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Bike Theft Task Force spreads awareness at Sunday Parkways

Posted by on July 26th, 2016 at 8:59 am

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The booth at the entrance to Woodlawn Park was buzzing with activity all day.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

If we’re going to take a bite out of bike theft in Portland we need the whole community to step up: Police, bike shops, city bureaus, and citizens like you and me.

It’s all about education and collaboration — two things that were on display this past Sunday as the Portland Police Bureau’s Bike Theft Task Force made their presence felt at Sunday Parkways. Four uniformed officers joined with staff from the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement and citizen volunteers to register bikes and educate people about secure locking techniques.

It was the second go-round of the Task Force’s hugely popular U-lock? U-rock! program. Thanks to a collaboration with Project 529 (a Task Force member) and lock-maker ABUS, the Task Force was able to give away another 50 u-locks.

Sunday Parkways started at 11:00 am and the line for the locks started forming at around 10:00. To get one, people had to show up with a bike, get it registered on Project 529, demonstrate proper u-locking technique, and give us a cable lock as part of the exchange. We had three teams registering bikes and PPB officers on hand to answer questions, hand out information, and interact with the community.

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Officer Dave Bryant spreading knowledge to our youth.
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Love our new shirts.


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ONI Crime Prevention Coordinator Stefanie Kouremetis was a registration machine.
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Gotta’ find that serial number.
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Officer Oliphant spent the day talking to the throngs of riders that came past the booth.
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Officer Oliphant and one of Portland’s newest riders.
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Volunteer Pete Frey and his snazzy new BTTF t-shirt!
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Officer Benjamin Labasan helping out.
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Officer Dave Sanders demonstrating how to use a u-lock.
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Registration teams in action!
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Another happy customer.
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This woman just got a new bike and wanted to make sure she locked it up correctly.
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Preventing bike theft, one u-lock at a time.
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Just part of our team: (L to R) Stefanie Kouremetis, crime prevention coordinator, Office of Neighborhood Involvement; PPB Officer Benjamin Labasan; Me (Jonathan Maus); Peter Frey, citizen volunteer; and Sydney Wilson, ONI Crime Prevention program intern.
(Photo: PPB Officer Dave Sanders)

After handing in their old cable locks, many people got to grab a pair of bolt-cutters and slice through them.

We registered well over 100 bikes and gave away all the u-locks we brought in less than an hour. We also handed out lots of our new Bike Theft Task Force swag and told people about the important work we’re doing.

If you missed out on a u-lock this time, come find us at the Southeast Sunday Parkways on August 21st. If you’d like to be a Bike Theft Task Force volunteer, please get in touch.

I’m so grateful to be able to work with our Portland Police and this great team we’ve put together! We plan to continue to build the Task Force so we can have an even greater impact on preventing bike theft. For more info, see the official website.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Eric LeifsdadHeatherMiddle of the Road guyKittenspooperazzi Recent comment authors
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some of those cable locks with loops on each end would still make good a wheel securer…


Ironic that the U-locks come with cable locks…

B. Carfree
B. Carfree

If we’re going to make a serious dent in bike theft, we are going to need a broader community effort than was noted in the opening. Critically, we’re going to need the state legislature to recognize bicycles as vehicles worthy of similar protections to that afforded to cars.

If I steal your car (fear not, I have no use for it and don’t steal anyway), I’m going to get two felony charges: unlawful entry into your car and unlawful use. A trip to a state prison is all but assured. If I steal your bike (again, fear not), odds are there won’t even be charges brought against me even if a cop would actually take a report and act on it. Thus, we have known bike thieves operating openly. There is almost zero chance of being caught and there are no consequences of any import even if one does get caught. Notice there aren’t a lot of known car thieves roaming around because the cops and courts take action against those felons.

Frankly, I think we have this backwards. Almost all cars carry comprehensive insurance, so the owner isn’t necessarily out much when it is stolen. Also, since the cost of operating a car is substantial compared to the cost of procuring one, most motorists can easily afford to replace one that has gone missing. With bikes, they are not insured (for the most part), operation costs are much less than the purchase price and many cyclists really cannot afford to replace their stolen rides. Thus, the impact of a stolen bike is much greater than the impact of a stolen car for many people.

Racer X
Racer X

Great program and thanks to the volunteers!!

[But, now I am thinking…with less crappy cable locks on the ‘streets’ and more middle security level u-locks I have to get a better lock for my own bike…its the old race to not have the worst defence on the street! Thieves always like convenience.]

Caitlin D

I’m so glad Portland has a program like this. Thanks to everybody on the Task Force!


I’m so glad bike theft is finally being taken seriously enough to put both $$ and employees on it.

Kyle Banerjee
Kyle Banerjee

What would be great is more bike storage options. Except for inexpensive bikes, U-locks provide very limited protection for the simple reason that even if you run it through the frame and the wheels, every other component can be stripped very quickly.

One thing that drives me nuts is that it’s hard to use a decent bike as transport in this town unless you’re going to a place you know will let you bring your bike inside with you. As to why I might want to ride a decent bike, it’s because I spend a substantial portion of every day on it and I appreciate what it has to offer the same way I appreciate all good things that I have a chance to experience.

BIKETOWN intrigues me for the potential to run errands short errands without worry of theft. But neither my home nor my workplace is in the service area. Riding a slow moving tank isn’t particularly appealing, but for distances of a few miles or less, being able to park outside without worry of having my bike stripped might be worth it if it were an option.


City needs way more racks in visible places. Would do a lot to prevent theft – many lock to signs and other less secure objects because of the lack of racks


I just checked the Abus Ultra 410 locks, they use 6 discs, those should be much better than the kryptonite U-locks. Some of the kryptonite use only 4 discs in their locks only giving them about 96 key combinations. Can you guess what happens? Yep, all it takes for someone to go around and insert that key into kryptonite that use disc locks and you’ll find that 1 out of 96 you can unlock some unfortunate suckers bike. Don’t mention the barrel key shit kryptonite used to use *cough* bic pen *cough*