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In case you read about us in the NW Examiner this month…

Posted by on January 13th, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Right now in the “Drafts” folder of this blog’s backend there are 303 unpublished stories. One of them is titled, “The Friday Profile: Allan Classen, the ‘fearless’ voice of northwest Portland.”

And right now on newsstands throughout northwest Portland is the January issue of the NW Examiner, the paper that has Classen’s name atop the masthead. And on page three of that issue is the monthly “Editor’s Turn” column where he takes issue with BikePortland for not publishing that story.

There are a few things Classen got right in his column; but unfortunately everyone who reads it is now mostly misinformed. That’s because it’s based on assumptions about our editorial motives which are simply wrong.

“I was supposed to be a gas-guzzling bike hater. A reasonable, sympathetic voice wouldn’t get BikePortland readers juiced up or reinforce their enmity.”
— Allan Classen, Editor & Publisher NW Examiner

Here’s what Classen got right: Back in April at the end of our Northwest Portland Week, we told him and our readers that we would publish the profile. Our initial plan was to make it the final story of the week — as a perfect bookend to our focused coverage of that part of town. But in the news business — especially at a small community news operation with just 1.5 employees (at the time) — things don’t always go as planned. Our reporter who did the interview got busy with other stories and the profile of Classen was scuttled. We had every intention of eventually publishing it, but our reporter has since moved on. Now it’s never going to see the light of day. That’s a bummer for sure; but in the grand scheme of things it didn’t seem like a huge deal.

Classen is also right that we didn’t keep in touch with him about the story’s status. He left us a phone message on December 13th and I only called him back this morning — after reading his column in the paper.

So that’s the story. We told Classen we would publish a profile about him and we never did. And then we displayed poor manners by not keeping in touch with him about it. Given that’s all that happened, it’s unfortunate he decided to publish an entire column based on nothing but speculations of sinister motives.

Here’s an excerpt:

I’m wondering if it was something I said. If so, it would not be the first time I have gotten crosswise with the editorial board of the city’s primary cycling website. My 2010 column in the NW Examiner likened the zealotry of local bicyclists to religion. It didn’t go over well in one particular camp. BikePortland’s editor and about 200 readers took issue with that piece. Most were harsh and personal. Many presumed to know my hidden motives, my views on other subjects and details of my lifestyle.

During that interview last summer, I sensed that the reporter was taken aback when I said cyclists need to be separated from motor vehicle traffic whenever possible as a matter of safety. I also told him a reduction in auto use is necessary and inevitable. When I was through outlining my positions, he conceded that I was in general agreement with him and most in the biking community.

I surmise that from his perspective (or that of his boss), this interview had gone off the rails. I was supposed to be a gas-guzzling bike hater.

A reasonable, sympathetic voice wouldn’t get BikePortland readers juiced up or reinforce their enmity.

The handling of this nonstory says something to me about a topic that has our country roiling — identity politics. This mindset contends that individuals are defined by immutable traits or primal allegiances, and that these affiliations drive their personal, social and political lives. Fact and evidence can’t be trusted unless they come from one’s own identity group, in which case they are unassailable truth.

I am obviously no fan of identity politics, which I consider a tribal approach that should have been left in an earlier era of history. Some of my most enriching experiences have been about breaking down familiar assumptions and seeing reality from a different perspective. Even better is finding common ground with someone previously considered an adversary.

As he did so many times, Abraham Lincoln said it best: “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

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BikePortland could have taken my pro-cycling statements as a victory. They could have reported that even someone who had ridiculed them in the past supports their cause and principles.

But that would have required them to concede that someone they had typecast as “other” didn’t fit the mold, a possibility apparently too disconcerting to release.

My little set-to with the bicycling community is of little consequence, but perhaps it’s instructive regarding our nation’s current political climate. If our domestic enemies can never be trusted or listened to, how can we self-govern? How are we even a nation?

For generations, the Hatfields and McCoys found evidence to distrust each other and carry on their vendettas. History will never settle which clan was in the right, but we still remember how insanely wrong both were in insisting that all villainy was in the other camp.

For anyone that reads this in the NW Examiner and who’s not familiar with BikePortland, I can assure you that I would never withhold publication of something just because it doesn’t “get BikePortland readers juiced up.” That’s not what we’re about at all, and our record over the years proves it. Also worth noting is that I never even saw a draft of this piece (nor was I told much about it at all) so the idea that I decided to not publish it because of what Classen said is not even possible.

And while I certainly have my beefs with Classen’s past treatment of bike-related stories over the years (especially Forest Park) — that only made me want to publish a profile about him even more. I am always eager to challenge readers’ assumptions about people in our community.

I realize this might seem like the airing of a personal feud between Classen and myself, but I feel it’s important to set the record straight so people who read his column can get the facts.

And about that phone call between Classen and I this morning? We listened to each other’s perspectives and expressed our feelings about the situation. I apologized for not getting the story done.

I also gave him my number and encouraged him to call me the next time he writes a bike-related story. And I promised to call him back immediately.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Interesting how Classen tries to paint himself as pro-bike. He’s part of Old Portland that grumbles about any encroachment: Forest Park, bikes, parking, apartments, you name it.

The little neighborhood faux-newspapers are a joke. They date back to Old Portland too. They aren’t journalism anymore than Patch is/was journalism. But they give a population (which may be minority or majority) a place to air their grievances about Kids These Days.

The full editorial is in a PDF on page 3 of the following: http://nwexaminer.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/January-2017-finalsmall.pdf#page=3

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Actually I enjoy reading the NW Examiner for various local viewpoints…especially the on-street car parking topic.

I wish Vancouver (WA) had more of these little papers…[like the Vancouver Voice et al was]…as these real community papers sometimes show more old-fashioned beat reporting efforts (and break real local stories) than the big papers seem to do these days…becoming more of an AP / Reuters reprinter now plus sports and an editorial page.

CaptainKarma
Guest

I look at it because it’s worth every pwnny of the price.

Legal Beagle
Guest
Legal Beagle

Thanks for the link. I’d never heard of this paper before reading this BP article. Looking a the paper in your link, it looks like a very nice little publication. I did not see a lot of negativity referred to in other comments. They have a lot of advertisements. What does that mean? Apparently businesses think the paper is worth reading and their ad may be seen by potential customers. They call that successful capitalism. Thanks again for the link – I’ll start watching for the next issue.

Matt Meskill
Subscriber
Matt Meskill

If you read it enough the bias, and Classen’s narcissism, become evident. Yes it seems successful as evidenced by the advertising and yes, it’s fairly professionally presented, but that’s about it.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I haven’t read The Examiner lately, but on occasion, I have read it in past. Classen can write. He knows civics, he knows the issues he writes about, and isn’t afraid to present views I expect he feels are important from a city point of view rather than just his own, but which may well not be universally popular.

It’s a small town paper with a strong point of view, and some passion. Maybe not a great paper, but much better than tweets, which seem to be threatening to take over the reporting of news, if the pres elect might be seen as any example of this.

Legal Beagle
Guest
Legal Beagle

I think many of the PE tweets are just rebuttals to fake news which is mostly what is presented by the main stream media. So far, he’s giving the MSM a much needed education.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Congratulations for writing the most absurd thing I’ve seen today.

emerson
Subscriber

This isn’t airing personal grievances — this is you taking extreme ownership of the situation. Good on you.

I look forward to reading the profile of Mr. Classen that you publish.

emerson
Subscriber

Yeah, for that one.

“And while I certainly have my beefs with Classen’s past treatment of bike-related stories over the years (especially Forest Park) — that only made me want to publish a profile about him even more. I am always eager to challenge readers’ assumptions about people in our community.”

It is what it is.

Adam
Subscriber

Wow, what a non-story. Who cares that Bike Portland hasn’t gotten around to publishing an interview yet? Classen couldn’t handle not having an article posted about him, so he posted one himself. Are these people adults or what? Way to play the victim, Mr. “those damn bikers are out to get me” Classen.

Adam
Subscriber

To clarify, the editorial posted by Mr. Classen is the non-story, not this article. You’re doing fine work, Jonathan!

has brakes
Guest

no no, this article is DEFINITELY a non story as well adam.

Dick Button
Guest
Dick Button

Is he talking about us when he references an editorial board? I love to editorialize.

Andrew N
Guest
Andrew N

DON’T FEED THE TROLLS.

John C.
Guest

Allan Classen obviously erred in assuming that his BikePortland.org profile wasn’t published because of animus. It’s doubly unfortunate because, in feeling personally offended and assuming the worst about BikePortland’s editorial staff, he seems to have demonized the opposition just as he’s railing against: “assuming villainy in the other camp.”

I can understand why he jumped to that conclusion, though. While you, Jonathan, are a good journalist, open-minded about those who disagree, and ethical in your treatment of others, the overall impression that BikePortland.org conveys through its website tends toward a deeply unpleasant, pugnacious fanaticism.

That’s due to the commenters. I’ve been reading BikePortland.org for about a year. In no other site I read regularly do I encounter so much vitriol in the comments. Ad hominem attacks, assumption of evil motives, smears, insults, and ugly sarcasm abound. It has led me to read BikePortland less frequently and with less care, because when I read an article with care and attention, I find myself compelled to read the comments, and when I read the comments on BikePortland, I often feel as if someone just spat in my face.

I know that most commenters are not like this, and that as is so often the case, a minority makes the biggest impression. But if the bile-spewers are my fellow bikers, I’ll walk, thanks. They’re not winning any friends for the cause.

Toadslick
Subscriber

My impression of BikePortland comments couldn’t be further from yours.

First, the moderators do an excellent job of removing the racist/sexist/classist comments and baseless insults. In an era where many popular blogs are entirely removing their comment sections, BikePortland continues to have a comment section where productive discussions regularly occur.

Second, many commenters here are passionate about not just bicycling, but transportation equity as a whole. I’m glad they get angry about the status quo of traffic violence and inaction in the face of global climate change. If that comes across as fanaticism to you, then I’ll gladly call myself a fanatic.

Third, you have no idea whether or not commenters here are “winning any friends for the cause.” Your preferences regarding tone and politeness do not apply to everyone else. The number of paid BikePortland subscribers is testament to that.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I agree with you fully. I love the comments on BP. I often learn as much or more from the commenters as from the original article (sorry Jonathan, not meaning to dis the article content).

Some of us have our little quirks and passions and I hope most folks can grant those their space without taking offense. I suppose those things, and the inevitable ribbing that happens (you’re a good sport, Adam H.) could bother a new reader. I encourage every new reader to stick with it for a while, it will be worth it.

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

Bike Portland does an excellent job at moderating comments and setting a consistently professional, yet engaged, editorial tone. Which, given the subject matter is no small accomplishment! Shows a lot more ownership for the discourse that takes place on it’s site than Oregonlive or Willamette Week. This Claussen fella comes off as self-absorbed and looking for a fight. Are there not more important things to editorialize on?

Legal Beagle
Guest
Legal Beagle

I think the whole thing is a misunderstanding. BP said they would print an article. They didn’t do it. He called to ask why and got no reply. He figured they had something against him. It’s perfectly understandable. BP, as JM has admitted, is as much to blame as Classen – maybe more.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Do you feel allowing comments consisting of disparaging and belittling remarks about people’s appearance constitutes excellent comment moderation? I couldn’t agree with you on that if it’s how you feel. By the way, as of the 13th, about 5pm, there has been at least one comment of that type in this comment section.

How about allowing comments that make negative, unsupported with fact claims about people, their profession, and views they’ve shared? In other words, basically comments with nothing of substance in them that rises to more than just nasty remarks against people, in this case, Classen. Is allowing those kinds of comments, good moderation? Comment with this sort of thing, also has been here from the 13th.

How allowing those kind of comments possibly helps strengthen the collective public interest in improving conditions for biking in Portland, on road and off, is difficult to figure. Maybe you have some insight on this you’d care to share.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

> Do you feel allowing comments consisting of disparaging and belittling remarks about people’s appearance constitutes excellent comment moderation?

Classen would never stoop to those levels…http://bikeportland.org/2010/06/07/editorial-nw-examiner-publisher-blasts-bicycle-zealots-34486

From one of his articles: “…the Portland Church of the All Mighty Bicycle has been gaining adherents at every turn, and I don’t think they’re all Catholics.”

wsbob – as always, perhaps you should go do a little more research before posting nonsense here. If Classen wants to fling it, he better be able to take it – and that goes for you, too.

q
Guest
q

What the NW Examiner or any other publication or forum publishes or allows is irrelevant to wsbob’s point.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

And what is his point exactly? That allowing comments like the one I made – the one he is referring to but won’t name – is bad moderation? How about allowing comments where he has hi-jacked the top thread so he could have his comments first? Or allowing him to post the same points incessantly, spamming the whole forum and removing all value from the comments.

>How about allowing comments that make negative, unsupported with fact claims about people, their profession, and views they’ve shared?

Do you want me to support every claim I make? I am not wikipedia and you have google. I hope you put that impetus against wsbob, too. He makes unsupported claims on a very regular basis, which I enjoy calling him out on.

> How allowing those kind of comments possibly helps strengthen the collective public interest in improving conditions for biking in Portland, on road and off, is difficult to figure. Maybe you have some insight on this you’d care to share.

Allowing comments like mine could demonstrate that we have a shared experience regarding our run-ins with Classen. And, honestly, after reading these comments, it sure does seem like a lot of people share my view and feelings.

In the end, he is targeting my comment, but won’t name me by name because he refuses to acknowledge me as I end up calling out his antics every time he tries to bring it to the mountain bike discussions on this site and he hasn’t acted in a civil way in the past.

In the end, I am not sure what his point is – I didn’t factually back up everything I said? True. I used a notable feature of his to identify him from far away to avoid him? True. Did I slander the way he looks? Meh – no more than he chose to publish a story saying that I wasn’t as good of a person as a catholic. ““…the Portland Church of the All Mighty Bicycle has been gaining adherents at every turn, and I don’t think they’re all Catholics.” – Classen

I hope wsbob holds Classen to a higher standard than comment moderation on a site – but I really don’t think he does based on his comments here. wsbob is a person with a political motivation (as we all are) and I don’t think his comments here about my comment can be taken too seriously based on his own history.

Legal Beagle
Guest
Legal Beagle

How many paid subscribers are there? Do you know?

Toadslick
Subscriber

Hundreds. Yes.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

There’s literally dozens of us.

AlliD
Guest
AlliD

I disagree with you about the comments. I’ve found BP to be one of the only sites that I can actually read the comments. Generally they are thoughtful and informative. I often learn just as much from the comments about the topic on hand or tangentially-related ones. I appreciate the work put in by Jonathan as well as the general decency I’ve seen from most people who comment on BP.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

> In no other site I read regularly do I encounter so much vitriol in the comments.

We must have different youtubes.

q'Tzal
Guest
q'Tzal

The only places you’ll find more polite and sedate comment sections is on low traffic, highly technical industry trade magazine websites: IEEE level stuff that usually only ever gets 1 or 2 comments tops.

People have opinions and people have “malformed fact profiles”. Here on Bikeportland.org we discuss them in a civil manner.

Unless it’s about helmets. If helmets come up just close the page.

Legal Beagle
Guest
Legal Beagle

Or high-viz.
Or personal responsibility.
Or dangerous bike riding that results in injury or fatality. (It is always, 100% of the time, the fault of the motor vehicle operator, right?)
Or the recent election results.
🙂

Dick Button
Guest
Dick Button

Just try not to run anyone over while you’re mentally constructing lists of excuses.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Reading this story, I wondered who asked who for the interview of Claussen that apparently was suggested would be part of a story on bikeportland. Was it Claussen himself, or bikeportland’s staff?

I’m not sure why you feel “…obviously erred in assuming that his BikePortland.org profile wasn’t published because of animus. …”. He participated in the interview, after which 9 months passed without a word or phone call back to him from bikeportland.

Meanwhile, over that period of time, daily in the comments to bikeportland, are what you characterize as “…so much vitriol in the comments. Ad hominem attacks, assumption of evil motives, smears, insults, and ugly sarcasm abound. …”. Which you suggest, leaves the impression that bikeportland is unpleasantly fanatic about biking. Clausen in his article, excerpted in this story, refers to an earlier edition of his paper having “…likened zealotry of local bicyclists to religion. …”.

My personal feeling is that animosity expressed in far too many people’s comments to bikeportland, is pervasive and allowed far too much free rein. With that in mind, it’s little wonder to me that Claussen suspected he was treated the way he was because maybe bikeportland or certain people commenting to stories here, don’t like what he finds the need to say.

CaptainKarma
Guest

I would never not ride my bike because “my fellow bikers” had freely expressed opinions published in a blog.

Legal Beagle
Guest
Legal Beagle

Agree 100% with John C comment. Biking is great, but many comments are totalitarian, hateful, etc. Sometimes views which are not “PC” are allowed, but many times they are edited or deleted. I prefer a more free exchange of ideas – and some of that happens here, but it’s limited. Censoring foul language is fine, no problem; but censoring of ideas that the left views as offensive is far more offensive than those offensive ideas; and that occurs continuously on this site.

Toadslick
Subscriber

censoring of ideas that the left views as offensive is far more offensive than those offensive ideas

Please expound. For which censored ideas are you offended?

Legal Beagle
Guest
Legal Beagle

Try having a discussion about certain religions, races, etc and see how long your comments stay up. The left labels ideas that don’t fit their narrative as some kind of xxxist, xxxphobe, etc even when the other ideas are in fact undisputed truth. And on this website such comments may be deemed to be mean, hurtful, etc even if, in fact, they are not hurtful but are true. The left does not allow free speech in many cases.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

This isn’t a public space, free speech laws don’t apply. I thought you were a legal beagle?

If you’re going to say something shouldn’t offend someone, it’s difficult to say that anything is offensive.

Toadslick
Subscriber

And on this website such comments may be deemed to be mean, hurtful, etc even if, in fact, they are not hurtful but are true.

So one of your complaints against BikePortland commenters is that they call you out on your racism.

Good on them.

You and I may both ride bicycles, but we are not allies. I’ll do my part to ensure that the bigoted comments you want to post will never feel welcome here.

q
Guest
q

I’ve never had a comment censored, and obviously don’t see ones that were, so don’t know exactly where the line is being drawn.

One thing that occurs to me is that race and religion aren’t relevant to most articles here, so censoring comments about them isn’t likely to derail relevant discussions, which is an argument for erring on the side of censoring.

Another is that your opinion of what is “not hurtful” (or “true” for that matter) may not match others’ opinions.

Another is that your throwing in “the left does not allow free speech in many cases” may have some truth to it, but it’s also a statement made by people who make comments that lots of people (not just “the left”) would support censoring. And don’t assume that everyone here who disagrees with you is part of “the left”.

And as others have said, this isn’t a free speech forum anyway.

Legal Beagle
Guest
Legal Beagle

***Comment deleted. Congratulations you are now on automatic moderation. -Jonathan.***

q
Guest
q

You just lost all credibility with that reply.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Views expressed from a liberal or conservative perspective, or somewhere in between, shouldn’t be a problem unless a particular forum is a stated political platform. Sometimes I’m not sure which it is that bikeportland desires to be.

The bigger problem isn’t, or shouldn’t be, the diversity of views expressed…but is instead, lack of explanation offered about why certain points of view expressed are disagreed with.

If they’re allowed to offer nothing more than to just refer to somebody or something using a dismissive, disparaging remark or reference, that’s all the effort some people are going to bother to make.

q
Guest
q

“The bigger problem isn’t, or shouldn’t be, the diversity of views expressed…but is instead, lack of explanation offered about why certain points of view expressed are disagreed with.”

Nope.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Also known as “Hanlon’s Razor”

Legal Beagle
Guest
Legal Beagle

How many readers does the NW Examiner have? I’ll have to check it out. It’s good to read different viewpoints. Unfortunately the O is all one-sided; we need something to counter their bias.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

Which side do you think it is?

Hopeful
Guest

Right of Portland. Clearly.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

By endorsing Kerry and Obama?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Wikipedia:

“The Oregonian endorsed a Democratic candidate for president for the first time in its history when it supported Bill Clinton in 1992.”
1996: Clinton
2000: Bush
2004: Kerry
2008: Obama
2012: No endorsement.
2016: No endorsement.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Considering the choices in 2012 and 2016, I’d say failing to endorse places the O on the far right. Even a papers in Oklahoma and Arizona that had never endorsed a Democrat endorsed Clinton.

SA
Guest
SA

And they all got it wrong. The people were far smarter than the editorial boards.

You might find this interesting:
http://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2017/01/17/a-guide-to-basic-differences-between-left-and-right-n2271475

pengo
Guest
pengo

Sorry, but how do you get an endorsement ‘wrong’? Are you maybe confusing endorsement and prediction?

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

It’s interesting to me that conservatives consider the O as a liberal rag, and liberals view it as shilling for conservative views.

RedRiderPDX
Guest
RedRiderPDX

Disingenuous of Classen to call you our for not publishing a story/interview. The history of publishing is PAVED with unpublished work… Newspapers bury stories all the time.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

I’m not even sure this one qualifies as buried. In one comment, Jonathan said he hasn’t seen a draft of the story. It’s hard for an editor to bury a story that hasn’t been turned in.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

The NWExaminer is the worst. Classen has been anti-bike for so many years and for him to claim otherwise is just ignoring history. I am glad you didn’t publish his profile and give him any credibility and I think him taking such offense from you not publishing it shows how egotestical he is. Every time i see his eye-browns from 3 blocks away, I try to take another direction to avoid the negative energy he exudes. If there is one neighborhood paper that needs new leadership, it is the NWExaminer.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Don’t you all wish we had the power some people think we do?

Adam
Subscriber

Hey, we at least have the all-powerful Bicycle Lobby.

Dave
Guest
Dave

That’s what I mean. Reminds me of stuff I’ve read about the 1930’s and was told by older relatives, the old saw about “International Jewish Communist Conspiracy.” As a Jew and a lefty, I’ve always been mightily amused by that crap.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

I think it shows just how serious people take you. I hope people see that as a sign to step up your game and take more of the power people give you – you deserve it. People are obviously listening.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

There is something funny and pathetic about someone writing an article complaining that someone else didn’t write an article about him.

ben
Guest
ben

But there’s not too much funny about someone leaving a message on Bike Portland’s voice mail and not get their call returned. Things like that leave people cold. It implies disrespect and lack of follow-through and given the article didn’t get published, it’s pretty easy to see he felt he was being totally blown off by BP.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I can see him feeling blown off, but is that really a newsworthy article, or just a personal affront? And should a newspaper editor use his paper to air personal grievances?

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I laughed at myself as I read Classen’s comments on separation, which I often derisively call segregation. I see motorists’ desire for us to get out of their way and separation-desiring folks’ desire to accommodate the motorists even when it makes for inferior intersection interactions as the same side of the same coin.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Allan must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed to have written his piece. He’s done a great job reporting what goes on in NW. I lived there from ’86 to ’92, served a few years on the NWDA board, and learned to depend on his careful reporting to know what was going on. He’s got a large dose of NIMBY…its endemic these days…, but its balanced with a deep love of Portland and the guts to call things as he sees them. We need more journalists like him, but anyone should know, especially Mr. Classen, that in the news business, profiles are those stories you keep for a slow news day, and as Jonathan makes clear, that just did not happen. No reason to apologize. Suck it up Allan!
PS the first issue of The Examiner ran of profile of me: “Singer/Songwriter returns home to Portland!” or something like that.

Ricky
Guest
Ricky

This is simply the sad effort from a man trying to clean up his well-earned horrible reputation with the cycling community. Allan has a long history of casting the Portland cycling community in a negative light by spewing fear, uncertainty and doubt through his mouthpiece, the NE Examiner. Allan seems to think that the only thing he needs to do in order to fix his abysmal reputation is to say that he agrees with the cycling community on a couple of issues. He hoped that we would forget about his years of anti-cycling rhetoric after BP published the interview. Well, Allan’s reputation clean-up campaign backfired after his interview wasn’t published, and he subsequently attacked BP because his plan didn’t pan out as he wanted it to. Allan is not trying to make friends. He’s simply trying to clean up his reputation so he’s not perceived as a NIMBYist dinosaur.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

He reminds me of a long time climate change denier who realizes he/she is on the wrong side of history and starts out their latest screed with, ” I believe climate change is real but we shouldn’t be hasty in trying to solve it.”

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

“have you heard how annoying the climate-change folks are?”

Gabrielle
Guest
Gabrielle

I’ve lived in NE for over a decade but we get the Examiner at my office and my colleague who checks the mail knows to hand it over to me immediately. I rarely agree with Mr. Classen’s positions. Sometimes he makes me furious. But he does represent a specific slice of residents and businesses in that area who don’t think the way I do, and I find it very valuable to see the other side and have my opinions challenged. I love neighborhood papers. They may be more reactionary than not, but they still tend to represent real local concerns, NIMBY and otherwise (as well as containing updates about events, businesses, and planning that are ‘too small’ for other news sources but still relevant to residents’ lives).

For what it’s worth, in the last few months I’ve noticed a distinct change in tone in Mr. Classen’s writing and the way he is addressing issues like transportation, houselessness, and development. Has he really decided to be less aggressive and more collaborative or is he just responding to shifting attitudes among his readership? Does it matter? Either would be good.

q
Guest
q

I’m a big fan of Classen (and of course Jonathan and bikeportland). He’s not shy about giving his opinions, but on the other hand, he will listen and learn, and change his positions. So if his tone is changing, that’s not surprising to me, and I think it’s genuinely what he believes.

After moving from NW to SW, I often find myself wishing he could report on or write editorials about issues here. (Bikeportland has been astoundingly great for filling that gap, with coverage about the Sellwood Bridge, Greenway Trail, etc.)

stephen salter
Guest
stephen salter

he just needed a straw man to bring up what the piece is really about, which is identity politics. Bike Portland is just a low hanging fruit to denigrate amongst his readership. I wouldn’t take it personally.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

The guy is a tool. Don’t pander to him

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Being unmotivated and not giving a shit about your to-do-list isn’t a very compelling defense, but whatever.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

So you’d rather everything get published, worthwhile or not? It’s barely over a 1% rejection rate.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

So you’ve never let anything slip between the cracks in the last ten years of doing whatever you do for a living, and no one working for you has ever let anything slip between the cracks, and that includes things that aren’t particularly important?

Let’s face it, a profile of a minor local media personality is not a particularly important story. Unimportant stories frequently don’t get published. No-one usually cares. Does any BP reader remember being upset that the profile of this person wasn’t published after all, or care, or even notice?

It was a complete non-event. Except that, in this case, the person was affronted that his profile wasn’t published and used his minor local newspaper to have a pity party / hissy fit.

ben
Guest
ben

The point of the profile (according to BP) was to get to know Classen and hear his viewpoints vis a vis bikes and why he has taken the bike stances that he has. Now that will never happen. It’s relative importance was clearly demonstrated by BP — not publishing the piece, not answering his phone message.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

He makes those clear enough in his own publication.

Jan
Guest
Jan

Jonathan, claims like Classen’s are one Yuge energy suck from people like you who give, give, give. I get it, but am sorry he warrants our attention. We need you, your skills, your experience, and your philosophies to continue what you do. Bikes. Pedestrians. Safety. Kids. Citizens. Life. Doing what we can to make things better. Pretty darn simple. Not sure what his goal is.

Cyclekrieg
Subscriber
Cyclekrieg

q
He’s not shy about giving his opinions, but on the other hand, he will listen and learn, and change his positions. So if his tone is changing, that’s not surprising to me, and I think it’s genuinely what he believes.

Really? That’s news to a lot of people.

So will he listen and learn about urban mountain biking? Because I would be willing to take time off of work to take on him a guided tour to see what urban mountain biking is really like. A tour that would show that all the “mountain biking is evil” ramblings of the people he seems to quote a lot are (and I’m using a technical term here) crazy pants, made up, hateraide.

So Allan Clausen, if you are lurking here, please contact me. Its time to listen, its time to learn, its time to see the truth of urban mountain biking.

q
Guest
q

Why don’t you call him (Classen, not Clausen) and offer?

Anonymous comment
Guest
Anonymous comment

I had a long post written out that described my interactions with Classen on different issues over the years and the manner he reported on them, including “news” articles as well as the editorial page. For professional reasons I am choosing not to post it.

I would simply suggest that, as with any publication, the reader uses a critical eye to identify the writer’s / editor’s biases and not take anything at face value. Also, keep in mind that interviews are selectively edited and can be manipulated to meet one’s agenda.

Pat Ell
Subscriber
Pat Ell

Thanks for writing about the NW Examiner story, giving full background. I especially appreciate the humility you have shown in apologizing for not following up earlier with Mr. Classen. I think that shows great character, as most of us make small mistakes, and many times people choose to gloss those over or make excuses. All of that said, I do appreciate facts and real content in news writing instead of conjecture. Part of why I enjoy reading BikePortland.org so much is that the site has a proven history of publishing factual articles, and airing unpopular perspectives. Keep up the good work, and I hope that Mr. Classen can also be successful as an editor, which would include some humility in admitting mistakes as well.