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Portland’s new commissioner-elect sees a carfree future with fareless and fast transit

Posted by on November 7th, 2018 at 2:37 pm

One of the biggest local consequences of last night’s election is that Jo Ann Hardesty will be sworn-in as a Portland city commissioner in January.

Her presence on the five-member council could have far-reaching implications as we debate and consider major transportation-related issues in the coming years. Hardesty and her new colleagues on Portland City Council will have a say on key issues ranging from mega-projects to micromobility. Since we haven’t sat down with her for an extended conversation yet, I thought I’d share what she’s said on the record thus far.

Earlier this spring when the campaign for the primary was heating up, Hardesty didn’t even mention transportation as an issue on her website. Now she does. Here’s her platform as described on the “Climate Justice: One People, One Planet” page of her campaign website:

I live on Portland’s East side and use our bus system. My experiences as a Trimet rider have helped shape my belief that our community needs access to free and widely available public transportation. I believe in a Portland where you can get where you need to go without using a car and that you shouldn’t be punished for taking the bus by having it take twice as long to get there. This Portland is possible if we prioritize expanding our current system, making it free and securing and expanding our Youth Pass for students. We must make these changes because transportation is the second biggest expense for households after housing. As Portland grows we also need to support options like the SW Corridor Project that Metro is working on, and I look forward to working in coalition with Metro leaders to make these projects a reality.

All of this work needs to be done before we consider congestion pricing. People of color in our community have been pushed to the edges of town, and I don’t believe that it is just to then charge those community members for the privilege to come back for work or play. Additionally, when drivers look for alternatives to taxed roads, we know they will turn to other options. Those roads won’t be prepared for additional traffic and will jeopardize our commitment to Vision Zero. I am committed to building a Portland where no one should die trying to get where they need to go. I also believe that consideration of congestion pricing requires deep community conversations where everyone can participate. Under some models, the money raised through congestion pricing can only be used to build more roads such as freeways. That is not compatible with our city’s climate solution goals and we need to be thinking about how to invest in other modes of transportation. I look forward to working with community advocates and the team at PBOT to supporting the work they have been doing on these issues and to break through the political gridlock that has been holding us back.

A transportation-focused candidate forum in April hosted by the local chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation provided more detailed insights from Hardesty. Here are some excerpts from our coverage of that event:

On Vision Zero:

NAACP Porltand President Jo Ann Hardesty said Vision Zero uses too much of a “punitive approach” and she’d rather see more education. “$247 bucks is excessive for first ticket,” she said. “We need to be creating communities that are walkable and have amenities so that people are able to walk.” Hardesty said it’s “inexcusable” that a “city with so much riches” invests so much in downtown when other parts of the city have been “forgotten.”

On transportation and environmental justice:

A world-class transportation system in Portland would give everyone access to public transit and “the ability to have bicycles,” said Jo Ann Hardesty. She also pointed out that, “We had a ‘housing emergency’ not because 10,000 African-Americans were displaced from inner northeast between 2000 and 2010. The housing emergency came about when white middle-class people found it difficult to live in the city.” Hardesty said Portland needs elected leaders with guts to tell “the real story.” “We need to stop painting this as a progressive utopia where everything is wonderful and where all you have to do is get on your bike and life will be great,” she continued. “That is not for everybody. It hasn’t been that way for people of color.”


On taming dangerous arterials:

A skeptical Jo Ann Hardesty threw a bit of cold water on the excitement over a PBOT-controlled 82nd Ave: “I wish I believed that the City of Portland taking on 82nd Avenue would make it better. I wish I believed that.” Hardesty added that because parts of east Portland still don’t have sidewalks, “We cannot talk about bike paths without talking about safety for community members who have paid their fair share in taxes and just are not getting the infrastructure.”

On how to stem the rise of fatal crashes involving people walking in east Portland:

Hardesty’s answer to this sounded like victim-blaming to one person I talked to after the event. After saying how some people drive too fast, Hardesty said, “I can tell you there are pedestrians that walk out in front of cars because they think they have bumpers and no one will hit them.” Hardesty added that our streets would be safer if we fostered more “community connectedness” and moved beyond division. “We need to come together and decide what kind of community we want to live in.”

On funding:

To raise money for transportation, Hardesty said she’d put a $2.50 tax on Uber and Lyft rides (which got a loud applause). She also mentioned (perhaps responding to Fish’s tough talk) that while she likes lower speed limits, she’s “absolutely terrified of more enforcement” and that she doesn’t feel safe, “When I hear public leaders talk about enhancing police presence… When we know African-Americans and Latinos are targeted for more enforcement than anyone else.”

On congestion pricing:

Hardesty said, “Before we have a conversation about congestion pricing, we have to make sure the people we pushed out to the edges of our city are not harmed by this policy.” She doesn’t want people who live furthest away from the central city to be penalized and she doesn’t want it to be based on income.

Commissioner-elect Hardesty will also be the only member of Portland City Council to clearly oppose the I-5/Rose Quarter freeway expansion project. Here’s how she responded to a questionnaire from No More Freeways PDX:

“I am also strongly opposed to expanding I-5. There is a disconnect between our vision for 2050 climate justice resolution and freeway expansion, and expanding I-5 should be an absolute last resort to addressing crashes and congestions. I think the funds allocated to I-5 expansion would be better spent towards expanding transit and improving infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

Another place to learn about Hardesty’s views is in BikePortland reader Tony Jordan’s editorial endorsement we published back in April.

Do you have experiences with or insights about Hardesty you can share?

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

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104 thoughts on “Portland’s new commissioner-elect sees a carfree future with fareless and fast transit”

  1. Avatar Bjorn says:

    I first became aware of JoAnn when she came and spoke at a gathering of people who were opposing the CRC freeway expansion. I was very impressed by what she had to say, which included a number of reasons to oppose the project that I had not heard anyone else bring up before. Considering the Mayor has kind of been cheerleading freeway expansions recently I am very glad that she will be on the council to provide a counter argument.

  2. Avatar soren says:

    I read this and recalled the enthusiasm of Bike Portland following the election of Novick and Hales. Even after one of their very first acts was to decimate bike infrastructure funding, Bike Portland continued to give them glowing coverage over their “fix our streets” street paving initiative.

    1. Avatar soren says:

      The pointed criticism of Hardesty based on an out of context quote stands in contrast to the near absence of criticism of Novick on this site.

      And it’s not as if there were no grounds for criticism of Novick:

      Novick on the Columbia River Crossing:

      I do think we need to be sensitive to the fact that you’re more likely to get Federal money for an interstate project than an Oregon-only project, and hundreds of millions of Federal dollars do create a lot of jobs, so I don’t know that we have the luxury of saying “we should oppose any version of this entirely on the theory that if it doesn’t happen we’ll get exactly the same amount of money for purely local projects.”

      Hardesty on the Columbia River Crossing:

      CLF’s Board President Jo Ann Hardesty said the lobbyist will talk with every legislator. “They’ll tell them that this project is not acceptable, that Portlanders don’t want it, Oregonians don’t want it, and we can’t afford it.” “There’s nothing about this project that passes the smell test,” she added. “We the people get to decide what a livable community looks like, and that ain’t it.”

      1. Avatar Daniel says:

        See, I’m much less willing to demonize Novick and lionize Hardesty over their reactions to the proposed CRC project. My knowledge of the situation has plenty of gaps as I wasn’t here for the debate, but let’s see if I get the gist right: the proposed replacement was killed by activism on opposing ends of the political spectrum, with Hardesty heading up the side that was against increasing the car throughput (thereby inducing demand and affecting congestion in N/NE Portland), and tea partiers in Vancouver angry that the project was tied to an Obama administration requirement that it include light rail, which is offensive to them somehow.

        Great, nobody likes the proposal, and it died in 2013. That political battle was won, but here we are five years later and the problem has only gotten worse – NE MLK is a parking lot during rush hour, there’s still no light rail to Vancouver, the current bridge is still structurally deficient and ready to fall down. Novick’s statement about grabbing federal funding for this project while it’s available seems more prescient now, and the CLF, which successfully stymied the project at the time, disbanded unceremoniously in 2015 without making any kind of push toward a better option.

        Seems to me like improved transit crossing the Columbia would be the primary goal of everybody here, but the obvious solution to that (light rail) is off the table. The next best thing would be to dis-incentivize single occupancy vehicles via congestion pricing, but Hardesty is against that too. So what’s the solution? That’s an honest question and not rhetorical, because I have no idea; I just refuse to cross into Vancouver, and suffer through the ridiculous amount of traffic flooding my neighborhood from Washingtonians trying to cut through it to get to downtown.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          “So what’s the solution? That’s an honest question and not rhetorical, because I have no idea”

          The way I look at this any ‘solution’ must take account of the fact that the threats of climate change and peak cheap oil are only getting worse. Anything we propose to do must anticipate a sun setting of the private oil powered auto. We cannot propose, fund, plan for any infrastructure that presumes that the past is a good indicator of what the future will look like when it comes to transport demand.
          We should get ahead of all of these lose-lose propositions (building more lanes to deal,with congestion being just the most obvious), plan for the wholesale phaseout of the auto, and put our eggs* into all the other baskets: human powered solutions, chiefly.

          * the eggs which mounting debt service requirements isn’t already scrambling

  3. Avatar Greg Spencer says:

    Hardesty has some appealing talking points on sustainable transport, but in a few instances, it sounds like wanting to have her cake and eat it, too. For example, she wants widely available, speedier public transit while also eliminating fares. In Portland, we have a hard enough time maintaining the transit that we have, let alone expanding it. Removing fare revenue, I’m afraid, would make matters worse. I’m all for discounted fares for those in need, but there’s no reason to give free rides to those who can pay. An improved system that’s competitive with car transport (i.e. faster, more convenient and well cared for) would get more middle-class people aboard and could support even higher fares, I believe.

    I have a similar gripe with her position on congestion charging : I fully support her idea that charge revenues should go to transit and active transport, however to make a charge contingent on completion of “all the work” is a recipe for deadlock. Charging and transport development need to be done in parallel, with charging providing revenues for improvements, and improvements giving commuters progressively better alternatives to charged roads. This is how it’s been planned in Oslo, London and Milan. We should follow models that work.

    1. Avatar Andrew Kreps says:

      I’m guessing it’s going to come as a big surprise to you that fares are only 10% of tri-met’s total revenue. The fares don’t even come close to keeping Tri-met going.


      1. Avatar Bjorn says:

        I did the math awhile back and we could replace farebox revenue with a utility fee of less than 10 dollars a month per person, so if you currently ride transit 2x a month you would save money with a fareless system like what Corvallis has.

        1. Avatar Sigma says:

          I’d love to see that math. Is that $10 per month for every man, woman and child in the city of Portland? In the TriMet service district? Either way, how are we going to sell a policy of “for the low low price of $500 per year, this family of 4 can ride the bus for free?” Are we exempting people below a certain income level? What does that mean for everyone else? $600/year? What about all the people who don’t ride transit at all, and never will? They won’t be saving any money. Is this at all realistic?

          1. Avatar Bjorn says:

            Fares bring in 113.3 million dollars for TriMet, but they spend 9.2 million collecting them so the revenue is actually 104.1 million dollars. A utility fee is much more efficient since people are already paying a utility bill . Lets just say that 110 million dollars collected with a utility fee would completely replace farebox revenue. There are 2.4 million people in the portland metro area. Average household size is 2.3 so there are right around 1 million households in portland. That means that each household would need to pay ~110 dollars per year to replace the current fare system. That is 9 dollars and 17 cents per month. Meaning that no matter what your household size it takes 2 round trips per month to break even. Plus since boarding becomes faster the buses will be able to better stay on time so the service also improves. Honestly to me fareless transit is a no brainer. You can argue on exactly who should be included in the utility fee and if we should also try to gain some further revenue by charging for park and rides since most park and ride users are coming from outside the service area but overall the utility fee needed to replace fares is minimal.

            1. Avatar Paul Cone says:

              Can someone tell me why my property tax bill says TRI-MET TRANSPORTATION 0.00? I thought they got a slice of them but I guess not. I’d happily pay 10.00.

            2. Avatar Paul Cone says:

              Also does that 9.2 million include all the money they’ve spent on installing ticket machines, and that crappy tickets app, and now the whole Hop card thing (including hardware, ads to promote, etc.)?

              1. Avatar Bjorn says:

                There were a bunch of 1 time fees associated with installing the hop hardware that would not be included in this years budget, I think the amount I quoted would include ongoing operating costs associated with the HOP Pass, but not anything around advertising of payment systems. I was advocating a fareless system when they decided to do the HOP stuff, and one of my arguments at the time was that they would save all the money for installing that system. It does help improve on time performance and saves some of the trouble of turning all that change back in, so if we are going to have fares I think HOP is a good idea, but fareless seems superior.

          2. Avatar Phil Richman says:

            Here is Corvallis’s structure FWIW:

            In its first year of fareless operation, CTS ridership increased by 37.9%! I’d be far more likely to use TriMet more regularly if I new I was paying every month regardless.

            1. Avatar Bjorn says:

              I used to be on Corvallis’s transit advisory committee and what makes that nearly 40% jump even more impressive is that many of the people riding the bus before they switched to a utility fee were already experiencing the system as being fareless because the city had a deal with the student body at oregon state where ASOSU basically prepaid for all college students to use the service and they just had to show their student body pass. The funds came out of student body fees. I think that TriMet would see significant ridership gains if the system went fareless.

      2. Avatar Buzz says:

        Of course fares don’t support the full extent of public transit, nor should they. The test for public transit should be the service level provided, which should be considered independently from the funding source.

      3. Avatar nuovorecord says:

        You need local funds as match in order to receive Federal funds. Don’t kid yourself that that “only 10%” is no big deal. Without it, TriMet gets no Federal dollars.

        1. Avatar Bjorn says:

          There are other ways to generate matching funds. Corvallis for example uses a utility fee and does not charge a fare. Fareless transit isn’t free transit it just recognizes that fares are an inefficient way to collect revenue.

    2. Avatar soren says:

      London’s congestion zone targets the filthy rich people who have the means and will to drive (or be driven) into central london. Comparing this highly progressive congestion charging mechanism with the regressive proposals in the Portland area is absurd.

      1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

        I concur: it’s a terrible idea to try here.

      2. Avatar world's slowest mamil says:

        Unfortunately, due to a quirk in the law, Uber and Lyft are deemed to be public transit in London, and are exempt from the congestion charges, although that’s hopefully set to change in 2019. Car hire services, in addition to Amazon delivery vans, have turned London back into a congested mess. I wouldn’t mind seeing a small delivery surcharge that goes into funding transportation and road maintenance, but I don’t think that there’s a feasible technical solution for that sort of thing yet.

        1. Avatar soren says:

          i very much agree that the negative externalities of TNCs and delivery services must be addressed.

      3. Avatar Greg Spencer says:

        I’m not referring to any existing proposal in Portland. I believe in road-user charging in general because it puts the charge on users rather than general tax payers regardless of how much they drive or don’t drive. It incentivizes people to consider alternatives and, where it’s done properly, it generates revenue to improve those alternatives. I would favor a cordon-type system that charges everyone who enters the city center, however that’s defined. And I’d favor discounts and exceptions for people based on means, needs, locations and so on.

        I’m skeptical of free public transport. When you offer a service for free, users become less demanding and decision makers feel less obliged to deliver good value, i.e. they figure riders are getting what they paid for. Public transport in Portland has less than 5% modal share for all trips (2014 US Census) and the reason, in my view, is not because a ride costs $1.50, it’s cause the service compares so unfavorably to driving.

        1. Avatar Bjorn says:

          fares in portland are $2.50 each way not $1.50.

    3. Avatar Don't Stop Be-Glenn-ing (hold onto that feeling) says:

      On the other hand, she has a point – development of alternative modes needs to lead at least slightly (rather than be parallel or lag), simply because if you’re gonna use pricing to push people into other options, those options need to exist. And they can’t be drastically more of a pain in the ass than the one they would be switching from. For the driver, the cost of congestion pricing needs to equal or surpass the differential “cost” (in the broadest sense), of switching to an alternative mode. If that differential is big, the price has to be high or no one will switch. But if the price is high, you will have political difficulty making any of it happen. If the differential is smaller (i.e. transit or biking is almost as good as driving) then the cost you impose can be lower and it still works. But that means you have to have spent some years investing in it, leading up to entertaining congestion pricing, which I think might be what she’s saying.

  4. Avatar Charles Ross says:

    Making transit free would solve the homeless problem too!! The homeless would just move right onto transit. We could change the name of the transport means from ‘bus’ to ‘mobile home’.

    1. Avatar Bjorn says:

      This really isn’t a good argument against fareless transit. Corvallis has had a fareless transit system for a number of years now and they have not seen their buses overflowing with homeless people. One reason why this isn’t an issue may be that many homeless people already receive tickets through charity organizations so they already could be using transit in this way, removing the fare for everyone else isn’t going to make it worse. Even if it did actually cause some homeless folks to begin using trimet for shelter that would just be an argument for finding a better solution to the shelter problem, not an argument for degrading the transit system for everyone else. Portland has already dabbled in fareless transit downtown in the past and I think it would be great if we went back to it systemwide.

      1. Avatar chris m says:

        The argument against fareless transit is that fares are actually not that much of a deterrent to transit use for the most people for most trips. You can see this using global comparisons. Many international systems (Munich and London spring to mind) have exceptionally high fares by American standards but really high ridership because the service is great. So if you are trying to increase ridership, it is more important to pour money into improving the service (perhaps you would say “do both.”)

        The other argument against free fares is that it may just cannibalize walking trips. So if you mostly have to run more bus service to cover people who would have walked short distances anyway, the city is not getting a lot of value for its money.

        All these tradeoffs are very context dependent of course. But the argument against free fares primarily has to do with the theory that there are better places to spend the money.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          ” it may just cannibalize walking trips. So if you mostly have to run more bus service to cover people who would have walked short distances anyway, the city is not getting a lot of value for its money.”

          Haha. I think you just described a recent experiment here in town.
          Lithium cannibalizing Lima beans.

          1. Avatar chris m says:

            Good point, though at least those aren’t running on city money 😛

        2. Avatar Bjorn says:

          The implementation in Corvallis seems to show that there are quite a few people for whom the fare is a barrier based on the spike in ridership they saw. What we have in place right now is a system where if you are travelling with a few other people UBER may actually be undercutting the bus on price, is it any wonder that these rideshare systems are pulling people off the bus when that is true? Speaking of which another potential revenue source would be a congestion tax on ride share rides during the parts of the day when reducing the number of cars on the road would help the buses stay on time.

    2. Avatar rick says:

      Corvallis, Oregon has free public transit and more people have started taking it.

    3. Avatar joan says:

      So those homeless folks are human beings with dignity and deserve our respect as people, not our mocking.

      1. Avatar soren says:

        You must be new to bike portland.

        1. Avatar Not New says:

          I’m not new to Bike Portland and I see many comments from regular readers who don’t want to dehumanize people who are facing homelessness.

          1. Avatar soren says:

            the justaposition of your comment and the comment below about “chop shops” is awful and tragic comedy.

            1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

              Lamenting overt criminality is so dehumanizing.

              1. Avatar Chris I says:

                Crime is okay as long as you are poor and/or non-white.

              2. Avatar soren says:

                Just about every time houseless folk are mentioned on bike portland, posts about chop shops, bike thieves, violent assaults, unsanitary conditions, and unsafe drug use follow.

                These bigoted stereotypes are genuinely dehumanizing.

              3. Avatar Middle of The Road Guy says:

                Those bikes show up at homeless camps all by themselves.

              4. Avatar 9watts says:

                I don’t think there is much debate about the fact that some miscreants chop up stolen bikes, but your jeering, your potshots at homeless, that filter in here with some predictability seem unfortunate to me. We have lots of serious problems in this world, in this country, in our town, but to be perfectly frank—and as someone who has had his bike, and fifteen years later his bike trailer, stolen—this kind of misfortune, criminal activity by poor people, really doesn’t rise to the surface for me. Police murdering people semi-regularly on our streets, to pick just one, upsets me far more, and not just because our taxes are used to buy the guns, and train the people who do this, again and again.

        2. Avatar joan says:

          No, I’m not new. I’m also not new to calling out folks for punching down, either.

      2. Avatar Lester Burnham says:

        Yeah I was thinking that as I passed a bike chop shop with a guy dismantling a Nike Biketown bike in plain view. I know the police won’t do anything but does Nike have a kind of a hot line to call this in?

  5. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

    I don’t see a new era of progressive transportation policies coming any time soon. I started picking out quotes from Hardesty to support my statement, but my post got way too long. She sounds skeptical of or hostile to a wide range of progressive transportation policies. Like bikes, congestion pricing, driver responsibility, or enforcing traffic laws? Let’s just hope her deeds are better than her words.

    1. Avatar Paul Cone says:

      I don’t think she is against those things. I think she is arguing for different priorities.

      1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

        Even if you are right, it amounts to the same thing.

  6. Avatar 9watts says:

    If the title of this article is a fair summary of her positions, I’ll take a carfree future and turbocharged bus service over Rose Quarter expansion any day.

    1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

      Read what she said, not Jonathan’s headline.

  7. Avatar Buzz says:

    Jonathan is almost always overly optimistic about every new city commissioner. Let’s face it folks, Portland never will be Amsterdam, and trying to achieve that will forever be the failing of PBOT and this city in general. Good design is based on existing local conditions, not on some grass is greener thing half way ’round the world from us, geographically, culturally and politically.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      “Good design is based on existing local conditions…”

      You write as if local conditions were a static thing. Done right we could iterate our way there.

      1. Avatar Buzz says:

        Build a bunch of canals, close all the driveways and a majority of the intersections, and completely change car culture? Maybe in this century but not in our lifetimes.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          Not because preferences change (that part comes later); because constraints force our hand.

    2. Yes Buzz I tend to be an optimist and I tend to give new commissioners/mayors/org leaders the benefit of the doubt when the first come in. I’m desperate for progress and I’ve decided that giving a little high-five to newbies that have demonstrated some reasons for optimism isn’t a bad way to get started.

      1. Avatar Daniel says:

        I get the motivation behind this, I really do. It’s just a little jarring to read glowing commendations for a politician on a bike blog, only to look at the actual statements quoted below that are directly contradictory to the goals of cyclists in this city. The strongest statement she’s made in support of improving cycling infrastructure here is that she feels the funds ODOT has earmarked for the I-5 Rose Quarter expansion should be instead allocated towards “expanding transit and improving infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.” Given that per your own reporting here ( ODOT has zero incentive to spend any money on cycling infrastructure, I would interpret that as really more of a pro-transit statement than anything else.

        The rest of her statements are worse. She’s opposed to even discussing congestion pricing until some amorphous time in the future when all other transportation goals are met (ie never), she explicitly doesn’t want any more enforcement on the new lower speed limits (so, less than zero?), and discussion about new bike paths (which in this context is code for any cycling infrastructure) can’t happen until east Portland has complete sidewalks.

        I actually agree with Hardesty on many of her other statements, but she’s still hardly pro-bike, and she’s certainly not a “newbie” who needs a high five from the bike community. She’s been in politics longer than this blog has been alive. I don’t see much reason to be optimistic that she’s planning on making cycling infrastructure a priority at all, and to be honest she didn’t run on a platform that suggested she would, so it would be hypocritical of her if she did.

        1. Did I ever say she was “pro bike” Daniel?

          Daniel and everyone else: Please read my post carefully. Yes the framing of Hardesty’s win is optimistic… But everything I’ve written above is a fact.

          I am characterizing her publicly stated positions. That’s it. Please show me one place in the post where I’ve made a “glowing commendation”.

          1. Avatar Daniel says:

            Oh, don’t be so reductionist Jonathan. No, you never said she was “pro-bike”, at least not in this post.

            You’re the editor and publisher of this media outlet, correct? And as a media outlet, BikePortland endorsed Hardesty for the commissioner seat. Or at least, you published a guest editorial that did. It was written as an endorsement from a reader, but it’s functionally the same – an endorsement from a long-time reader of a newspaper is meaningless, an endorsement that the paper re-publishes on their front page is effectively their own.

            So please, own it. This imaginary line between advocacy and editorialism that you’re drawing here doesn’t serve any purpose. I’m not here reading BikePortland because it’s a newspaper of record, I’m reading it because for the most part it contains exactly what it says on the tin – discussions from a “biking in Portland” perspective. You’ve got a loyal readership that listens to you (even if we like to argue in the comments), and when you endorse a political candidate, you’re saying to your readers that our views align with theirs. If that’s not the case, then why endorse at all?

            Now that Hardesty’s won, your job as the head of an organization that endorsed her is to advocate for the issues that led to the endorsement in the first place, and her job as a politician is to try to weigh the needs of the people she represents. BikePortland’s trailer is hitched to her Surly Big Dummy, and “being optimistic” that she’s going to head in the right direction is much less helpful than having a conversation about where we should be heading.

            1. You’re the editor and publisher of this media outlet, correct?

              Yes I am.

              BikePortland endorsed Hardesty for the commissioner seat.

              No. We did not. We also published a reader endorsement of another candidate.

              So please, own it. This imaginary line between advocacy and editorialism that you’re drawing here doesn’t serve any purpose.

              Please be careful with your words here. I’m not doing drawing any lines. Where do you get that idea? If you knew me better, you’d know that I embrace having no line between advocacy and journalism. I like walking, talking, and typing among both worlds as I see fit.

              BikePortland’s trailer is hitched to her Surly Big Dummy, and “being optimistic” that she’s going to head in the right direction is much less helpful than having a conversation about where we should be heading.

              I hear your concern about this. But I can assure you my trailer isn’t hitched to anyone. In my opinion, it’s possible to be optimistic and to give new electeds/new leaders a benefit of the doubt when they first come into a new space. Yes I could be more critical from the outset; but this is my site and I will do things in the style I feel is appropriate and that aligns with my personal and professional values.

              I’d encourage you to read past coverage and get to know me better. I am 100% independent and I take that very seriously. Can you to find one example from my past reporting that illustrates any allegiance to a particular politician?

              Do you realize how many politicians I’ve covered on these pages (in the same way I’m covering Hardesty so far) who have ultimately come to see me as their foe because I am critical of them? I can think of 3 off the top of my head who have called my cell phone to yell and scream and hang up on me because they didn’t like how my reporting made them look.

              These are early days for Hardesty. Let’s see what she says and does from here. Thanks for reading. I hope to see your comments under future stories where we hold her feet to the fire on important issues.

              1. All that being said Daniel.. I want you to know I heard your feedback about my reporting and I will definitely take it to heart. I agree that I am sometimes too optimistic when handling political figures. It’s a flaw of mine as a reporter!

              2. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

                It’s a common problem — thinking that because someone agrees with you in one area, they must agree in another. In fact, people (even politicians) are much more complicated than that. It is quite possible to be progressive on housing (for example) and regressive on transportation and cycling issues.

                In the end, I don’t think we had the option to vote in a transportation progressive, and while I believe in giving people (even politicians) a chance, we need to be ready for the distinct possibility that Hardesty is no better (or even worse) than Saltzman on transportation issues.

              3. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

                In fact, I would argue being strongly progressive in one area (say, housing), may make it less likely for you to be progressive in another you see as less pressing (such as transportation) because you’ve got to compromise and build capital in order to advance your core agenda, and on way to do that is by going with the flow on less important issues.

              4. Avatar Dan says:

                To play devil’s advocate, I could argue that publishing two reader endorsements just means that BikePortland endorsed two candidates instead of one, but regardless I appreciate the clarification. Going forward, I will view BikePortland as having refrained from endorsing any candidates in this race.

                I’ve been reading BikePortland on and off for roughly five years now, since before I officially moved to Portland. I greatly enjoy the fact that it’s 100% independent and I’m not suggesting otherwise. That’s part of why it was so jarring to see political endorsements – feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first race where they’ve made your front page, although there was also a featured Comment of the Week from then-candidate Eudaly.

                Again, I’m not at all suggesting you owe allegiance to any of these politicians, more that publishing reader endorsements muddied the waters for me on what BikePortland’s take on them is. I’m glad you’ve clarified it, and I definitely look forward to future reporting here

  8. Avatar mark smith says:

    Fare box fees are a regressive fee on the poor. Look at how much tax a person pays for their particular section of road they use. Now look at how much a car uses. It’s a lot more.

    1. Avatar meh says:

      If gas taxes and licensing fees were the only way the roads were paid for I’d say yes, but they arent. I certainly pay with income tax, property tax and any other number of bonds and initiatives. And even if you don’t drive or walk or cycle or scoot, you benefit from decent infrastructure. As they say if you bought it a truck brought it.

  9. Jo Ann Hardesty was an early opponent of the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion. She’s officially the first member of Portland’s City Council to explicitly oppose the project. This was considered a risky position to take, and the fact that she listened to community advocates expressing concern about the project bodes well for her governing style across all issues, transportation included. Her opponent in this race, Loretta Smith, was the loudest champion for the project who ran for a city council seat this year.

    1. Avatar soren says:

      IMO, this position marks Hardesty as one the strongest supporters of alternatives to single occupancy vehicles that this council has ever seen.

  10. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

    TriMet costs $100 per month, with huge discounts (more than 70% off!) for low income folks. The average cost of owning and operating a car is $706 (if you believe the numbers, which I don’t, but they pass for facts here), which is many times more.

    So the farebox isn’t really very regressive at all.

    1. Avatar Mark smith says:

      So you are In favor of taxing a transit rider me more than a driver? By the way, my car does not cost me 706 a month.

      1. Avatar Matt S. says:

        I have a 1995 Toyota Camry with 225,000 miles on it. Paid off for many years.

        My insurance is $48/month GEICO
        I spend maybe $40/month on gas
        And a good estimate for maintenance is about $100/month if I average it out over the year. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, new tires (every 4 ish years), any large repairs, registration, etc..

        I’m looking at about $200/month for ownership.

        My wife has a 2015 Subaru Forester. Our monthly payments are $360/month. We will have it paid off in 3 years.

        Insurance is $185/month
        Maintenance is pretty low right now because it’s a new car, maybe $30/month
        Gas, about $80/month. Fluxuates during summer.

        We’re spending $855 for two cars. This includes all operating costs.

        It does sound like a lot, but a lot less than $1,412 for two cars.

        My wife is a nurse that travels to the surrounding hospitals for work. She has to drive. Company pays her per mile to drive own vehicle.

        I’m getting into construction and need a car to travel to job sites w/ my tools around the city.

        Car ownership really isn’t an option for us right now. Public transportation is rarely used considering we usually walk or ride our bike in the city 🙂

        1. Avatar Chris I says:

          Do you know what the word “average” means?

          1. Avatar Matt S. says:

            It was anecdotal response. Thought I would add my opinion about the cost of car ownership and why some families use two cars.

            Duh, duh, please tell me what an average is, ahh, I just dunno…

      2. Avatar Al says:

        Sure, it depends on the kind of car, but cars have so many costs people underestimate just how much cars actually do cost. Most people consider car payments, insurance and gas, but there are also maintenance, tolls, parking fees, depreciation, registration, inspection, fines and storage costs.

        One of my cars is aging and in an attempt to figure out whether I want to pay for the needed preventive maintenance, looming at almost $4,000, I did the total cost of ownership analysis over the last 11 years I’ve owned it. I was surprised to find out that the car drove only 1.8 miles for every dollar I spent on it!

      3. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

        I am not in favor of taxing transit riders higher than drivers. I am also not opposed to charging people for a service that they use.

        1. Avatar curly says:

          So, toll bike lanes and sidewalks????

          1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

            If you add up all the wear and tear I’ve done to sidewalks everywhere, and subtract the cost of repairing the sidewalk by my house, I’m due a pretty big credit.

            1. Avatar mark smith says:

              That’s a politician dodge right there.

  11. Avatar Jon says:

    Everything that has a cost is regressive for the poor. Water, food, transportation, etc. Opposing things because they are regressive is just a way to oppose everything that has a cost. If there was no cost we would all be retired living in a nice house on the beach in Hawaii.

    1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

      Wait… you’re not that guy in the next cabana?

  12. Avatar Lester Burnham says:

    “Free”. Right. Wow that word gets thrown around a lot. I just love paying taxes.

    1. Avatar Dan A says:

      You make a lot more money living in a country with a socialized government than you would without it.

    2. Avatar Bjorn says:

      The proposal is clearly not for “free” transit but for a fareless transit system. Farebox revenue is an inefficient method of paying for transit. Trimet spends almost 10% of what they collect on overhead related to collection of the fares and collecting those fares takes time which often causes buses to run behind schedule. Portions of TriMet have been fareless in the past, my belief is that converting the entire system to fareless would increase ridership and improve the system overall, but obviously whether it is a utility fee or some other method you still have to get that revenue from somewhere.

  13. Avatar mh says:

    Wait, someone explain ” making it free and securing and expanding our Youth Pass for students” to me? Free for students is a first step towards free for everyone? If transit is already free, where would special discounts come in?

    I wonder how much TriMet would save by not needing fare inspectors.

  14. I’d go in the opposite direction. I’d still charge fares for buses (and the required ADA dial-a-ride lift service), but introduce a universal toll and city-wide parking permit program for motor vehicles, including driverless, taxis, Uber, trucks, UPS, etc. Every vehicle would be required to have EZ Pass transponders like they have in most of the rest of the country, with electronic readers at every crossing of I-205, I-84, I-5, and river crossings. Each zone would have a different rate, with downtown having by far the highest toll. The revenue generated would then be used exclusively towards making the infrastructure improvements called for in the new Comp Plan. Obviously bicycles and pedestrians would be excluded, but I’m not sure about commercial bike share, scooters, exoskeletons, surf boards, etc. Visitors would be required to purchase EZ Passes as they enter the city if they are driving, or else park their cars at one of the new park-and-rides on the edge of the city and take transit to their destination.

    None of this is particularly new nor innovative nor illegal. New York City already does this, more or less, with tolls on all their bridges and tunnels. Chicago and San Francisco both have city-wide parking permit programs.

    Think Venice but without the canals.

    1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

      Think Venice but without the canals.

      You mean an overrun city?

    2. Avatar Paul Cone says:

      I remember sitting in one of the first PBOT BAC meetings when Leah Treat learned we don’t have citywide parking permits and was shocked. I am disappointed she didn’t get around to implementing them.

      1. Avatar Matt S. says:

        I wonder how the parking enforcement would work for people living in the their cars. Considering it’s unconstitutional to move someone along when they’re sleeping on the street, because there isn’t enough shelter beds. Would people get tickets or their car be towed?

        I know NW has zoned parking and you don’t see people living in their cars however, if the entire city is zoned, where would people go? Clackamas, Clark County?

  15. Avatar PS says:

    Considering her quote, are the buses still going to stop every two blocks? I am pretty sure that is a major contributor to busing being less efficient.

  16. Avatar Adam says:

    Would it not make sense to use congestion pricing to finance excellent (potentially fare-free) public transportation that commuters would look forward to using?

    1. Avatar Middle of The Road Guy says:

      Where would the fare free public transportation be operated?

      1. Avatar 9watts says:

        How about we start where people live and where public transport already exists?

        1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

          Wouldn’t it make sense to have more transit in the corridors where there is congestion pricing?

  17. Avatar Mark smith says:

    Hello, Kitty
    I am not in favor of taxing transit riders higher than drivers. I am also not opposed to charging people for a service that they use.Recommended 1

    How are people using a resource that runs regardless of number of riders? What percentage do they “use’?

    Pssst….transit fare pretty much is a racist/bigoted thing. It penalizes being poor and a minority. To get around this, they created white rail which costs 3 to 5 times more per rider. So, we could make buses free and only tax white rail….

    1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

      Airplanes fly whether I’m on them or not — why should I pay for a ride?

      Low income folks can get pretty heavily discounted tickets, and the contention that the concept of bus fare is bigoted is rather… dubious. Are movie tickets also racist?

  18. Avatar hotrodder says:

    You know that most TriMet bus drivers will let you ride free if you just tell them up front that you’ll verbally waive your rights (the right to sue in case of mayhem, mostly) that a ticket provides? It happens all day, every day.

    1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

      TriMet hates it when you tell us that one weird trick to ride free.

  19. Avatar mark smith says:

    Hello, Kitty
    Airplanes fly whether I’m on them or not — why should I pay for a ride?Low income folks can get pretty heavily discounted tickets, and the contention that the concept of bus fare is bigoted is rather… dubious. Are movie tickets also racist?Recommended 0

    You are comparing the most environmentally destructive method of transit to buses to prove…that flights aren’t canceled for low ticket sales? Is this to show routes should be canceled if it has low ridership?

    Or..comparing movies, which nobody needs, to transit which everyone needs?

    That’s fine. Just keeping count. Transit isn’t a regressive tax, more taxed than driving…and the I-5 build didn’t disproportionately impact minorities…

    I like this new council person. She gets it. Transit should be free.

    1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

      I am comparing based on paying for a ride on a vehicle that’s already making at trip. Environmental impact is irrelevant for this comparison, as is the fact that one has wings. And no, flights are not canceled even if the plane is empty, as it needs to be at its destination for its next flight. But, this too is irrelevant to the idea that if the vehicle is already making a trip, it is racist to ask you to pay for a ride. It isn’t.

      I never once said I-5 didn’t disproportionately affect minorities (though I still don’t understand the basis on which you feel people are owed money). I have pointed out the difference between paying for a service and being levied a tax (refer to Wikipedia’s explanation of what a tax is if you need further clarification), and have also asserted that transit is not taxed more than driving is. I’ve also said I shouldn’t pay a toll on sidewalks. But despite its inaccuracies, I do appreciate your list — it means you’re a loyal reader!

  20. Avatar mark smith says:

    Hello, Kitty
    I am comparing based on paying for a ride on a vehicle that’s already making at trip. Environmental impact is irrelevant for this comparison, as is the fact that one has wings. And no, flights are not canceled even if the plane is empty, as it needs to be at its destination for its next flight. But, this too is irrelevant to the idea that if the vehicle is already making a trip, it is racist to ask you to pay for a ride. It isn’t.I never once said I-5 didn’t disproportionately affect minorities (though I still don’t understand the basis on which you feel people are owed money). I have pointed out the difference between paying for a service and being levied a tax (refer to Wikipedia’s explanation of what a tax is if you need further clarification), and have also asserted that transit is not taxed more than driving is. I’ve also said I shouldn’t pay a toll on sidewalks. But despite its inaccuracies, I do appreciate your list — it means you’re a loyal reader!Recommended 1

    Flights are canceled all the time for low ticket sales. I still don’t get why you are hanging on to the capitalist notion that riders of buses or trains should pay any extra as a penalty. It makes zero sense. But hey, it’s your notion and those of others. As flawed as it is.

  21. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

    I don’t believe people on buses or trains should pay a penalty. Why would you think that?

    Wait… are you trolling me?

  22. Avatar X says:

    Jo Ann Hardesty got my vote. It wasn’t even close!

    Hello Jo Ann, I wish you the best. Why not have the city pick a bus route that runs through an under-served community and make it really work?

    Buses are held up by private car congestion, so turn cars out with retractable bollards. Limit cross traffic with diverters at side streets. At major intersections give the bus signal priority. Once Portland sees what a bus is capable of they’ll be more open to change. Once TriMet sees the efficiency of an good bus route they’ll be better partners in an integrated transportation system. Once property owners see the increase in value of land that doesn’t face on a car thoroughfare they’ll get on board as well.


  23. Avatar mark smith says:

    Hello, Kitty
    I don’t believe people on buses or trains should pay a penalty. Why would you think that?Wait… are you trolling me?Recommended 0

    You have had 3 opportunities to renounce fees/taxes/fares for transit. Do you need a 4th?

    1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

      Wait, what? I thought we were talking about taxes. Fares are not taxes. Taxes are not fares.

      Regardless, I see both pros and cons to providing free service, many of which have been discussed elsewhere on this page. I think to increase ridership, we need better service, so that would be my priority.

      1. Avatar Mark says:

        Be careful Kitty. You might end up in a re-education camp.

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