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Lincoln-Harrison project supporters find “X” spray-painted outside homes

Posted by on March 20th, 2018 at 1:42 pm

X marks the spot where people are supportive of changes to SE Lincoln that would make the street safer for all users.
(Photos: Anonymous)

The inter-neighborhood hostilities over the city’s Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project seem to have reached a new level.

A reader who lives in the area — and who requested anonymity — reported to us this morning that the sidewalk outside at least a dozen homes have been spray-painted by vandals with a large “X”. The one thing all the homes have in common? A “We Support Safe Lincoln St” sign.

The signs were created and handed out by grassroots activists last month as part of an effort to show support for the embattled project.

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Plans from the Portland Bureau of Transportation to install diversion, speed bumps, and other methods to slow down speeds and decrease the amount of drivers who use the streets, have been met with outrage from some people. The Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association voted against planned diverters 45-5 back in November and a city-hosted meeting back in December was taken over by a coordinated group of area residents who oppose the changes.

The project also has a lot of support — not only from those who live in the neighborhood but from the many people who cycle through it.

Now those people are facing a backlash. Our tipster said he saw eight houses on SE Lincoln between 52nd and 54th and several between 32nd and 34th that had been vandalized. We’ve confirmed that at least one resident has called the police. Police reportedly paid a visit to the neighborhood but won’t move forward on the case unless a video or other proof of the culprits’ actions surface.

We asked PBOT if the X’s were part of a sidewalk repair project. They said their crews did not paint them.

If you know anything about this act of vandalism and potential harassment, please report it to Portland Police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333. I’ll update this post with more information as it comes in.

UPDATE, 6:15 pm: We have heard back from one of the people targeted by the vandalism. Laura Belson says she believes the X’s are part of a coordinated campaign. “Only houses in our area that have these signs received an X,” she shared with me, in response to emailed questions. “I am imagining someone is upset that we are showing our support and therefore decided to display their disapproval of our actions in this way.” Belson said in addition to the signs, she has been vocal in her support for the project. “I have gone to neighborhood meetings voicing my support, handed out flyers a couple of times, called and written emails to decision makers,” she says. “I wouldn’t call that super vocal, just a regularly interested neighbor.” Belson also says that, “Not everyone who has received an X has done as much as I have.”

UPDATE, 1:00 pm on 3/21: The X’s have been removed by City of Portland crews.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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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SafeStreetsPlease
Guest
SafeStreetsPlease

At what point does PBOT stop continuing to submit itself to people as radical as this who have zero understanding of our climate and public safety goals? Everything I heard about the meeting in December was that the folks against the project forcefully took over the meeting and physically intimidated supporters.

Rider
Guest
Rider

It seems completely insane to me how much people are freaking out over these diverters. Is it really that hard to drive a slightly different route?

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Member

Very scary! Some days this world is just too much.

mh
Subscriber

Will PBOT, seeing this, continue to pay attention to the wishes of the haters? Probably, because haters probably vote.

PBOT, do what’s right, and do it quickly.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I don’t live on Lincoln but use it frequently. How do I get a sign for my house?

Allan Rudwick
Subscriber

Portland Police – please take things like this seriously. You don’t need to wait for the next phase of intimidation.

abbi9mm
Guest
abbi9mm

lol. I know nothing about this and could care less. But i am curious about why Oregon decided to slow the horrible drivers down even more on side streets. Has there been an increase in deaths or accidents? Why spend the money if you don’t need to? Honestly, it should be up to the people who live on the street, not any biker or anyone else. But whatever, everyone has to have a say in everyone else’s issues right? Like me, but i try to just call it as i see it.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Badge of honor.

Shoupian
Subscriber
Shoupian

If PBOT had the political courage to go ahead with their plan instead of hiding behind transportation advocates, these people wouldn’t have been harassed. But that’s exactly the point of these public open houses and online petitions – PBOT wants advocates to take the blame/heat for them and appear to be a neutral agency that is only doing what advocates want. I have always thought of Portland’s active advocacy culture as a reflection of the inactive and complacent attitude of its city agencies. Sit back and leave it to advocates. They will fight the political battles for us.

PBOT needs to stop punting technical and design decisions to neighbors and activists and own up their projects, but that decision has to come from the top leaders of the agency.

Mount Tabor Neighbor
Guest
Mount Tabor Neighbor

This diverter that PBOT is proposing without the neighborhoods consent is ridiculous. Nobody wants it and nobody asked for it. This will literally add seconds to my commute that I don’t have time for. Why all these bikers are proposing such a terrible design is beyond me, I ride all the time and Lincoln is fine so why are they trying to “fix” somthing that isn’t broken??? Portland isn’t Amsterdam and no everyone can ride a bike! If bikers are so worried about safety, they should wear helmets instead of making everyones commute worse.

NO DIVERTER!!!

mh
Subscriber

PBOT hasn’t caved, but they compromise, encouraging more complaints and battle. Just put your design on the ground with movable planters, and then deal with the whining. There might be some basis for the whines, in which case, a slight modification might be in order.

The current process stinks for all concerned.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I strongly doubt the “X”s where placed by PBoT (or other contractors) to identify sidewalk repairs…typically such would be a painted outline (often white) along sections/ panels to be removed…plus the heritage sidewalks in 2 of the 3 photos look pretty good for their estimated 100 years of age…

Shoupian
Subscriber
Shoupian

Michael, I agree that the real problem is that there is no transportation advocate on council. I have said it before. But I think my comment was misunderstood. I said the leadership level at PBOT needs to act more boldly and stand up for their proposed projects. The reason they don’t do this is precisely what you said. But I never said the staff is the problem.

But I want to ask if you have any examples for PBOT delivering a bike improvement project successfully even in the face of neighborhood opposition with support from mostly within the agency. If there are examples to show that this has happened in the recent past, then I will admit my criticism of using advocates as shields whenever there is push back is ungrounded.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

Car disease runs deep.

Katherine Wolfe
Guest
Katherine Wolfe

May I ask, where are the diverter(s) planned?

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

If I spray paint an X in front of my house would this lend support and reclaim the marker from intimidation towards radical self-reappropriation? Serious question here as I am tempted to deface the public right of way on the sidewalk in front of my place if it would lend support and turn a silly threat into a bold statement.

Tom
Guest
Tom

PBOT engineers are not trained PR professionals. It’s not the way their brain works. Initial public outreach should be done using guided blank slate consensus building workshops to take community input before any plans are presented. There are many advantages to this approach over PBOTs shouting match approach.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Marking greenway supporters’ houses with “X” on the sidewalk is bad. There is civil debate and discourse, and there is going too far. This is going too far. Calling out or attacking people personally because they have an opinion different from yours is going too far.

I’ve seen various “sides” go too far in various similar debates in the city. I’ve been on the receiving end of that myself, in a different context.

Everyone needs to cool down and discuss this rationally and civilly. Incremental steps – listen, test, assess, and adjust – can go a long way toward encouraging that.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Not withstanding the obviously creepy behavior of a few, it is great to live in a city where people get this excited about a change in traffic control. Other cities/neighborhoods face far more daunting challenges and near total apathy from the citizenry.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Hello, Kitty
I guess I have to rescind my comment… If you remove all roads between Portland and Salem, no one will drive between the cities. But the costs of forcing demand down too vigorously incurs costs on society as a whole. Easy transportation is a societal good.Recommended 3

More straw men?
Remove all roads? Who suggested that?
I’m also not sure about easy transportation being a societal good. Access is or should be a societal good, but that is not the same thing as transportation. Too much transportation (= what you get when it is too easy) is a pretty clear societal negative.

9watts
Guest
9watts

For instance:
“The authors argue that cities, which have been designed with a primary goal of moving people around quickly, are now faced with negative consequences like smog, sprawling suburbs, traffic congestion, and over 1.25 million traffic fatalities each year. Beyond Mobility seeks to shows how a stronger focus on accessibility and place ultimately creates better communities, environments, and economies.”

https://ced.berkeley.edu/events-media/news/beyond-mobility-robert-cervero-authors-new-book-on-people-centered-city-pla

X
Guest
X

Sanderson Safety Supply sells temporary marking paint, spray chalk, something like that.

(I personally had nothing to do with this X business)

David Lewis
Guest
David Lewis

Diverters are a white flag. And they are hardly magic beans.

The answer is something different. Monorail!