justin Gast September 9, 2015 at 2:32 pm

            Those tax breaks also come back into the community in the form of gain share funding, which Hillsboro and WashCo. use for education and infrastructure projects, among other things.

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            • Jeff Bernards September 10, 2015 at 12:00 am

              They should just pay the “regular” taxes like everyone else. I’ve have volunteered a lot, I don’t ask for a break on my property taxes. That’s basically what their doing, if they need that big a business so be it, Intel made $9.6 billion last year, can they just pay their regular property taxes like the rest of us?

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              • wsbob September 10, 2015 at 11:09 am

                “…can they just pay their regular property taxes like the rest of us?” bernards

                Sure they could, they’ve got the money…but they don’t have to pay it, because they’ve got something that’s worth more to counties that want them: employment and overall larger revenue to the counties than than would be available if the counties just stuck out for taxes like regular folks pay.

                At least that’s the idea, which doesn’t always pan out, and sometimes fails disastrously. It’s a gamble, like a lot of things in life. Maybe Ted Wheeler understands this economic principle better than other people do. Looking forward to him saying something indicating he does.

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          • Pete September 9, 2015 at 2:43 pm

            By the same token, tax breaks are sometimes income that counties wouldn’t have gotten anyway. For instance, Google just added two more data centers and a significant number of living-wage jobs in The Dalles in exchange for a big break. Even with the ‘break’ they still pay several million dollars directly into the county in fees (unlike a certain neighboring railroad which owns a bunch of free land and adds few jobs).

            Are you suggesting the solution is to tax them more, that they don’t pay enough? Because that’s been shown to have adverse economic effects at any level – city, county, state, or country.

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          • wsbob September 9, 2015 at 11:35 pm

            “Large corporations in Washington County are routinely given tax breaks each time they threaten to leave Oregon. …” Adam H.

            I think the county would love to be able to get large corporations to come here and keep them here, without giving them tax breaks…if there was a good idea for how to do that. Counties compete with each other to bring in big corporations, and being able to offer land for development, comparatively less money, and offer tax breaks, is part of how they compete.

            Though Wheeler may be a good guy, and someone with some experience biking, from this story, (also read a short Oregonian story yesterday.), he’s not offered much of anything to distinguish himself significantly from the incumbent.

            People aren’t going to want to give more money by way of a gas tax or otherwise…to the city hall until city hall can show that it can more effectively and efficiently use the money it’s already being given. If Wheeler wants to make a big impression he can think about devising and proposing a plan by which the city can get more done with the current budget than it presently does.

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            • Chris Anderson September 10, 2015 at 9:51 am

              Tax breaks for corporations are a suckers game. A robust economy is made of small businesses and an innovation friendly environment. The new Portland economy is charging ahead, it’s our task to make sure it is inclusive of people from all walks of life.

              It would be interesting to learn whether Wheeler sees all the ways that refreshing Portland with human-first streets for the 21st century could contribute to equity, environmental stewardship, and economic security.

              We have a real opportunity in Vision Zero to reverse decades of historic neglect in outlying neighborhoods, while at the same time reducing the pressures that lead to displacement, and making the streets safer for everyone.

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              • Alex Reed September 10, 2015 at 1:09 pm

                Big businesses play an important role too (higher salaries and better benefits on average than small businesses) – but I don’t see why we should subsidize them.

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        • m September 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

          You’re kidding right? Developers received nearly a billion (with a b) in tax abatements along streetcar lines. There’s this nifty little tool tax increment financing (TIF). The PDC is addicted to it.

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          • maccoinnich September 9, 2015 at 3:39 pm

            I’m not kidding. Tax Increment Financing doesn’t reduce the amount property tax paid (it’s a way of a financing debt against future tax revenues). As an example, look at this one building in the Brewery Blocks – http://bit.ly/1QpayBO. In the first year after it was completed the same property went from paying $18,570 a year in property taxes to $572,147. It’s now paying $917,862 a year in taxes, on just one block.

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            • m September 9, 2015 at 3:56 pm

              TIF does reduce property taxes – for a certain period. Your response avoids the issue – which is would the developers had made the investment without the nearly billion dollars spent on subsidies? Many people (including me) believe the answer is yes. Thousands of homeowners remodel their homes without any subsidies. Hales and his type are mere puppets for folks like Homer Williams. The super liberal Jerry Brown saw this scam for what it is and shut down urban renewal in CA. The PDC needs to be phased out in PDX. Ted is super smart. Hopefully he is not another puppet.

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              • Pete September 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm

                “Thousands of homeowners remodel their homes without any subsidies.”

                If you have a mortgage and write off the interest you receive a subsidy that renters do not, and you can even take an equity loan to fund a home improvement and write off that interest.

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              • soren September 10, 2015 at 9:02 am

                Homeowners receive massive direct subsidies and tax breaks that total hundreds of billions each year via the mortgage interest-deduction, capital gains exemption, and subsidized government loan programs. Moreover, home loans would be far more expensive and less available if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had not received unlimited government support. Even the ~700 billion trouble asset relief program (TARP) was intended to put a bottom on inflated house prices. I can’t think of another asset that receives more subsidy than residential housing.

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              • Jayson September 10, 2015 at 9:30 am

                I’m not a huge fan of TIF, but I will point out that existing tax-collecting authorities still collect what they normally would after an urban renewal area is formed. The increment (aka, most of the increased tax revenue) is what is used to fund infrastructure improvements, affordable housing, storefront improvements, low-interest business loans, etc.

                My biggest problem with urban renewal is when PDC buys up all the land, demos the existing “blight”, and holds onto it for close to decade. In those cases, PDC pays ZERO taxes on the property and the vacant lot is more “blight” than the building that stood there. MLK corridor and Lents are great examples of PDC gone wrong. Meanwhile, PDC continues to keep parts of downtown Portland as urban renewal areas when they clearly don’t need to be – the market values are sufficient to see good, high-density development without incentives. PDC is also top heavy and unproductive. Anyway, my first statement/rebuttal is still technically true. I would just focus your attention to the real problem with PDC 🙂

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              • maccoinnich September 10, 2015 at 10:34 am

                I’m a bigger fan of the PDC than most, but the MLK / Alberta site is a disaster. It’s just unbelievable that they’re using prime land to build a strip mall.

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              • lop September 10, 2015 at 5:01 pm

                Should homeowners in well off areas pay their full property taxes? If you own in an East portland neighborhood where prices haven’t risen that fast you pay a higher property tax rate than if you live in an inner neighborhood where taxes have risen fast, because there is a cap on how quickly assessments can increase. Two $500k homes can have vastly different property tax bills. If a developer throws up a condo with units for $500k and gets a tax break for ten years, over a 30 year period an old house that costs $500k to start with can end up paying less in taxes.

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        • Terry D-M September 9, 2015 at 11:59 pm

          Thete is going to be a high density apartment building being built in Sw where the back frontage backs up to SW Capital…. there is only a ditch and a fog line. This administration, recently, gave them their requested waiver so they do not have to do the half-street improvements. This is a major arterial and they, unless the local NA’s are successful in fighting the waiver, will not have to build the sidewalk. A developer Give away….

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          • lop September 10, 2015 at 5:02 pm

            Can you tell me which lot?

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    • Jayson September 9, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      Agreed. What’s missing is the maintenance aspect, which should be funded by existing transportation system users. Gas tax is fine, but I’m not sure a local gas tax would generate enough money without driving people to gas stations outside the city boundary (assuming the tax is noticeable to the public).

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      • Eric Leifsdad September 9, 2015 at 3:20 pm

        Jayson
        <p…driving people to gas stations outside the city boundary

        Hahaha. I’m looking forward to hearing drivers complain to TV news about gas-tax induced congestion while they’re lined up to save $0.50/tank with a 10 mile round trip.

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        • Jayson September 10, 2015 at 9:22 am

          You exaggerate. I very much doubt there would be congestion resulting from even a mass of people buying their gas across the city line. Gas can, and often is, purchased on weekends, at night, during the day, etc.

          People can and do adjust behaviors. Imagine your average penny pinching Portlander.. what I would do is top off my tank every time I found myself outside of the city boundary. Sometimes I’ll buy in the City, out of necessary, but most times I’d see the gas price of a station i’m passing and say “geez, gas is cheap here! I’ll fill up my tank”. It already happens on a small level. What you have is a very legal and opportunistic form of tax evasion. I’m just trying to point out the perverse unintentional consequences of some tax policies when they aren’t implemented properly. There are only so many tax-loving liberals in Portland who appreciate that their taxes go to things we all need.

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      • canuck September 9, 2015 at 3:33 pm

        There are already local gas taxes across Oregon at both city and county level.

        Multnomah county is already collecting $0.03 a gallon, Washington county $0.01 a gallon.

        Eugene gets $0.05 , Milwaukie $0.02 and Tigard $0.03.

        I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of people chasing gas prices anymore than you already do.

        http://www.oregon.gov/odot/cs/ftg/pages/current_ft_rates.aspx

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        • Jayson September 10, 2015 at 9:11 am

          Duh. However, how much does that generate? What kinda gas tax are we talking about? $0.10? $0.20? At some point it quickly becomes noticeable, which is why most economists suggest the gas tax needs to be implemented at a fairly large geography – ideally at least regionally.

          Don’t get me wrong, I love the gas tax and wish it was at least $1.00/gallon, but at that level, it needs to be nationally applied. If we (State of Oregon) started allowing people to pump their own gas and replaced that requirement with a bigger jump in gas taxes, we’d probably make out quite well without pushing some people to Vancouver for gas.

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          • davemess September 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

            SOME people is the key. The vast majority of the state is not going to go out of its way to avoid the gas tax. Think about the fact that retailers still make money in Vancouver. So some people come to Oregon to buy big ticket items, but many remain in Washington and pay the sales tax for the vast majority of their purchases.
            Convenience often trumps a little bit of savings.

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          • Eric Leifsdad September 11, 2015 at 12:27 am

            $0.10/gal would be about $40/year for the average 26 miles per day driver at 24mpg. That’s about half of what has been discussed for a household street fee (with 2 drivers). Do we have the political will to pay $0.40/gal ($5/tank) or does it need to be spread across parking and congestion charges too?

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      • 9watts September 9, 2015 at 7:08 pm

        I would welcome a tax stiff enough to motivate folks to look for cheaper gas elsewhere. What I’d like to know—given that all jurisdictions could use more money to fix their maintenance back logs—is why Vancouver and Milwaukie and Hillsboro and everyone else wouldn’t just copy our local gas taxes, re-leveling the playing field? I don’t think that is a prioriany more or less plausible than everyone else just sitting on their hands while we here in Portland raise our puny gas tax a bunch.

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        • canuck September 10, 2015 at 7:35 am

          Because there’s more to the price of gas than just the taxes leveled by each jurisdiction. Pay rates are different, business and property taxes differ. There is no level playing field for any business when all expenses are taken into account.

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    • daisy September 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      The new signal at N Williams and Cook was installed as part of the North Williams Safety Project. The PBOT website lists it on their project page. They say this was paid for by grants. Here are two websites that mention this:
      http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/53905
      https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/513540

      Are you suggesting those grants were from developers?

      There is a new signal being installed a block away at N Vancouver & Cook. PBOT identifies the sources of funding as follows: “Property owners are funding this project with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) funding overhead costs and the cost of the new left turn signal from N. Fremont St. westbound to N. Vancouver Avenue southbound, and PBOT also issuing system development charge (SDC) credits.”

      http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/490580

      The New Seasons folks have been saying for a few years that they’d help pay for this signal. http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/03/development_wave_on_north_will.html

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      • maccoinnich September 9, 2015 at 3:57 pm

        I typed that from memory, and it is indeed the Vancouver/Cook signal that was funded through an LID and not the Williams/Cook signal. The assessments on property owners in that LID range from $5,000 to $83,000, for an overall assessment of $494,330. The SDC credits issued were valued at $187,350, for a net contribution by developers of $306,980. (http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/Record/6752948/)

        A good deal for the City, I’d say.

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    • Evan Manvel September 9, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Saying Treasurer Wheeler’s statement is nonsense because developers pay something towards transportation doesn’t add up.

      Last I checked, Portland’s transportation SDCs were far from the highest in the region.

      Even if they were the highest, that’s not the question. The question is: how much does it cost to provide transportation services for new development? And the answer is: thousands and thousands of dollars per unit. Streets, street lighting, sidewalks, bikeways, transit, enforcement, etc. are very costly.

      That said, just because the developer “pays” the fee doesn’t mean that’s the ultimate incidence of the fee. The ultimate incidence depends on the relative elasticities of demand, etc. So developers can often recoup much of the costs, through making new owners/renters pay higher costs.

      And the LIDs are for items that improve the value of the neighborhood, hence the value of the properties the developers have built. To say that’s a one-way “cost” to developers is nonsense.

      The underlying truths: people should pay their fair share. What that means is debatable and complex, and just because someone pays a bill doesn’t mean they carry the burden of it.

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      • maccoinnich September 9, 2015 at 4:16 pm

        As I understand it SDCs for all bureaus are set at 100% recovery, with the exception of Parks (which will go up to 100% recovery next year, absent a successful lawsuit). Now, there may be issues with how the formula for recovery rates is set, but I highly doubt that was the point Wheeler was trying to make.

        The fact that LIDs benefit the adjacent property owner doesn’t get rid of the fact that they’re the ones paying for it.

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    • bjcefola September 9, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      I didn’t like the anti-developer line either, but there’s a lot of time for Wheeler to spell out what he means.

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      • davemess September 10, 2015 at 6:27 pm

        Just because someone wants a little more regulation or clearer rules that everyone can understand (and Wheeler didn’t even talk about that, just increases development fees) doesn’t make them anti-developer though. The issue is not just black and white.

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        • bjcefola September 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm

          it remains to be seen what Ted Wheeler wants.

          I think in the context in which he delivered his remarks- a statement focused on affordable housing that made no mention of the need for *more* housing supply- I think it’s tough to see that line as anything other than red meat for nimby’s.

          That said, it’s one line in one statement and he has a whole campaign in front of him to articulate what he means.

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    • Ben Schonberger (@SchonbergerBen) September 10, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      I’m calling B.S. on part of this. Show me a project where 20% of its total budget is city permitting fees.

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      • maccoinnich September 11, 2015 at 1:29 pm

        A developer’s pro forma is generally a closely guarded secret, but I am not making it up when I say “as much as 20%”. That may be on the high end, but all I can tell you is that I have worked on projects where that’s how much it added up to. The most public example I could find with a few minutes of googling was the Parker apartments, which are now finished (http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/print-edition/2011/12/16/balls-pearl-plan-25m-in-city-fees.html). For that project the fees and charges came to $2.5 million out of a $21 million value, or 12%.

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  • Anne Hawley September 9, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I’ll be watching with…let’s say “a reserved interest”…as Wheeler’s campaign unfolds. I like what I’m reading so far, and I’d certainly like a strong progressive alternative to Hales, but heaven knows talk is cheaper in Portland than in most places.

    Looking forward to more coverage!

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    • rachel b September 9, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Hear, hear! I feel slightly more willing than usual to take him at his word because of his willingness to go against great peer pressure and down-vote CRC. I love that he’s for a gas tax. And the fact that he actually rides a bike regularly also makes me hopeful.

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  • davemess September 9, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    It will be good to have one (hopefully more) qualified challengers.

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  • Todd Hudson September 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Establishment Democrat, who is a former Republican and former real estate developer to get challenged by establishment Democrat, who is a former Republican and scion of a timber baron.

    Sounds like such an exciting race!

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  • Adam H. September 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    But what are his views on protected bike lanes? 😉

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  • Dan September 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Up with the gas tax.

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  • Kittens September 9, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Thank god someone is going to the left of Hales. Charlie has been a big letdown for me.

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  • rick September 9, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    ODOT clearly knows about the damage of metal-studded tires. What non-Forest Service Roads resemble the arctic from October through March?

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    • rainbike September 9, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      You should travel outside of Bubble Portland more often.

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      • resopmok September 9, 2015 at 9:15 pm

        As has been noted in posts much more extensively on this issue, studded tires do little to increase traction except under very certain road conditions, namely ice and very hard pack snow. Otherwise, you’re wasting your money and destroying the roads with them.

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      • Chris I September 9, 2015 at 10:08 pm

        Not last winter. Even Eastern Oregon was dry as a bone nearly the entire winter.

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    • velo September 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      As someone from Minnesota who lived in Oregon for 7 years and once again lives in Minnesota I can tell you that it’s entirely possible for a state with a very real winter to ban studded tires. I’d never even seen a studded tire before moving to Oregon.

      Some of the savings from less wear and tear from studs could even be used for better plowing. It’s just not a big deal.

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      • rainbike September 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        That may be true, velo, but I suspect that like other things that maybe could go away (e.g., the kicker and the bottle bill) studded tires will be with us for a while. This has been debated extensively on BP and isn’t the most important point of the Wheeler story, so I’ll shut up. Ride on!

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        • 9watts September 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm

          ” studded tires will be with us for a while”

          Yes, and no. Last I checked the use (and thus the damage from their use) of studded tires has taken a nose dive here in Portland. ODOT updated their study of this problem not so long ago, and I have on fairly good authority that the damage estimates are much reduced from what they were estimated to have been the last time this was investigated.

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          • Jeff Bernards September 10, 2015 at 12:06 am

            In the last study htey estimated $ 8 million a year in damage, really? If that’s the case then they can fix the ruts around the entire state for $8 million? Don’t think so. The new study was a scam on taxpayers, used to lessen Les Schwabs responsibility for being the behind the scenes promoter of studded tires. Les Schwab doesn’t want any financial responsibility in paying to fix the roads damaged from they product they sale.

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            • Alan 1.0 September 10, 2015 at 9:56 am

              Why is Les Schwab so beholden to studded tires? Wouldn’t they make just as much money selling winter compound tires?

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              • davemess September 10, 2015 at 10:52 am

                That’s what I’ve always wondered. Right up there with why cell phone companies would be so against banning cell phone use in cars. They’re still going to sell their products (be it phones or tires). My only guess is the view that ANY regulation is bad for them (the whole slippery slope argument).

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      • canuck September 9, 2015 at 3:34 pm

        Yes but, Minnesota also does things like salt the roads to alleviate accumulation of ice and snow.

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        • madknowledge September 9, 2015 at 8:02 pm

          There are non-studded winter/snow tires readily available that do not damage the roads like studed tires do and provide better braking and handling performance vs. studded tires. Drivers who feel like they need extra traction for snow in the winter have that option, and would still have that option if studded tires were banned in Oregon.

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        • Jeff Bernards September 10, 2015 at 5:24 am

          what accumulation do we really have here?

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          • canuck September 10, 2015 at 7:37 am

            The coast range, cascade range, blue mountains. Oregon is more than just Portland.

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            • Brian September 10, 2015 at 7:57 am

              But people who live in Portland and recreate in other areas spend most of their time driving around Portland, with rain being the most “difficult” driving situation they encounter. I see no harm in asking people to use a temporary fix to a temporary problem, chain up when heading into tough conditions.

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      • davemess September 9, 2015 at 3:57 pm

        yes, I lived in Colorado, Ohio, and New York before and had never seen (or heard) a studded tire until I moved to Oregon.

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      • Alex September 9, 2015 at 7:59 pm

        As another person from Minnesota (who has lived in Oregon for 13 years), I would really prefer to not resort to using salt. I was back there not long ago and was reminded of just how rusty the cars get. On top of that, the snow/ice and elevation changes in Minnesota are quite different than in Oregon. I am all for banning studded tires (snow tires are pretty much just as good these days), but comparing it to Minnesota isn’t fair nor do I think they get it right.

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  • Jim Labbe September 9, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    As this article by Anna Griffin details, homelessness is increasingly a regional problem growing in communities toward the urban edge.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/homeless/2015/09/homelessness_in_gresham.html

    Increased homeless camping along the Springwater Corridor and Gresham-Fairview Trails in East County are making these vital and hard-won off-street biking opportunities less safe and inviting to the very “interested but concerned” cyclists we most want to coax out of their cars. The perception of multi-use trails and homeless camps in East County is a threat to all regional trails projects outside of Portland.

    The homelessness crisis in East County and elsewhere in the region can not be addressed at the neighborhood or municipal level, even with the best intentions. We need regional solutions. Few of our local and Metro leaders fully recognize this… we need action now!

    Jim

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  • soren September 9, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Other than the gas tax is there anything that distinguishes him from Hales?

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    • 9watts September 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      Hales will come around to the gas tax too. Just wait.

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    • Eric Leifsdad September 11, 2015 at 12:28 am

      He has fenders on his bike?

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  • MaxD September 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    RE Studded tires:
    You know how some areas require a Snow Park Permit to park there? I propose Portland requires a Studded Tire Permit to drive with them within the City Limits. One could buy a single day pass for $100, or a season pass for $7500. Anyone caught driving with studs but without the permit gets fined double the permit: $200 for first offense/season, $15,000/second offense/season. #rd offense results in automobile being taken away until summer.

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  • Brian September 9, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I would love to hear Mr. Wheeler’s perspective on the Mtb Master Plan, as well as what he would do to ensure that Parks begins to address the needs of all types and ability levels of off-road cyclists.
    Thank You.

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    • Chris September 10, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Will anyone from NWTA or other pro-off-road cycling groups be present at Wheeler’s roundtable?

      We need to be involved from the ground up to make a difference! Let Wheeler know right away what matters to his voters.

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      • Dave Thomson September 10, 2015 at 9:33 pm

        The .01% of voters that think play areas for mountain bikers are just as important as homelessness and transportation?

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        • Brian September 11, 2015 at 9:25 am

          Have you ever heard anyone say they are of equal importance? I have not. Our elected officials deal with many issues that aren’t at the level of homelessness/transpo, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a right to hear about their thoughts on these additional issues when we make our decisions. Lastly, play areas are very important to me. I have a six year old who doesn’t have a place to safely play on his bike. Having these play areas are more important to me. I think that is ok.

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  • Mark September 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    I watched the O-live video. For a guy who has been considering running for sometime, he seemed hard pressed to come up with a three point plan/elevator speech for this front page video. Maybe the bar is low?

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  • SE September 9, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I read the O’s coverage before Jonathon’s, and think JM did a far superior job.

    Another advantage to a potential Mayor Wheeler (IMHO) is that it would knock the stream out of the other side of the poor equation/team that we have now..Novick.

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  • Jeff Bernards September 10, 2015 at 7:24 am

    I went to the Hales/Novick street fee show. I brought up the issue of studded tires, they barley acknowledged that it was a problem. I explained why fix the roads just to have them chewed up by a chosen few. Thank You Ted for stating the obvious that the “other” politicians won’t even whisper about.

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  • Lester Burnham September 10, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Make no mistake…just because he is “not Hales” does not make him a better candidate. As usual Portland is stuck picking the lesser of evils and hoping for the best.

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    • Ben DuPree September 10, 2015 at 10:02 am

      Would you care to clarify how you feel Ted Wheeler is the “lesser of evils?” Loaded statements like that deserve some context.

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  • Jonathan Radmacher September 10, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Yesterday, the City Club issued a report on funding roads, and will debate the issue on Friday.
    http://www.pdxcityclub.org/files/Reports/StreetFee-CityClubofPortland.pdf

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  • Eric September 10, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Welcome to Business/Studded Tires/Politics Portland.

    Now if I could only find Bike Portland……

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  • Mark September 18, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Ted is looking better all the timehttp://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/09/portland_mayor_charlie_hales_n.html#incart_river_mobile

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