(Publisher’s note: This article was submitted by BikePortland subscriber Joan. It comes the day after the Portland Business Alliance launched an email campaign against Better Naito. The campaign appears to have backfired as it has spurred dozens (if not hundreds) of emails to city council and social media comments in support of the project.
We shop, patronize, attend, work for, and support the organizations that comprise the PBA. It’s time to talk to these businesses directly. Do they know about this campaign PBA is running in their name?
As Jonathan wrote in BikePortland last month, the Portland Business Alliance (PBA), which bills itself as the chamber of commerce for greater Portland, has an aggressive campaign against Better Naito, the temporary lane change to SW Naito Parkway along the Waterfront Park that makes bicycling and walking and visiting festivals safer and better during the summer months. As the Portland Mercury notes in the headline to a story about this very topic, the PBA ‘is weirdly obsessed with ‘Better Naito.'”
This campaign has taken several forms, including a misguided editorial in the Portland Tribune and multiple contacts with elected officials. The Mercury said, “PBA brings Better Naito up in meetings with elected officials, and earlier this month, the organization drafted a strongly worded letter to Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman attempting to bring its monied heft to bear on the issue.”
This week the PBA launched a letter writing campaign to city council – a campaign that, at least initially, backfired, resulting in more letters in support of, than opposed to, Better Naito.
The Portland Business Alliance is comprised of a range of business, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations throughout Portland. PBA says it speaks for businesses, but multiple studies have shown that people on bikes are more likely to stop in local businesses than folks in cars. Who really benefits from this campaign?
We might not be able to influence the PBA, but we shop, patronize, attend, work for, and support the organizations that comprise PBA. It’s time to talk to these businesses directly. Do they know about this campaign PBA is running in their name? Let’s tell these businesses that we, their customers and employees, don’t support PBA’s misguided, car-centric campaign against our city’s innovative approach to active transportation.
Do you shop at Powell’s, Columbia, Adidas, Nordstrom, or Nike? Eat at Deschutes Brewery, Rogue Ales Distillery and Public House, St. Honoré Boulangerie, Bridges Cafe, Eb & Bean, or Elephants Delicatessen? Do you buy coffee at a local Starbucks? Have North St. Bag panniers on your bike? Watch KGW or KOIN? Listen to OPB? Cheer for the Portland Timbers or Hillsboro Hops? Do you work at or attend any local college or university?
Do you know anyone on the PBA Board of Directors?
Contact them and other PBA members, and tell them you support Better Naito, and you don’t support this PBA campaign. And tell them to tell PBA to knock it off.
Here are some reasons Better Naito is better for Portland:
- The Better Naito temporary lane changes create a dedicated path for bicycles and pedestrians near Waterfront Park during the summer, when an additional 15,000 people visit this area per day
- Better Naito brings more people downtown, which brings more money to local businesses
- More people on foot and on bike means fewer cars, which ultimately makes roads less busy for people in cars and taking transit
And remind businesses that these safety improvements, which dramatically improve access and safety for so many, have increased travel times for single-occupancy vehicles by an average of only 45 seconds to one minute during rush hour.
So, how do you find out what businesses belong to PBA? Use the PBA membership directory.
And make sure to copy PBA on every email you send: firstname.lastname@example.org
Right now the Portland Business Alliance is working against safety for cyclists and pedestrians — and against the interests of many of their members. Let’s help change that.
— Joan, BikePortland Subscriber, @msfour on Twitter