Portland police will exchange a U-lock for your cable lock on Sunday

hales lock
Mayor Charlie Hales on his way to work last fall.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

As bike theft has become the only major category of crime in Portland that’s on a long-term rise, cable locks have been going the way of the station wagon and the wristwatch.

The Portland State University Bike Hub doesn’t even sell them. When Mayor Charlie Hales briefly started biking to work last fall, Willamette Week wrote an entire online article about the fact that he used a cable lock. (His wife Nancy, a regular bike commuter, told us at the time that it was because they’d misplaced their U-lock keys that day.)

Apparently the Bike Theft Task Force at the Portland Police Bureau agrees. In a tweet on Wednesday, the team said they’ll be offering a lock exchange program at North Portland Sunday Parkways this weekend: you give them a cable lock, they give you a U-lock.


If you own a cable lock but not a U-lock, that’s a good deal.

(Thanks to Steve at the Portland Mercury for calling this to our attention.)

Update 2:30 p.m.: Portland Police Bureau Ofc. David Sanders, a member of the Bike Theft Task Force, writes to add some more details:

The BTTF was able to implement this cable lock upgrade program because of a partnership between Project 529 and Abus, and their dedication to reducing bike theft in Portland. They made it happen. Another example of the collaboration that is needed to fight this epidemic. We are also going to offer free bike registration through Project 529 at Sunday’s event, but the main emphasis of this event is proper locking techniques/bike security. We want the public to use U-locks so badly that we are literally giving them away. Hope that shows the public how serious we are about this. We hope that Sunday’s event will prevent many future thefts in Portland!

Project 529 worked with ABUS to work out the details on this program, we (PPB and PBOT funded this) were able to purchase the U-locks at significant discount through a local bike shop. We purchased about 300 locks and will offer a portion of these at Sunday’s event as well as other events around town, so this won’t be the only opportunity (unless we run out…).

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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