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Cleaning up my neighborhood bikeway

Posted by on January 21st, 2020 at 11:57 am

Before and after.

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I did something on Monday to make my community better. In the process, I got some exercise, met my neighbors, and made biking and walking in my neighborhood a little bit nicer.

The Bryant Street Bridge is a vital carfree connection between the Piedmont and Arbor Lodge neighborhoods in north Portland. Located between the overpasses on Rosa Parks Way and Lombard, it provides a much safer and relaxing way to cross Interstate 5.

Unfortunately it’s often strewn with trash and is in a state of disrepair that makes it unpleasant to use.

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Before and after.

For years I’ve wanted to clean it up more frequently, but I usually just make a mental note and keep riding by. On Monday I decided to do something about it. I loaded up a refuse bin with some tools and trash bags and walked over with my mom (who’s visiting at the moment) and my son and his friend. We spent about 2.5 hours cutting back vegetation, cleaning up planter beds, and picking up trash. While we were out there, many people thanked us as they walked and rolled by. Two nearby residents came out to help and I met both of them for the first time.

Imagine if everyone reading this adopted a neglected public space and cleaned it up.

It was so easy to do and it felt so good. I highly recommend it!

Thanks for the help mom and Aaron!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

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SilkySlim
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SilkySlim

Good for you!!!

These little touches really make my day. I’ve even adjusted my routes around town to swing past nicely cared for spots, like the new micro park adjacent just off Holgate near the Tucker Maxon school. If anyone hasn’t seen that, add it to your list! They took an “unimproved” block and “improved” it the right way, with planters, benches, a bocce court, and of course prime viewing of those adorable goats.

Alan C Love
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Alan C Love

As penance for some of my transgressions, I bring some hand tools in a backpack and trim back foliage during the Spring growth spurts along SW Multnomah. There’s a standard narrow shoulder shared by people on bikes and foot, and as the trees and bushes grow the space for non-motorized traffic shrinks precipitously. Getting smacked in the face by branches is also a thing. PBOT won’t do anything if there is an adjacent landowner. They will send a sternly worded letter to the landowner to clear foliage if alerted, but my sense is it just inflames the idea of “those whiney bikers” amongst the public. I’ll invest a couple of mornings a year to save the hassle. There are certainly lots of areas where public institutions have to do such works, but especially in our neighborhood areas, we could all pitch in a bit of service to improve our streets.

rain panther
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rain panther

Alan, as my commute frequently takes me along Multnomah Blvd, I applaud and thank you.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Way to Go! Nice Job!! (I have used that bike ped link in the past…its much nicer now!)

Buzz
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Buzz

I cleared a bunch of piles of wet leaves and other hazards off the MLK sidewalk north of NE Davis recently.

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

Communities work better when we work together to take care of them. Thanks!

Steven Alexander
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Steven Alexander

Thanks for doing this. When I help clean up at my local park, park employees or volunteer leaders remind everyone how to (not) handle sharps. (Here’s some comparable info: education.qld.gov.au/initiativesstrategies/Documents/safe-disposal-of-needles-and-syringes.pdf)

Barbara
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Barbara

Nice work! Thanks for carrying through on the thoughts that I think many of have thought. Wonder if there is any program for bike ways like there is for roadways with the signs & commitments of various groups &/or individuals. I know the Vancouver Bicycle Club maintains a section of the I-205 bike path just after exiting the 1-205 bridge in Washington.

Mike C
Guest

Thank you! I run that bridge a few times a week and will appreciate your work every time.

Jason
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Jason

That’s a good deed, for sure. I only wish that the city would employ people to do this…. maybe some of the homeless could be given a job to do that?

Jason
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Jason

Nice job Jonathan! Great to see you gathering family and friends to clean a public asset. So inspiring, a neighbor came to help! Great way to spend the holiday.

D'Andre Muhammed
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D'Andre Muhammed

I tried to clean a spot like this and some homeless dude came running out of nowhere calling me a mother-f’er and swinging a meat tenderizer at me. I guess the box of garbage sitting in the middle of the path was his stuff or I was on his turf (public path). I’ll let the city handle this crap from here on out.

Stephen J Sanow
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Stephen J Sanow

I tend to not stay in any one spot but instead snatch & grab & move on, maybe come back through in the opposite direction later. I still fill up my trash bag soon enough. My main thing is vegetation, esp sticker bushes, you don’t have to haul them if there’s a place to toss them right there.

D'Andre Muhammed
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D'Andre Muhammed

BTW, my personal experience aside, many thanks to the folks that take this task on!

Tom
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Tom

Looks really nice! This is an important bike/ped connector so thanks from those of us who use it frequently.

By the way, those stupid mirrors on the walls need to go. Maybe some think they are art or nice decoration, but I find them ugly and wonder how many birds die trying to fly through them.

Pete
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Pete