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Opinion: Our candid commissioner

Posted by on May 31st, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Pretty safe to say the commissioner won’t be at the World Naked Bike Ride.

It’s been many years since we’ve had a transportation commissioner as willing to voice progressive ideas and positions as Chloe Eudaly.

I’m not sure if it’s because Commissioner Eudaly is simply more comfortable on social media than any other council member, or because she sees the communication channel as a strategic tool to shift the conversation her way. Whatever the reason(s), I like it. And if you care about smashing the transportation status quo, you should too.

Two recent Facebook comments from the Commissioner stand out. One was lighthearted, the other more meaty.

Last week she jokingly posted a “Hard Pass!” graphic in response to our story about the upcoming World Naked Bike Ride. Then, in response to a constituent who felt the new bus/bike lane on SW Madison unfairly “forced him out” of his car (as if!), the Commissioner wrote in all caps “YOU ARE THE CONGESTION!”  The exchange was worth a screenshot:

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Eudaly speaking at the Lori Woodard memorial rally. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s one thing for a leader to have these opinions, it’s another thing to express them candidly in a public forum like Facebook. And they have added resonance because people tend to tune out politicians who can only speak in glittering generalities and who fear direct communication via social media. 

While PBOT remains too timid, they agency has shown promising signs of progress recently. Now with Chris Warner being firmly seated as director — and with Eudaly gaining more confidence on transportation issues with each passing week — I’m optimistic about what lies ahead.

If PBOT is ever going to start riding faster, they need someone like Commissioner Eudaly out front to provide a draft. We are nowhere near the finish, but at least we have someone on city council not afraid to engage and speak truth to naysayers.

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

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Kernel MosesChris IGary BeckerMatt S.B. Carfree Recent comment authors
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Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

Good assessment, JM.

Go Chloe!

9watts
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I love it when people say it like it is. Don’t mush mouth.

As for ‘taking our cars away,’ ‘forc[ing] us out of our cars,’ that is such a histrionic trope. How do those who deploy those phrases imagine this would work, anyway? A car-zapping authority? Like we imagine might have existed in Stalin’s Russia or in the Republic of North Korea? It is just so deliciously out of phase with what goes on here, is proposed, is conceivable.

Middle of the Road Guy
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Middle of the Road Guy

I have to admit, she’s learning fast or has a pretty good transportation policy advisor coaching her.

Toby Keith
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Toby Keith

“YOU ARE THE CONGESTION”…Wow she is so edgy.

mark smith
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mark smith

It’s incredible that people don’t realize that the roads have all manner of capacity 365 days a dear. Between the hours of 10pm and 4am. So yeah, people want to make roads bigger so that half the day they can carry like 10 percent more cars.

mran1984
Guest

Quit breeding! That’s the problem. She can fund the homeless issue out of her own pocket too. She could not ride if her life depended on it, so why push it. Every commute can’t be downhill both ways. Making driving inconvenient while EVERYTHING ELSE is based on convenience is pretty damn funny. I may not drive to work, but it’s the ONLY way to escape this pile of garbage when the work week is through. How is the 205 bike path doing Eudaly? Do you get adequate kickbacks from those stupid scooters? Nice waterfront enforcement…

mark smith
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mark smith

q
I agree with you up to your call for congestion pricing. Why not just let the congestion happen, making sure there are non-car ways to avoid it (bus lanes, safe routes for biking and walking, etc.)?In a way, setting up a system where people pay to drive at rush hours removes the incentive to drive less. “Don’t tell me to take a bus or bike. I paid my congestion pricing fee.”Recommended 0

Because pricing a good that is in demand and diverting that money to modes that are more efficient works and has worked. Just creating gridlock for the sake of gridlock is a government failure.

Kernel Moses
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Kernel Moses

If Chloe isn’t a regular rider she cant rightfully call others congestion.