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Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone addresses off-street path safety concerns

Posted by on October 27th, 2020 at 9:51 am

A rider on the Springwater Corridor path.
(Photo: Michael Andersen/BikePortland)

During a live, online conversation with a supporter Monday evening, mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone was asked how she’d address safety concerns and homeless camping on the Springwater Corridor path — an issue that has challenged Portland leaders for nearly a decade.

The interview was with Portland-based attorney Alan Kessler. Kessler asked Iannarone to repeat an answer about the issue he overheard her share at a recent open house hosted by “cycling lawyers” (who he described as “the lycra folks who go on fast carbon fiber bikes and go for long rides”).

Before I share the exchange, it’s important to know a bit of context on the issue. We first reported about fears of criminal activity and assaults on the Springwater in 2011. By early 2016 the number of people living along the path and the safety (and other) concerns of people using the path had skyrocketed. That summer an estimated 400-500 people lived along the path in southeast Portland and it became a very high-profile political issue. Former Mayor Charlie Hales ordered the people and their encampments to be removed in September 2016. The issue has flared up once again as people have returned to the camps.

In last night’s interview with Kessler, Iannarone explained why people like living along the paths and said she’d call for a community summit and maybe even a “ceding” of the paths on a temporary basis so right-of-way negotiations could take place.

Screengrab from the live interview.

Here’s the exchange (slightly edited for clarity, it starts at about 5 minutes, 26 seconds into the interview which is posted here):

Kessler:

“I heard you at an open house hosted by a bunch of lawyers, and some of them were cycling lawyers, and they were talking about the Springwater Corridor which used to be for bicyclists a wide open, nice space to bike. And over the last decade, we’re seeing more and more people camping there and we’ve seen more reports that people are not feeling safe on the bikeway or are being assaulted… The question they asked you is ‘How are you going to deal with that homeless problem on my bikeway?’… I loved your answer so I’m going to ask you: How are you going to deal with the problem of me not being able to bike on that bike way?”

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Iannarone:

“Well, you have to ask yourself why two marginalized groups in the city are forced into the same tiny 8 feet of space all around it. Why is this small multi-use path cyclists best option? And why are people without housing also finding that a desirable place? Meanwhile, we have miles, acres of this city covered in asphalt, dominated by the automobile — primarily a little bit of transit, and some freight — but primarily single occupancy vehicles going to-and-fro. You have to ask yourself: How have we equitably allocated urban space for various communities and modes of transportation and interest groups? And how are we going to negotiate that in the future?

One conversation we may need to have is a summit between the cycling community that relies on the multi-use paths and the people residing along them. I’ve spent time on “The Cut” in St Johns, I’ve spent time with people experiencing homelessness along the I-205 multi-use path, I’ve spent time with the folks evicted along the Springwater Corridor… and I’ll tell you this, they don’t really like living there either. But why are they living there? Well, a path is infrastructure. The same way as we want to walk out of our sidewalk and onto a street to get to things that we need; when you’re living along a multi-use path you can give people directions to where you’re living. There’s a milepost, you have an address. There’s a dry walkway should it be raining and need to get to the nearest transit stop to get to a service organization so you can either send some mail, receive some mail, pick up the check — these are the kinds of things that we take for granted when we’re housed. For people without housing, that path is in fact a lifeline.

And so, we may have to do some immediate negotiation in the short term about maybe even ceding those multi-use paths for a short time but then trying to make sure that we’re carving out greater space on the right-of-way.

What I want to do is bring the community together to enhance understanding of the different groups. There’s a lot of acrimony between a lot of groups — cyclists and people without housing, cyclists and motorists, and motorists, you know, and transit — we’ve got to get people talking more civilly so that we can start to hammer out solutions to our biggest problems. Because right now, having hundreds of people concentrated along the paths is not working for anyone involved.”

Iannarone is campaigning hard in the final week before the election to unseat Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Asked for how he’d deal with these path issues, Wheeler’s campaign manager Danny O’Halloran (who initially contacted BikePortland about Iannarone’s comments) said, “Mayor Wheeler has prioritized compassionate alternatives to people camping on the streets… this week, the mayor is asking Council to approve additional funds to make sure we are able to keep our shared community spaces safe, clean, and accessible to everyone. The mayor will continue to find solutions to help those struggling into housing and maintain our public spaces for the whole community.”

UPDATE, 11:55 am: Iannarone has shared more to help explain her comments:

“First off, unlike our incumbent mayor, I rely on our multi-use paths for my transportation, especially the I-205 path. The conversation needs to stop being “how do we get these people out of sight” and become “how do we get these people housed?” I’m not talking about closing our MUPs, I’m talking about the reality on the ground. Wheeler never met a problem he didn’t want to arrest. I’m trying to broker peace in this City. Wheeler’s campaign is too busy complaining about my social media to generate an original idea. We need to use our resources to get people safe housing. Meantime, we might need to strike a deal for camps to remain there until they have safe alternatives, a deal that involves sanitation, not obstructing the pathway, lighting & safety protocols.”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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cmh89
Guest
cmh89

I voted for Sarah and I think her weakest area is in regards to homeless folks. I agree with her that one of the main problems is that we shove cyclist into the same spaces that homeless folks like to live, but these encampments are not just problems for cyclist. They are problems for the (usually) working class communities that live near them. I doubt she has spent any serious time in the cut. She is a politician. I’m sure she went there in the day and handed out sandwhiches or what not. As a cyclist, I bike down the cut during the day and sometimes at night, but the reality is that the folks who live near the cut suffer far more than cyclist who would like to use the peninsula crossing trail do.

Homeless advocates need to acknowledge that homeless people are in fact people. There are good people and bad people who live on the cut. If advocates want the good people who live in the cut or the springwater corridor to be left alone, they need to be willing to acknowledge we need to do something about the bad people. I wouldn’t want to live near what goes on in the cut and neither would you, and neither do the good people who live there. We all have a shared problem and pretending that all homeless folks are just down on their luck isn’t going to solve it. A summit is a stupid idea because the people who shooting heroin and driving their cars into the path don’t care about their “neighbors”

tee
Guest
tee

I am not a lawyer, but I am definitely part of the lycra/long rides crowd, and this idea sounds like a trainwreck. She makes a lot of good points about why one might pick to camp in that area, but ceding parts of the path leaves extensive infrastructure gaps for those without cars or those trying not to use them. Drivers have been even worse in my portion of SE lately, and the Springwater is an extremely valuable connector to the area. We can’t let it just go.

*edited for repetitive text

Jason Start
Guest

There will be no temporary secession. If you cede the MUPs that were purpose built for cyclists and pedestrians to the homeless you won’t “re-claim” them through any means that aren’t Orwellian. You can SAY that the move is temporary but do we really think that the homeless the DO want to live on the MUPs with interpret that way? No. The interpretation will be that the City of Portland has provided this infrastructure and the adjacent land as a de-facto gift. Many homeless people will then (rightfully so) interpret that they have squatter’s rights and will claim there section of land and the path abutting it as there own property. Imagine trying to ride or walk through a “ceded” section of the Springwater or 205 path and being aggressively accused of trespass by a homeless person. It’s not hard to imagine because IT ALREADY HAPPENS! But now some people living on these MUPs will believe it to be their right to defend their home from trespass because the city ceded the property to them. Madness. Absolute madness. This would absolutely be a case of a “good deed” being heavily punished.

Maria
Guest
Maria

I totally agree with Jason. Of course we want these humans housed and cared for. We also want these hard-won bike paths to be passable by cyclists and pedestrians. Ceding them would not fix the problem but instead exacerbate both the houseless and the bike safety issue.

ROH
Guest
ROH

I agree with Jason that anything ceded will be hard to bring back to it’s intended purpose. I think we have already ceded a lot of sidewalks to tents, and a lot of street parking/ sidewalks to campers. Agree that no one should have to live like this, BUT, housed people should be able to use the sidewalks and MUP’s. It appears to be legal to completely block sidewalks – look at SE 11th and 12th on either side of stark. Cities are for everyone and we should expect that our sidewalks can be walked on and our bike paths can be ridden on safely. Blocked sidewalks, campers that are permanently parked and an unrelenting amount of garbage everywhere are changing the character and usability of the city. We need real solutions to homelessness, but ceding infrastructure is not the answer and in the long run will be more expensive than actually building shelters and permanent housing.

JA
Guest
JA

I agree. I rely on these off street paths to get around safely with my young kids, but there are paths like the I-205 path north of gateway that I won’t even consider riding with my kids.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Update: I-205 from Gateway south all the way to Foster is also a no-go zone with kids. I’m not sure I will even go back on solo rides after my experience last week. I consider this corridor to be already “ceded”.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

Yeah, unfortunately I’d have to concur. It was difficult even taking my dad on the 205 path.

Steve Hash
Guest
Steve Hash

As someone who lives near the Cut, I could not agree more. No doubt there are some good folks living there, but my wife and kids will no longer use the Peninsula Crossing trails out of fear and that pisses me off.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

I’m sorry Steve, that situations looks rough, especially for the folks who live near the path near Lombard.

Cooper
Guest

I think you are miscategorizing Sarah as a politician. She has never held office. You say that you are sure she went there in the day to hand out sandwiches? Are these facts? Or is your imagination what defines who she is?

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Haha I guess someone who is running for mayor is not a politician in your eyes? It’s true that she has never held office, which is really a strike against her.

Just as an FYI, “I’m sure” can be used to speculate. For example, “I’m sure she is fine” is almost always used to indicate that the speaker doesn’t know if the subject of the sentence is fine, but believes it to be the case based on other criteria.

The more you know.

MAFIL
Guest
MAFIL

You lost me at “one of the main problems is that we shove cyclist into the same spaces that homeless folks like to live”. Pretty sure the Springwater was put there for cyclists and walkers and runners first. The homeless folks put themselves there, not the other way around

RudiV
Guest
RudiV

If we “cede” these paths, we’re never getting this infrastructure back.

Rain Waters
Guest
Rain Waters

Yup, just another forest park.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

RudiV. We have to be honest with ourselves. They’re already de facto ceded in large part. It’s a shitty situation. Who’s going to make concrete changes? The guy who has police clear them periodically over the years, but maaaybe uses them a couple times a year at most, or the gal who uses them for transportation on a daily basis? My money’s on the latter.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

We’ve already ceded the I-205 path. I can’t vote for anyone who says they will eliminate sweeps completely, because we will lose the few remaining paths that we can use. We need policies that add affordable housing, and policies that provide shelters, but you also need to be able to force people either into the shelters or out of our city, or we will never get these spaces back. We need carrots and sticks. You will never clean up these areas without a stick.

BrianC
Guest
BrianC

In addition, if you cede this infrastructure you will never get new infra. Because anyone near a proposed infrastructure improvement is going to ask when, in the future, it too will be *ceded*.

Tad Reeves
Guest

And this is a valid question too, that DOES get brought up. It was one of the central arguments that caused the Lake Oswego city council to shoot the Oak Grove – Lake Oswego footbridge out of the sky.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

And a similar discussion occurred out near Troutdale when an attempt to build another section of the 40 mile loop occurred a few years back.

Shannon Loch
Guest
Shannon Loch

And the trolley line to LO…

Rain Waters
Guest
Rain Waters

Eat that carrot, open your eyes and carry a BIG stick to address any issues yourself. Your popo is an absolute joke and you better get with it.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

“the lycra folks who go on fast carbon fiber bikes” do not belong on a multiuse path Like the Springwater to begin with; I’ve had more trouble with irresponsible time trialers on the Springwater than I have with the camps.

Jon
Guest
Jon

This is paining “lycra/carbon bike” people with a pretty broad brush. I guess I can just look at what someone is riding and the cloths they wear to decide if they are a “responsible” rider or not. I wonder if there are other places in society where I can make generalizations about how someone behaves based on how they look? Maybe we should just ban “lycra/carbon bike” folks from some routes?

tee
Guest
tee

I hate the descriptions of those riding in lycra. I ride in spandex/lycra for anything more than 3 mile round trip and pack some normal clothes to wear at my destination if I will need them. I got sick of wearing holes in all of my regular pants in college and getting stuck in wet jeans, so it’s a comfort + cost savings choice for me.

tee
Guest
tee

I have had very few issues over the years with time trialers on springwater while riding or running. There are occassional fast guys who are rude, but I struggle far more with those on any kind of bike who nearly buzz me when I’ve slowed down significantly due to crowding on the path to initiate a safe and non-threatening pass of walkers/families taking the entire path/homeless people/ slower riders etc

Fred
Guest
Fred

The worst time I was ever buzzed on the Springwater was by a guy doing 30+ mph on a souped-up e-bike. He passed about three feet from my left ear and he was going so fast I hardly got a look at him but I believe he was wearing regular street clothing – no lycra.

Steve C
Guest
Steve C

First, we do belong. Second, it’s this mentality that makes me so apprehensive about MUP projects vs expanding bike lane infrastructure. Advocates seem to think it will provide more cycling access but they show their bias against anyone actually riding for exercise or long distances at all. MUPs, like it or not, remove cyclists’ legitimacy on roads, the “don’t you have a bike path? Get off the road!” mentality. Then when we finally retreat to the MUP we are greeted with this derisive mentality. Not to mention the issues outlined here regarding unsafe conditions due to the homelessness crisis.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“…this mentality…”

Also revealed in questions/comments such as,
“I don’t know why he was riding in the middle of the road…”
“What were they doing out riding at 2 am?”
“The bicyclist was traveling at a ‘high rate of speed’…”

I have found there are only a very few fundamental “mentalities” that we need to address:
1. Bicycling is strictly a recreational choice for “elites”
2. Bicyclists are children (or adults who refuse to grow up, or “poor people”) and are not doing anything important
3. Bicyclists are either slow “cars” or fast pedestrians, there is no in-between

The only one we can really do anything about is the third item in the list above. Bicyclists are universally reviled because we either “slow down cars” or are constantly “buzzing pedestrians”. Bicycle users themselves can’t agree on appropriate speeds for any location. The reason for this is that there are only two conceptual locations: “The Middle of the Road” or “The Sidewalk”. In The Middle of the Road, we’re too slow, and on The Sidewalk, we’re too fast. My personal preference for a third place is the humble, unprotected bike lane, but mostly because it’s the only third option we have at the moment. MUPs are glorified sidewalks, “protected” bike lanes are either de facto MUPs, or the proverbial “nowhere” from which so many bicyclists emerge prior to being run over. MUPs generally have zero destinations located on them and should serve as “freeways” for bike use, supporting the bicycle equivalent of freeway speeds–but mentality number two prevents adequate infrastructure for that kind of use from being built.

Just imagine, though, if off-street “bike paths” were truly that: paths that could be used for the full range of bicycling applications, with their own “sidewalk”, a “slow” lane, and a “fast” lane… Sure, they would have to be three times wider than they are now, and it would not make them any less desirable as a nontraditional address, but on a good day, such a well-designed facility would serve everyone’s needs, wouldn’t it?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I’ve had someone swing a literal axe at me on the Springwater. No Fred can ever come close to that level of threat.

Clint B
Guest
Clint B

No you haveven’t. The camps often take up the entire path. Look at the railroad underpass along 205 near Sandy. They are camped on the path, with broken glass bicycle parts, shopping carts, etc. Not safe. A bicyclist on a carbon bike, is often the most responsible and courteous. And no I don’t have a carbon bike.

maxD
Guest
maxD

What a scary and disappointing response! “temporarily” giving up our public spaces? Can you even imagine ever unravelling that? It is is so heartless and so so unrealistic. WE need to make our public spaces safe and open and accessible, and not let them be occupied. WE cannot have a solution to homelessness include sanctioned shantytowns. We need to re-establish a civil society with equal protection and responsibilities for everyone. I agree that the infrastructure is not fairly allocated, but removing public openspace is unacceptable. I think the model adjacent tothe Hawthorn Viaduct seems ok for temporary housing. Maybe that could be expanded on other City/State owned lots. Maybe use the City-owned parking structures for temporary housing. But not parks, and not bike paths. I think Sarah’s proposal pits the homeless against the working poor for resources.

The other Fred
Guest
The other Fred

I agree and I will add that its inhumane to allow people to live outside without services and support. It’s time for our government (us) to step up and financially support the means to get people in housing and treatment for what ails them, as needed. It’s not ok in a first world country and City to leave vulnerable people out on the streets (paths) to fend for themselves.

Rain Waters
Guest
Rain Waters

Looks Twit to me too.

Matt
Guest
Matt

we have a massive homeless-industrial complex with millions of dollars pumped into it annually and it’s apparently doing nothing.

Jon
Guest
Jon

This is not hard and there is no reason for a summit. There are people blocking and making a bike path un-usable by riders trying to safely get around by bike. The paths need to be clear and safe. Full stop and period. There should be no question about “ceding” the few non-car bike routes even on a temporary basis. I cannot believe I’m hearing what is supposed to be serious candidate express these ideas.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Iannarone: We need to re-imagine how we equitably allocate public space.

Wheeler: We’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Re-imagination is how we got any active transportation right-of-way in the first place. You can “temporarily” reallocate it about as much as you can temporarily raze a neighborhood for a freeway.

one
Guest

Apples and oranges

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

Redesigning a street to include the needs a people walking, skating, biking and driving equally is the same as the historical removal of entire neighborhoods of marginalized people for a freeway?

JJ
Guest
JJ

Isn’t the sum of both the same…at least Wheeler just cuts out the math…no plan from either.

Champs
Guest
Champs

If the question is “how can Iannarone make me feel less bad about voting for Wheeler” then this is the correct answer.

Out of all the right-of-way in Portland… the slice she’s willing cede is dedicated to active transportation?

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

If that’s what you read from her statement, I might do a reread:

“I’m not talking about closing our MUPs, I’m talking about the reality on the ground.”

“Why [are] two marginalized groups in the city are forced into the same tiny 8 feet of space all around it.”

She recognizes that people on bikes and people who are homeless are fighting for tiny bits of land while people in cars have the vast majority of space. I can’t ever imagine Wheeler recognizing this.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You seem to be ignoring the reality that the vast majority of our streets are open cyclers and are safe and pleasant to ride on. As a bike rider, I feel I already “have” a whole lot of road space to travel on.

The problem is not “the homeless”; it’s the small subset that create an outsized mess, threatening those around them (who are mostly other folks without housing) with crime and violence.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

“The vast majority of our streets are open cyclers [sic] and are safe and pleasant to ride on.”

I would urge you to consider looking at other cities with vast networks of cycletracks and protected bike lanes in comparison to Portland, which has around 5 miles of protected bike lanes and virtually no separated infrastructure. Some cities have entirely eliminated road deaths through redesigning streets with PBLs. Portland continues to be one of the least safe places in the country (44 road deaths). Last year (51 deaths) was the deadliest since 1996.

I agree the problem is certainly a small percentage of people (not even necessarily homeless people).

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That other cities exist that may be better for riding is irrelevant to the point that your statement was hyperbolic. The majority of the streets I ride on have no need for separated infrastructure, and would probably be worse if they had it.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

“The majority of the streets I ride on have no need for separated infrastructure, and would probably be worse if they had it.”

It’s possible you’re riding on residential streets where car speeds are capped at 20mph, in which case sure separated infrastructure is not really necessary. But anecdote or feeling is no replacement for research. People can feel safe riding a bike on a freeway.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I was objecting to your comment’s suggestion that cyclers don’t have access to the vast majority of public ROW in Portland, and that Wheeler would be in any way mistaken if thought that.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I agree that I feel like I have a lot of space and options when it is just me. But I disagree when I am riding with my kids. Any time we can be completely separated from cars my stress level drops considerably.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Most comments are already complaining about giving space to people, much like cyclists complain about giving space to drivers. I’d love to feel safe biking on paths and streets, but I cede that it’s more important for PEOPLE to feel safe somewhere (anywhere) in the city. Those people chose the paths as their safe space.

We already don’t bike there. What do we lose by officially giving up on evictions for the time being and trying to make a space that those people want to move into?

MTW
Guest
MTW

“We already don’t bike there.”

Speak for yourself

raktajino
Guest
raktajino

And all the others on this thread who are saying that they avoid the path. *shruggie*

But sure, you do bike there. Speak for yourself–imagine that, there is more than one type of cyclist.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“Nobody goes there anymore–it’s too crowded”

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Why should we give these spaces to random people? Thousands of working class Portlanders living in neighborhoods with unsafe roads should lose what little safe MUPs they have? The City of Portland owns tons of land that these camps could be located on.

JJ
Guest
JJ

I agree, outlaw camping and move all camping to central large scale camps with services…mental health care. addiction treatment, sanitation, etc. It’s gotta be cheaper in the long run to centrally locate these services and those that need it.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

outlaw camping and move all camping to central large scale camps

So, all we have to do is round up all the scattered campers and forcibly move them to someplace where they’ll be more… concentrated. You know, like a… concentration camp, right?

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Comparing publicly funded spaces where people can come and go freely while having a secure place to sleep and store their stuff to concentration camps has to be one of the dumbest takes on homelessness that I’ve seen here and really anywhere.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

I find myself in rare agreement with you. Appreciate that you can detect absurdity once in a while.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

~~~ Removing my snarky response because it’s just not as good as the one above by cmh89. Nothing to see here, please move along. ~~~

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

That sounds like a plan.

SERider
Guest
SERider

Bingo. And not to mention that the issues on these paths disproportionately affect mostly outer neighborhoods with more lower income residents, who rely on these paths for transportation and parks.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Once you surrender public right-of-way to another entity, be it the homeless, a developer, or ODOT, you’ll never get it back. If you want to keep it as an active public space for all users, you have to constantly and consistently fight for it.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The people making these spaces unsafe are the people who will be removed if we conduct sweeps. Stop acting like this isn’t homeless on homeless violence. We don’t have Freds out there attacking homeless people who get in the way. We have homeless people attacking each other, and occasionally attacking people who are using the MUPs to recreate or commute.

I see you’ve already given up, but some of us want a safe way to commute without a car.

Bike Guy
Guest
Bike Guy

Ah yes, no one rides on the Springwater Corridor. (eyeroll)

It’s unfortunate that Jonathan took away the downvote button.

Mike
Guest
Mike

> And so, we may have to do some immediate negotiation in the short term about maybe even ceding those multi-use paths for a short time but then trying to make sure that we’re carving out greater space on the right-of-way.

Many people here aren’t reading. She’s talking about ceding the path in return for taking more space from cars. This is the correct answer. To simply keep clearing the path every 3 months will result in no change at all.

PS
Guest
PS

I think you’re right. For someone who is completely naïve about how weak she will be as mayor and is willing to openly show how little time she has spent using these paths, this might be the right answer. For anyone with any sense at all, it is an absolutely insane suggestion.

The track record for “taking more space from cars” is what, “half assed Naito”? If Sarah wins, one has to imagine our active transit champion Chloe wins, and you think Sarah is going to go to Chloe and say, give me some lanes because I gave the paths away and can’t get them back? And Chloe or whoever they have given the bureau to at that point, says what?

Lastly, to suggest to users of these paths that losing them is fine because, what, we got a bike lane on Foster with some dildos sticking out of the ground to protect us from the cars that it is racist to enforce their lunatic driving?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

What does she mean by that? So we cede the Springwater trail, and then we get space on which parallel road? We can’t, because they don’t exist.

It’s a meaningless statement.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

Hey Chris I think I understand your worry. I don’t want to put words in her mouth. My guess is that she may be referring to the current de facto status on our paths (and sidewalks), which is sometimes impassible as I frequently have observed. We have ceded it already in some places. I find this abhorrent, and a function of a strategy of infrequent police raids with no benefit going back to Hales. I see no evidence Wheeler will change this strategy. BTW the Oregonian did a report on the efficacy of this strategy.

Sarah appears to recognize how much space is wasted on cars. While I don’t know if she is actually willing to vastly improve our protected bike network, I know Wheeler has decidedly not done so. She also appears to use these MUPs somewhat frequently as a result of living within their vicinity. Hope that makes a little more sense.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy

Great, carve out space from cars and “cede” that to the homeless.

Bike Guy
Guest
Bike Guy

would you lend money on this promised land exchange? It’s illusory garbled nonsense. We know very well that there will be no exchange, only the cession

Allan
Guest
Allan

Comments really had me thinking of responding but I feel like the article doesn’t include any links to Sarah’s larger plans around houselessness. When I have heard her talk about this in the past it came across as a just way to work on this problem. https://sarah2020.com/en/policies/housing-for-all/

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

This is a big part of it, but what do you do about the people who prefer to live on the trail, even if housing is available? How do you ensure that the trail is clear if you have stated that you will conduct no sweeps, as she has?

Kathleen Walker
Guest
Kathleen Walker

Do you realize how hard it was to get regional trails built? With the situation today, the chance of getting any kind of trail or park built – let alone a regional trail – will be slim and none. And Slim left town. No camping should be enforced in our public parks and along our trails! The garbage and human waste is sickening. The idea you could “cede” the trails that we are paying to build and maintain, and somehow get them back is ludicrous. The management on the Springwater and other Portland regional trails are screwing our opportunity to build future trails for decades!

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

Hey Kathleen I don’t disagree, but my impression having been on many of these trails recently is that they are already de facto ceded. I understand your concern having grown up in E Portland and having had my only option for commuting into the city turn into an unsafe garbage patch. Here is where I think Sarah differs:

“We have miles, acres of this city covered in asphalt, dominated by… single occupancy vehicles … How have we equitably allocated urban space for various communities and modes of transportation and interest groups?”

She is one of the first to recognize how much space we can redesign and allocate to people on bikes and walking. Instead of having one shitty path into the city, Sarah wants a network of paths. This is one of the most important differences I can see between Wheeler and her.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

No amount of money or political goodwill can create a “8-80” safe on-street bikeway parallel to the Springwater. There are too many conflict points on arterials like Division and Powell.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

I would have to disagree having seen a LOT of infrastructure that fits your description. Here’s one example. Search protected bike lane. My hope is that we should demand more than just one safe (physically separated) option from East Portland.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Thank you for the link!

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

Sure. It’s always surprising that people can’t imagine Division or Sandy as a safe place. Just need a person in the Mayor’s chair willing to redesign streets according to research, not weird funky voodoo like Hawthorne Pave and Paint.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Just a few days ago I was discussing with a friend why Division is safer to ride on than Clinton (at least if you are going downhill). You can go fast with very little threat that a that a driver will enter the street without carefully looking for cross-traffic.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

Interesting anecdote. Both streets are poorly designed for bikes and have about the same number of reported injuries.

https://pdx.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=5385b143768c445db915a9c7fad32ebe

Erin M.
Guest
Erin M.

Given the much much higher bicycling volumes on Clinton compared to Division, comparable numbers of crashes indicate that Division is a much more dangerous road to bike on.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

We had Sam Adams and we never got a truly safe corridor on streets like Division or Sandy. I could be wrong about Sarah, but I’m probably right.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

You are totally right, as the mayor has virtually no control over street design.

Steve C
Guest
Steve C

I know it’s not going to convince you, you seem to really like these protected intersections. But I hate that these designs force the cyclist to swerve twice to pass straight though an intersection.

The viability of cycling as a transportation mode is greatly affected by how easily and efficiently medium distances (5-10 miles?) can be covered vs a car. I don’t want to ride down a street and need to swerve at every intersection.

And to the broader point here about taking care of infrastructure once it’s build, I don’t see these little chicane being swept up every morning by broom wielding / hi vis vest wearing government workers like they are in Europe. They’re just going to fill with debris and cause accidents. I mean what if you misjudge the deviation in the bike lane at the corner and hit any one of the curbs bracketing you in?

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

I don’t need convincing either way. I simply follow the research. A doctor who believes in phrenology will not be able to practice medicine in the same way.

A lot of people in NYC haaaateed the protected bike lanes, until… voila families started riding and a critical mass of people created a safe space. Now the Prospect Park PBL is named after its best advocate and jammed with kids.

So we shouldn’t build PBLs because we will not be able to clean them? Slow down? People hate PBLs and congestion pricing and most perceived “new things”… until they work.

Steve C
Guest
Steve C

I see you didn’t mention the substance of my argument about forcing cyclists to deviate annoyingly in the process of using this design. You can present yourself as dispassionate but you seek to impose a vision of cycling infrastructure that contain within it biases and presumptions that are subjective and not universally accepted.

I think we can do better with cycling infrastructure design. And it is also my opinion that brow beating people into accepting specific technocratic implementations isn’t a winning strategy.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

The thing about science is, there’s no “correct” answer, simply a body of evidence. We can always do better. If you feel intimidated, that was not my intention. Read the research and offer up your suggestions.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I don’t understand this comment, in particular: “One conversation we may need to have is a summit between the cycling community that relies on the multi-use paths and the people residing along them.” What would “we” hope to accomplish with this conversation? What is needed is for those in positions of power in our city, such as mayor, to provide places for people to safely exist. Why did it take a pandemic to provide a parking lot with fresh water, port-a-potties and some pallets? Why isn’t the answer to this question more specifics on where people can safely live within our community and have access to a variety of needed resources? Maybe even some resources that help people with a transition to earning an income. Her answer reads like such a non-answer to me.

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

This is exactly the kind of ridiculous response I would have expected from Iannarone. I’m so sad for our city that our choices for mayor are her or Ted “I hate this job” Wheeler.

Steve Hash
Guest
Steve Hash

If anyone has a Wheeler yard sign, my corner lot on a bikeway is available..

matchupancakes
Guest
matchupancakes

This proposal to review reallocating the right of way (i.e. streets) for community needs is what is missing far too often during discussions. If we are to address houselessness it is going to take a citywide response. Interim solutions and policy will get us there while the housing inventory catches up. For example, a tent will fit inside the space of a car parking spot and there are miles upon miles of space for parking throughout the city that are underutilized. Some people do not want group living (i.e. shelters) nor to be inside all the time year round. Having a solution that does not force people under freeway overpasses and onto multiuse paths is better than what we’re experiencing today. Put human rights and people first.

Aaron
Guest

What craven, opportunistic, anti-homeless bullcrap from Wheeler’s campaign.

If you’re upset about people camping on the springwater, a) you should be more empathetic to the plight that brought them there, and b) you should be upset at the politician who has done nothing to tackle our housing crisis for the last four years that got us into this mess.

Wheeler ran on a platform four years ago of tackling the housing crisis, and things have only gotten worse. Sarah’s got a 3200 word plan for addressing our housing problems. https://sarah2020.com/en/policies/housing-for-all/

Brian
Guest
Brian

You lost me at “you should be upset at the politician who has done nothing to tackle our housing crisis for the last four years.” Nothing? Nothing has been done in the last four years for those experiencing houselessness?

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Agreed. I have a Sarah yard sign and already voted her, but I’ll gladly acknowledge that Wheeler has (after a slow start) definitely made solid progress on housing and resources for the unhoused.

maxD
Guest
maxD

she does have a lot of words about the housing issue, though not too much of a plan…

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

And what is the funding source? If she passes a new tax, can I just choose to not pay it for four years?

Hotrodder
Guest
Hotrodder

You bet! Quit your job, sell your house, buy the RV and move down to 33rd and Marine drive!

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

There’s no more room down there!

J_R
Guest
J_R

If you want to cede something in public ownership or public use to the homeless, let’s have a discussion of which property to cede. I suggest city owned golf courses. What’s your idea?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

City Hall.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Not bad. I say give them Pioneer Square. Ted (or Sarah) are within walking distance to check in on our vulnerable citizens and the world sees how much compassion we have by giving them our “living room”.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I-5

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

I’m sure that would excite golfers just as much as the current proposal excites cyclists.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Exactly. Let’s share the burden.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

Many housing advocates in Portland, and in other cities, are looking at golf courses (especially those located right by light rail stations!) as locations for housing. Does the City of Portland really need to own five golf courses (one of which is not even in Portland?) https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2019/05/portlands-city-owned-golf-courses-are-essentially-broke-auditors-find

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

All of the “Smart Park” garages downtown.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

YES please! Public subsidized parking.

raktajino
Guest
raktajino

There’s a golf course along the Columbia Slough that would be perfect. From my regular walks and bikes, it gets as many visitors as the park in the wastewater treatment plant or the Cut right next door.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

Imagine if golf courses were taxed on actual property value.

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

aformentioned golf course is owned by the City, hence ‘tax free’ anyways (Heron Lakes)

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Broadmoor? It just closed down, literally yesterday. Perfect.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Broadmoor property has been sold…part to serve as a wetland mitigation site for Amazon development at the former Portland Meadows. The other part has been sold to developer for warehouse/industrial space.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Ah, I see. Thanks for the info.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Under Wheeler, two City/County/Private partnership navigation centers have opened, motels opened for homeless during Covid, and our regional homeless funding program is just getting off the ground. A good start. But ceeding, even temporarily, facilities that were paid for with transportation and parks funding is wrong. Has Sarah looked at the shoreline along OMSI-Oaks Park path or along Johnson Creek recently…the amount of trash and biological waste along our shorelines is stunning.

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

Sigh… I voted for Sarah because I think she is worth a try —–but—- comments like her’s are quickly radicalizing me on this issue.

Why does every “good” progressive politician’s statements begin with “lets have a conversation”. How is this leadership? I read this as “I have no idea how to fix the problem and don’t want to even wager a guess”.

The second most common rhetorical device is how The Problem is not a The Problem but part of a bigger problem which is so big we cant do anything about it!

Enough with the excuses, we need solutions and accountability.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

I hear you Kittens. It pains me to see the city so dysfunctional, and my favorite (sometimes only) paths in an impassible, unhealthy state. My hope is that Sarah can be decisive (Clearly Hales and Wheeler could not). Pay for and offer people safe and practical public housing, as both incentive and requirement.

Erin M.
Guest
Erin M.

“Let’s have a conversation” is basically a promise to not do anything decisive at all.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy

Exactly! “Let’s have a conversation”? Really? Maybe we can “do a study” while we’re at it since this is such a new and unique issue.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

“Let’s have a conversation” is so Maury Povich. The pros form a Commission.

JR
Guest
JR

I’ve found myself to evolve on this issue. I used to complain about people living in their RVs and cars in my neighborhood. The unsanitary smells carried dozens of feet away so that you couldn’t walk down a street without wanting to vomit upon passing those locations. The city has added sanitation stations nearby that seem to help a little bit. But the problem has grown to where structures are erected attached to or around the vehicles. The smells are worse, garbage gets blown in all directions, leftover food, cooking charcoals, etc are dumped in landscaping, and very sketchy, aggressively driven cars cruise nearby them. If there’s a summit on these issues, I’d be happy to be present and voice concerns.

Perhaps there’s a middle ground. Perhaps the city can dedicate some vacant lots or extra space for the purpose of creating more sanitary and organized temporary housing. A place with garbage collection, connections to services, public transit and safe bike access, etc. The status quo is haphazard, unsanitary and unsafe for everyone.

Momo
Guest
Momo

I really shouldn’t be shocked at the intense anti-homeless rhetoric in BikePortland comments, but I still am shocked by it nonetheless. 90% of these comments basically amount to “sweep ’em away, get ’em outta my sight!”. This is disgraceful. We’re talking about real people who have nowhere else to go, and I think Sarah articulated well why a path might be a much better option for them then out in a field somewhere. Until we’re willing to house all homeless, we need to work with homeless camps to establish safe practices rather than just sweeping them away, which is basically what she’s saying.

The camp next to the path from Greeley to Interstate is a good example of one that generally works. There’s a fence, the path is rarely blocked, and I think most people would feel safe riding along that path. It’s not perfect, but it overall works. The path along the cut in St Johns is the opposite, it’s chaotic and there’s trash everywhere and it’s blocked very often. It doesn’t have to be that way, and there’s a way to make things safer and more organized that doesn’t involve kicking people out who have nowhere to go.

Brian
Guest
Brian

The idea of people remaining adjacent to a rather lengthy path far removed from resources, while providing zero resources to them in the meantime, is no solution.

drs
Guest
drs

While I generally agree that the hazelnut Grove camp appears to be much more functional than the disaster on the St Johns cut, it’s still not great. There are 6-10 cars and trucks parked in hazelnut grove at any given time and there have been multiple spills of human waste.

Momo
Guest
Momo

The biggest issue has definitely been the cars and trucks. It would be nice to find some alternate area for them to park. But it’s a difficult constrained area, so I’m able to forgive the occasional vehicle partially blocking the path.

I guess my point is that it’s better to engage with camps and work with them to organize, keep things clean and safe, etc, and we have tons of examples like Right to Dream and Dignity Village where that’s the case. There’s no reason I-205 Path and Springwater and these other paths can’t follow that same strategy.

maxD
Guest
maxD

If the City wants to continue to sanction the Hazelnut Grove area, it should, at a minimum, provide a legal driveway and safe turnaround for the sanitation vehicles and for emergency access. If they are going to allow cars, the City should provide parking. The City should also protect the trees per Title 11 and enforce the erosion control. Any cars need to be registered and licensed for the safety of other road users! That should be a minimum. IF this is going to stay for another 5 years, the City should provide water and sewer- at least a Portland Loo. There should also be a shared kitchen with electrical appliances. The fire risk on the bluff is way too high to allow open fires or ad hoc cooking with propane. Finally, the buildings should be brought up to code.

Creating separate rules for homeless people is creating a new, lower class of citizen who does have the same rights, protections and obligations as the rest of society. I find that abhorrent.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy

My favorite part about your comment is where you suggest that anything short of letting the homeless do whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want is disgraceful, anti-homeless rhetoric.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Maybe because many of the homeless are not very good neighbors.

Matt
Guest
Matt

The paths are gone and are not coming back. And that Iannarone, wow what a smoke screen she puts up. Pretty grim prospects for Portland.

Jered Bogli
Guest
Jered Bogli

I mean as a sound bite I do like “Wheeler never met a problem he didn’t want to arrest.” though coin toss as to weather he’d tear gas them first.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

As we worked to get the Going Street sidewalk to Swan Island widened (“Going to the River) and even during construction, folks were camping up in the trees nearby. Perhaps thanks to them, but more likely to the litter deposited by the thousands of vehicles on Going, things along the widened sidewalk were often a mess. What to do.
How about this: organize the campers to “own” that piece of sidewalk and keep it picked up, and why not pay them a living wage to do it? Maybe enough to rent a room somewhere.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Maybe she can write her doctoral thesis on this subject…

Scott Kocher
Guest

“Wheeler’s campaign manager Danny O’Halloran (who initially contacted BikePortland about Iannarone’s comments).”
I like to know what the candidates are saying, but I don’t give Ted Wheeler points for pitting people who care about housing and transportation against each other right before the election.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

These paths are probably safer than the streets. overall. How about the news about a bike rider in Vegas who was killed by being pushed off her bike by a passenger in a passing car. Fortunately, this time, the passenger was also killed when he fell out of the window during the incident, but what the heck! Mean streets about to get meaner after the election no matter who wins?

Matt
Guest
Matt

Yes, no set aside space for the camps is a problem. Let’s put them in the middle of a street in a dry spot under an overpass and then let’s call for a summit while the street effectively remains closed until we brainstorm a solution. Given that streets are on a grid, it would be a mild inconvenience for drivers, whereas the 205 path is a pinch point that is really the only viable option for cyclists. Why treat the MUP path differently from camping in a street?

BEL
Guest
BEL

Yes. If the camps were sitting in the middle of the transportation “paths” that cars & trucks use on a daily basis and couldn’t use due to blocking or aggressive and criminal behaviour then people would start doing something about it. Everyone still seems to think if on a bike its just like a scenic drive on a bike. It’s about getting getting efficiently & safely from point A to B without having to fight with cars.
Many of these same drivers bitch, yell at us to get off the their roads and on to these paths that were taken over by homeless people.
I don’t have much compassion for drugged out, criminal and aggressive people, permanently homeless by choice segment, most from out of town who have taken advantage of the goodwill of Portland. They regularly come into our neighborhoods and given themselves the right to openly trash the area, break into homes and steal anything. We are already on our own. There is no crime enforcement. They seem to have more rights then those that have there tax dollars spent supporting them.

Sarah I. What a huge disappointment.

Fred
Guest
Fred

I was never going to vote for Sarah – no matter how much she bikes. I could never vote for someone in a race as important as Portland mayor when that someone has never held elected office, at any level.

Sarah’s handling of this issue (“ceding the area”) just shows why she’s not ready to be Portland mayor. And it makes me feel better about voting for Ted.

Brighton West
Guest
Brighton West

Have Bike Portland readers become just typical car drivers / “cagers” in disguise?

There’s a lot of “this is my space and those other people should go elsewhere” in the comments. Next, we’ll hear “my taxes paid for that MUP and those homeless people don’t pay taxes!”

It sucks what’s happening along the paths. But these are extraordinary times. We cannot solve this problem overnight (I think that Sarah is recognizing this, and Ted’s overnight-solution sweeps haven’t solved the problem.) But things can be made better and we can come up with a long-term solution that addresses the needs of cyclists and people experiencing homelessness. Golf courses are a great example someone mentioned in the comments.

If I had to choose, I’d rather be a cyclist on Powell Blvd, than living in a tent on the Springwater.

When the car drivers start to convince mayor Ted to “sweep the cyclists off the roads because they are making for a poor driving experience” it will have come full circle.

Note: I don’t want to “cede the MUPs” but, once again, there is a crisis going on and we all need to take a step down to give others a leg up.

Kittens
Guest
Kittens

I travel a lot and Portland has an outsized problem with homelessness. It’s out of control here and saying it’s acceptable or simply another lifestyle choice is just enabling it. Stop making excuses. They are ruining the city.

The billions of dollars spent on transit and parks and paths and beautifying downtown. The unique and vibrant neighborhood business districts. Simply being able to go for a walk without fear of being verbally abused or having to step over excrement and needles. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars we spend annually to respond to frequent emergency calls and hospital bills and support services. Vandalism and theft. And most importantly the human cost in thousands Of people who’s lives have been reduced to scurrying like rats collecting cans so they can get their next fix.

We have got to create a pathway out of this cycle. For those who can no longer make choices in their best interest, we must make it for them. This may feel wrong for a city known for it’s politeness and live-and-let-live ethos but we must do it for them and for us.

maxD
Guest
maxD

comment of the week.

Matt
Guest
Matt

It’s called tough love. And apparently Portland is ready to bottom out before we start implementing it. And we still have a long way to go.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Bull. This has nothing to do with Convid.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

There comes a point where people, no matter how liberal and compassionate they aspire to be, reach a point where they are tired of being walked on and say “F this – it’s ridiculous and I’ve had enough.”

Maynard
Guest
Maynard

Use this early and often!! pdxreporter.org
No ceeding of the MUPs Chamberlain Iannorone!!

pdx2wheeler
Subscriber

Portland Metro needs a safe MUP network across the entire region. However when MUPs draw-in drugs, homeless, trash, and security risks then society will never support their creation. As an example, I believe this is a huge reason the Lake Oswego trolley’s right-of-way will never be converted, despite it being such low hanging fruit and holding such enormous potential.

JM
Guest
JM

Thanks for posting this. It has helped me make my decision on who to support.

Lazy Spinner
Guest
Lazy Spinner

Serious question…while we await a solution to this problem that helps both MUP users and the homeless population along MUPs, why can’t we have PPB and Multnomah County Sherriff motorcycle patrols along the Springwater?

I am not advocating camp sweeps, crackdowns, or the police hassling the homeless. It seems to me that a constant police presence patrolling our local MUPs would deter the bad elements while boosting security for MUP users, good folks camping along the trails, and the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to them.

Fred
Guest
Fred

Try getting the police to do almost anything in Portland. They are overworked and underfunded, especially now ($26M cut recently, with $18M more in the works).

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

To be fair, they’ve not had anything cut from their existing budget. I believe the cuts are all proposed.

FormerL&CPioneer
Guest
FormerL&CPioneer

After reading Sarah’s response, I’ve determined two things. 1. Sarah is a theorist. 2. In my 50= years of living, theorists get nothing done.

Sarah talks about, “bringing the community together to enhance understanding of the different groups.” There’s nothing to understand. The homeless are homeless because they 1. Choose to be, 2. Are drug addicts, 3. Suffer from mental illness and their families have given up. Cyclists want to avoid getting hit by cars. The city along with advocates for a healthy lifestyle built the bike path to cater to bikes, not encampments where disease and drugs fester. Portland, get your act together. You were once a beautiful, attractive city full of promise. You’re now an embarrassment.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

You are 100% correct. She’s essentially a Progressive Populist.

Clint B
Guest
Clint B

Her comment ” ceding those multi-use paths for a short time but then trying to make sure that we’re carving out greater space on the right-of-way.”

that’s a no answer, typical of this political view.

Clint B
Guest
Clint B

One more comment, before I leave this one month old story. The current state of homeless and low safety on the bike trails is why I am not buying a new bike.