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Portlander offers beer to illustrate bike parking demand at brewery

Posted by on May 23rd, 2016 at 1:33 pm

(All photos by Ross Putnam.)

Last Friday night the lack of bike parking at Base Camp Brewing was readily apparent.
(All photos by Ross Putnam.)

Our bike parking coverage is sponsored by Huntco.

There are two things you can never have enough of in Portland: bike parking and great beer. Especially when a friend buys the beer*.

On Friday we saw just how much Portlanders love both of those things when Base Camp Brewing Company co-founder Ross Putnam made an unusual request to his friends on Facebook:

Dearest Facebook friends, I come to you in a time of need. We are trying to convince the city of Portland to let us install more bicycle parking at the brewery. We need photographic evidence that this is needed.

Tonight between 19:00-20:00 PST (7:00-8:00 pm) at Base Camp Brewing Company I will be buying each bike 1 beer. 1 bike = 1 beer. (strap an extra to your back, double wheelie, etc.) The more bikes you bring the more beer you get, within the legal limit. I would like to see a pile of bikes on the sidewalk.

Meet on the patio. Brown plaid shirt guy (me) will give you wooden coin to be redeemed for beer.

Please share. Cheers!

And it worked! 50-plus people showed up on two wheels and the trees and signposts all around the brewery at SE 9th and Oak. Here are few more photos:




Advertise with BikePortland.



In case you’re wondering, asking for photographic evidence of bike parking demand is standard operating procedure from the Bureau of Transportation. It’s part of the application process and it helps PBOT prioritize locations. Their bike parking corral program has been so successful that even with 140 corrals installed there are still businesses on the waiting list. It’s unlikely PBOT needed to see that many bikes to realize this is a good location for a bike corral; but we’re sure it won’t hurt Base Camp’s application.

Putnam says PBOT has been great to work with so far, he just didn’t want to wait to get the perfect photos for his application. “As inner SE continues to grow and be developed,” he shared with us in a follow up message. “It only makes sense from both a business perspective as well as personally to have as much bike parking as possible.”

Putnam wants to swap two auto parking spots for the new corral, which will have about 20 spaces for bikes. The new corral will also be located right outside the patio so customers can keep and eye on them and ward off potential thieves.

“The support was overwhelming Friday night and everyone that showed up was stoked that we are nearing closer to more bike parking,” Putnam added. “Props to PBOT for their involvement in Portland’s bike community.”

This whole episode reminds us of what north Portland eatery ¿Por Que No? did back in 2007. After making their own on-street bike parking they urged people to park bikes in the street to make the case for their new corral and gave everyone who showed up a free taco.

We’ll let you know when Base Camp’s new corral shows up.

*Note: Putnam’s offer to purchase beers was made by himself, not by his company.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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  • Paul Laak May 23, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Surprised they did not call the police on the free-loading bicycles!

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    • Champs May 23, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      You, sir, have opened up a can of very snarky worms.

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  • Todd Hudson May 23, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Advertising free or comped drinks….that’s a paddling from the OLCC….

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    • Ross Putnam May 23, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      Todd- As I stated in my personal post these were beers I persoanlly bought for bike friends. Base Camp Brewing Company was not goving away free beer.

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      • Ethan May 23, 2016 at 3:52 pm

        T hanks for playing along with OLCC. Would hate to see the brewery shut down

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        • BIKELEPTIC June 1, 2016 at 9:55 pm

          After their lack of accountability and not immediately addressing the owner’s actions with a press release, I would love to see that place shut down. They lost a customer and an venue change for all future bike events.

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  • Champs May 23, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I wonder how these allocations work. Base Camp is on a designated bike route just like Ex Novo and Fat Head’s, yet the former is two years older and the only one without a corral.

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  • Matt May 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    When my business was located in inner SE (nor far from Base Camp) the waiting list to have the City install a single staple was 9-12 months (around 2006). I decided not to wait that long and installed a staple on my own. Cost me $40 for the City permit, plus around $160 for the staple, plus more to rent the hammer drill. If this amenity is so important for a business to have, perhaps they should just get a permit and install it themselves?

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    • Ross Putnam May 23, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      Hey Matt!

      We have been continuously adding more bike parking on the sidewalk since we opened. Some of which are the standard staples and some of which are custom racks we built in-house. We have all of the tools to make it happen.

      The thing that is different in this situation is we are looking to put in a bike corral in a current car parking spot on the street.


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      • Matt May 23, 2016 at 4:26 pm

        Hi Ross, thanks for the response. I’m curious, can’t you get a permit from the city to do a corral in the street yourself? Kind of like getting a permit for an on street ‘parklet’ that some restaurants are installing in the street?

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        • Ross Putnam May 23, 2016 at 4:38 pm


          I am not sure. As I am not the point person for this project on our side.

          However, I do know that we are always open to options. Thanks for the recommendation!

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        • Joseph E May 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm

          No, you can’t.

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          • Matt May 24, 2016 at 2:33 pm

            Why not? If a business can put up an on street ‘parklet’, then a business should be able to get a permit and build/install their own bike parking corral (meeting city specified rules/codes)… especially if the business wants it faster than the city can provide it.

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            • Adron @ Transit Sleuth May 24, 2016 at 4:47 pm

              Very likely the same reason one can’t run their own private streetcar system in Portland anymore.

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    • endo May 23, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      That’s totally BS. The city should be doing this for free because businesses that are encouraging bicycling are basically doing the city a favor anyway. The fact that the city doesn’t do everything they can do to get free, convenient bike parking close to local businesses tells you how seriously they take “vision zero”.

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      • soren May 24, 2016 at 8:11 am

        i’ll raise your “free”. the city should give businesses that encourage cycling a congestion-reduction tax credit.

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      • Middle of the Road guy May 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm

        Free parking to increase business? I think I have heard this before.

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        • Dan A May 24, 2016 at 4:36 pm

          Free bike parking is a lot cheaper than free car parking.

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          • Matt May 26, 2016 at 5:09 pm

            There is no ‘free’ parking, either bike or car. It all costs someone (tax payers) something.

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      • Matt May 24, 2016 at 2:37 pm

        Yup it is total BS (the the city can’t keep up with demand). When my customers complained that we didn’t have bike parking, and we waited on the city list for many months with no install in sight, we took action (as did the coffee shop next to our business (this was near SE 12th & Clay). When I moved my business out of Portland, I wanted to take my staple rack with me, but my landlord wouldn’t let me.

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  • Dan A May 23, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    I wonder if Target needed to do this sort of thing to justify the ~500 car spots they have at their location on 185th.

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    • rick June 3, 2016 at 9:58 am

      The Target in east Beaverton on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway at SW 108th Ave left at least one giant Oregon White Oak tree intact. It is on the south side of the parking lot.

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  • Chris Balduc May 23, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Wish you could have posted this yesterday! :/

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  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson May 23, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    totally agree that this spot needs more bike parking, can’t wait to ride my bike over to base camp and park at one of the new corrals! fingers crossed!

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  • Bikeninja May 23, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    It is not clear to me if the holdup by PBOT in installing more bike parking is caused by tight allocation of funding or by slow permitting or by the politics of turning car spaces in to bike spaces. If it is funding it seems like we could put together a volunteer program like Depave and raise funds through sponsorships etc with volunteer installations. It would be great to see this laid out so we know where to apply pressure, or create other solutions. I am sure someone knows a lot about this and can help.

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  • Abide May 23, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    This is fantastic news! Base Camp really has a strong need for more bike parking. So does Nong’s on SE Ankeny.

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  • Eric Leifsdad May 23, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    If we want to have 25% bike share, shouldn’t we install at least one staple for every 3 parking spots, everywhere? How about at least for every public park and every block with more than one business? With gas under $5/gal, do people want to have to beg the city for a place to park a bike or will they just drive their car and use the plentiful free parking?

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    • Robert Burchett May 24, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Or, a solid post at every parking spot, with a Universal Payment Device on top, and room for two clever cyclists to lock up (no payment to me for that!)
      –sighs– I still miss parking meters.

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  • gutterbunnybikes May 23, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    It should just be city code that at every intersection of every commercial street that bike racks be installed (one side public/ the other bike share) rather than curbside parking. Should be done at marked crosswalks as well.

    Bikes get a place to park, it opens up the field of view at the intersection for pedestrians and drivers – everyone wins.

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  • rain panther May 23, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Wow, I kinda love this idea.

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  • Houston Electrician May 24, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Such a creative way to get some change going!

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  • Rob May 24, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Ok, I’m all for more bike parking, especially when it comes with better visibility to deter theft but I’m missing something here. Is creating an artificial demand for bike parking really a true need? I mean, in all likelihood increased bike parking is needed, but not to the level that is exhibited in the pictures. At least not a regular basis though, right? If constant demand was there, the incentive of “free” beer wouldn’t be needed.

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    • Ross Putnam May 24, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Hey Rob!

      Was it needed? no. Was it fun? YES!

      We needed photos and are on a timeline. Just trying to keep this thing moving in the right direction.


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      • Dan A May 24, 2016 at 4:38 pm

        Too bad you aren’t part of the city government — we would have had singletrack years ago!

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  • EricIvy May 24, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    As someone who bikes to Base Camp often, it truly is hard to find a rack to lock to, so I’m typically using sign poles or even the small tree trunks on occasion. It’s also worth noting that Basecamp employees bring their bikes inside to free up parking for customers!

    PSPS- they also have a sweet electric bike lift to store employee bikes out of the way. If you lean over the rope keeping you out of the brewery, and look at the ceiling, you’ll see some bikes stored up there. Pretty cool

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  • JeffS May 24, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    I’ve got conflicting feelings.

    First, I’m a little hesitant to just hand over decisions about public space to the business owners of an area. We’re quick to remind homeowners that they don’t own the space in front of their house. Businesses seem to get more say for some reason.

    That said, I’m not typically opposed to any request for on-street bike parking. The corrals are clearly preferred by users. It’s extremely rare, at least around my parts, to find one that isn’t mostly full. It seems like a smart move for business owners to request it.

    I would like to turn the space in front of my house into a public space, but the application and design process is somewhat cumbersome for a person who doesn’t stand to turn a profit from the conversion.

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    • Opus the Poet May 25, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      This is not adding parking where there wasn’t any, it’s about repurposing one car space for several bike spots. Thereby allowing more customers to arrive without adding to traffic.

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      • JeffS May 25, 2016 at 9:39 pm

        Yes. I’m very clear on that.

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  • Audrey May 26, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    I organized a group ride to Base Camp a few weeks ago and we had a definite problem chaining up once we arrived. I wish somebody would have taken a photo, that was an “organic” demand for bike parking was not served by the existing facilities.

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