Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

State Rep Rob Nosse says he supports Gideon Overcrossing at 14th Avenue

Posted by on January 4th, 2019 at 3:11 pm

An Oregon state legislator wants to clarify his position on a controversial plan to build a bridge for bikers and walkers over rail tracks in southeast Portland.

TriMet concept drawing of the overcrossing. Koerner Camera Systems is in upper left.

After being informed by TriMet that they’d lose federal funding if the Gideon Overcrossing doesn’t get built on SE 14th as currently planned, Representative Rob Nosse says he supports that location — despite major concerns voiced by adjacent business owners.

As we’ve reported, Nosse wrote a letter to TriMet and the City of Portland on December 10th (PDF) asking them to consider moving the bridge to a different location. “I don’t think your planning is so far along that you could not consider an alternative,” Nosse wrote, after meeting with owners of Koerner Camera Systems, Sustainable Northwest Wood, and K&F Coffee. Nosse also felt that moving the bridge would be an “appropriate compromise” given the opposition.

Led by Michael Koerner of Koerner Camera Systems, businesses on 14th Avenue including Rapid Bind, Cascade Commercial Real Estate, and Dovydenas Winery, have organized against this project based on how they perceive the presence of a bridge — especially one that would cater solely to walkers and bikers — would impact public safety and access to their properties. Koerner has hired a land-use attorney who made a request for additional environmental review to the regional head of the Federal Transit Administration last month.

TriMet and PBOT both say no further study of the site is needed and they want to move forward. (A TriMet spokesperson told us today they’ve met with FTA officials and that, “the message was clear that no additional NEPA work is necessary and that we’d lose funding if we move the bridge.” Unfortunately, TriMet wasn’t able to provide documentation of that meeting.)

Rep. Nosse contacted BikePortland this morning after reading our story in the Southeast Examiner newspaper (where it was re-published with my permission). He was concerned I mischaracterized his position. Here’s what he shared in an email today:

“I wrote a letter to Tri-Met and PBOT asking if the pedestrian bridge could be moved to 16th street or even 8th street, thinking that this kind of compromise would help Mr. Koerner and his business and still allow for the bridge to be built.

Advertisement

Since then, I have been informed by Tri-Met and PBOT that moving the bridge to a different location will result in the withholding of the money that the Federal Government is granting for the bridge project. In short, if we move the bridge there will be no money to build the bridge at all. If the choice is a bridge that utilizes 14th Avenue or no bridge at all, I would of course support the bridge being built at the 14th street location.

Hopefully it can be built/designed in a way that does not hurt Koerner Camera’s business.

Meanwhile, the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition has written a letter (PDF) to PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly urging her to approve the project “as soon as possible.” They say the business owners’ concerns can be mitigated and that further delays risks losing out on $15 million in federal funding.

For his part, Koerner wants a formal public process to be re-opened. “Safety concerns are real,” he shared with me in an email today. “Bicycle, pedestrian, train, and vehicular transportation circumstances have changed at and around this location since the public review process occurred nearly a decade ago… The businesses along SE 14th and other interested stakeholders have raised concerns that should be examined in a public process, not bullied into silence by fear-mongering about federal funding.”

To hear from other business owners and learn more about this project, don’t miss the robust discussion in the comment section of our previous post.

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

32
Leave a Reply

avatar
11 Comment threads
21 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
15 Comment authors
robChris IXTerrence D-MHello, Kitty Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

This is good news. Thank You Rob Nosse for the clarification. Keep in mind that there is a fully built out city standard sidewalk on the west side of the street, which will line up with the bridge nicely . So this is really about possible bike conflicts, which will only be there in any numbers when there is a train., Which is quite the warning. A double elevator is a huge bike deterrent.

Terry D-M, SE Uplift

Steve Smith
Guest
Steve Smith

Nice to see the Rep. Nosse made a reasoned judgement. Seems like he should have talked to TriMet first before writing a letter suggesting that the bridge be moved. He only got one side of the story. I hope he doesn’t make all his decisions like that.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

“Safety concerns are real”

The only safety concerns I see are from illegal operation of motor vehicles. Statements from business owners and Google Street View have confirmed that there is a lot of illegal motor vehicle operation happening on this street.

If anything, this bridge will create more people traffic to keep those violations from happening as often.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Also, this seems like a really poorly planned bridge. Horrible site for it. They need to purchase one of those businesses on the north side of the tracks and build a better bridge with ramps. Broken elevators are not ADA compliant.

Sue Hein, Owner, Rapid Bind, Inc
Guest
Sue Hein, Owner, Rapid Bind, Inc

As the owner of Rapid Bind, Inc. 2728 SE 14th Ave. , I am very much concerned by the plan to build this bridge at the end of our dead-end street. In trying to create a safer crossing of the railroad and light rail tracks, this proposal only moves the danger from one location to another. The two blocks of 14th between Clinton and the dead-end are occupied by several businesses that draw a great deal of truck traffic for pickup and delivery of goods.

Rapid Bind has been providing bindery services for local and regional printers in this location since 1984. The products that we convert come to us on pallets of 1000-2000 lbs. The pallets must be unloaded by forklift on 14th. Our neighbor across 14th loads and unloads lumber in the street. There are frequently two forklifts maneuvering heavy loads at the same time. Bicyclists traveling this two block area that leads to the proposed bridge would be at serious risk of injury from moving trucks and forklifts. On a recent day, we had two separate deliveries by 53′ truck, each carrying 22 pallets of paper. Each of those loads required 22 trips out to the street to unload. Our forklift drivers are very cautious but navigating around trucks with bicyclists sharing the street would create unnecessary hazards.

Every day we see groups of bicyclists traversing Clinton St. with little regard for vehicle traffic. I can’t imagine those groups traveling our hazardous stretch of road without incident.

Glennry Hill
Guest
Glennry Hill

Fear-mongering eh? You mean like citing “safety concerns” as a reason for not doing the bridge?

Protip, when someone starts saying “your safety, your safety,” and they are responsible for the thing that creates the risk, you should evaluate further to see where it falls on a continuum from “hypocritical concern,” to “veiled threat.”

hypocritical concern: “Get a helmet!” yelled from a car.

veiled threat: “Sure would be a shame if a fire broke out in here,” said by Tony Soprano.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

Politicians seem so eager to endorse flawed ideas..perhaps in hopes that the idea doesn’t live…but the can say “well, I supported it”?

The crossing needs to go on 16th. Not 14th.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

Best to take the money and run while you can considering it’s coming from a federal government who’s debt has skyrocketed $7 trillion in just two years.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

Hello, Kitty
It can’t — no money.Recommended 1

That’s not true. There is money under every rock. People just have to make it known they want it. To say there is “no money”…is disingenuous. If that were the case, ask a politician…. “Well, what is paying for that road, or that interchange, or that paving project”? There is always free and easy money for bad ideas.

Like this one.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

Sue Hein, Owner, Rapid Bind, Inc
As the owner of Rapid Bind, Inc. 2728 SE 14th Ave. , I am very much concerned by the plan to build this bridge at the end of our dead-end street. In trying to create a safer crossing of the railroad and light rail tracks, this proposal only moves the danger from one location to another. The two blocks of 14th between Clinton and the dead-end are occupied by several businesses that draw a great deal of truck traffic for pickup and delivery of goods.Rapid Bind has been providing bindery services for local and regional printers in this location since 1984. The products that we convert come to us on pallets of 1000-2000 lbs. The pallets must be unloaded by forklift on 14th. Our neighbor across 14th loads and unloads lumber in the street. There are frequently two forklifts maneuvering heavy loads at the same time. Bicyclists traveling this two block area that leads to the proposed bridge would be at serious risk of injury from moving trucks and forklifts. On a recent day, we had two separate deliveries by 53′ truck, each carrying 22 pallets of paper. Each of those loads required 22 trips out to the street to unload. Our forklift drivers are very cautious but navigating around trucks with bicyclists sharing the street would create unnecessary hazards.Every day we see groups of bicyclists traversing Clinton St. with little regard for vehicle traffic. I can’t imagine those groups traveling our hazardous stretch of road without incident.Recommended 4

Sue, thanks for coming on here. I believe you. Thank you for taking a moment to state that putting this terrible design into a bustling small business area leads to risks for the pedestrians and for the workers. People forget that as a commercial driver, you(the driver) are always at fault if something happens and until the investigation is complete, your license (and livelihood) are gone. And, even having a no fault can preclude you from employment. And regardless, someone is dead or maimed.

In addition, who will pay for the injuries when someone slips on the icy stairs? The elevator will die or will be urinated in.

What a boondoggle.

X
Guest
X

Sue Hein, Owner, Rapid Bind, Inc:

“. . . The two blocks of 14th between Clinton and the dead-end are occupied by several businesses that draw a great deal of truck traffic. . .”

Businesses are necessary for the city and have a right to exist but that does not obviate the fact that bicyclists are legitimate street users. They predate private cars, motorized trucks and forklifts capable of moving one ton loads, so those things have necessarily come into being in an accommodation with existing human powered vehicles. It’s radical to assert that motorized things can now displace bikes.

“. . .Every day we see groups of bicyclists traversing Clinton St. with little regard for vehicle traffic. . .”

Every day we see rabbits cropping the grass with little regard for foxes?? A cyclist who moves without regard for motor vehicles is a dead person. It is just not possible on any street in Portland, including those indicated as ‘Greenways.’

“. . .I can’t imagine those groups traveling our hazardous stretch of road without incident. . .”

That is to say, the businesses owners have created a serious hazard? But I disagree. I have ridden my bike on this section of SE 14th hundreds of times without incident. It is not the most dangerous stretch of pavement I see in Portland. I’m on much higher alert in the bike lane on NE Broadway than on the light industrial section of SE 14th.