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In Oregon, election night was great for Democrats and progressive policies

Posted by on November 7th, 2018 at 7:56 am

Parking reform activist Tony Jordan at a campaign event for Jo Ann Hardesty (center).
(Photo: Tony Jordan)

In the first national election since Donald Trump assumed the presidency — and despite gerrymandered districts, voter suppressions efforts, and racist campaigning by some Republicans — America tilted to the left last night. Here in the Portland region, the swing toward Democrats and progressive policies was even more pronounced.

In the race to replace longtime Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Jo Ann Hardesty cruised to an easy win over Loretta Smith. Hardesty becomes the first black woman to hold a council seat. Hardesty was endorsed by The Street Trust and nearly every transportation reformer in the BikePortland orbit was a major supporter.

Kathryn Harrington is the new Washington County Chair.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Women now have a 3-2 majority on Portland City Council, something Hardesty already seems to relish. OPB reported last night that during her victory speech she remarked, “We have big problems in this city but I am proud to be joining commissioner Amanda Fritz and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. And I’m even going to be joining mayor … what’s his name? Ted Wheeler, and of course Commissioner Nick Fish.”

Portland voters also decided to pass the Measure 26-201, a.k.a. the Clean Energy Initiative. This innovative measure creates a new business licensing surcharge on large corporations to fund clean energy projects that will create jobs for nonprofits. Just as important as the policy is the coalition that came together to pass it. The steering committee included: the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Coalition of Communities of Color, NAACP Portland Branch 1120, Native American Youth & Family Center, OPAL/Environmental Justice Oregon, Verde, 350PDX, Audubon Society of Portland, Columbia Riverkeeper, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Sierra Club. This is the type of coalition will be a huge inspiration to transportation advocates as they organize for a major funding measure of their own in 2020.

Beyond Portland, former Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington won her bid for Washington County Chair. She handily beat Bob Terry, who delivered an anti-Portland, borderline racist, and fear-mongering mailer in the week before the election that he was forced to apologize for. Harrington should be a bulwark against the typically car-centric transportation politics in Washington County. She was endorsed by The Street Trust.

Harrington will join veteran commissioner Dick Schouten and Pam Treece who won election to the commission in May. Schouten is a well-known advocate for bicycling and Treece says she’ll look to alleviate congestion “from a multimodal perspective.” That gives pro-biking, pro-transit three out of five votes.

Here’s what Sightline says about the new political picture in Washington County:

“… in the thriving technoburbs of Washington County, Ore., pro-transit Kathryn Harrington seems to have defeated pro-highway Bob Terry for county chair—enough for her, Pam Treece and Dick Schouten to form a rough three-to-two urbanist majority on the powerful board. Harrington, a three-term councilor in the regional Metro government, promises a strong contrast with the last eight years under Andy Duyck, the board’s outgoing, pro-sprawl chair. At Metro, Harrington has been one of the most reliable votes for reducing auto-dependent development patterns and improving non-car transportation options.”

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Another big win for transportation in Washington County came in the race for Oregon House District 26 where Democrat Courtney Neron unseated incumbent Republican Richard Vial by a margin of 51 to 47 percent. Vial was considered a political moderate, but when it came to transportation policy he was dinosaur. Vial was a major proponent of building new mega-highways across farmlands in Washington County. In 2017 he pushed a failed bill that would have allowed cities and counties to form tolling districts to pay for highway projects. Vial’s bill was an attempt to fund his pet project, the “Northside Passage”. Vial was part of a worrying normalization of highway expansions and had a leadership position on several key House transportation committees (including one on carbon reduction). By contrast, Neron calls herself a “lifelong environmentalist” who thinks Oregon must, “aggressively address climate change.”

Overall, Oregon’s politics took a strong leftward swing. Governor Kate Brown easily won her race over Knute Buehler and Democrats now enjoy a supermajority in both the House and Senate. The Oregonian says this means, “Corporate tax hikes and progressive policy changes could be an easy sell in the 2019 session.” It’s also likely to have ramifications on transportation policy, even though that issue was heavily legislated in 2017. Would the $5.3 billion transportation package we passed in 2017 have been different if Democrats had a supermajority and didn’t have to give away highway projects and the silly new bike tax to get Republican votes for auto-related taxes and fee hikes? Probably. Other transportation-related topics often fall on party lines. Things like speed limits and distracted driving laws have been nearly party-line votes in the past. Safe street advocates should be very optimistic about their chances in 2019.

What were some of your takeaways from last night — transportation or otherwise?

Here’s a list of stories from some national transportation and urbanist sources we follow:

On Ballot Measures, a Progressive Sweep – CityLab
Cascadia Midterm Election Results – Sightline (co-authored by our former news editor Michael Andersen)

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

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81 Comments
  • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Very excited about JoAnn’s win last night!

    But I’d caution against over-interpreting the outcome/options before us:

    “Oregon’s politics took a strong leftward swing.”

    In this country what passes for the left is really centrist at best. Left actually corresponds to tangible things in much of the rest of the world, but no longer in most of the US. Dems are not automatically left, they are just less right. Yes, Oregon Dems have a supermajority, but let’s wait and see if they can or will actually propose, much less accomplish, what we might recognize as left policies.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 7, 2018 at 8:57 am

      I hear you 9watts. That won’t happen with me. I stated a fact. I’m well aware of that Democrats can be far from “left” when it comes to transportation.

      But do you agree that some of the centrism from Democrats (in OR) was because they needed Republican votes? Wonder if that will change. At least using it as an excuse is no longer an option.

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      • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 9:08 am

        “do you agree that some of the centrism from Democrats (in OR) was because they needed Republican votes?”

        My sense is that Democrats tend to do this—believe they must do this—forget what they (used to) stand for because of exactly the kind of thinking you suggest. Republicans, by contrast, have for some time (Buehler’s campaign excepted) tended to stand for something, take no prisoners. Given that when polled substantial majorities of the US electorate believe in what we might all agree are left positions: single payer healthcare, strong climate policies, abortion rights, gun control, voting rights, etc. it is hard to understand the timidity, the obeisance, the compromising, equivocating inclinations of Dems.

        We have strategy, and we have political/demographic leanings; and at least to me, Democratic strategy is poorly matched to the political persuasions of the publics they ostensibly serve. They rarely stand for anything and defend it. How about standing against gerrymandering, against voter suppression, against scapegoating minorities, against tax giveaways to the wealthy? On all of those Dems tend toward milquetoast.

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        • B. Carfree November 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm

          Echo chambers among staffers may have a lot to do with why our elected representatives think we’re further to the right, or less to the left, than we actually are. I have to wonder how much the continued consolidation of our press into corporate mouthpieces (with no need to offer room for the other side since Reagan got rid of the fairness doctrine) has to do with this.

          http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/11/study-congress-overestimates-the-publics-conservatism.html

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  • Lester Burnham November 7, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Let the gloating begin! Hey let’s see how any of these people actually perform before getting too excited.

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    • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Let’s face it, Brown and Buehler are both awful. But on for instance fossil fuel export terminal developments, we can hope that Brown is marginally less of a corporate shill, has a tiny bit more spine with which to stand up to corporate money and pressure and say no to fossil fuel infrastructure expansion. So far she’s been utterly uninspiring on these fronts, weak, uncommitted.

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      • soren November 7, 2018 at 12:20 pm

        As one of the people who pushed the hardest for funding more freeway lanes, Brown was one of the architects of a billion dollar expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure .

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        • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 12:44 pm

          Like I said, they are both awful.

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  • JeffS November 7, 2018 at 9:09 am

    63% of Portland voters declared that they were ok with discriminating against people based on race and sex.

    Progressive indeed.

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    • JeffS November 7, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Oops, guess it’s changed to 64% now.

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    • Resopmok November 7, 2018 at 9:41 am

      Guess I missed something.. which ballot measure are you referring to?

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  • rick November 7, 2018 at 9:20 am

    So who will pass the ban on metal-studded tires? Lots of ruts right now.

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    • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 9:23 am

      #Les Schwab

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    • Al November 7, 2018 at 10:12 am

      I don’t think studded tires should be banned. But, they should “pay for themselves”. Republicans are all about taking responsibility, well, have studded tire users, and I’m one of them, pay for the damage they cause. This is as easy as collecting a fee on every tire sold. Don’t call it a sales tax! Oregonians don’t like that, so you can raise the revenue from distributors instead.

      Personally, I think all transportation related expenses should just come out of a sales based gasoline tax. I say “sales based” because it’s currently volume based. This is such a neat solution in that gasoline consumption already represents your road use whether you are a high mileage driver or a low mileage driver in a gas guzzling vehicle. Yes, there’s the electric loophole. OK, so? Let’s worry about that when a significant portion of the cars on the road are actually electric.

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      • B. Carfree November 7, 2018 at 12:21 pm

        I wonder just how high the gas tax would have to go to pay for all transportation costs associated with driving. The estimates I’ve seen show that driving-specific taxes and fees only pay for about 45% of the costs of road building and repairs (and none of the emergency responses, medical costs, environmental costs…).

        I do believe we would live in a cycling, transit and walking paradise if we raised the gas tax enough that motorists pay the full freight. However, even small moves in the right direction are unlikely until our legislators begin to obtain their information and guidance from someplace other than ODOT.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 12:36 pm

          Where does the other 55% come from?

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          • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

            the taxpayer, you and me.

            But one small or not so small correction to the above claims. The 45%/55% split refers I think only to direct costs of the automobile (roads, police). Some of the ancillary but very real costs I think explode that ratio and would shift the ratio considerably if they were included.

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          • idlebytes November 7, 2018 at 12:47 pm

            Well based on ODOTs 2011-2017 budget the rest comes from sources that you pay into regardless of how much you drive like Weight-Mile Taxes, Transportation License & Fees, General Fund, Lottery Funds, Bonds, and the 50% of the Federal Funds that aren’t covered by gas taxes. I added up 47.83% paid for directly by drivers. It’s likely less then that after you factor out the gas taxes paid for by businesses that everyone else pays for in the cost of good and services from those businesses.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 12:58 pm

              I would count vehicle fees as being paid by drivers. I’ve posted before sources showing that most of ODOT’s money is vehicle derived (some small amount from lottery, not much general fund), and the federal money is in turn derived from vehicular sources.

              By my accounting, the vast majority of money spent on road construction/maintenance is derived from drivers, even if not directly from a gas tax.

              Counting gas tax paid by businesses as a form of “general tax” is pretty dodgy (if that’s what you’re doing).

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              • idlebytes November 7, 2018 at 1:24 pm

                There’s a separate line item for Driver and Vehicle Licenses. So I took the transportation license & fees to be related to use other then SOV drivers but you can have that 2% if you really want. The point of counting things like Weight & Mile Taxes as a general cost is it’s paid for by you regardless of the amount you drive. Just like any other business related expenses. Those aren’t paid for “drivers” or the group of people that commute by cars anymore then the group of people that don’t. We each pay the same subsidy factored into a product shipped by freight regardless of the amount we drive. So someone who drives less then the average person is subsidizing everyone else who drives more.

                From everything I can find only 50% of the federal transportation funds are paid for by fuel taxes. The rest are just moved over from the general budget to make up for the gap since they haven’t raised the gas tax in so long. This is of course just the direct transportation budget costs. When you factor in things like policing, emergency services, wreck cleanup, environmental cleanup direct payments for driving fall way short of paying for the infrastructure required. And again the more you drive the more everyone else subsidizes you.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 1:41 pm

                I have never paid a Weight & Mile Tax. Just as I have never paid a corporate income tax. And to accept your 50% general fund number, I’d really need to see a source.

                It sounds like what you really want to say is “roads are not 100% covered by fees/taxes paid for by individuals.” I would totally agree. And ask “so what”?

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              • idlebytes November 7, 2018 at 1:54 pm

                What do you mean you’ve never paid a weight and mile tax? Do you not purchase goods and services from companies that pay those taxes? Do you think those companies prices don’t reflect the taxes they have to pay? How would a company operate if it doesn’t ultimately charge it’s customers it’s operating costs like taxes? So yes you do pay those taxes and no the amount you pay is in no way related to the direct user fees you pay to drive on the road. Ya I was trying to find the source that I found during the transportation budget talks but it’s mired in a bunch of new stuff about keeping the fund solvent past 2020.

                This source says gas taxes are 25.7 billion in 2017 for total revenue of 40.9 and an additional 143 billion given by congress to keep the fund solvent for 12 years. So 25.7 / (40.9 +143/12) = 48.7%. Again were talking about direct sources people pay to commute around in their car. Not businesses that pass those costs onto consumers.
                https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-highway-trust-fund-and-how-it-financed

                As far as what I’m trying to say goes is I was responding to your question about where the other 55% comes from. I usually bring these points up in response to drivers that like to say cyclists need to pay more for their road use cause drivers seem to think their gas taxes pay for everything.

                Here’s the ODOT budget I used:
                https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/About/Budget/ODOT%202015-2017%20LAB%20Program%20Budget.pdf

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 2:04 pm

                If anything, people who have cars are subsidizing prices for those who don’t by helping to pay for the roads that companies use to move their goods around, which allows prices to be lower than they otherwise would be.

                I fully accept that individuals alone are not paying for the entire road network. I just don’t see the significance of that tidbit (I understand your argument, I just don’t agree you’ve made an important distinction).

                (Figure 1 in the document you cited pretty much supports what I’m saying: the other 55% comes primarily from road users.)

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              • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 2:10 pm

                “If anything, people who have cars are subsidizing prices for those who don’t by helping to pay for the roads that companies use to move their goods around, which allows prices to be lower than they otherwise would be.”

                That is wrong in too many ways to fit into one reply post.

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              • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 2:11 pm

                “By my accounting, the vast majority of money spent on road construction/maintenance is derived from drivers, even if not directly from a gas tax.”

                By your accounting… Care to show your work?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 2:11 pm

                I agree; it’s wrong in the same way the post I was responding to is wrong.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 2:13 pm

                I’ve posted my sources from ODOT that back me up multiple times. The highway funding link posted elsewhere in this page also supports me.

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              • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm

                Ah, I see.

                But if you like Figure 1 then you are mistaking the Highway Trust Fund for how we pay for highways. I don’t think anyone is arguing about how the funds that go into the highway trust fund are generated; but we are noting instead that the costs we as a society face to build and maintain our roads and related infrastructure is not covered by said fund. Not even close. 😉

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 2:22 pm

                That is the federal source; ODOT gets their share from mostly vehicle derived sources. I’ve posted all this before, multiple times. It’s on their website.

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              • idlebytes November 7, 2018 at 2:28 pm

                It’s getting difficult to respond to you because you’re all over the place making claims and not acknowledging the ones that I’ve clarified for you. I’m looking at figure 1 right now how does it support what you’re claiming? Can you point out what was wrong with my math using the 2017 revenue and the additional revenue stream from congress to calculate the percent gas taxes are of the total highway fund?

                Also I’m not talking about “road users” as a group. I’m talking about driving commuters. The reason I’m making that distinction is, like I said before, I cite these numbers to drivers who think their direct fees pay for a majority of the road infrastructure. I also make this distinction because our road infrastructure would be vastly different if we weren’t accommodating so many driving commuters. It’s an important group to look at when considering how the budget is spent. These same commuters complain about a 12 million dollar pedestrian bridge but don’t seem to know that ODOT spends roughly 1 billion dollars a year, 51.6% of it’s budget, on just the Highway Division. The next largest chunk 27.31% is Debt Service a good portion of which is debt for highways. I would also love it if you showed your work.

                I get that because drivers are such a big portion of overall commuters their total tax dollars pay for a larger portion of the transportation budget but they also demand the most and complain about absurdly inexpensive projects (by comparison) ad nauseum. Again all of this is just responding to your question about the other 55%.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 4:37 pm

                I’m sorry — I accept your claims that individual drivers do not pay for the entirety of the road network through their gas taxes. I claim that, more broadly, road users pay for most direct road maintenance and construction costs. Table I supports both of those views.

                Where we apparently disagree is whether gasoline taxes paid by individuals separate from other vehicle derived monies says anything meaningful about how our transportation system is funded.

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              • idlebytes November 7, 2018 at 5:05 pm

                No worries. I think we were talking past each other there for a bit and I wasn’t entirely clear why I find it valuable to separate out some drivers from others. To further clarify I think it really comes down to how road users can be divided into three general groups based on the road design that suits them best. Businesses, commuters that drive and commuters that don’t drive.

                While there is overlap in road design between all of these groups it’s my opinion that commuters that drive require significantly bigger and more extensive roads then the other two groups and these requirements are tied to a much greater cost in our transportation budget. They also as the majority tend to be the loudest and a lot of misinformation is spread about what they’re getting compared to what they’re paying into to the system.

                I think it’s worthwhile to add up their contributions and what the budget is spent on because at the very least commuters that drive are getting the same amount of infrastructure to what they’re paying into the system and at the most double depending on the transportation department. E.g. Portland drivers may be closer to a 1 to 1 compared to Oregon drivers. Either way drivers pay a lot into the system but the system wouldn’t need to be nearly as expensive as it is if they weren’t there in the first place. It’s similar to when the same road users complain about the congestion they are creating. They don’t seem to be able to see how they contribute to the problems they’re complaining about and are demanding change for so loudly and constantly.

                Anyway nice chatting with you.

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      • maxD November 7, 2018 at 1:34 pm

        Agreed about studded tires! I like the way Oregon sells snow-park permits to help offset the cost of maintaining them through the winter. I would love to see Portland do the same with Studded tires: a sticker would be required to use studded tires within the City limits. There would be a clear set of dates, and fines for using them outside the dates. Day, week or season stickers could be available.

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        • Dan A November 7, 2018 at 1:59 pm

          How much would that be? $2000 per tire?

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  • rainbike November 7, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Nice attempt at spinning the results to positive. There’s very little for Dems to be excited about today, locally or nationally.

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    • bendite November 7, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Nationally it was pretty positive for Dems. Republicans generally only did well in red states that are more pro-trump. The three swing states that got trump the win, PA, WI, and MI, all went Dem. Even in districts where trump won big, those margins were smaller for the republican winner yesterday. The youth votes were significantly on the Dem side, too. All of this when the economy is doing well and we aren’t in a major war. Pence doesn’t have a chance if there’s any economic downturn.

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  • mark smith November 7, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Is there irony in the fact she specifically cuddled up to Amanda Fritz who is on record as pro suburb (anti housing), anti bike and anti transit?

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  • chezztone November 7, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Hardesty mentioned working with Fritz and Eudaly ahead of the other two not because they are WOMEN, but because their politics are closer to hers than the awful mayor and so-so Fish. Thanks.

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  • J_R November 7, 2018 at 10:33 am

    With the loss of Senate seats and a slim majority in the House by the Democrats, I hardly agree with the “swing to the left.” Trump is already stating explicitly that he will be blaming the Democrats for everything now that they have the majority in the House. I think the only visible trend will be for even more divisiveness with Trump doubling down on the hate and fearmongering to further divide the country.

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    • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Jonathan was pretty clear. He was referring to what happened in OREGON last night. I didn’t see him make any claims for the federal results.

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      • J_R November 7, 2018 at 11:10 am

        Jonathan’s opening paragraph includes the words “America tilted to the left last night.” That sounds like a claim for the federal results to me.

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        • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 11:15 am

          missed that line. thanks.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 7, 2018 at 11:20 am

          I believe our country did tilt to the left last night J_R. Democrats control the House. They didn’t control it before last night. And Democrats posted very very strong results in the TX senate race, the FL governor race, and the GA governor race. And many suburbs swung from red to blue. The facts of the night make it clear that we’ve swung a bit to the left. And remember it’s OK if we disagree because there is no “right” answer here. Thanks.

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          • soren November 7, 2018 at 1:24 pm

            The democratic party is not a left-wing party. Socioeconomic liberalism is the opposite of left politics.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 1:34 pm

              Only if you define “left politics” as very far out on the left fringe.

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              • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 2:05 pm

                I don’t think this is a matter of how Soren defines this, the spread of political priorities and attempts to capture that spread on a left-right spectrum dates back to the French Revolution. You can opine that what the 21st century Dems (or Republicans for that matter) consider left is the last word on the subject, but in many places that would be considered laughable.

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  • Josh G November 7, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Could someone sum up for me Hardesty’s involvement in stopping the CRC last decade?

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    • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Not sure how much it matters, but given the tone of your question it seems worth pointing out that during the time the CRC was in the news JoAnn was not an elected official. I don’t think her focus during that period was on transportation per se, which may be true for most of us.
      She did host a radio show on KBOO during that time, but focused more on racial justice and policing.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo_Ann_Hardesty

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  • Kem Marks November 7, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I hope that Harrington can get Roy Rogers off of the transportation committees.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Now with two progressives in City Council (one helming PBOT, no less), there is no excuse for not getting stuff done. Bring on Permanent Naito, dedicated bus lanes, road diets in East Portland, parking reform, and all the other great things we’ve been waiting for, but couldn’t have because we only had one progressive. This is our time!

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    • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 11:43 am

      I appreciate your enthusiasm (or challenge), but I think the way our system works/doesn’t work is that for anything other than auto-ist stuff we need to hold our politicians feet to the fire, constantly. Sort of like police accountability. The white, capitalist, middle class, growth-obsessed momentum in this country doesn’t translate in any automatic way into results that solve actual social problems (for poor people, for minorities of all varieties, for environmental outcomes that all would/will benefit from).

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    • Alex Reedin November 7, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      It takes three votes to win. Not two. I think replacing Saltzman with Hardesty is huge progress, but unfortunately I don’t think it’ll get us to the point of bold action. One more progressive on council, or an effective advocacy campaign convincing Fritz or Fish (I just don’t think Wheeler is convinceable) to be a progressive on transportation, and you’d totally be there.

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      • Gary B November 7, 2018 at 2:17 pm

        For sure, but the 2 most recent general elections put Eudaly and Hardesty in. The other 3 got in via the primary. If those seeking re-election are reading the trends, they may feel some pressure to shift leftward.

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    • Fred November 7, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      Two great things are already happening in SW Portland:

      1. SW Capitol Hwy, between Multnomah Village and SW Taylors Ferry, is getting a dedicated climbing lane and a sidewalk; this project starts late next year.

      2. SW Capitol Hwy, between SW Huber and PCC Sylvania, is going on a road diet – going to two lanes in each direction with center turning lane, and getting some calming and crosswalks; this project starts in spring 2019.

      This is great news, esp the end of the four-lane speedway to PCC. Thanks to the progressives in city gov’t who are making it happen.

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  • Gumbo November 7, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    I look forward to Bike Portland providing NEWS. The snarky political comments, derogatory to those who don’t buy into your point of view, belong elsewhere. Perhaps set up a different website? Similarly, you may not like Walmart from your commentary a few days ago, but they do provide a higher standard of living for those who may not have your deeper pockets, nose-in-the-air or ability to shop boutique. Hopefully Bike Portland can be more inclusive for one thing we perhaps can all agree on, being the fun and benefits of cycling.

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    • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      “they do provide a higher standard of living”

      That is a bold claim. I’d be curious to have you flesh that out a bit, provide evidence.

      Because in the absence of such evidence I see Walmart hollowing out local economies by disrupting (Hello, Kitty’s phrase) the local businesses that were often there prior to one of these superstores opening, offering non-unionized lowest wage jobs, and a whole lot of low quality, discount crap in place of whatever else was there. If you are basing your higher standard of living notion on the ability of those low wage workers to (barely) afford the low quality crap Walmart offers, then I think you should adjust your scale a bit. Mostly, though, the Waltons just suck the money out of these economies and send it home to Bentonville. Not so for the local businesses that once were found in those locations, the money which was spent there (including the profits generated) circulating over and over and over again in those same locations.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 1:07 pm

        You could make the same argument about John Deere — they suck out tons of money for high-efficiency combines that do the work of a hundred people. They’ve hollowed out rural America by destroying tons of jobs, causing people to leave their towns and move to the city.

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        • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 1:59 pm

          You forgot the effects on soil erosion and climate change from going the heavily mechanized route.

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      • Gumbo November 7, 2018 at 1:25 pm

        9 Watts — no further evidence needed. “More for Less” is their slogan and value proposition. It’s core to the brand and prima facie evidence by shopping there versus a mom-and-pop. For much of middle America, who live on less wages than the coasts, their money will go further with Walmart, Costco, Amazon, etc.

        The Hatamiya Group’s study showed that on average, California communities with Walmart Supercenters experienced positive gains in taxable retail sales and an increase in the average number of retail business permits. In similar-sized communities in both northern and Southern California without Walmart Supercenters either experienced a decline in average taxable retail sales (by an average of 11.7%) or fell short when compared to a similar-sized community with a Supercenter.

        I don’t disagree that this is changing the retail landscape and similarly have nostalgia for the small stores I grew up with. However, ‘change’ is endemic across global societies.

        In any event, why are we arguing about Walmart on a Bike Portland website?

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        • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 1:58 pm

          “Why are we arguing about Walmart on a Bike Portland website?”
          You tell me.

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    • bikeninja November 7, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      This Neoliberal economic idea that we can hollow out the economy of working class America by devastating the main street economy and offshoring family wage jobs but that we can make up for it by providing low cost consumer goods at Walmart and other “low cost” retailers is a crock. The case that Walmart and its cousins help lower income Americans is an argument that is well passed its sell date.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 1:31 pm

        It’s not an “economic idea,” it’s how the world works. How exactly could you prevent people from figuring out that bigger stores are more cost efficient (and thus more profitable) than smaller ones?

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        • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm

          “it’s how the world works.”

          Ha. That is funny.
          It is not how the world works; it is how capitalism works.
          And the effects and the distribution of those effects are well understood, if not often considered.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 2:09 pm

            Capitalism is how the world works.

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            • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 2:14 pm

              Oh, I see.
              Now we’ve added triumphalism to our rhetorical quiver.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 2:19 pm

                I see it as descriptive, not triumphant.

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              • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 2:25 pm

                It is triumphalist in direct proportion to how wide it is of the mark. Most of the world’s people do not live under capitalism. Capitalism’s voracious appetites and the tight coupling between the winners under this system and the political systems we have developed pretty much guarantees its continued prominence in the overdeveloped parts of the world, but this is a far cry from ‘how the world works.’ If anything is becoming how the world eats itself.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 4:27 pm

                Most of the world lives under systems that are capitalist in most important ways (at least as capitalism is defined by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism).

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        • 9watts November 7, 2018 at 3:09 pm

          “bigger stores are more cost efficient (and thus more profitable) than smaller ones”

          They are only more cost efficient if by that you mean more efficient at sticking the public sector with the costs their cut-throat model of doing business generates: the people who work, or were put out of work once Amazon and Walmart, and Hime Depot move in, undercut the prior options, rely on food stamps, homeless shelters, emergency rooms to pick up the pieces.
          And then we have the issue of much longer supply chains and the correspondingly higher embedded fossil fuel signatures that these multinational corporations necessitate with all their off-shoring and long distance transport. This, equally important, second method of generating but not paying for the externalities is also left to the public sector to mop up, while the profits so generated are privatized.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm

            The problem is not Walmart, it is insufficient minimum wage and environmental standards.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 7, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Gumbo,

      I try to be as inclusive as possible. However, I’m not going to gloss over what I think are accurate statements of fact just because they don’t sound nice. What I’m trying to say is this: I take creating an inclusive environment here very seriously and it means the world to me to have many viewpoints feel comfortable. But there are times and places where I feel an issue deserves to be called out and named for what it is. What you see as a “snarky political comment” in this post is something I see as merely a statement of fact… And a very important statement to share. I am tired of people/parties/politicians doing absolutely insane stuff and then acting like whoever names it is the bad person. That’s BS. And I think WalMart has done much more harm to America than good. Has nothing to do with my “nose in the air”. It’s just what I believe and I’d welcome a debate about that any time.

      And yes, cycling is great and we all love it.

      I appreciate your comment and hope you will continue to share your views here. I will try to be more careful with letting personal opinions seep into the framing and text of my news stories.

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    • Asher Atkinson November 7, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      BikePortland has plenty of news. That news intersects public policy, so political conversations certainly have a place on this site. What I look forward to are more people with different perspectives chiming in. It’s a market place of ideas and there are plenty of well intended readers and writers here. Of course, we know where the road paved with good intentions can lead. So if you, like me, are concerned about the dogma settling within the progressive echo chamber and have the time and energy to counter, then this a good place to start, as we at least have cycling as a common reference.

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  • PDXCyclist November 7, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Can someone explain to me how Washington county department of transportation is structured? How much power does the county board have over directing their engineers to stop making giant 45mph arterials? I’d love a comparison to PBOT. I just need someone to dumb it down for me. It has been hard for me to look on washco road’s website and figure out who are project managers on projects and who their leadership is.

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  • maccoinnich November 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Also notable: Julie Parrish, a state representative who is strongly against freeway tolling, lost her seat.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 7, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      yes thank you for reminding us Iain! I was really surprised to see that and assumed she was safe. She is a big loss for the Rs.

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  • nuovorecord November 7, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Gumbo
    I look forward to Bike Portland providing NEWS. Recommended 3

    I don’t think Jonathan has ever positioned BP as a hard news site. He’s pretty clear about his point of view and this site’s slant.

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  • Peter W November 8, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    > Would the $5.3 billion transportation package we passed in 2017 have been different if Democrats had a supermajority and didn’t have to give away highway projects

    I would assume the IBEW and other unions will still push for the CRC and other big “jobs” projects.

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  • Politico November 9, 2018 at 6:27 am

    “Both Neron and Vial would like to see improvements along I-5 to quell traffic issues. Vial stated he would like to see the Boone Bridge upgraded to increase its capacity and Neron advocated for an auxiliary lane on I-5 Southbound near Wilsonville.”

    https://pamplinmedia.com/wsp/134-news/411439-311754-democratic-challenger-inching-ahead-of-vial-for-house-district-26-seat

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