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Commish Eudaly’s office works with police to solve “deliberate act” of nails in Interstate Ave bike lanes

Posted by on January 8th, 2019 at 2:38 pm

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.

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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.

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

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maxD
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maxD

is there a non-twitter way to report this?

bikeninja
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bikeninja

I travel this chunk of interstate everyday, and the placement of these nails is not an accident. Whoever is doing this does not really understand bikes because these nails are a hazard but a little too big to be effective in giving cyclists flats. Within a short time most of them end up in the travel lane on interstate because the bike lane is so narrow and wind swept, so the perpetrator is mostly giving flats to his/her fellow auto-zombies. These nails are a perfect size to give flats to cars.

Andrew Kreps
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Andrew Kreps

I greatly appreciate all of your efforts to keep our bike lanes clear. If it’s something dangerous and hard to pick up like auto glass from a collision, you can use one of Portland’s best kept secrets: The street sweep dispatch 24h phone number.

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/529632#five

I’ve used this many times, and they’re exceptionally helpful. Yeah, it’s a phone call, but it takes 20 seconds and you get to talk to a human being.

Lester Burnham
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Lester Burnham

Pretty narcissistic to think these meant specifically for cyclists.

Fred
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Fred

Perhaps nails can become “fingerprinted” – small barcodes imprinted on them so police can find out where the nails were purchased, and by whom.

Buzz
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Buzz

My money is on some rogue employee of Clow Roofing, who would have easy access to an endless supply of brand new roofing nails, and works for a business which is located right off N Interstate at N Tillamook and Kerby; I’ve found the nails right at the corner of N Interstate and Tillamook, they were like a trail of breadcrumbs leading right to this business.

jered
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jered

glad to see some action on this. I ride the route everyday and I’ve mostly been finding them to the south of Spirit of 77. I had a 3 week stretch where once a week there would be a new cluster, only in that block though. I reported each to PBOT and they were promptly cleaned up! I haven’t seen them yet this year. I was thinking about self funding an investigation, maybe some game cameras… though they’d get triggered a lot based on the amount of traffic.

Ken S
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Ken S

Guys in the area where the nails have been found,
Please upload photos and tag all spots where nails have been found for the Bike Lane Uprising website/twitter, so they can build a public record of the bike lane obstructions.

It’s heartening that city hall is actually paying attention to this kind of thing, now.

Al
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Al

I had my own conspiracy theory about a section of my commute that I would find nails and staples on. Years later, I just came to the conclusion that it’s PHYSICS. Thanks a lot physics, chemistry never did this to me.

The section is on an incline where unsecured cargo rolls off the back of trucks as they drive up the hill and traffic works debris into the bike lane. Nails and staples are small enough to fit through the crack between the bed and tailgate. I never find similar debris on the opposite side of the street going down hill.

Fortunately, this section gets frequent attention from the street sweeper so these typically disappear in a week or two and being an uphill section, I’m going slow enough to notice and navigate around the hazards.

Joey Keenan
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Joey Keenan

New nails going up Mt Interstate today.