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Mayoral candidate Jules Bailey: The BikePortland interview

Posted by on March 11th, 2016 at 1:50 pm


Bailey came by our office Wednesday for an in-depth conversation about biking-related issues.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

When Jules Bailey served in the state legislature, he was usually known as one of biking’s best friends in Salem. Now he’s running for mayor.

Bailey showed up on issues from the massive (letting congestion or pollution taxes be spent on off-road paths or mass transit) to the miniscule (when his colleague Mitch Greenlick proposed a ban on hauling children under age six by bike or bike trailer, he defused the surge of anger by persuading Greenlick to make a face-saving swap to a safety study).

Bailey disappointed many transportation reformers in 2013, when the staunch environmentalist and professional economist unexpectedly voted for the Columbia River Crossing freeway-rail plan. But he now points out, accurately, that the conditions that won his vote — variable tolling beyond the life of the bridge bonds — were also a big reason anti-toll state senators in Washington rejected the project.

Bailey left the legislature in 2014 after winning a race for Multnomah County Commissioner; he now bike-commutes to the Central Eastside county office via Barbur Boulevard from his home near Multnomah Village in Southwest Portland. In December, after mayoral candidate Ted Wheeler landed a massive string of endorsements and Mayor Charlie Hales said he wouldn’t run for reelection, Bailey decided to do so.

Election Day is May 17, and we’ll be helping BikePortland readers choose by publishing rich, in-depth conversations with Bailey, Wheeler and Sarah Iannarone.

Sellwood Bridge opening celebration-13.jpg

Bailey at the opening party for the new Sellwood Bridge on February 27th.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

You can read (or listen to) the first of those conversations below. Among the things we learned from it:

Infrastructure: Though Bailey supports the downtown protected bike lane project, his overall strategy for protected bike lanes to focus them on arterials in East and Southwest Portland, where safety issues are worse. The best way to improve the central-city biking network, he said, is with lower-cost measures like diverters on neighborhood greenways.

Funding: Bailey (like all leading candidates) supports the proposed four-year 10-cent local gas tax that’ll be next to him on the ballot. But he says it won’t put enough toward bike infrastructure to meet his goals. In the short term he will (like other candidates) hope to get new money from a statewide tax, but (unlike other candidates, so far) he’s also said the city should embrace variable-rate parking and start laying the groundwork for a price on driving on congested roads, and also on emitting greenhouse gases.

Affordable proximity: The first talking point in Bailey’s housing affordability agenda is to cheaply increase the supply of new, smaller homes by re-legalizing duplexes, triplexes and garden apartments in all R5 residential zones. He’s worried, though, that supply may not be enough to keep the city affordable.

Public parking garages: Bailey is “very skeptical” that the public sector should be investing in them, but isn’t willing to say he never would.

Traffic safety: He thinks the city’s Vision Zero plan needs harder numerical targets.

Equitable policing: Bailey sees traffic enforcement as a “separate issue” from racial profiling. Among his proposed solutions for the disproportionate number of traffic stops of people of color who are biking or walking is to hire more police officers, which he said would make the job less stressful.

Prefer audio? You can also listen to our entire conversation here. (We’ll also see about getting it into our podcast stream.)

Let’s just start with your big summary of what you’re doing.

I got into this race in November because it was down to essentially a one-person race at that point. I looked at the field and thought Portland really needs a mayor that understands what working families are going through, is going to be committed to the job to the long run and has the experience of working on the issues that Portlanders care about. And I didn’t see anybody else in the race that met those criteria and I decided to step up.

It was late one night, and I was singing a song that I sing to my son every night, called “Weather the Storm,” that I sing to him when I put him down. He’s about six months old. And it’s about sort of being brave, stepping up for your community, helping others. And I thought, how do I sing you this song every night and then not have stepped up when I thought Portland really needed it?

I mean, I think we’re at a real turning point. We have a million new people that are moving here over the next few decades. And who do we want to be as a city? Do we want to be a city that is living up to our ethos of a creative, sustainable city where everybody can afford to live? Or are we going to be a city that becomes a playground for the wealthy? And I think that’s really in question.

What have you seen happening in the last four years, 10 years, that has moved us in one direction or another?

I think we’ve seen a lot of great things happen in the last four years, 10 years. I think Portland has changed a lot. Even basic things like our commitment on Safe Routes to School has seen a 36 percent increase on kids that walk to school just since 2006. I mean, that’s a major success.

I grew up in Portland with the ability to walk to Glencoe School and Mount Tabor Middle School every day, but not every kid has the ability to do that. I think as a community we’ve done a good job of planning for infill, we’ve made some major improvements on streets, we’ve had road diets that have been a success. But there’s a lot more to do.

“I get this question all the time: ‘Hey, when you’re mayor, will I be stuck in rush hour at 2 p.m.?’ And my answer is ‘Yes, probably.’
— Jules Bailey

What are the key things we can do to improve the ways people can get around without a car?

I get this question all the time: “Hey, when you’re mayor, will I be stuck in rush hour at 2 p.m.?” And my answer is “yes, probably.” We have a system that was built for cars that other modes have been shoehorned into. And we see a massive lack of investment in our road system. So what we need to do, both for climate reasons and for livability reasons and for health reasons, is give people more options to be able to get around without cars. Because it’s not like we’re going to build roads and build our way out of this problem.

We’ve got a lot of the really enthusiastic people and sort of the next-tier people that are into getting around by bicycle. But we have this massive middle of the Bell curve: people who are interested and would like to do it but aren’t quite sure it’s safe and aren’t quite sure how to get around. That’s that next step.

I think it’s great that we’ve seen an increase in painted bike lanes and green bike boxes, those sorts of things. I use them when I bike commute, which I do. But we need more protected bike lanes.

Part of my bike route on the way to work is I bike down Multnomah Boulevard. And that’s a safe way to get to the next part of the segment. So we need more of those. We need better division between auto traffic and pedestrian traffic and bicycle traffic. We need better sidewalks. And we need those investments in areas of Portland that have been underserved, especially in East Portland.

A day in Salem-15

Bailey as a state legislator in 2009.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

That raises a good question: Multnomah doesn’t do as much good as it could if it were connected to a better network.


And yet 122nd has a striped bike lane that doesn’t do as much good as it could because it’s terrifying. So how do you go about prioritizing the eternal question of inside or outside, ridership or coverage? Probably most of the payoff in ridership is going to be in the central city. Probably most of the payoff in coverage is going to be elsewhere.

I don’t think you can have an either-or strategy. Because obviously you need an increase in the proportion of people who are choosing to get around by bike or foot. But you also need options for people who otherwise don’t have another option and are stuck in a car. So I think we need a balance between the two.

On key corridors in Portland that are heavily used, I think we need to look at more protected bike lanes and more investment. I think there’s also low-cost solutions that we can do. Having more dedicated neighborhood greenways that have traffic diversion built into them so that bicyclists feel safe on neighborhood streets is a very low-cost way of increasing ridership in the core. And then we can save money for doing the kinds of harder infrastructure development that needs to happen in East County. So I don’t think it’s a zero sum.

Right, but eventually there’s a dollar that needs to go one place or the other. There’s some time that you need to make a choice. And you’re saying that your strategy for thinking about that is to increase the connectivity for bikes in the central city with a bigger emphasis on neighborhood greenways and neighborhood greenway quality…

That’s right, yeah.

…and an emphasis on concrete in the southwest and east.

I think what we need to do is have a system that works from A to B. And so right now we have a lot of fragments of systems that work. I even see it on my bike ride in. I come in on Multnomah, I take the freeway onramp that spits me up on Terwilliger, and then I have this terrible turn that I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands the entire time before I get onto Barbur, and then I’m safe again once I get sort of back on my back roads and down to the waterfront. So the challenge is, how do you make sure that on key corridors you have places connected and you have safe spots at key chokepoints. And I think that’s something that we can prioritize throughout the city; we don’t have to choose inner Portland or outer Portland.

And as we choose East Portland, making sure that whatever improvements we’re making there is connected into the broader system.

Right now we don’t have any system for weighing that. So, like, we did a huge talk about a parking permit system, but we have never made any effort to weigh the benefits of a bike lane against the benefits of an auto parking space. So on 28th, it’s a very important network connection and the city decided that the auto parking spaces were more important, and so we won’t have a network connection there of any quality.

There’s got to be some way to say, yes, sometimes auto parking spaces are more important, and this is how we know. Is there some system? Is there some way that we can put something to that question so it’s not arbitrary every time?

Yeah, that’s where good data, good analysis comes in. I’m actually an economist by training; I worked for a company called EcoNorthwest here in Portland. That’s the kind of analysis a company like EcoNorthwest could do, is measure what is the value of a parking space, what is the value of a bike lane. And measure the ripple effects: not just at one point in time, but what does that do to neighborhood businesses, or what does that do to people’s ability to have a lower transportation budget so they can afford the higher rents that are being charged? We need that kind of rigorous analysis as we do our decision making.

And it’s happening in a lot of places. I think a great example is on Foster. I’m very excited for the changes that are coming to Foster. And that, I think, is a perfect example of what I’m talking about: how we have better infrastructure, how we have more connectivity, and how we serve equity needs at the same time that we serve transportation needs. And we’re going to do that in a way that we’re making Foster safer and more friendly to people on different modes of transportation.

We’re going to help businesses there. A major, major barrier to small business expansion has been the fact that there’s five lanes of dangerous traffic and people don’t want to be there. So it’s great for small businesses, it’s great for people that want to get around.

But it is going to slow auto traffic, probably.

It’s not clear how much it will slow auto traffic. I worked in transportation economics, so I’m very familiar with transportation demand models, those sorts of things. I helped work on the economic analysis of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement process in Seattle. And there were six different options: different kinds of tunnels, and new viaduct. A couple of the options were just get rid of it altogether and have surface streets that were multimodal. And people screamed and screamed and screamed that if we just did that option it would cause massive congestion, huge delays, I-5 would see a huge amount of spillover.

Well, we ran the modeling and in fact, even during peak times, it really only changed the travel time by about seven minutes over the entire distance of the viaduct. That’s not that much time.

And they’re talking like three or four minutes on Foster.

Exactly. I think you can sacrifice three or four minutes for a streetscape that’s going to support local businesses, local jobs and help people get to work.

You talk about the viaduct project. People often bring up your CRC vote. Forget the plan that seems to be dead — if someone comes to you next year and says “we need to come up with a new vision, make a new plan,” what’s your ideal bridge look like?

Well, one we need to have light rail baked into the definition of the project. Two, we have to have strong bicycle and pedestrian facilities. But three, and perhaps most importantly, one of the reasons that I negotiated hard for sideboards on that project and ultimately got to a place where I can support it is that we need variable tolling that lasts longer than paying the life of the bonds on the project. Because once you have the ability to control congestion through tolling on that bridge, it doesn’t matter how many lanes there are.

It could be an eight-lane bridge, it could be a 10-lane bridge?

The number of lanes is irrelevant if you have sufficient tolling. Because you have a tool right there to be able to control congestion. What we’re talking about is induced demand. What we’re talking about is the amount of sprawl in Clark County. Congestion pricing solves for all of those things. The number of lanes does not.

Time is money, and people will continue to overuse subsidized free transportation in unless you bake the cost of that transportation into it. And congestion pricing and tolling is one very, very efficient way to do that. I think a lot of that got lost in the debate, because it’s a little bit wonky. But if you’ve got a bridge where you’re really charging people for that cost, then I think you’ve got a really responsible transportation strategy. We don’t have that on the West Coast right now, other than in a couple of places. So the ability to do that in Oregon would be huge.

I think there was an awareness of that on the Clark County side! I think you’re Clark County conservatives’ nightmare, saying “we’ll build a big bridge but we’ll charge you to use it.”

And you know, I put those into the project and voted for it with those sideboards. And ultimately it was a lot of those sideboards were the reasons that Clark County ended up rejecting the bridge. But I’m not going to waffle; I’m going to stick to my guns.

The long-term demand for driving into the central city seems like it’s going to depend a lot on the amount of parking in the central city. We’ve been having an argument about whether the PDC should build parking garages at public expense, whether the URAs should spend their remaining life putting up public parking garages in Old Town or on the Central Eastside. Do you have any thoughts on how that would fit into future economic development?

One of the things that I’m supportive of and I know PBOT has already started looking into is dynamic pricing on parking. I think there’s a real opportunity to have a 21st century solution on pricing parking differently in terms of time of day and demand. But overall, I know you’re specifically referring to a potential parking structure in the Lloyd District.

Well, I’m talking a little about that, but it seems like that might be a done deal. So I’m talking about the future, mostly.

Well, my general thought is I’m skeptical of using public dollars for parking. I’m open to the argument on a case-by-case basis of why it’s needed. But my litmus test is going to be, one, does it work for our climate goals, and two, if it’s such a slam dunk, why isn’t the private sector doing it? And I think those are questions that haven’t fully been answered yet.

But they could be answered?

Well, if there’s a reason that the private market isn’t investing in it, then maybe it’s not as good an idea as we thought it was. I’m very skeptical, I guess is what I’m trying to say.

Personally, I can’t imagine any scenario where it’s worth building more parking with money that could be used on improving the street or building affordable housing.

Seems hard for me to imagine too.

So what is the potential scenario where you don’t want to say no?

You like the hypotheticals, don’t you?

Well, I want to get a solid answer, and you’re not saying no to it. What is the specific case that precludes the general “no, it’s a bad idea”?

In this parking garage in the Lloyd District, what PDC has said is that the investment is necessary to be able to catalyze the development of the Convention Center hotel, which is a major public works project that a lot of people have put a lot of time into. I haven’t seen their analysis. I don’t see that it is necessary. But they’re saying that it is necessary and that the project will more than pay for itself over time and it will be a net benefit for taxpayers. If that’s true and there really is no other way to do it, then I’m open to the conversation. But I have a hard time understanding why that’s true. If it is necessary, why isn’t that company just building the parking themselves if it’s going to have a return to them?

Do you have any perceived way forward for getting more singletrack and other off-road recreation in the city?

Yeah, when I was in the legislature I actually helped create an out-of-right-of-way urban trails fund and helped get money into it. I think that we need more investment in off-right-of-way and recreational biking.

Where is that possible?

I think there’s a lot of opportunities in Forest Park and Powell Butte and some other natural areas. That’s where I grew up riding my mountain bike, was in Forest Park and riding out to Powell Butte and doing that there. Obviously we’re somewhat constrained within the Portland area, but having an interconnected system where people can get safely to those recreational areas is really important.

Let’s talk about affordable housing. You’ve talked about the various ways to advance that in other forums. The one that we write about the most is specifically about proximity. How do you guarantee that some number of people, if they want to live near their work or their shops or whatever, how can people reasonably afford to do so? What do you think are the best strategies for doing that?

I believe in the city’s strategy around 20-minute neighborhoods. I think there’s been a lot of emphasis in Portland around the fact that people are able to live close to where they live, close to where they shop. I think that’s an important part of our city planning, an important part of our comp plan. And then part of that is ensuring affordability in those areas.

Making sure that people don’t have to get in their cars, don’t have to drive, don’t have to pay for parking, is a big part of that. When I bike to work, a lot of people say, why do you bike to work? Is it because you care so much about climate change? I do. I also care about my health. I don’t have to spend as much money on a gym membership. But it’s also the fastest, cheapest way for me to get to work. And I think the more that we can make it easy for people to be able to do that and not have to incur those costs, I think the more we can help people live closer in.

What are the city tools that are available to create proximity?

A lot of that is about zoning. I think the comp plan’s on the right track, but we need to do more, like bring back duplexes and triplexes and garden-home apartments into R5 zoning. Right now you can’t build that in local single-family residential. Those have always been part of the character of the neighborhood. But if we were able to change our zoning to bring those back in, I think it would make a big difference.

How many neighborhoods could you legalize that in, do you think?

I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t have blanket duplexes, triplexes, garden-home apartments in R5 zoning.

The transportation bureau — is that something you want to run?

So the way the city works, it’s a pretty fast path to irrelevance to say “here’s the bureaus that I’m going to take and here’s what I’m going to assign my fellow commissioners” before you’ve even sat down and talked to them. In a weak-mayor system, it’s really the only leverage that you have — to be able to assign the bureaus and have the conversation beforehand “if I assign you this bureau, here’s what I’m going to want from it.” And so I’m not going to declare any bureaus. Other than the mayor should be the police commissioner, and historically is.

So either way, as mayor you’ll be in a substantial role in the funding conversation.


Say the gas tax fails. What’s the next step?

Well, first of all, I would hope the gas tax doesn’t fail. And I would hope your readers see an opportunity here to help support a transportation system that works for everybody. I’m in support of it.

If it fails, then you need a mayor who has the connections in Salem and a demonstrated track record of being able to get transportation investments done who can work with the legislature in 2017 to get a transportation package that’s going to be multimodal, that’s going to have investments for the City of Portland. And I’m the only person in the race that has that track record and has the relationships and the ability to get that done.

Part of that too is about having a mayor that has the relationship with ODOT on some of our most dangerous roads. Orphan highways are a huge problem, whether you’re talking about 82nd or Lombard or 122nd* or other places, we need a mayor who’s going to talk about bringing those back into city jurisdiction with funding so we can do the maintenance on them.

Do you think the orphan highways problem has been jeopardized or slowed down by a lack of relationships? It seems like it’s mostly just a money issue.

There’s certainly a money issue, but the ability to actually engage and negotiate and get things done, you need someone who can negotiate the system.

Are there any other possibilities for local funding, or do you think that transportation funding should continue to come mostly from the state level?

Well, I think if the gas tax fails, that’s a pretty clear indication of what people in Portland are willing to support in terms of local funding options. So if that fails, I think we might be stuck. But let’s talk about a world in which it passes.

“I am the only person in this race that has said pretty consistently that I want carbon taxation and I want congestion pricing. Those aren’t always popular, but I think we need to put the full cost of the transportation system on the transportation system.”
— Jules Bailey

Okay, great. It only lasts four years anyway.

If it passes, we have a step forward, but we have a lot more work to do. And we have an indication on the books that voters are willing to step up and look at local options. Then I think we need to talk about what are the other things that we need to do? I am the only person in this race that has said pretty consistently that I want carbon taxation and I want congestion pricing. Those aren’t always popular, but I think we need to put the full cost of the transportation system on the transportation system, and then tax pollution and tax congestion in a way that allows us more flexibility to invest that in alternative transportation.

How does that work logistically, to have congestion pricing in Portland?

There’s a lot of ways to do it, and there’s a lot of cities that have done it. It’s everything from HOT lanes like Los Angeles uses to potentially cordon pricing to potentially looking at bridge tolling to other things. Or something as extensive as variable tolling on key arteries during peak times. It’s not going to happen overnight; you need a mayor who’s committed to the long run in changing our transportation system. I’ve made a pledge that if I’m elected mayor I’m not going to run for anything for at least eight years. You need somebody who’s willing to change the culture, and it’s going to be a long-term conversation. But ultimately you need an efficient transportation system that includes all the costs.

That makes sense. What’s your projected life of the gas tax in Oregon, if you had to guess?

I served on both the transportation and the revenue committees in the state legislature, and I’ve probably dealt with this as much as anybody in the entire state. And the gas tax is a declining instrument. We could theoretically use it for a lot longer, but it’s not keeping up with the cost. For good reasons: we have CAFE standards that are moving even higher, which makes the gas tax less relevant. So I was supportive in the legislature of looking at pay-per-mile kinds of charges that would help better incorporate wear and tear for cars and keep up with funding for the transportation system.

But ultimately I think we need a constitutional change, and I think we need a mayor who’s not afraid to say it. I’m on record as saying this for many years: the highway trust fund really hamstrings our ability to do smart transportation investment. The highway trust fund requires every dollar of every [auto-related] tax or fee on the transportation system to go right back into road-building. And the fact is it can’t fund public transit. And that’s one of the reasons public transit is based on user fees and payroll taxes and we have poor, in some places, rubber-tire bus service.

Yeah. Let’s not even talk about the conversation that would need to be shifted at the state level to get that sort of referendum passed. Even in Portland, I feel like we’re at the place in the public conversation where it’s safe to say “Yes, we need to penalize driving for the sake of everybody.”

I’m not saying we need to penalize driving — what I’m saying is we’re not accounting for all the costs. And when we take those costs of the system, we ought to invest them in things that would reduce those costs. And the ballot measure that I introduced at the state level said very simply: “A tax or fee on pollution or congestion in the transportation system can be used to reduce pollution or congestion in the transportation system.”

That seems like a winning argument to me, I guess. 

Seems pretty logical, right? If that was the one change that we made, our problems would be fixed in that sense. So I don’t think it’s a stretch, I just think you need leadership.

I think there are other people who would be eager to frame it in a different way.

You need a mayor that’s not afraid to talk about it. You need a mayor who’s going to get people in the room and say “here’s what we need to get done.” I mean, we can continue to make little changes around the edges or pass solutions that only get us part of the way there. In the meantime, we have to keep working on those things. But at the end of the day, we need a long-term systemic change.

You said the mayor should run the police bureau. What’s your take on the balance between sufficient and over-the-top enforcement of traffic violations? It seems like there’s a lot of folks worried that if you police too much, that’s going to fall on people of color.

Well, that’s an interesting argument. I think there’s some bias that’s in that argument to begin with.

Well, I think the assumption is that all policing is currently overdelivered on people of color.

Yeah, I think those are two separate issues. I think we need to address the issues of racial and ethnic disparities within policing broad brush. But I don’t think that’s a reason to not do enforcement of the laws that we already have on the books, particularly around keeping people safe. I think that there’s a real opportunity to have a mayor that’s able to work as a partner between the Police Bureau and ODOT and PBOT and other entities to be able to do safety and enforcement on the streets. For example, what happened on Clinton greenway recently. I think that helps create a cultural change and a cultural norm on the streets.

“Within Vision Zero, while there’s broad timelines, there’s not a lot of check-in points that are baked into the process. We need some real strong teeth.”
— Jules Bailey

I mean, we have some of the highest rates of transportation fatalities in some parts of Portland. That’s not OK. And I’m a big supporter of Vision Zero. I think that’s been a great process. I think as mayor I’m going to be committed to that process. But I think we need to be even stronger. And I think within Vision Zero, while there’s broad timelines, there’s not a lot of check-in points that are baked into the process. “Here’s the number of fatalities that we’re going to have reduced by this year, here’s the number of sidewalks or bike lanes that we’re going to have upgraded by this year.” We need some real strong teeth within Vision Zero. Part of that is within infrastructure; part of that is about enforcement, too. And I think there’s a way to have that balance there where we’re addressing any disparity concerns but also making sure people are safe.

Because the fact is, when you talk about disparities, it’s people who are living in East Portland, which tends to be a much more diverse population, who are getting killed on the sidewalks. I mean, if anything, it’s communities of color that have an interest in having safe streets and good enforcement so that people aren’t vulnerable.

Absolutely. But it seems like there’s a clear record of the folks of color who are on bike and on foot are overwhelmingly disproportionately likely to be stopped, according to the PPB statistics. And they’re less likely to be charged with anything than people who are white — it’s not clear why they’re being stopped at such higher rates. So what is it that the PPB can do to reduce that disparity of where enforcement is happening? Who’s feeling like they’re unwelcome even showing their face in open air?

Yeah, I mean obviously that’s a much larger question than the transportation system.

Yeah, but it effects transportation.

We have a racial and ethnic disparity throughout the criminal justice system. In fact, I attend regularly the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council meetings. I’m working with LPSCC on the racial and ethnic disparity report and how we get reforms throughout our justice system, not just in the Police Bureau but in our jails and our prosecution and others to eliminate those disparities. We have to have a clear plan, we have to implement it and we have to do it now. But again, I think that’s a separate issue from “Should we have consistent and clear enforcement of the public safety traffic laws in our neighborhood?”

What steps can be taken?

Better training, better staffing in the police bureau that allows for less stress among police officers and allows them to take more kinds of calls. Implementing the DOJ recommendations. So it’s a bigger issue than issuing traffic tickets.

Is that the full list?

Yeah. And I think there’s obviously more things we can do. There’s a lot of good folks that are working on this right now.

What’s the thing that you most fear you are wrong about?

(Laughs.) In policy, or in life?

“It’s entirely possible that we won’t be able to build [housing] supply that keeps up with demand in a way that brings down costs. And affordability is a crisis in Portland.”
— Jules Bailey

Right, in policy. What’s a policy belief that you have that might be wrong?

Well, I believe that in our affordability crisis, that we need to increase supply to meet the demand that’s coming in. And that in doing so, that we can help mitigate the worst of the rise in prices that we’ve seen. It’s entirely possible that we won’t be able to build supply that keeps up with demand in a way that brings down costs. And affordability is a crisis in Portland. My wife and I have seen it firsthand; lots of families have seen it firsthand. So I’m pushing ahead with lots of ideas to help increase the number of units we have available to working families. But if that’s wrong, we don’t have a lot of time to waste.

What’s the thing that most recently happened that made you feel enthusiastic about living in Portland? What was it that made you think, “Oh, wow! Love this town.”

I love this city every single day. I mean, I grew up here. I was born and raised here. This is a place where people are incredibly compassionate, where they are really into helping each other out. I have over 100 house parties in my campaign. And I love being in people’s neighborhoods, in their living rooms, day after day after day, just hearing how people are in their community. There’s nothing like walking out of a house party after hearing about how committed they are to everything from scratch kitchens at Abernethy Elementary School to the Portland Mercado and what an amazing effort that’s been, to the whole Living Cully Initiative in a neighborhood that’s been underserved. I think that really speaks to who we are.

Do you want to set any goals for your accomplishments on bikes as mayor? If you wanted to set some numerical goals — I think you mentioned doubling the number of protected bike lanes. That’s not a ton of miles.

The question was would I support doubling protected bike lanes, and then I said yes, actually I think we should do more. I think that depends on that balance between infrastructure and equity. But I think we need to have a number of protected bike lanes on key corridors that reflect the usage of those corridors. I’m not going to say I’m going to have X miles — I think that’s a campaign stunt. But I’m going to work very closely with all our partners in the bicycling community to find out what’s the right number, and I’m going to commit to being the mayor that’s going to have that happen.

“Last year, 119,000 people came to Sunday Parkways. My wife and I went out and enjoyed it several times. 119,000 people is an indication of how many people want to be out and about on their streets. Let’s unleash that in Portland.”
— Jules Bailey

You mention key corridors — you want to float a few that could use better biking?

I think Barbur is a key one. A lot of people commute on Barbur, and it at least feels very unsafe to do that. I think it needs to be integrated into how we’re doing the options on Powell-Division, a better system that’s coming in from East Portland. Having better separation for the huge percent of people who come in from inner Southeast, inner Northeast and North Portland. I mean, look at the desire for people to take advantage of Sunday Parkways. Last year, 119,000 people came to Sunday Parkways. My wife and I went out and enjoyed it several times. 119,000 people is an indication of how many people want to be out and about on their streets. Let’s unleash that in Portland.

The gas tax would create standing budgets for greenways and protected bike lanes: $2.4 million and $3.2 million over the four-year life of the tax, respectively. Does that seem like the right amount to you? Not enough? Too much?

I don’t think the amounts you cite are sufficient. That’s why I think we need more revenue, from new local sources, and from the state.

What was your first bike?

My first bike was a Diamondback dirt bike with some coaster brakes on it. I rode an REI brand mountain bike for a long time during high school. I was a magnet kid — I grew up in Southeast Portland but I went to Lincoln, and there was no yellow-bus service so I rode my bike to school across the river, across the Hawthorne Bridge every day. And now I have a Jamis commuter that I’ve absolutely beat up with all the miles I’ve put on it. But it’s a tank and I love it.

Qs & As lightly edited. Listen to the audio for an unedited version.

* Quick fact check: 122nd is managed by the city, not ODOT.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • One Love March 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Jonathan. Would you please consider interviewing other candidates as well? Maybe David Schor?


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 11, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Yes. Thanks for the feedback. We will consider it. Can’t guarantee anything but rest assured both Michael and I are well aware there are other candidates that deserve to be heard. But as publisher I also have to take into consideration that we have an extremely limited capacity to do these interviews. Thanks for understanding.

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      • James April 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        Are you going to interview Schor?

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm

          Hi James,

          Yes. We already have. We will share a summary of that conversation and the full audio next week. Don’t miss our interview with Sarah Iannarone the just posted today!

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    • J. E. March 11, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Seconded. Most of the other “minor” candidates I could do without reading about, but I’d really like to hear a bike/transportation-oriented interview with Schor.

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      • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
        Michael Andersen (News Editor) March 11, 2016 at 4:48 pm

        And to be clear, I would love to do it – at the Revolution Hall debate I saw, Schor seemed pretty close to the big three in his understanding of policy detail.

        The tradeoff is that this interview took as much time to put together as three other blog posts, and we’ve got at least two more of them left to do.

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        • soren March 12, 2016 at 10:26 am

          Schor seemed pretty close to the big three in his understanding of policy detail.

          Bailey, Wheeler, and Iannarone have not offered much discussion of ways to proactively tackle income inequality and wealth concentration. Nor do these mainstream candidates discuss the related issue of how to reduce the influence of money in our political system. In my opinion, no other candidate comes close to Schor when it comes to addressing important policy issues.

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  • devograd March 11, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Thank you for doing this! What a great resource BikePortland is.

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  • Allan Rudwick March 11, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    legalizing increased density in R5 zones is nice, but insulates wealthy areas which are often R7 and beyond. Additionally, many areas are pushing to be downzoned. Also, way easier said than done

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  • dwk March 11, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Why do we “need” to increase supply to meet the “demand” that is coming in? Why is this somehow dogma here that is never even challenged?
    This town was never laid out or built to accommodate millions of people.
    It is needs to end and that should be the first thing a new mayor is asked.

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    • Patrick C. March 11, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Well, because the demand exists and people will continue to move here, regardless of how we feel about it. Unless you want to build a wall around Portland and keep people from moving here — which wouldn’t really be legal or feasible — we’re going to have to make a plan to deal with the growth, regardless of how we feel about it. No mayor can flatline or reduce Portland’s population.

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      • dwk March 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm

        Growth for growth sake?
        Kind of like cancer cells?
        There are a lot of places I think would be nice to live. They are taken already. The quality of life is going down here, not up. We cannot fix or maintain the infrastructure for the population we have now.
        We do not need to become the LA basin, sorry, when is a good time to stop?

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        • Chris I March 11, 2016 at 8:08 pm

          You are offering no solutions.

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          • 9watts March 11, 2016 at 9:48 pm

            O.K. How about we craft a thoughtful survey of our fellow Oregonians (as the folks who used to be Alternatives to Growth Oregon did in the late 90s) asking what they think the optimum population of Oregon, or of the Metro area, would be. I think it quite likely that the preponderance of the responses we’d get back would be well this side of the doubling that everyone loves to suggest is inevitable. Assuming this hunch is right, why not set ourselves the goal of organizing an extended series of public conversations about how to reconcile these contradictory strands:
            (1) growth must always and forever be accommodated
            (2) but a doubling of our population could easily ruin what makes/made Oregon so desirable as a place; who is served by this unquestioning obeisance to growth?
            (3) ongoing financial and other subsidies to the not-yet-here.

            What could possibly be wrong with wrestling with these issues in a frank and open manner that explicitly recognizes and seeks to contain the risk of it spilling into xenophobic territory? Most commenters here seem to feel that kicking this can down the road is preferable, unmindful of the fact that a reckoning will always and in every case eventually happen.
            Exponential growth on a finite planet cannot last forever. And the larger the population we have swollen to when we do finally concede that we have to do something about it the harder it will be.

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          • dwk March 12, 2016 at 8:10 am

            The solution is to zone for low growth. Simple and I want my mayor to pursue that option. This cities infrastructure is a disaster. Pot holed streets, a sewer flow into the river every rainstorm, Freeways in gridlock….
            We cannot even provide decent roads, schools, etc for the current population and you all here at bikeportland think that letting developers run roughshod here is the way to go?
            They only people benefiting from the current crazy inflow of people not the region are real estate developers.
            That is it!

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            • 9watts March 12, 2016 at 8:44 am

              “The solution is to zone for low growth.”

              I think the solution is a bit more complicated and should be super-regional at a minimum. We can’t hope to solve something as pervasive as our growth-manic policies by fiddling with the local zoning and ignoring all the otherrepercussions of this kind of asymmetry.
              People who are on all sides of this impasse need to be given an opportunity to understand the tradeoffs we are making right now; who the winners (developers, landlords, wealthy in-migrants, etc.) and losers (renters, the poor, the already here, etc.) are in the current Growth Über Alles approach, and what would be different if we tackled this differently, with a different mindset.

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              • dwk March 12, 2016 at 8:58 am

                I realize that zoning is simplistic but it is a start. A regional plan is a must but in the near future we can stop putting up 9 story apartment buildings on every vacant lot and hoping for the best which is the current mindset.
                I am truly surprised that on this website there would be a consensus that the kind of growth we are experiencing is just inevitable and we should just suck up and deal with it.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. March 12, 2016 at 8:58 am

                You use the term “growth”, but it seems like what you really mean is “people moving here”, which by constitutional law you cannot prevent. You can only accommodate those people in a smart way. Downzoning the entire city is a recipe for disaster and will only result in absurdly high housing costs. And those “crazy influx of people” are adding to the tax base which will improve the roads/schools/etc.

                We need to be smart about growth, which as a city in the past 40 years, for the most part, we have been. Urban growth boundaries, Light Rail instead of highways, focusing on bike infra instead of cars. We can do a lot better though. But you can’t stop growth. Portland will grow up whether we like it or not, and the only choice we have is to accommodate it in a smart manner.

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              • dwk March 12, 2016 at 9:18 am

                nice try….
                Cliches like “Increasing the tax base” sounds like it came right out of the mouth of a real estate developer.
                Give me a good example of a city that grew rapidly and things worked out well. Just one….
                And don’t go give me Europe.
                Of course we cannot legally stop people from moving here, Who said that?
                Do we have to provide housing for them? Is that in the constitution?
                Again, the quality of life is not improving in Portland, and that is not just my opinion.
                If you want to shill for developers, be my guest. You tell me who else is benefiting from population growth.

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              • dwk March 12, 2016 at 9:25 am

                By the way, what is the urban growth boundary except a way to control or slow growth? You seem to think that is fine, that is exactly what I am advocating except it needs to go further.
                We who live here have zero obligation to others who want to move her.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. March 12, 2016 at 9:35 am

                The urban growth boundary is designed to control outward growth and sprawl to preserve farmland. There’s nothing about it that controls upward growth. Denser cities are more efficient since resources can be shared or used less. A low density city like much of the east side is what causes many the things you complain about growth: traffic congestion on highways, poor infrastructure, etc. Denser cities put less pressure on infra since many more people can bike or walk.

                I am not shilling for anyone. I am directly benefiting from growth as my neighborhood densifies and I have more amenities nearby to walk and bike to. More employment centers scattered around town help too, since people can more easily walk or bike to work. Creating a false “developers vs the people” battle solves nothing and only worsens the problem.

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              • dwk March 12, 2016 at 9:49 am

                So you have no solutions except “smart” growth…..
                Another Cliche that people like Jules and Ted use. Sorry Adam, but I know lots of people who live near Division and Fremont. Apparently the “smart” growth memo never got to them. Having a couple more restaurants to go to hardly makes up for the street congestion and just general parking/transportation everyday hassles that they have now. N Williams is a mess, how is that “smart” growth?
                San Francisco and the entire central Cal coast is a very desirable area to live it appears and they are full up….There is no place to grow and the price to live there is very expensive. Should they build 100 story high-rises so the rest of us can move there? Is there ever an end?
                The metro area here now has about 2 million people, is that not enough?
                How many do we have to “accommodate”. Give me a number?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. March 12, 2016 at 9:57 am

                I walk and bike everywhere so I don’t get the pleasure of experiencing traffic congestion on Division. The only reason that growth causes these issues is that we keep planning for cars. Look at cities in the Netherlands: they are far denser than us, but planned around people instead of cars, so they have none of this traffic congestion you speak of. This is what I mean by “smart growth”. Allow the housing for people, but don’t allow space for cars. Cars are the problem, not housing growth.

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              • dwk March 12, 2016 at 10:07 am

                The density of Amsterdam is 4435 pps, the density of Portland is 4375 pps.
                We are more dense than Amsterdam right now.
                I knew you would bring up Europe, maybe you need to do a bit of research about it…..

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              • maccoinnich March 12, 2016 at 10:20 am

                Nice try. According to wikipedia, the population density of Amsterdam is 4,908 people per square kilometer… or 12,710 people per square mile. The population density of Portland is 4,375 people per square mile, which makes slightly more than a third as dense as that city.

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              • dwk March 12, 2016 at 10:28 am

                at Mac, I screwed up, thanks for correcting.
                Maybe you can address the issue from your pro growth position. Do we have a duty to provide housing for all those who want to move to Portland Oregon?
                No “smart” growth cliches, Should those of us who live here subsidize (and we do) the growth that you either seem to want?

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              • 9watts March 12, 2016 at 12:41 pm

                “Allow the housing for people, but don’t allow space for cars. Cars are the problem, not housing growth.”

                Limits don’t just come in a few flavors. You can have too many cars, too many houses, too many people, too much impervious service for any bioregion. I agree that houses without accommodations for cars would be preferable and since this is a transportation blog we do tend to focus more on the longage of motor vehicles than the longage of houses or people, but that doesn’t mean identifying how much is enough is worthwhile.

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              • 9watts March 12, 2016 at 12:42 pm

                “You can only accommodate those people in a smart way.”

                Smart growth without any caps is an oxymoron. There is no such thing on a planet with finite quantities of fresh water, top soil, and places to put our effluents.

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              • bjcefola March 13, 2016 at 10:41 am

                9watts, how would you discriminate against people who wanted to move here in a way consistent with the precept of equality before the law?

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              • 9watts March 13, 2016 at 11:21 am

                I am not a lawyer, but I believe that the law does not enumerate the manner in which we must
                + incentivize people to come here, set up shop, invest, employ others
                + subsidize the not-yet-here through tax breaks and myopic fiscal schemes that, notwithstanding Adam H’s claims above, always seem to shift some of the costs of infrastructure expansion (sewers, roads, police, fire, schools, libraries, etc.) onto the tax payers rather than charging those who build or buy a place the full cost.
                + privilege the money of those who, e.g., wish to buy real estate and retire here over the unmonied renters who are thereby displaced.
                + issue an unlimited number of building permits, license plates, etc. without any regard for the repercussions.

                To my unlawyerly ears the ‘equality before the law’ trope sounds like a way to kick the can down the road, throw sand in the eyes of those who are asking for a reevaluation, rather than acknowledge that our current arrangement has as many (or more?) losers as what I am proposing we do might produce. Which, by the way, is not to ‘build a wall,’ but to face the music of limits, of inequality, of how public monies are spent right now (to the detriment of the poor-already-here, and the benefit of the relatively-wealthier-yet-to-come).

                Finally I’ll submit that if in fact our current laws do an inadequate job of instantiating limits to growth doesn’t mean we can’t or mustn’t try to change those laws (not to stick it to some group, but to account for the fact that on a finite planet pretending that limits don’t concern us, that we are somehow uniquely exempt, is a recipe for ruin).

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              • bjcefola March 13, 2016 at 5:52 pm

                I think a lot of bad things have happened in this country when people decided equality before the law was just a trope.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2016 at 6:04 pm

                This sure is frustrating trying to have a conversation with you. You aren’t engaging the substance here at all, but instead sit back and dispense platitudes about equality before the law.

                Believe it or not, I think equality before the law is important too. But in my experience you can’t live your life according to an abstract phrase like that and ignore everything else that is going on around you. For all I know there is no necessary conflict between your ‘equality before the law’ and my ‘limits are real and better dealt with sooner rather than later,’ but we’d never discover that from your contributions to this conversation.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2016 at 6:51 pm

                And I didn’t (mean to) say that equality before the law is a trope, but rather that you are deploying the phrase in this conversation as a rhetorical device; you are using it as a stick with which to beat your opponent, distract our fellow readers with a high-minded phrase.

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              • bjcefola March 14, 2016 at 5:39 am

                Maybe I misunderstood you and you’re not arguing for discriminating against people moving here. How is your vision for Portland different from this? Plentiful green grass for those who can afford it, the shaft for everyone else?

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              • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 7:22 am

                You are misunderstanding me, BJ.
                Although I have come to realize that superficially it may seem like downzoning Eastmoreland overlaps with what I’m suggesting, nothing could be further from the truth. As I’ve said elsewhere, density—the favorite land use buzzword on the Left—doesn’t actually help us understand the problem, must less solve it. Like other buzzwords: energy efficiency and fuel economy it is merely a ratio, with no cap. It is a mellifluous sounding but short-sighted policy framing. With enough population pressure, calling for density is not going to solve anything, but is just another way to kick the can down the road. If we add another million or two people to the Metro area it won’t matter a bit whether we build up or out, because neither approach acknowledges either biophysical or infrastructural limits. Both of these approaches will exacerbate our present inability to take care of the people who already live here, keep up with our infrastructure, prepare for a climate-constrained future. What is the point?

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              • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 7:25 am

                posting in 3 parts.

                This Manichean conversation everyone keeps wanting to have is to me profoundly unproductive: density vs sprawl doesn’t come close to capturing what we are up against. It is a framing of the issue that skirts the bigger questions: inequality, limits to growth, climate change, public spending priorities – these are not acknowledged much less addressed by the way we typically frame the question of housing and land use and unaffordability, except occasionally at the margins. Why decree that every conversation must start with the assumption that millions are going to come here no matter what we do. …

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              • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 7:27 am

                You and many others here have made it clear that you prefer to stick with the familiar dichotomies, and when someone comes along and suggests that there is more to these issues, that the carefully policed conversational boundaries are limiting our ability to see some of the larger consequences, you make it abundantly clear that you are not interested in having that other conversation.

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            • BJCefola March 14, 2016 at 8:43 pm

              I’m going to take a roundabout way to explain why I think we’re butting heads. There’s an adage among libertarians and those inclined to find folly in government regulation, it goes like this:

              Regulations require that every airline passenger, including infants who could be carried by a parent, have their own ticketed seat. The cost of that ticket encourages parents to drive for some trips when they might otherwise fly. Driving is less safe than flying. Ergo, the airline regulation puts infants in danger rather than protects them because it puts them into a more dangerous mode of travel.

              I think this is a bogus argument, and not because of anything to do with accident statistics. It’s bogus because it requires airline regulations to be judged by activities whose conduct has nothing to do with flying. There’s no reason airline regulations should contemplate driving safety, anymore then they should contemplate food safety. Airline regulations are about making air travel safer, demanding more of them is an arbitrary expansion of scope. If we want safer food or safer roads, the proper venue for getting those outcomes is food regulation or driving regulation, not flying regulation.

              Scope matters when judging policy. I’d argue that for any policy, if one expands the scope wide enough one finds futility. We’re all dead in the long term, right? And I think that’s what you’re doing.

              I don’t disagree that there are large scale questions about the future and how it might be impacted by climate change. But I think city zoning is an inappropriate venue for taking that up. Let’s get real concrete: the comp plan allows an apartment building on a corner, or it doesn’t. Either a lot of people live on that site, or a lot of people live elsewhere. How does the latter scenario make us better prepared for climate change than the former? Particularly when “elsewhere” might mean the suburbs just outside city boundaries which are not at all subject to city zoning?

              Portland has an immediate and pressing problem with the housing shortage. I want city policy to address that problem. Zoning is a huge part of doing that. Larger questions, especially something as indifferent to boundaries as population growth, are more effectively answered at a larger level like Metro or the state.

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              • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 9:04 pm

                “I don’t disagree that there are large scale questions about the future and how it might be impacted by climate change. But I think city zoning is an inappropriate venue for taking that up.”

                I guess we disagree then. Our Climate Action Plan is a city-effort; why shouldn’t we be thinking about climate change at all levels, from the household or individual up to whatever level still makes sense? I agree that this shouldn’t be the only level at which we address this, but it seems to me unlikely that we’re going to get traction at higher levels of aggregation if there’s no foment at the local level.

                Also this conversation got started I think less because of a discussion of zoning than of the familiar compulsion to build, build, build until the cows come home. Zoning is a part of that, but only a part. dwk was I think criticizing the reflexive emphasis on exogenous demand for housing more than on zoning per se.

                “Larger questions, especially something as indifferent to boundaries as population growth, are more effectively answered at a larger level like Metro or the state.”

                I don’t think this should be an either/or situation, especially when Metro or the state would almost certainly pass, pointing out that—thanks to perspectives like yours—there is no manifest demand for this from their constituents. In principle I don’t care at what level this is tackled, but the fact is that it isn’t being tackled by anyone at any level, at least in the last forty years. The Rockefeller Commission (set up by Pres. Richard Nixon in 1972) is probably the best known effort along these lines we could point to. So, sure, let’s have action at the federal level, but let’s not ignore the issue back home either. I see pressure and momentum coming from below on most issues, this one included. Politicians almost never lead; they wait until they can’t afford to ignore an issue due to pressure from (preferably) their constituents, but more often their funders.

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              • bjcefola March 15, 2016 at 6:04 am

                Let’s try again to get concrete: the comp plan allows an apartment building on a corner, or it doesn’t. Either a lot of people live on that site, or a lot of people live elsewhere. How does the latter scenario make us better prepared for climate change than the former? Particularly when “elsewhere” might mean the suburbs just outside city boundaries which are not at all subject to city zoning?

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        • 9watts March 11, 2016 at 8:53 pm

          thank you dwk for speaking up.
          Unfortunately the readership of bikeportland (at least the commenters) seem to have very little appetite indeed for any thoroughgoing critique of growth for growth’s sake. Even when I’ve offered solutions, different paths forward, other ways of looking at this problem, there is very little interest here in exploring those alternatives.

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    • maccoinnich March 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      People challenge the idea all the time; try reading the facebook group “Stop Demolishing Portland” where it’s orthodoxy that there’s no need to build another unit of housing in Portland ever again.

      I’m glad though that Jules Bailey isn’t paying any attention to that idea.

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      • 9watts March 11, 2016 at 9:05 pm

        Those who might think we don’t need to pursue growth always and forever come in many flavors, maccoinnich. Just because a stop demolition group might have what seems like a limited understanding of population dynamics doesn’t mean we should tar everyone who questions growth with that particular brush.

        There are hundreds of reasons someone might question the current orthodoxy that growth is a policy goal, or necessary, or unavoidable, & most of all shall never be questioned, and anyone who does anyway be pilloried.
        The fact that the growth apologists here are so rarely interested in engaging the perspectives, the arguments put forth by the small handful of us who question it speaks volumes.

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        • maccoinnich March 12, 2016 at 10:21 am

          I’m sure you’ll win lots of converts to your cause by using language like “growth apologists”.

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          • 9watts March 12, 2016 at 12:51 pm

            I’m not an evangelist.

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  • wsbob March 11, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Bailey is an interesting guy. Extraordinary that he actually rides that distance from his home in SW to work in central east side…I wonder how many work days in a year he rides it.

    I noticed he limited his remarks about his reasoning for the proposed convention area parking structure, to benefits to the convention center hotel. The general thinking has been for years, I think, that the rationale for building all of that stuff, the convention center, the hotel, the parking structure, etc, is that it could possibly be of enormous economic benefit to the immediate area its in, as well as to Downtown. Costs a ton of money to do it. Convention center area businesses can’t, or don’t want to do it alone…so they’ve been hoping and expecting all along that the city will pitch in.

    Bailey’s intentions may be good with respect to the CRC present and future, but it seems to me that anyone that believes that congestion over that river crossing can be…controlled…with tolling, may not be seeing the bigger picture. Tolling can help manage and make money from congestion, but probably not control it. Community planning…what’s provided for people in the way of places to live and work, are intrinsically linked factors. While this interview didn’t get around to that aspect, I like to think that Bailey is the kind of person that has thought about it.

    If he were elected as mayor, would Bailey be able to successfully argue to persuade the city’s residents, to use natural area parks in the city, particularly in the case of Forest Park…for mountain biking? If elected, he might be much further along towards realizing off road biking opportunities locally, if he were to consider using any interest there is in opportunities for mountain biking within the urban area, to incentivize new purchases of natural lands dedicated specifically to mountain biking, rather than using natural lands already designated for uses essential to the city’s residents as a whole.

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    • Eric Leifsdad March 11, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      I would like to know the number of days he rides it, and Corbett or LaView? But I’m surprised you call 6.5 miles “that distance”. Even on a fixed gear, it’s a pretty easy half hour in to the other side of the hawthorne bridge. The 500ft climb out is a workout, but that’s his trip home.

      In fact, that distance issue seems to be an easy answer to affordable housing and I’m surprised that’s not talked about more. “Pedal until you qualify” solves a lot of problems, where “drive until you qualify” either pushes them around or makes them worse. But where’s the line of velomobiles or electric bikes streaming down Powell or Barbur (waiting on ODOT to get its SUV out of the way?)

      Finally, somebody in city hall to notice that every drain grate on Terwilliger is 2in below the pavement?

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      • wsbob March 13, 2016 at 12:35 am

        “…But I’m surprised you call 6.5 miles “that distance”. Even on a fixed gear, it’s a pretty easy half hour in to the other side of the hawthorne bridge. The 500ft climb out is a workout, but that’s his trip home. …” leifsdad

        Round trip, the distance likely is more than 13 miles, and if Bailey is making that distance to work and back, say three days a week, it seems like that may put him in a league of his own, for a commissioner or a politician. The route is doable, but quite a workout. Not the kind of ride I’d think is advisable for a fixed gear, unless it’s geared low, but each to their own.

        Others reading here likely know the routes from Multnomah to the central eastside better than I, but what I recollect of them, he’s right that some of the street connections are a bit of a tangled mess. It’s a ride I think not many people anxious about dealing with difficult motor vehicle traffic situations, would be willing to make. More politicians with first hand knowledge of, and sensitivity to the intimidating nature those kinds of conditions may have on biking, could be helpful.

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        • Eric Leifsdad March 14, 2016 at 5:26 pm

          It’s a bit long, but that’s the story for most of SW. With some gears and the ability to coast, the ride in is a breeze with several nice views of Mt Hood and the river and pretty tame traffic Multnomah, Barbur, Terwilliger, Miles, Brier, Custer, Corbett, (optional LaView+Virginia), Landing, Moody, Tilikum, and the esplanade to Hawthorne. Where the worst part is probably the offramp/onramp bike lane from Multnomah — I go up 20th and take Barbur from there instead, but that leaves you with a gap at 19th where the morning speeds on the on/off ramp might be 0-20mph if you time it right. From Terwilliger to Miles is a short stretch of Barbur with a decent lane in a 35mph zone and traffic that’s generally starting or stopping. If you miss the school parents around 8am, the rest is ok. You could even ride the river path with the joggers and their puppies if you like it slow. Either way, you beat or tie traffic inbound and get a workout on the way home instead of trying to find time for that after sitting in a car for 30-50min every day.

          So, it’s not very scary and not super challenging if you’re reasonably fit. Overall, it’s more intimidating than difficult. You do need good brakes. For a soft start, maybe take the tram or gibbs elevator + bus for part of the ride home.

          You could shave 10 minutes pounding down Barbur and taking the lane on both bridges and Naito to the Hawthorne bridge, but that’s a different ride. Add some good protected lanes and an electric bike would become a super easy choice for someone currently driving alone from SW.

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  • TheCat March 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    I still haven’t forgiven him for the CRC vote. Nothing I read in this interview changes that.

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    • Hopeful March 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      Yeah. I’ll need him to talk more about that. Screw the CRC and the supporters who tried to cram more highways down our throats, trying to divide up neighborhoods.

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      • Tyler March 11, 2016 at 6:29 pm

        I think the CRC was intended to replace an old bridge, not to add more highways, right? It absolutely should add more lanes to I-5 though – all the way from Lake O to Olympia or Tacoma. The region is growing and 95% of the newbies drive cars, not bikes.

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        • Tyler March 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm

          Actually more lanes are needed all the way to Eugene.

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        • TheCat March 11, 2016 at 7:30 pm

          The CRC was a major freeway expansion marketed as a simple bridge replacement. The last thing we need to be doing as a society is expanding freeways.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. March 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

          More lanes only induce more traffic demand, not relieve it.

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          • 9watts March 11, 2016 at 10:05 pm

            And more people?

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  • Kevin Wagoner March 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    He bikes from SW Portland!

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    • Tyler March 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      That’s barely in Portland – do you really want someone not familiar with the inner city?

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    • Tom Hardy March 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      And I ride up and down on Barbur at commute times.

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    • dwk March 12, 2016 at 8:40 am

      IF he actually really commutes on Barbur into downtown he would have mentioned the terrifying stretch from Barbur to Naitto, so I am calling BS on his story…

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  • SE March 11, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    >>And yet 122nd has a striped bike lane that doesn’t do as much good as it could because it’s terrifying.

    Really ? hyperbole much ? Guess I didn’t get the memo , and I ride 122nd a couple of times a week.

    Avenue of Terror Two ???? too much.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) March 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      So you’d happily let your seven-year-old bike to the library that way? You’d take visiting friends that way to the Springwater?

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      • gutterbunnybikes March 12, 2016 at 9:37 am

        Though 122 was out of her range, I’ve ridden with my daughter (when she was 7) on bike paths similar like Division east of 82nd, I taught her how to take the lane on streets like 72nd and pre bike path 50/52nd. And had we lived in the 122nd corridor we would have ridden on 122 to the Library as well. In fact, the riding over the hinges (she wiped out on them once) on the floating path on the Esplanade freak her out more than traffic on bike laned arterial streets in middle east side. WIthin a week of her being able to ride, one of her first rides was the SE parkways where for about 1/2 a mile we took the lane on Holgate through East Port to the route. Yes it was Sunday – but traffic was heavy with the Parkways too.

        As a parent, it’s not my job protect them from the outside world, it’s my job to help them find their place in it and guide them in their decisions and actions so they can navigate it safely- and I can’t think of a single thing that is worse to teach a child than unreasonable fear. And the fear of traffic on a whole in this town is completely unreasonable.

        You can’t avoid it, it’s not going to just disappear – just like the Dutch, I’ve taught my kids the rules of the road at a very early age but you can’t do that while completely avoiding it too. They know how ride, and walk, and other than the actual operation of an automobile (which is actually becoming a bit of an annoyance with my 17 year old) they know how to drive it as well.

        Was teaching them a little intimidating – absolutely (but really not much more than most of the rest of parenting)! You can’t help but imagine a car sliding out of the lane and hitting your kid while you teach them how to ride a bike lane on an arterial or while taking the lane on a busier street – it’s nerve-racking. But I’m 100% glad I did it because now 5 years later I can pretty much let her loose on the city on her bike without much concern. She knows the routes in the neighborhood and surrounding areas and enough about how the addresses/grid works so she won’t get lost (except perhaps in North Portland) and how to ride in all conditions and circumstances that our streets might present to her. I know my repeated mantra of “cars always win” has sunk in and she rides with confidence with knowledge and skills – but with enough skepticism of the potential of individual drivers that she will behave accordingly while on the road.

        I think it’s more of a disservice to not teach your kids how to ride on these paths. You teach them to stand up to bullies, to buckle down and try harder when they fail – (or perhaps the more difficult inverse of that it’s ok that you aren’t capable of doing this too), and any of a million other little things which aren’t comfortable to teach but are necessary. So why wouldn’t you teach them how to do something as mundane as how to safely navigate the streets?

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        • Alex Reedin March 13, 2016 at 1:59 am

          Hmm, I wonder why 99% of children do not get the biking education your daughter got. Is it a correctable lack of enlightenment on their parents’ part? Or is it due to an unalterable fact about humanity that the vast majority of people, when faced with a bike option that feels unsafe and causes them to contemplate their child’s grisly demise (no matter how statistically unlikely that demise and how similarly statistically dangerous and much more independence-delaying the parent-piloted motorized alternative is), choose the motorized, safe-feeling option? Personally, I lean towards saying it’s way more unalterable than due to a lack of enlightenment and motivation that some good Internet articles and parent-exhortation could change.

          Even learning and teaching the greenway routes (as I will do) expects a lot of parents. My husband still doesn’t know how to get downtown on the green ways – he’s just not a map-minded guy.

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          • 9watts March 13, 2016 at 9:08 am

            “Or is it due to an unalterable fact about humanity that the vast majority of people, when faced with a bike option that feels unsafe and causes them to contemplate their child’s grisly demise […], choose the motorized, safe-feeling option?”

            I think very little about humanity is unalterable. Socialization is real, and asymmetric fears are a thing, but I don’t think it inconceivable that we could erode some of this bias. Let’s not forget that once upon a time the distribution of attitudes about the dangers of (…..) were quite different, even right here in this town.

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            • Alex Reed March 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm

              I think quite a lot is alterable, but I think there’s something very primal about seeing, hearing, and feeling (and smelling, ick) motor vehicles going quite fast right next to you. I don’t think it’s possible to change societal messaging to the point that biking/walking right next to high-speed traffic is just as pleasant and low-stress as on low-traffic streets or on separated paths.

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        • wsbob March 13, 2016 at 1:42 pm

          There’s a big difference in danger posed, and skill required in riding bike paths physically separated from thoroughfares with the occasional street intersections encountered, as compared to riding painted bike lanes along major thoroughfares.

          It’s a major challenge for adults, I think, to skillfully and safely ride painted bike lanes on the thoroughfares, including transitions across multiple lanes to make left turns and whatnot. Not the kind of thing I don’t think, for kids. How old? Good question. Not 5 or 7 year olds. Maybe a big, mature 12 yr or 14 yr old. Out here in Beaverton, I’m thinking about roads like 185th or Murray…they’re nightmares.

          Definitely think kids ought to get early introduction to safely walking and biking the streets around their home to key destinations like their school, the store, church and so on. Maybe many kids today don’t get that kind of introduction, because I suspect lots of adults gave up that kind of walking, long ago. How may of your adult neighbors do you see walking around the neighborhood regularly. If they’ve got a dog, maybe, but not necessarily very far.

          If people in any neighborhood truly want their neighborhood streets to provide a greater quality of livability to the neighborhood, they should try to actively use those streets by walking and biking. To this end, neighborhoods without sidewalks do have some benefit. It being known that people do walk and bike on the street in such neighborhoods, can help to sustain a human dynamic that streets with sidewalks sometimes lose. No people on the streets walking, that people driving need to slow down for, leads some people to think they’re fine to drive faster and faster.

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    • Tom Hardy March 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      I live in SW and I enjoy riding from Halsey to Powell on 122nd. It is much better than 82nd. If the bike lane does not go to the corner past the right turn lane I still slip through between the cars that are going right and those going straight. I usually am able to time the lights so I don’t need to stop.

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    • wsbob March 11, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      I’ve not ridden the painted bike lanes of 122nd, but have ridden some bike lanes that may be similar, such as those out in Washington County on high motor vehicle volume traffic roads such as185th, or Murray Blvd, or Baseline Rd, or Cornell Rd, and others… . Seriously…whose going to ride that type infrastructure except hard core bike commuters and recreational riders, or very desperate poor people that have no other alternative?

      Are many rational minded people going to take their small kids for a ride on those type bike lanes? I don’t think so,and I don’t think many other people do either. Not to underscore the importance painted bike lanes have been to the general growth of practical biking. Preparing for the future, something additional and better is needed.

      With that in mind, I was excited to read Baily mention ‘protected bike lanes’, and getting more of them for Portland. I would like to hear more about the nuts and bolts of what he has in mind, and how he thinks he might be able to actually get it done if he was mayor.

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      • GlowBoy March 16, 2016 at 7:31 pm

        I ride on the west side a lot, and I can’t think of many roads there with bike lanes as scary as 122nd. The problem with many of the megarterials in east Portland is that there is a parking lane pushing the bike lane wayyyy out from the curb.

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  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley March 11, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Excellent interview questions! Bailey’s answers show a good solid understanding of the issues and a lot of intelligence. I’m impressed–with BikePortland and with Bailey.

    Still probably leaning towards Sarah, myself, but from this report, Bailey wouldn’t be a bad second choice.

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  • SE March 11, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Michael Andersen (News Editor)
    So you’d happily let your seven-year-old bike to the library that way? You’d take visiting friends that way to the Springwater?
    Recommended 1

    are you that 7 y.o. ? If not, then why the red herring ?
    you can ask that of any main street in the tri-counties.

    BP throws around the descriptor “terror” too often. do you think it gens up page hits ?
    If you really are so terrified of SpringWater MUP and now SE122nd , maybe you should go back to being Afoot. 🙁

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 11, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Hey SE,

      you’re welcome to disagree with our coverage and to offer your criticisms, but you are not allowed to be mean and make even veiled threats, especially against my news editor. I hope you understand. Please let me know if I’m not being clear.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. March 11, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      I won’t ride on 122nd. I was terrified just walking down it. So much car traffic…

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) March 13, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      I think the “terror” comment you’re referring to about the Springwater was a quote from a third party that we used on a headline of a post Jonathan wrote. Is that right?

      Anyway, you’re right to presume that I’m not talking about myself, I’m talking about how I think other people feel on 122nd. And I don’t ultimately know how other people feel any better than you do. Maybe you and me and Gutterbunny should hang out at Midland some time and watch the bike traffic to see if we can learn from it.

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  • chris March 11, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Foster is just fine how it is, how about spending that money improving the streets around Foster? It already has double wide sidewalks for people who are afraid of biking on the street. I live one block off of it, and my street doesn’t even have gutters/curbs/any sort of rain management. It turns into a standing pond almost the entire width of the street with nowhere to walk without wading through puddles.
    And with all this talk of air pollution, why is creating gridlock/more cars sitting at idle (the most polluting way to run a motor) seem like a good idea? 82nd & Foster is already the hottest (temperature) spot in Portland, how about using that money to get local businesses converted to green roofing? If road diets are so great, how about one on Hawthorne from 7th to 39th?

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    • Eric Leifsdad March 11, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Property owners are responsible for building and maintaining the sidewalks. Build yourself one?

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      • chris March 11, 2016 at 10:36 pm

        honestly, i’m more concerned about my house falling into a sinkhole some day, i seem to be at the low spot on the block where all the water gathers.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. March 11, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      I’ve biked on the sidewalk of Foster. It’s far from ideal. The pavement is of poor quality in many places and steering around through the curb cuts is challenging.

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      • chris March 11, 2016 at 10:43 pm

        as someone who’s trying to conceive a child, i’m a bit more concerned about the poor quality air i (we) breathe. not looking forward to needlessly concentrating even more pollution right outside my door. it’s far from ideal.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. March 12, 2016 at 9:01 am

          How will the Foster Streetscape Project “concentrate pollution right outside your door”?

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          • chris March 12, 2016 at 11:11 am

            well it’s only a few posts up but i’ll repeat it anyway,
            creating gridlock/more cars sitting at idle is the most polluting way to run a motor. cars pollute less when in motion, more when they have to sit through 4 stoplight cycles where they used to only have to wait for one. science, it’s real, whether you believe it or not.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. March 12, 2016 at 12:28 pm

              The idea is to discourage people from using Foster as a commuting route, so how much of that will be offset by the reduction in volume?

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            • Beeblebrox March 12, 2016 at 1:08 pm

              With modern engines, this is fast becoming a falsity. Idling cars are polluting less and less every year, and many new cars (including all hybrids, I believe) actually shut off the engine when the car is stopped and restart it when you hit the gas pedal. I’m hoping these facts become more well known so we can stop justifying “traffic flow improvements” as being good for climate when it actually just encourages more driving.

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              • GlowBoy March 16, 2016 at 7:36 pm

                Actually, idling cars still pollute more than cars in motion – not only proportionally, but in terms of actual pollutant volume. Most hybrids do shut down when stopped, but they’re still a pretty small share of the cars on the road. There are a few non-hybrids with stop-start systems now too, but mostly on luxury cars and in far smaller volume than hybrids.

                That said, I don’t agree that the pollution resulting from congestion is generally a good argument for dramatically improving traffic flow. You just end up creating more induced demand and, ultimately, more pollution.

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            • El Biciclero March 12, 2016 at 9:13 pm

              Parked cars have zero emissions. If left in the garage, a car rarely emits more than a couple of oil drips.

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      • gutterbunnybikes March 12, 2016 at 9:49 am

        West of 82nd, hardly anyone uses on street parking – that’s where I ride it’s already in effect a 8′ wide bike lane, with occasional interruptions (a parked car – just like all the other bike lanes)

        East of 82nd the sidewalk conditions are of such I pretty much take my chances in the lane. The sidewalks there are too tore up, too narrow, and have too many obstacles to really ride on the sidewalks there. But since there are almost no businesses on that stretch of Foster that I patronize now that the goats are gone (I know you’re South Tabor too) I often just ride south a few blocks and take Woodstock across or cross at 82nd and take Ellis just North of Foster to get to downtown Lents.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. March 12, 2016 at 10:46 am

          I usually just take the 14 bus to Lents. Same if I’m heading to the Heart of Foster area around Holgate. If I’m going to Foster Burger, I just walk. I don’t particularly enjoy riding on Foster in the roadway or sidewalk. It should get a little better after the Streetscape project, but they will still be unprotected painted lanes. Isn’t it funny how the parking on Foster is almost never used, yet PBOT insisted they couldn’t remove more than a few spaces to build protected bike lanes?

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        • Cora Potter March 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm

          The goats are still at 91st between Foster and Reedway. They’ll be moving to 92nd at Ellis/Harold in the near future and will stay there until at least April 2017.

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  • SE March 12, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    Hey SE,
    you’re welcome to disagree with our coverage and to offer your criticisms, but you are not allowed to be mean and make even veiled threats, especially against my news editor. I hope you understand. Please let me know if I’m not being clear.
    Recommended 4

    wow. to help me from repeating my error, could you please point out the ” veiled threats, especially against my news editor”

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    • Beeblebrox March 12, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      It wasn’t exactly a threat, per se, but it was a pretty jerky comment. It’s called an ad hominem attack, and it’s not cool.

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    • Rob Chapman March 14, 2016 at 7:42 am

      SE, I can’t find anything threatening or ad hominem in your post here.

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    • wsbob March 14, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      “are you that 7 y.o. ? If not, then why the red herring ?
      you can ask that of any main street in the tri-counties.

      BP throws around the descriptor “terror” too often. do you think it gens up page hits ?
      If you really are so terrified of SpringWater MUP and now SE122nd , maybe you should go back to being Afoot. 🙁 ” SE

      You could tone down your response a bit and still get your point across, probably more effectively, being a little less dismissive of viewpoints differing from yours, and being a little more sensitive to the feeling of anxiety many people likely have about the consideration of riding a bike in the types of road and bike path situations that are common in our area.

      The apprehension many people have about the prospect of biking, is a real thing. More things need to be done to have the biking experience be less negatively effected by motor vehicle traffic. Just telling people to ‘deal with it’, doesn’t help much, I don’t think.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 14, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      “go back to..” is not a phrase I appreciate at all. I hear that as a threat and I don’t like it.

      What do you think? Is my position on this reasonable?

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      • Alex Reedin March 14, 2016 at 3:40 pm

        I wouldn’t call it a threat – I would call it an un-welcoming. Which is its own variety of bad thing that we don’t want in the comments section, but is not as serious as a threat to my mind.

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  • Bald One March 14, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Great interview, thank you for arranging and posting it. A lot of references to “pollution taxes” but nothing specific was actually mentioned. I wish you had asked him about ideas for controlling unregulated pollution from diesel engines and vehicles (>8500 GVW lbs) in Portland and his relationship with the freight lobby for transportation issues. Seems a timely topic and of interest to BP readers.

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  • Daniel Costantino March 14, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    This is a great interview, and the candidate displays a very impressive level of knowledge and thoughtfulness regarding the issues.

    I have another concern that I did not see addressed, though: Jules Bailey lives in SW, which is the same quadrant that 3 of 5 comissioners (Novick, Fritz, Saltzman) already reside in. So that’s potentially 4 out 5 commissioners from SW.

    Even if I agree more with a lot of what Jules Bailey is saying, I think this city’s governance suffers from the effect of having so much representation coming from this single part of the city (a part of the city that is so uniquely different from every other part by a lot of measures of demographics and the built environment).

    It seems like one way to stop this would be to go to representation by districts. I’d really like to know what Jules Bailey thinks about that.

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  • SE March 14, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Michael Andersen (News Editor)
    I think the “terror” comment you’re referring to about the Springwater was a quote from a third party that we used on a headline of a post Jonathan wrote. Is that right?
    Anyway, you’re right to presume that I’m not talking about myself, I’m talking about how I think other people feel on 122nd. And I don’t ultimately know how other people feel any better than you do. Maybe you and me and Gutterbunny should hang out at Midland some time and watch the bike traffic to see if we can learn from it.
    Recommended 1

    OKAY. Before you all turn this into fodder for Fred & Carrie, I will make some points.
    As a senior rider who yearly stays in the top 10 for miles logged (PDX) and top 20 (statewide), I will tell you that my riding area is about from 82nd to MHCC & CTC to NE San Rafael. I know that box as well as anyone. (plus most of Springwater)
    If I were to rate the major streets that are known to me from 1-10 (Pastoral thru Hell)

    most of 82nd = 10 (unrideable)
    most of Stark = 9
    most of Division =9
    Powell from the river to 82nd=9
    Burnside from east of 90-182=2

    Midland Library ? I’ve ridden with both my kids over there since 1977 (The Wild West Days).
    Even then it wasn’t bad and I trusted them to make the trip alone by age 10.
    I go there 3x/week and have never witnessed bike incidents. I’m safe & paranoid, and have NO major issues with springwater or 122nd (1 exception) or 205MUP. A mirror REALLY helps in traffic.

    Close calls (in my riding box) ?

    224th & Stark (right hook)
    JCB & 82 (right hook)
    Glisan & 122 (many right hooks-terrible intersection , the worst place on 122, that alone ups the number from 3 to 4 )

    JM obviously misunderstood my post. I was trying to say that if 122nd is terrifying to you, then maybe biking East Portland streets is not for you, yet.

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