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City set to adopt list of 105 ‘Vision Zero’ projects

Posted by on July 12th, 2017 at 11:39 am

Some of the upgrades PBOT is in the process of making throughout the city.

As many advocates and insiders reading this already know, before a project can get funded it must be on a list. The more powerful the list, the more important it is that your project gets on it. These lists are were the money goes first and inclusion of a project on them is often the only justification needed to get it built.

Tomorrow at City Council the Portland Bureau of Transportation will ask Mayor Ted Wheeler and the four other commissioners to approve a list of 105 “Vision Zero projects” PBOT says are critical to, “systematically address the safety needs” on our most dangerous streets (see the full ordinance and list here). The total estimated cost of all the projects could be close to $750 million. About one-quarter of the projects on the list are already funded. PBOT has also requested that 17 of the 105 projects (estimated to cost upwards of $74 million) get added to Portland’s Transportation System Plan — which would give them the highest priority possible.

This important move to prioritize infrastructure projects that back up PBOT’s Vision Zero effort began two years ago when City Council adopted a resolution that read in part, “No loss of life is acceptable on our city streets.”

PBOT’s High Crash Network.

The projects range from high-tech traffic signals that make crossing big streets easier to bikeway projects that separate bicycle users from auto users. And they touch nearly every part of the city from downtown to the city limits. All the projects on the list share at least one thing in common: They are on Portland’s “High Crash Network” — 30 streets and intersections that have the highest number of crashes in Portland. PBOT staff, working with the Vision Zero Task Force, used crash data to designate a separate high crash network for driving, biking, and walking. Most of the projects on this Vision Zero list touch on all three. A project earns further prioritization when a street or intersection is in a “community of concern” — a designation based on an index of 10 equity-related factors including access to transit and income.

Here are a few highlights from the list:

  • Hawthorne Multimodal Safety Project (Estimated $2-5 million, unfunded): Safety project to reduce sideswipe auto crashes and left turning auto crashes from 12th to 50th. Include safety improvements to reduce bike crashes and pedestrian crashes. (Note: Just last night there was a major injury crash involving three motor vehicle operators on Hawthorne at 22nd.)
  • Outer Killingsworth Multimodal Safety (Estimated $2-5 million, unfunded): Safety project to reduce rear end crashes and pedestrian crashes from Cully to Columbia (east leg). Upgrades to pedestrian crossings, including transit amenities, and bike facilities.


  • Inner Powell Blvd Corridor Improvements (Estimated $5 – $10 million, unfunded): Retrofit existing street with multimodal safety improvements from Ross Island Bridge to Interstate 205 including enhanced pedestrian and bicycle crossings, pedestrian and bike activated signals, median islands with trees, redesign of selected intersections and stormwater management facilities.
  • SW 4th Ave Streetscape Improvements (Estimated $5 – $10 million, unfunded): Improves the street environment on SW 4th Avenue adjacent to Portland State University from Columbia St. to Lincoln St. by adding bicycle facilities, curb bulb-outs, signalized pedestrian crossings, green street features, and marked crosswalks.
  • SW Broadway Bikeway and Streetscape Improvements (Estimated $500,000 – $2 million, unfunded): Enhances the existing protected bikeway and sidewalks on SW Broadway adjacent to Portland State University from Clay to Jackson. Includes the construction of a raised bikeway, sidewalk amenities, green street features, ADA improvements, pedestrian islands, and curb bulb-outs.
  • Capitol Hwy Corridor Improvements (Estimated $2-5 million, partially funded): Improve SW Capitol Highway from SW Multnomah Boulevard to SW Taylors Ferry Road to include a continuous sidewalk(s), safe crossings and bicycle access along the corridor.
  • Marine Drive Trail Gaps (funded): Close gaps in Marine Dr Trail from 112th to 122nd.

PBOT and City Council have already directed funding toward Vision Zero: The local gas tax increase passed last May will add $16 million a year into PBOT coffers; Council gave $300,000 from the general fund to make safety upgrades on SE Division (after PBOT declared it an “emergency”); and the current city budget includes $1.465 million in ongoing funding.

This strong combination of real money, infrastructure projects, legislative lobbying, and public outreach is what led us to decare in March that Vision Zero is the City of Portland’s top transportation priority.

Once this project list is passed, it will be up to advocates — on the street and at the City of Portland — to get them built as soon as possible.

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

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

  • rick July 12, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Where’s the love for SW Scholls Ferry Road? It becomes a rare north / south road just to the north of SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. It also becomes SW Skyline.

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    • Gary B July 12, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Only the Skyline portion is in Portland. And is Skyline a high-crash corridor? (Of course I doubt it’s passing the equity criteria, even if it is high crash.)

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      • rick July 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm

        There are a few homes on SW Scholls Ferry Road that are annexed into Portland.

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  • Chris I July 12, 2017 at 11:46 am

    The Marine Drive trail project is needed ASAP. I’m happy to see it listed as “funded”, but when will construction start?

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    • Adam
      Adam July 12, 2017 at 11:59 am

      After an arduous “public outreach program” no doubt.

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    • Beeblebrox July 15, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      It’s waiting for Army Corps of Engineers, from what I’ve heard.

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  • Mick O July 12, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Whatever happened with this project:

    “PBOT planning jersey-barrier protected bikeway on North Greeley Ave”

    I went back to that article and didn’t see any mention of timing, but they just repainted the stretch a couple weeks ago. And, it’s not listed here unless I missed it. Is it scrapped?

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    • Adam
      Adam July 12, 2017 at 11:56 am

      It probably went to the same place that the Foster Streetscape Project went: into PBOT’s black hole.

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      • Beeblebrox July 15, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        Or maybe building projects is just way more complicated than you think. Foster is delayed because of the federal government, not PBOT. Get your facts straight before you cast blame.

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    • Mick O July 12, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Answering my own question.. I tweeted to Roger Geller

      “Still happening. We’re rescoping, so not until next year. Greeley north of Going will be redone this yr with buffered or protected lanes.”

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  • Adam
    Adam July 12, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Oh neat. Another list for the city to put on a shelf and ignore.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      I think there’s an important distinction between lists and plans. Plans tend to sit on shelves but in my experience lists are more powerful — especially the TSP. If you look at the groundwork PBOT has laid with Vision Zero I think there’s reason to be optimistic that some of these projects happen sooner than you might think. They have everything lined up (except not all the cash of course): politics is super strong for VZ, staffing is strong too, it’s the top priority for Director Treat, it lines up with equity policies, it addresses an urgent clear/present danger, and there’s widespread support from citizens and nonprofit groups.

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      • David Hampsten July 12, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        Jonathan, it’s too easy to be cynical about PBOT lists as well. Anything that is not listed under “years 1-10” will likely never be funded at all. By 2026, local priorities will change yet again, a new TSP will be drawn up, new lists created, ad nauseam, even assuming there is money available, which in Oregon is not a given.

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    • Todd Hudson July 12, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      The plan can be shelved right next to former mayor Adams’s 20-year bike plan!

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      • VRU July 12, 2017 at 5:09 pm

        15% is the new 25%. This city’s active transportation policy is flaming crater.

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    • Kate July 12, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Seriously, do you ever get tired of belittling and minimizing the work people are doing to try and improve our streets? I know we’d all like things to just magically happen on your standards and timeline, but unfortunately that’s not how a city operates. Here is an effort that has taken enormous time, thought, outreach and political skin in the game. And now many of those projects are being put forth for funding to truly makes a difference. With friends like these…

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      • Adam
        Adam July 12, 2017 at 3:34 pm

        unfortunately that’s not how a city operates

        Unfortunately that’s not how Portland operates. I’ve lived in cities that have been able to get so much more built in shorter amounts of time. Chicago was building around ten miles of protected bike lanes per year, and is constantly expanding their successful bike share program, as well as improving access to the riverfront and fixing dangerous pinch points on popular bike paths.

        Unfortunately, Portland suffers from massive dysfunction at all levels, coupled with an inflated sense of self-worth and importance. This causes us to churn out plan after plan to keep Portland’s national reputation as a leader intact, without ever having much to show for it. For Portland leaders, it’s all about marketing and reputation management, and not about getting actual results. Call people out on this, and you’ll get a laundry list of excuses and general condescension that you “just don’t understand”.

        People are starting to see through this thin guise.

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        • paikiala July 12, 2017 at 4:31 pm

          Compare the budgets of the two cities and the % for each mode.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu July 13, 2017 at 10:01 am

          You have to consider the relative size of these cities. Chicago is a far larger city than Portland. Chicago’s population is 2.7MM vs Portland 0.6MM. So Chicago should be able to add 4-5X as much of anything (bikeshare bikes, miles of bike lane, etc) in the equivalent time.

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          • Adam
            Adam July 13, 2017 at 10:09 am

            You have missed the point entirely. Even cities the same size or smaller are surpassing Portland. Replace Chicago with Seattle, Vancouver, Minneapolis, etc. and the point still stands.

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            • Beeblebrox July 15, 2017 at 12:18 pm

              Vancouver, absolutely. But then, they’re in Canada, where people pay way higher taxes and get more for it. Seattle and Minneapolis? No way. They’re ahead of Portland on transit, but not anywhere close for bike infrastructure.

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    • Scott H July 12, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Oh neat. BikePortland comment sections are nothing but Adam’s opinion again.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu July 12, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Lot of productive, constructive comments so far.

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    • Adam
      Adam July 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      Your’s included? 😉

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    • Mick O July 12, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      I did not mean to offend you.

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    • Adam
      Adam July 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      I mean, this would be a good list of projects if Portland didn’t have a history of not implementing most of their planned projects and watering down the ones that do get built. As always, I’d love to be proven wrong.

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      • David Hampsten July 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm

        Case in point: (top of page 7) “Powell – East Portland Access to Employment – This project will build sidewalks and crossing improvements on Powell Blvd, improve sidewalks for access to transit, improve transit stops, improve transit operations, and build the 100s and 150s Neighborhood Greenways. Unfunded.”

        Before I left Portland in 2015, EPAP secured over $4 million in MTIP/STIP funding for this combination of projects, including the 100s and 150s bikeways. There’s even a very good staff member of PBOT already working on it. But here it’s being listed as “unfunded”. Is this a mistake, or has PBOT redirected funding elsewhere?

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        • Beeblebrox July 15, 2017 at 12:23 pm

          Congratulations, you caught a typo!

          Don’t worry, the project is set to be constructed over the next year. Not sure how the Outer Powell project might impact the Powell portion, but the 100s and 150s bikeways are definitely still happening.

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    • Dan A July 12, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Pardon us if we are looking for production and construction.

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    • Toadslick July 12, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      The bitter responses to this article reflect the ever-growing frustration at the speed at which PBOT and ODOT move, and the piecemeal nature of their infrastructure improvements. Especially when other cities within the U.S. and around the world are making bold, brave, sweeping changes to reclaim their streets for people.

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      • paikiala July 13, 2017 at 8:41 am

        Which other cities in other countries that operate under the same political system and social values?

        ‘Sweeping’, on Portland’s budget?
        Want more tax dollars for bike and ped stuff? Start a referendum.
        Don’t like the way current admin runs things, organize for change.
        Just like to complain? Post on BP.

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        • Adam
          Adam July 13, 2017 at 10:00 am

          Want more tax dollars for bike and ped stuff? Start a referendum.
          Don’t like the way current admin runs things, organize for change.

          So sick of hearing this excuse, as if people already don’t do this and the city doesn’t listen or care. And for the record, I don’t just complain on BP, I complain at open houses too, but less so than I used to because I’ve grown sick of the laundry list of excuses and eye rolls I get from city officials.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy July 13, 2017 at 11:21 am

            Instead of complaining, what do you do to foster change?

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            • Beeblebrox July 15, 2017 at 12:24 pm

              Exactly. Complaining doesn’t produce any more funding or political will. To do that, you actually have to organize.

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  • David July 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I like the list in a general sense (that they have it and are looking to expand, heighten priorities), however PBOT really needs to do something about the construction crews that are going to be working on these projects. For anyone who has endured the 2+ months of BH Hwy construction from 21st-45th they have done an abysmal job handling things for all modes.

    Bike lanes have been deprioritized during construction in an ironic twist. Bike lanes have routinely been unmarked for a day or two between grinding of the roadway surface and a crew painting lines. On a couple occasions they weren’t marked for at least a week, even though this is supposedly not their policy. They failed to enact a construction speed zone when the project started so people were trying to go 40 MPH on a high crash corridor while avoiding large bumps in the road due to utilities that don’t get ground down with the rest of the roadway causing cars, trucks, and buses to dart in an out of the bike lane with little warning. Add to that signage and equipment blocking bike lanes, many times without the courtesy of a “Bikes in Roadway” sign. Even the “bike lanes” that were set up where work was being done due to lane closures were completely unmarked but the crews expected people to ride in them. The whole thing has been a disappointment mess that reeks of a department that says the right things but has no clue how to execute.

    Getting these projects will definitely improve safety for all modes and I’m encouraged that this is happening. Hopefully it doesn’t cost people their lives during the actual construction phase.

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  • Tom Hardy July 12, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Unfortunately David. problems of safety in construction zones will not be changed with fatalities. Vulnerable users are at their lowest priority just below flaggers.

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  • J_R July 12, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I look forward to the first annual report (complete with logo) being presented to the task force that identifies the status of all 105 projects as “pending.”

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  • J Chris Anderson July 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Can we please start painting stop-lines with the stop signs on Greenway crossing streets? Preferably with some green paint to indicate a bike street. Stop sign runners are the reason Greenway commuters don’t let their kids bike to school.

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    • X July 12, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Yes! Also a sign that says: Crossing Traffic Does Not Stop. This a real thing, there are signs like that on NW Marshall at 18th and 19th Avenue. You’d think a stop sign would be enough, right? Nope. Maybe this is what that “. . .private Idaho” song was about!

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    • Beeblebrox July 15, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      This is a great idea. Suggest it to Roger Geller, the bike coordinator. He is always looking for good ideas.

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  • Toadslick July 12, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    My first thought upon seeing that map of the High Crash Network was, “these are the streets that I wish I could bike safely on.”

    So many of the Portland businesses that I would like to frequent are located on these streets. As a person riding a bicycle, my options for almost all of these streets are either:

    1. Ride a parallel greenway until I’m near my destination, and hope that I got the address right.

    2. Ride on the sidewalks, which are often inadequate for the large amount of pedestrian traffic that they carry.

    3. Ride in the car lane with aggressive auto traffic.

    What I’d love to be able to do is casually browse these streets while on my bicycle, just to see what businesses even exist, without having to find them on Google Maps first.

    These streets also tend to be the ones with the most comfortable elevation grades for bike riding. It’s baffling that they are all given to the cars, while people on bikes are left to contend with the more hilly side streets.

    My dream would be to see wide sidewalks, bus-only lanes, and protected bike lanes on all of these streets.

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  • paikiala July 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I call the high crash network map the ’roundabout map’.

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    • Adam
      Adam July 12, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      I call it the ‘streets I’d like to cycle on to access businesses, but can’t because all the cars make it too dangerous to do so’ map. Rolls right off the tongue. Maybe I should just shorten it to the ‘protected cycleway’ map.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate July 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    LOL you can’t even get the city cut back overgrown weeds from sidewalks in east PDX. Good luck!

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    • J_R July 13, 2017 at 7:19 am

      The vegetation that protrudes into the sidewalk space is the responsibility of the homeowner, not the city. Enforcement is on a complaint basis. You need to complain to Development Services. They will eventually inspect the property and notify the homeowner to correct the problem. If the homeowner ignores it or does an inadequate job, you’ll have to complain multiple times.

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    • David Hampsten July 13, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      The law cited has been true for over 50 years, but PBOT, like a lot of other US cities, used to do this using city funding and staff. They cut such services over 20 years ago as funding gradually (and sometimes suddenly) disappeared. PBOT revenues are growing slower than inflation, so the costs for services and personnel is still gradually reducing how much PBOT can do. A few years ago, PBOT cut brush along SE 136th after a child was killed by a car there in a high-profile case, so there have been recent exceptions.

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  • Scott Kocher July 12, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Why/how is an ODOT street such as Powell on the City’s list?

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    • David Hampsten July 13, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      On many of the ODOT street projects, the city is offering TSDC funding for certain types of improvements, especially for adding sidewalks (for example, $13 million for outer Powell). The funding is essentially a bribe to ODOT to prioritize Portland projects over other cities for both funding and implementation.

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  • Carrie July 13, 2017 at 7:59 am

    My observation — Portland is really struggling with growth and how to manage increased demand on all services. It’s the only explanation I can come up with for the fact that on the street that I live on (note I initially typed “my street” but it’s not MY street, it’s OUR street) has had funding for 2.5 years to install bike/pedestrian crosswalk and RFB at a dangerous intersection (though not high crash) and it still hasn’t happened. And not because we don’t ask about it monthly. It’s why the parking regulations that do exist aren’t enforced. It’s why speed limits aren’t enforced. For a long time the city was small enough and the population dynamics were such that more people followed the rules. And the staff could get to projects to actually implement them. But now there are more people and more demands, but not more city infrastructure to deal with it all. At least that’s my feeling when I’m not mad about how long a simple crosswalk installation is taking.

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    • paikiala July 13, 2017 at 8:44 am

      What intersection?

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      • Carrie July 13, 2017 at 11:32 am

        SE 19th and Bybee. SE 19th is a greenway, a SRTS route, and there is no crosswalk, let alone the planned RFB to cross Bybee. I did the PBOT bike count there earlier this summer and it was easy to observe how many people on foot and on bike were avoiding this intersection because of the dangerous crossing of Bybee at rush hour.

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        • paikiala July 14, 2017 at 9:40 am

          The pre-construction meeting is next week. Work should begin within 30 days of that meeting.

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  • Brian July 13, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    The sooner the better. I decided to forego the mountain bike yesterday and opted for a long road ride in and around Portland. About midway through the ride I realized that I am more nervous riding the road in PDX these days than I am riding downhill trails at Whistler, and I’m a relatively fearless road rider.

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    • Mossby Pomegranate July 15, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Sad. For what it’s worth I feel the same way. So much of the “bike friendly” talk about Portland seems like just fluff any more.

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