(*See update below: PBOT says over 200 bikes have been hit. That’s 20 percent of the total system.)
Vandals have hit several Biketown bike share stations in the past week.
So far we’ve heard of 12 locations where vandals have damaged bikes and rendered them useless. The City of Portland is aware of some of the damage and has crews responding to fix the bikes and return the stations into operational status.
At least two of the incidents appear to be the work of the same suspect: A flyer has been posted on the stations that says the damage was inflicted by Rose City Saboteurs.
“This Biketown is now closed,” reads the sign. “Our city is not a corporate amusement park.”
Here are the station locations where readers have reported vandalism so far:
NE 24th and Glisan
SE Water and Taylor
N Interstate and Willamette
N Williams and Fremont (New Seasons)
33rd and Belmont
14th and Stark
12th and Division
30th and Division
36th and Hawthorne
SE 12th and Gideon (on Orane Line MAX)
SE Pine and 28th
Couch and 28th
“All Portlanders should be saddened and outraged by this senseless act of vandalism.”
— Dan Saltzman, City of Portland Commissioner
The damage includes slashed tires, spray paint on the LED displays, cut spokes, and sliced seats.
This isn’t the first time Biketown stations have been vandalized. It has been an intermittent problem since the system was launched last summer.
We’ll update this story with a comment from Biketown operator Motivate Inc. as soon as we hear back.
Below are images of damage to 15 bikes at the SE Water and Taylor station:
UPDATE, 3:01 pm: PBOT has released a statement asking for help to find the perpetrator. Their full statement is below:
News Release: PBOT, Police seek public’s help to find perpetrators of BIKETOWN vandalism
(3 p.m., April 4, 2017) The Portland Bureau of Transportation seeks the public’s help to find the people responsible for vandalism to the City’s BIKETOWN bike share system.
This morning, users of the public bike sharing system found that more than 200 bicycles had been vandalized, with tires and seats slashed, and spokes cut. Graffiti obscured control screens on the bikes, as well as informational panels at stations and also screens of electronic kiosks used to check out bikes.
“All Portlanders should be saddened and outraged by this senseless act of vandalism,” said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT. “The Transportation Bureau created BIKETOWN, with bikes owned by the public, to make bicycling easier and more convenient for everyone. Unfortunately, because of this criminal act, dozens or perhaps hundreds of Portlanders were not able to ride a bike this morning.”
“Vandalizing a BIKETOWN bike is just as offensive as vandalizing a public bus or any other public property,” said Leah Treat, director of PBOT. “We will work with police and pursue all legal remedies to bring the perpetrators of this act to justice.”
Motivate, the City contractor that operates the BIKETOWN system, was cleaning up graffiti and repairing damaged bicycles within minutes of the first reports of the vandalism this morning.
BIKETOWN is key to Portland’s effort to expand bicycling, fight climate change and create 20-minute neighborhoods called for in the city’s long range plans. Since launching July 19, 2016, BIKETOWN has grown to 2,745 annual members and has been enjoyed by 45,542 people, who have taken 189,320 trips totaling 375,121 miles. People can sign-up for BIKETOWN membership via the BIKETOWN app or by visiting BIKETOWNPDX.com.
Anyone who sees someone in the act of vandalism or other crime in progress should call 9-1-1 immediately.
Anyone with information about the vandalism to BIKETOWN facilities should contact Officer David Sanders, of the Portland Police Bureau, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biketown has also emailed an alert to all members, encouraging them to report any information about “this un-civic act.”