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East Portland advocates raise equity concerns over ‘Green Loop’ project

Posted by on September 14th, 2017 at 1:23 pm

(Image: Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability: Central City 2035)

The Green Loop, one of the the city’s “Big Ideas” in the Central City 2035 plan, has been singled out by a coalition of activists who say it’s yet another sign east Portland is being left behind.

In a letter (PDF) sent to Mayor Ted Wheeler and city council members on September 6th as testimony on the Central City plan, the Climate Justice Collaborative (CJC) said they are, “disappointed in the City’s numerous efforts to elevate the Green Loop concept while failing to elevate similar efforts in areas outside the city core.”

The CJC is made up of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, the Native American Youth & Family Center, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, the Portland African American Leadership Forum, and Verde. The letter was also signed by “ally organizations” including the Community Cycling Center, Green Lents, Oregon Walks, Rose CDC and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. They describe CJC as, “a cross-cultural organizing and advocacy coalition that works to prioritize equitable processes and outcomes in Portland’s built environment, centering frontline communities, i.e. those most impacted by climate change (namely, communities of color and low-income people).”

The Green Loop is a project launched in 2014 by the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability as a way to link the central city via a linear park that would include paths for biking and walking. The project has gained serious steam in the past few years culiminating with its starring role at Design Week Portland last April and now as one of the six “Big Ideas” in the Central City 2035 plan which is slated for adoption in early 2018.

With so much support and focus on the Green Loop, it’s not surprising at all that east Portland activists are grumbling. Especially when there’s an east Portland analog known as the Green Ring that lacks the Green Loop’s glitz, profile and political prominence.

The debate around the lack of equity in transportation investments has been swirling around Portland activist and political circles for many years. The first high-profile example I’m aware of was in 2008 when mayoral candidate Sho Dozono questioned his challenger’s support of a carfree bridge over I-405 in downtown Portland. “How do you explain to these [East] Portlanders they should spend millions of taxpayer dollars to add a special bicycle bridge to cross I-405 to the Pearl District when so many streets and sidewalks throughout the city are unpaved and unsafe,” Dozone said during a debate at City Club.

That sounds a lot like the CJC’s letter: “The Green Loop fails to meet even the simplest understanding of equity… All the while, numerous areas outside of the City core lack even the most basic pedestrian and bike safety infrastructure… vision at the expense of critical and much needed investments outside of the City core serve only the elite.”

The CJC and their allies want the City to cease all spending and staff resources currently being used on the Green Loop and instead work to advance projects, “in areas of greatest need.” Here’s a list of their requests:

• Halt investments, including city staff time and resources, in planning the Green Loop until basic investments in safe infrastructure are met in frontline/vulnerable communities across the city;
• Invest in the Lents Green Ring;

• Develop green space and safe routes in the JADE District;
• Improve pedestrian safety in the Cully neighborhood; and

• Engage and invest in residents in East Portland to develop their own visions for neighborhood connectivity and safety—their own versions of the Green Loop.

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”We should not see support for the Central City Green Loop as coming at the cost of investments in neighborhoods at the frontline neighborhoods where residents face displacement risks and other needs.

.. Portland’s Green Rings can and should move forward together
— Ted Wheeler, Portland Mayor

The letter has caused considerable consternation in transportation reform circles reminiscent of similar equity arguments that bubbled-up when bike share was funded in 2011. So much so that sources in the community didn’t want the letter published here at all. Their fear is that infighting among active transportation advocates makes it harder to achieve larger goals. The letter was the subject of a wide-ranging discussion at a meeting of transportation-related advocacy groups last week. People who attended the meeting told me most of the talks centered around the need to unify and create stronger coalitions to avoid disagreements over projects like this in the future. And to some planning and advocacy insiders, the Green Loop is so revered that it’s difficult to hear anything negative about it at all.

The letter has also left a mark at City Hall. I reached out to Mayor Wheeler and the offices of all four other commissioners to get their responses. All but Commissioner Chloe Eudaly provided one.

Commissioner Nick Fish said he saw a presentation about the Green Loop during Design Week and called it “an incredible vision”. As for the CJC’s letter, he said he understands the equity concerns and that, “My initial instinct is to also look for ways to boost investments in East Portland to ensure that all Portlanders have access to beautiful, visionary green spaces.”

Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s Chief of Staff Tim Crail said his boss, “Recognizes that equity in City services and amenities remains a primary concern that must be addressed.” “She wants the City to develop an East Portland Quadrant Plan, equivalent to the Central City Plan, which should include pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure needs and potential zoning changes in East Portland,” he continued. “She supports the Green Loop as one of many needed bicycle and pedestrian upgrades across the City.” Crail said that Fritz will confirm that adoption of the Central City Plan, “Does not put the Green Loop first in line for dollars, and instead will allow it to work through the budgeting process along with all other transportation projects.”

Here’s the response from PBOT Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s Senior Policy Director Matt Grumm:

“He has read the letter. He feels that the vision of the Green Loop is complementary to many projects in East Portland as they are all focused on providing alternative transportation opportunities beyond driving a car. Examples includes the completed SE Bush Greenway as well as the planned and funded 106th Ave. Greenway, 130’s Greenway and 157th Ave. Greenway. We are a big city that has the capacity to move forward on multiple fronts as it relates to creating a more walkable and bikeable community. Dan looks forward to working with any neighborhood that has this vision and groups like Green Lents with ideas like the Lents Green Ring are really exciting and encouraged. It doesn’t need to be “us vs. them”. We’re all in this together.”

Mayor Wheeler oversees the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, so he’s quite well-versed on this project. On September 7th he posted a “Letter of support” for the Green Loop on his website (which his chief of staff says had no relation to the CJC letter):

“It’s deliberate where the Green Loop is located; the Central City has the region’s largest concentration of housing, jobs and cultural attractions, as well as social services for those in need. By placing this community asset squarely in the heart of the city, we ensure that the greatest number of residents, workers, students and visitors will be able to enjoy it. And our most vulnerable community members will have a safe way to get home, access healthcare or go to a new job.

But this is not an either/or proposition. We can – and should – make similar investments in other parts of Portland, particularly East Portland, where so many community members, particularly communities of color, have suffered from lack of public dollars and civic attention.

The Lents Green Ring is what I would call a sister project to the Green Loop in the Lents neighborhood. The City has partnered with community organizers and supports the planning efforts for this new community asset in East Portland, which will connect to the Green Loop via a network of greenways and help us meet health, resiliency and prosperity objectives.”

Reached yesterday for a more direct response to the CJC’s letter, Mayor Wheeler expanded on his thoughts about equity (emphases mine):

“The Climate Justice Collaboration makes a good and necessary point – there are clear needs outside the Central City. The City must be diligent in addressing these needs. We have and continue to need to make this a priority.



However, we need to not give into a false “either/or” thinking. We believe where there is sufficient public benefit we need to see the choice as “both/and”. The Green Loops are a great idea that can benefit all of us – in outer neighborhoods and the Central City — for a long time.



The BPS initiated the study by PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions that the CJC quotes in their letter reaches a similar conclusion.

 ‘Equity Is Not a Trade-Off: While investments in the central city are important for a variety of reasons, there does not need to be an “either/or” approach to planning for the broader metro area; as investments and plans are made to develop cycling and pedestrian infrastructure downtown, simultaneous efforts can and should be made in other parts of the city. 

We suggest building upon current discussions around walkability, cycling, and public safety to generate plans and investments outside the city’s core. For both planners and residents alike, broader messages about larger, comprehensive plans and efforts to enhance safety and recreational facilities are vital to assuaging feelings of distrust amongst local residents. 

When local residents can see that their concerns and interests are taken seriously, and when requests for additional investments are realized, perceived inequities in investment may lessen.’



We should not see support for the Central City Green Loop as coming at the cost of investments in neighborhoods at the frontline neighborhoods where residents face displacement risks and other needs.

 The Green Loop and Lents Green Ring are long term visions that will be implemented incrementally and depends on leveraging other public and private projects. Portland’s Green Rings can and should move forward together. 

I appreciate the Coalition for their advocacy and hear their message loud and clear.”

Note how he now refers to the projects as “Portland’s Green Rings” that should “move forward together.” That’s encouraging to hear. The next step will be to codify this language and consider updating Green Loop visuals and copy to reflect this integration with the Green Ring.

CORRECTION, 3:45 pm: This story originally posted the CJC letter with five ally organizations. We have since learned that two of those organizations — the Community Cycling Center and Rose CDC — did not sign the most updated version. We’ve uploaded the latest version of the letter and regret any confusion. Note: CCC spokesperson says they simply didn’t have time to put the letter through their internal deliberation process.

Also please note that according to the organizer of the advocacy meeting referenced in the story, the CJC letter was not discussed among all attendees at the meeting. I regret mischaracterizing that.

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

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74 Comments
  • joan September 14, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks so much to this coalition for raising these issues and advocating for our underserved communities. I’d encourage folks who are feeling defensive to put down their hackles and really think about the basic infrastructure needs of east Portland and where those should go in a list of projects. I’d put them higher than downtown.

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  • eawriste September 14, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    The coalition’s arguments are certainly valid. East Portland has seen decades of terrible street design and lack of safety… and so has downtown. It is, however, unfortunate that these projects are seen as requiring such expenditures as to be mutually exclusive. Both projects can be in large part built (aside from a few exceptions: e.g. NE 7th Ave bridge) with cheap diverters NOW. All Portland needs is someone not Hales, someone not Wheeler.

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    • Zach September 14, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      We need a Janette Sadik Khan.

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      • eawriste September 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm

        Perhaps. As a side comparison the NYC DOT installed 18 miles of protected bike lanes in 2016 and plans 32 this year. Portland has about a mile if you count Better Naito. Yes, budgets and politics are vastly different, but political will exists in NYC. In Portland it has been missing-and continues to be missed-for a very long time. It is not for lack of great ideas or money.

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  • David Hampsten September 14, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    The problem isn’t so much of a lack of investment by the city in East Portland – there’s been plenty of projects funded for East Portland over the last 6 years – but rather the slow pace of implementing those funded projects, particularly by PBOT. Lots of talk of Vision Zero and new designs, but little actual construction. The infill sidewalks and buffered bike lanes promised by Mayor Adams in 2012 on Division from I-205 to 148th, funded long ago, is particularly galling, as is the lack of progress on the 4M and the still-unfinished 130s.

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    • MaxD September 19, 2017 at 10:14 am

      They never painted the bike lanes on SE 136th that were paved as part of the sidewalk infill project.

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  • Steve B. September 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Extremely valid points raised by the Climate Justice Collaborative. I hope City Council takes heed. Thank you, CJC for your leadership!

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  • Maddy September 14, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    This project makes zero sense when so many Portlanders have been pushed farther East as property values and rents rise. East Portland is barely paved, missing sidewalks and the bike lanes are scary (where they exist). We are building a pretty loop for the tech bros? What is wrong with the waterfront/esplanade??? The priorities of the SW-living commissioners are so frustrating.

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    • David September 14, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      I’m not sure attacking the commissioners for living in SW is relevant. Neighborhoods there have some of the lowest levels of sidewalks, roads with curbs, and bike lanes in the city. Also very little is connected, so the ability to walk or bike places is severely compromised.

      This is not meant to diminish the needs of East Portland, which are significant, just to add some context. Also yes, the priorities of the commissioners often is frustrating.

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      • Alex Reedin September 14, 2017 at 3:55 pm

        It is absolutely relevant that 80% of City Council lives in the West Hills, where ~10% of Portland’s population lives. The neighborhoods in Southwest generally have markedly different demographics and issues than elsewhere in the city, so the Commissioners are forever translating their lives to a widely different experience to govern. It’s like as if the Governor appointed 80% people who don’t take transit much to TriMet’s board – oh wait….)

        In Southwest, incomes are higher, thus, the vast majority of working-age adults can afford to drive just about everywhere, even to downtown where parking is expensive.

        Thus, walking and biking are seen as recreation. (E.g. Amanda Fritz saying something like, “When I go walking, I always use my flashlight.” Try that while carrying home two bags of groceries.)

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        • David September 14, 2017 at 5:44 pm

          Saying “walking and biking are seen as recreation” is not representative of what I see and hear every day. What I hear at my neighborhood association meetings is people who want to walk and ride in the neighborhood for transportation and recreation but can’t because there aren’t even shoulders. They want to walk/bike to the elementary school or grocery store without having to dodge cars that speed down narrow roads and get to the park without having to worry about unsafe and speeding drivers.

          Lumping all of the residents of SW Portland as high income drivers who walk because it’s pleasurable is simplistic and doesn’t help move any conversation forward. The commissioners are going to have views shaped by their own experience but they also have an obligation as elected officials to listen to all Portland residents. If people want more diversity in where their commissioners come from then it should be easy to do as 90% of people live outside of SW Portland. I look forward to seeing this on the ballot.

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          • Alex Reedin September 15, 2017 at 9:07 am

            I agree, I’m sorry.

            I do think that all the commissioners except for Chloe Eudaly appear to have auto-centric life experiences and likely social circles, and this shows up strongly in their public statements and governance.

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    • paikiala September 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      A. there are a lot of lower income people living downtown.
      B. constructing sidewalks in east Portland, on streets without them, will not make living there more affordable (land values will increase), but safer is good as well.

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    • maccoinnich September 14, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      ” are building a pretty loop for the tech bros? ”

      That’s not really a helpful or accurate way to portray the Central City. As pointed out by Mayor Wheeler at City Council last week, 60% of the city’s regulated affordable housing is in the Central City.

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      • Chris M September 14, 2017 at 4:33 pm

        It’s also a pretty perfect illustration of how wrong our discussion of privilege has gone in this country. Now a couple 30 year olds who don’t own a house going on an ice cream date to Salt & Straw is the symbol of inequality and exclusion (and they get called “tech bros” for their trouble)… totally absent from the discussion are people who can afford private school for the kids just on the dividends from their investments (how many ice cream cones or avocado toasts is that?). The inner east-side is doing better than the neighborhoods outside 205, but any residents of these areas are also going to have to be part of ANY viable coalition for improved active transit.

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    • tee September 15, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Except significant growth is expected in the center city. Improving infrastructure in a densely populated area that could get more people of out their cars is actually a really good thing. I visited Minneapolis this summer. Our infrastructure in the close-in Eastside and Downtown areas is downright antiquated and confusing to use in comparison to theirs. Yes, I ride in Downtown and close-in Eastside now. Do most of my friends? No. Would they with better design? Yes.

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  • Esther September 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I question portraying the CJC’s letter as the “either/or proposition” when, historically, funding for these projects HAS been an either/or proposition – benefitting primarily (people in) the central city.

    “”People [at] the meeting told me most of the talks centered around the need to unify and create stronger coalitions to avoid disagreements” … The “disagreement” at issue was signed by an INCREDIBLY diverse group of stakeholders who were unified and have formed a strong coalition with clear, large goals. Who are the people unhappy about this? I would consider it a huge win for Portland if these goals were met. Why would these goals not be considered the “larger goals” we want to prioritize?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Esther,

      I wasn’t at the meeting I referenced.

      Given what I’ve learned about what happened at the meeting, I’m not sure “unhappy” is the word I’d use to characterize the sentiment. Someone who was there can chime in of course… but my sense is that the meeting was called for a separate reason than Green Loop/Green Ring… ***note: I’ve deleted a portion of my comment.***

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  • Social Engineer September 14, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Downtown bike facilities continue to be awful to the point of nonexistent in most places. To the aghast of many, apparently, not everyone who lives in the Central City is wealthy. What is true is that there are thousands of jobs in the Central City and Northwest Portland that people commute to from across the city and metro area. We also have some of the worst air quality in the region and desperately need bike and transit improvements (and ideally congestion pricing) to reduce SOV mode share into downtown. Without additional multimodal investments in the Central City, traffic congestion will continue to get worse for everyone and bike/transit mode shares will stagnate or even decline. This letter basically asks the city to keep Portland stuck at 6-7 percent bike commute mode share in perpetuity.

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    • maccoinnich September 14, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      The juxtaposition of articles on BikePortland today is interesting. This morning, an article pointing out that Portland’s mode split remains stuck. This afternoon, a letter from a coalition attacking a project that could make a meaningful difference to mode split goals.

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    • Chris M September 14, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      The challenge of anyone pushing equity concerns within a progressive movement is that it is always possible to paint them as sabotaging the larger movement whenever they speak up. But if they never they never say anything, history shows that underprivileged areas will be shunted to the back of the line for eternity. Should activists hold every good project be held hostage unless it is perfect on equity? Probably not. But you also can’t tell equity advocates to shove it just because the project is a net good. Sustainability advocates are relying on these folks as a key part of the coalition and need to make sure their voices are heard. Coalition building is hard work.

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      • Steve B. September 14, 2017 at 4:15 pm

        These are some great points Chris, well said.

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      • JeffS September 15, 2017 at 1:34 am

        Portraying self-interest as equity is dishonest.

        I have no problem with self-interest by the way. Just call it what it is.

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  • Champs September 14, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    How’s the city ever supposed to build the Green Loop and rehab that white elephant Portland Building for another $200M if it has to start putting money in East Portland?

    If CJC doesn’t start with this position, city investments will only continue to trickle down like the hillside of a rustic Boy Scout campsite.

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  • A September 14, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Wait, didn’t APANO block bike lanes on 82nd? You can’t complain about a lack of investment in your neighborhood while you continually attempt to shut down investment in your neighborhood.

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    • soren September 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      “Wait, didn’t APANO block bike lanes on 82nd?”

      link? citation? evidence?

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  • bikeninja September 14, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    To paraphrase an old bumper sticker from the 80’s. “I dream of a future where safe routes for bikes, children and pedestrians are given all the money that they need and the oil-auto-construction industrial complex has to hold a bake sale to build a new highway interchange.”

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  • Alex Reedin September 14, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    All four Commissioners (except Eudaly, thank goodness): “Oh no no no, you don’t understand, us throwing even more delicious treats at the privileged doesn’t in any way slow us in providing East Portland with their very first mouthfuls of rice and beans.” Riiight.

    As I’ve been saying for years, cheap diverters for inner Portland, expensive sidewalks and protected bike lanes for outer Portland.

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    • mh September 15, 2017 at 10:33 am

      I’d be thrilled with cheap diverters west of Chavez.

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  • SD September 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Real question. Does the CJC show up in Salem when transportation budgets are on the table?

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    • Steve B. September 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Real answer: Yes, they do.

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      • SD September 14, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        How?

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        • soren September 15, 2017 at 8:22 pm

          have you ever heard of oregon walks and opal?

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          • SD September 15, 2017 at 10:21 pm

            Yes, was wondering about CJC, specifically. I am aware of some of the work by OPAL. But did not know if APANO, PAALF, Verde or the Native American Youth & Family Center were active at the state level regarding transportation funding.

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            • soren September 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm

              I myself have been in the same Salem conference room with their representatives on multiple occasions.

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              • SD September 17, 2017 at 8:57 am

                Thanks. I appreciate the info.

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      • SD September 15, 2017 at 10:23 pm

        Interested in your answer, Steve B.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    CORRECTION, 3:45 pm: This story originally posted the CJC letter with five ally organizations. We have since learned that two of those organizations — the Community Cycling Center and Rose CDC — did not sign the most updated version. We’ve uploaded the latest version of the letter and regret any confusion. Note: CCC spokesperson says they simply didn’t have time to put the letter through their internal deliberation process.

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  • Matt September 14, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Pitting the Green Loop against funding for projects in East Portland is the wrong tack. Instead pit it against the I5 expansion or any number of other highway-only projects which suck up many many fold the amount of funds as the pathetic afterthought of spending sent to even the marquis bike project for the city.

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    • Steve B. September 14, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Matt, some of the groups raising these concerns are also opposed to the I-5 expansion.

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    • Steve B. September 14, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      The Climate Justice Collaborative has signed on to the No More Freeways statement. https://nomorefreewayspdx.com/who-are-we/

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      • Matt September 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm

        Then don’t talk about how the Green Loop is an equity problem, and don’t endorse letters from those that do. That just makes bike things here and bike things there pitted against one another.

        The reality is you could have bike things here AND bike things there AND bike things way over there for a pittance of the cost of these highway projects.

        Bringing up the Green Loop makes it seem like bike people will never be happy and instead undermines both good goals, and makes both look like they’re fighting for the same scraps. We need to quit fighting over the scraps.

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        • soren September 16, 2017 at 1:22 pm

          ummm…the “green loop” draft document actually *HIGHLIGHTS* equity.

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  • Mike September 14, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    I could post this comment every time there’s something highlighted where outer areas of the city are getting the shaft… different parts of the city will never get a fair shake as long as Portland continues its commissioner style of city council. Switch to aldermanic districts, and adding many more districts, would ensure that historically neglected areas would have a more powerful voice in the city because our representatives would be beholden to the voters of specific geographic areas.

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    • Phil Richman September 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      So true. Is anyone working on your suggestion?

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  • rick September 14, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    About time. What about outer SW? Outer North or NE or east ?

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  • Dan September 14, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Yes, let’s build more campsites in East Portland, the 205 bike path doesn’t provide enough camping space, and the cement is uncomfortable for sleeping.

    On the other hand, I’m on board with building sidewalks in East Portland rather than the Green Loop.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu September 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Answer is clear. Build them both.

    The central city Green Loop because improvements in the densest core of a city will serve the most people.

    The East Portland Green Ring because public investment in East Portland is how we’ll attract private investment, businesses, offices, jobs, retail, housing, and all the things that will make Mill Park, Hazelwood, Powellhurst, Lents etc as vibrant, walkable, and livable as any close-in neighborhood.

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    • Alex Reedin September 14, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      Question is clear: How does the City credibly commit to building good infrastructure in East Portland after decades of broken promises, neglect, and projects delayed year after year in favor of Central City investment?

      Answer: Plan and build the East Portland Green Web (a comprehensive biking and walking network) FIRST. Which is exactly what the CJC is asking for.

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      • maccoinnich September 14, 2017 at 6:58 pm

        I’m sure it’s incredibly frustrating how long it’s taking even the funded East Portland projects to move forward, but it’s not the case that they’ve been shelved in favor of Central City projects. We’ve been hearing about the Central City multimodal project for nearly 5 years, and there’s been no externally obvious progress made on it.

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        • Alex Reedin September 15, 2017 at 10:14 am

          Well, Biketown, for example, has moved forward while the East Portland Greenways have (as far as I can tell) languished. And, someone at the City ran an RFP, contracted with and managed a consultant to do the Green Loop visioning process that resulted in the lush renderings in the article (I’m just assuming this was all hired about because those renderings don’t look like a City government product). Those person(s) could have been doing something else.

          Plus, even if the neglect has truly been equal-opportunity (I’d guess the truth is somewhere in between), it’s not enough to tell historically neglected populations, “Trust us! Everything is different now – we’re neglecting everyone!” and expect them to get on board with the current plan. To build a coalition, mostly-white, mostly-inner-Portland advocates are going to have to be OK with their(our) pet projects coming second.

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          • maccoinnich September 15, 2017 at 10:58 am

            I like and use Biketown, but it’s not a substitute for a functional bike network. The fact is that in the inner SE and NE neighborhoods it’s generally possible to get from point A to B without having to cycle in heavy mixed traffic. That’s not true in the Central City. I don’t remember anyone calling for the Twenties Bikeway to be cancelled for equity reasons, despite the affluence of many of the neighborhoods it passes through. And yet whenever Central City projects look to be moving forward, people scream “equity”, even though the Central City a) takes a huge share of the city’s growth and b) has a huge share of the city’s affordable housing.

            As for the cost of graphics in the concept report, I have no idea how much they cost to produce or who did them, but they’re a pretty standard part of BPS documents these days. You’ll find similar graphics in the Mixed Use Zones project, the Residential Infill Project and the Better Housing by Design Project, none of which affect the Central City.

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        • soren September 15, 2017 at 1:16 pm

          i heartily agree with the premise that we should prioritize transportation and safety projects like the central city multimodal project and the 100s, 130s, 150s, THOP, 4M, Division, Halsey, Glisan etc. glad to see that you agree that it would make sense to delay green loop planning and outreach until we have caught up on this enormous backlog of fully funded projects!

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          • maccoinnich September 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

            Uh, emphatic no. I think we should speed up delivery of active transportation projects, not slow them down.

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            • soren September 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm

              exactly! (i think highlighting problems with equity may help speed projects up without affecting the green loop at all.)

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            • soren September 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm

              the green loop is, for the most part, not an active transportation project.

              a network of protected bike lanes could be built on the very same route for ~5-10% of the projected cost of a new urbanist linear park.

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  • Ovid Boyd
    Ovid Boyd September 14, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    I very well may regret posting this, but we don’t think this is brilliant. I wanna share our thoughts…

    Dear APANO Executive Director Joseph Santos Lyons,

    We are members and monthly supporters of APANO. We greatly appreciate your work to help households like ours, a Chinese immigrant one, prosper. However, we are very disappointed in APANO’s opposition to the Green Loop.

    The Green Loop would benefit a diverse group of people. It would connect the two neighborhoods in the city with the highest amount of affordable housing, Old Town/Chinatown and the West End, to quality biking and walking infrastructure. In your own letter, you state that 1/3 of all minority households who don’t even live in the Central City visit it at least once a week. I am sure there is no other neighborhood in the Metro area that even approaches that level of shared use.

    Asian and Pacific Islanders work downtown, they study at PSU, they work or study at OHSU, they visit, live and work in the Pearl District and the Central Eastside. They would love to see active transportation improvements to those neighborhoods. They would like to see our historic Old Town/Chinatown get much needed investments. And they would like to see one of our region’s high crash corridors, Broadway, become safer.

    We certainly know that the Jade District needs real improvements. APANO is working hard to improve 82nd Avenue to make it is safer, more comfortable and more pleasant for folks using active transportation. We applaud that. However, working to keep other neighborhoods, neighborhoods that immigrant households like ours live in, work in and study in, less safe, should absolutely not be one of APANO’s goals.

    Sincerely,
    Ovid Boyd & Lunji Zhang

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  • John Mulvey September 14, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    Sorry for just now seeing this post.

    The groups that signed the letter have valid concerns that should be heard, but they are not “East Portland advocates.” In reading their thoughtful letter, I don’t see anywhere that they present themselves as such.

    I’m not trying to be pedantic. The signators and organizations have every right to raise their concerns, and I’m glad that equity for East Portland is among them.

    However, the fact of raising those equity issues does NOT make them “East Portland advocates.” These groups include some members who live in East Portland and some who do not. Some of the individuals who signed live in East Portland and some do not. A few of these groups have some history of advocacy for East Portland –most do not.

    Those of us involved in transportation advocacy with the East Portland Action Plan have been raising similar equity concerns for more than a decade. We live here, and I can assure you that we’re quite capable of speaking for ourselves. We’ve been doing that around a number of transportation issues that raise significant equity concerns, such as the Division High Capacity Transit project, the 82nd Avenue of Roses Safety project, the Outer Powell Plan, and our efforts for better North-South transit service in East Portland, to name just a few. We’ve been fighting the fight for a just allocation of resources to East Portland for a long time –often alone.

    For the record, neither EPAP nor our affiliated East Portland Land Use and Transportation Committee has taken a position on the Green Loop.

    If you’d like to hear from East Portland advocates on any number of East Portland’s transportation concerns, I’d be happy to suggest people who could give you and bikeportland’s readers plenty to think about from an East Portland perspective.

    Best wishes from your friend and fan,
    John Mulvey

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  • Clement September 14, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    People should know that the Green Loop is only one part of a network of “City Greenways” (distinctive bike/ped connections with a higher level of improvement than neighborhood greenways) that were mapped all across the city as part of Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan. The citywide network includes East Portland, including concepts for connecting Gateway Green to points east and west. So, it’s not just about inner Portland. Because Portland is doing a once-every-twenty-years plan for the Central City, the plan includes a focus on the Green Loop as a long-term aspiration. It would be remiss if the plan didn’t include a bold move to nudge the area toward a more bike/ped oriented future, given that it’s a hub for the whole city. Having the Green Loop in the plan doesn’t guarantee funding. That’s another discussion. You can both have the Green Loop as an aspiration for the Central City AND choose to prioritize near-term funding for East Portland bike/ped improvements (fyi – there are a lot of new sidewalks along southern portions 122nd and 136th – check it out, plus that Gateway Green thing, so things are happening in East Portland).

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  • GlowBoy September 15, 2017 at 6:46 am

    The Green Loop is important, but so is bringing up outside-the-core Portland to at least a decent level of bike-friendliness. As much as I want to see the Green Loop happen, I’ve always been frustrated by how bike-UNfriendly much of Portland is. For better or worse, I think it’s right to raise the issue now.

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  • SD September 15, 2017 at 8:11 am

    This letter is very disappointing. I would expect that the organizations that signed this letter would have the experience and vision to know better.

    It is inaccurate and disingenuous to say that the green loop serves only the elites. As others have said, the central city contains people with a broad range of means and some of the most vulnerable groups in Portland. It is easy to characterize the central city as the land of the privileged, but it is wrong and offensive to overlook the groups that live centrally in subsidized housing, the homeless or those who rely on services in the city core and need safe access. The groups signing this letter must know that safe access is equity and this is a crucial issue throughout Portland.

    Threatening a high profile progressive cause because your own cause isn’t getting the resources you want doesn’t work. This is infighting. It is fighting over scraps instead of fighting for the total necessary resources. This causes animosity, breaks down the coalitions needed to truly shift Portland to an equity mindset and leaves the real drivers of inequity unscathed and unnamed. Unfortunately, it is a common practice among advocacy groups and a reason that they flounder. Will the supporters of the green loop look at this letter and say “lets give more to East Portland?” They haven’t and they won’t. It is much more likely that critics of spending resources on Portland’s safety infrastructure in general will be emboldened from these arguments and cite the lack of support from CJC and others. “Why waste money on “X” that Portlanders don’t even want when we could build the next CRC or widen the next highway or give money to projects that benefit the real disenfranchised groups like rural Oregonians or the poor people that had to flee Portland and live in Vancouver, Happy Valley or Lake Oswego?”

    It is a position of weakness to try to build strength on opposition to a project with a parallel purpose. Advocates fight with each other because it is easy, not because it is just or effective. There are 1000 more effective ways to advance the safety needs of East Portland without undermining the principled need for safe equitable transportation and access for all Portlanders.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate September 15, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Interesting to see the uptick in displeasure with how the city treats the east side. Long time east siders have been swallowing that bitter pill for years. Other commenters are right…our current city government stinks and is way out of touch with much of the city.

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  • soren September 15, 2017 at 9:49 am

    130s Neighborhood Greenway — Funded and orginally slated for completion in 2014-2015
    100s Neighborhood Greenway — Funded and originally slated for completion in 2015-16
    150s Neighborhood Greenway — Funded and originally slated for completion in 2016-2017

    50s Neighborhood Greenway — Funded later than the above and already built.
    20s Neighborhood Greenway — Funded later than the above and already built.

    And on the “green loop” equity statement there is a glossy map showing connections to east portland. and what is that pretty line? it is the cancelled, resurrected, and long-delayed 4M neighborhood greenway. it’s time for PBOT and the city council to stop @#$%ing over east portland.

    I support the climate collaborative.

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  • Spiffy September 15, 2017 at 11:52 am

    yes, east Portland cyclists are upset that money is being spent on central city cycling…

    meanwhile we’re all mad that money is being spent on privately owned single occupancy vehicle flow at the expense of all other modes…

    we can easily get all the cycling projects funded if we band together and oppose all the motor vehicle projects…

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  • Spiffy September 15, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I see a major problem in that East Portland is not its own town anymore and thus their downtown is now our downtown… they’re now the suburbs, which are dominated by motor vehicles… there’s an even stronger majority there opposed to cycling projects than there is downtown… it’s going to take a disproportional amount of investment to bring it up to par as it’s own city/destination again…

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    • David Hampsten September 17, 2017 at 2:28 am

      30% of Portland’s city population lives east of 82nd/I-205, up from 23% just 10 years ago, but few of them actually commute to downtown. According to the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, most working residents in East Portland commute to the Columbia Corridor, airport, Swan Island, Clark County, Clackamas County, and to Gresham, mostly to blue-collar industrial jobs but also to poorly-paid retail jobs. There is in fact wide local support for better bike and ped infrastructure in East Portland, but especially for north-south connections and to North Portland, but not necessarily to downtown. And yes, many East Portlanders would like improvements made to I-205 downstream in Oregon City/West Linn, as well as better cross-town bus service, so they can have more job choices.

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  • q September 15, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    The Green Loop project seems to not have a lot of opposition other than in regard to cost. So it could be too bad (but perhaps wise) to see money for it going to the Eastside instead.

    The ironic (and sad, and sometimes maddening) situations occur when Westside projects that have a lot of opposition from Westsiders get pushed or even built. In those cases, Westsiders would prefer the money to go to the East side, even if just to ensure the projects being opposed don’t get built.

    An example–the new Washington Park Master Plan project proposes all kinds of fairly intense development within Washington Park, whereas many Westsiders would prefer it be left less developed. Instead, that money could go to Eastside projects that Eastsiders are begging for.

    Another example (scuttled for now)–the Lake Oswego trolley was pushed heavily by at least some government entities in Portland, L.O. and Metro. Yet at a large meeting I attended there were a total of TWO citizens who spoke in favor of it–one who wanted to take it from L.O. to Blazers games, another who wanted to take it from L.O. to the Pearl to eat at restaurants there so he didn’t have to pay for parking. Meanwhile, the $200 or $300 million or more for that project would have been welcomed for transportation improvements on any number of Eastside streets that lack the most basic bus service or bike/pedestrian infrastructure.

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  • Mark smith September 16, 2017 at 10:06 am

    You have to start somewhere. Starting where there is great density makes sense. Whining about the outer east is pointless. The reality is..there is more money in the center of the city. As that area improves, the idea catches on and moves outward.

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    • David Hampsten September 17, 2017 at 2:29 am

      If it hasn’t done so since Portland was “founded” in 1845, why should it do so this time around?

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    • q September 17, 2017 at 10:56 am

      The “trickle east” theory?

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