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“Induced Demand” singer Paul Rippey is Portland’s new transportation hero

Paul Rippey captivating a City Council audience on Wednesday morning with a stirring rendition of his original hit, “Induced Demand.” Watch and listen in the video below.

As the Oregon Department of Transportation bulldozes their way to several freeway expansion projects in the Portland region — including one in the central city that even Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler supports — grassroots activism against the projects has flourished. When the powerful, the paid-off, and (much of) the public are blinded by ODOT’s slick pitch and PR tactics; we rely on independent, courageous, creative people and coalitions to speak out against these immense mistakes.

Paul Rippey, a folk singer who lives in the St. Johns neighborhood, is one of those people.


And here’s the video (begins at 08:29)..

Rippey signed up for three minutes of open testimony at the outset of Wednesday morning’s Portland City Council meeting. Then he shared an original song with Mayor Wheeler and our four city commissioners. It was called “Induced Demand.” Here are the words:

Induced Demand

In the 60s we built the interstate. In the 70s and 80s they were working great.
In the 90s and aughts we said, “Well, let’s add another lane.” And, now by god, they want to do it again.
But it should be clear the system is broken and adding more lanes is just a futile token.

Because the thing we need to understand is induced demand.

Oh we all like to drive around town, but you can’t help noticing how much it’s slowed down. And adding more lanes is never done, because if we build them they will come.

And the thing we need to understand is induced demand.

I wish Tom McCall was still alive. He tore down Harbor Drive. And now Dennis Buchanan has gone away. He blocked the Mt. Hood Expressway.
But don’t let us ever forget. That these brave people took a lot of shit. People of courage, people of goodwill — well I know we’ve got that kind of leader still!

But the thing they need to understand is induced demand.

Oh I know we’ll need more buses and MAX, that’s just the hard cold facts.
But the way to get the highways off our backs is with a comprehensive congestion tax.

And the thing we need to understand is, induced demand.

In the 60s we built the interstate, let’s stop the madness now before it’s too late.

And the thing we need to understand is, induced demand.

Thank you Paul. What a fantastic song!

I love how the audience behind him giggled the whole time. Was also fun to see City Commissioners Chloe Eudaly (who took out her phone to snap a photo at one point) and Amanda Fritz clearly enjoying it. Mayor Wheeler on the other hand, looked a bit uncomfortable and he moved on with the agenda immediately with nary a word of thanks or appreciation for this creative stroke of activism genius.

Sing it with me friends: And the thing we need to understand is, induced demand.

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

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