It’s taken years of complaints but it seems we’ve finally the attention of city officials on a recurring bike lane safety issue that might have a malicious origin.
The case of nails being strewn in the bike lane on North Interstate Avenue has gone unsolved for years. Now the police and a city commissioner are on the case.
We first reported about this in March 2017, but that wasn’t when the problem started. A quick search of Twitter posts shows that complaints go back to 2012. Someone tagged the Portland Bureau of Transportation with a complaint about it in September 2016 (who then forwarded it to the maintenance department).
In January 2018, the issue received its own Twitter account when @InterstateNails was born.
With several nail incidents at the end of last year, KATU-TV reporter (and daily bicycle rider) Reed Andrews gave the issue much-needed visibility.
After the most recent frustrating flare-up in flats, we heard from a staffer in PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s office. Margaux Weeke wanted us to know the issue was on their radar and that they’d reached out to PBOT and the Portland Police Bureau to ask about how/if it was being managed. “The problem isn’t falling on deaf ears,” Weeke promised.
After the holiday break we got an update from Weeke. She said PPB officers had been cycling on Interstate to get a closer look at the two-mile stretch between Lloyd and Greeley where the nails most commonly appear. Weeke forwarded comments from the PPB about their findings. “At first we thought it was maybe construction debris,” they wrote, “but at this point it seems to be a deliberate act.”
Notes from the PPB investigation also say days and times the nails appear are random and that they’ve noted a variety of types including roofing and framing nails.
Their investigation into this issue is still in progress and hasn’t yielded major clues at this point.
While the problem still isn’t solved, it’s good to know that at least City Hall, the PPB, and PBOT are working together on this. We’ll keep you posted if they make any breakthroughs. In the meantime, please tag us on Twitter if you find any nails.
Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.
BikePortland needs your support.