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Gideon Overcrossing has been renamed in honor of Metro Councilor Bob Stacey

Inset: New sign just installed by PBOT.

Metro Council member Bob Stacey has earned a high honor: His name will forever be associated with a 30-foot high bridge in southeast Portland.

Stacey at a Safe Routes to School funding rally in 2016.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

At a council meeting today, Stacey was surprised by the announcement that the Gideon Overcrossing Bridge will henceforth be known as the Bob Stacey Crossing. The bridge was completed in late 2020 and spans 300 feet over four sets of rail tracks between Southeast Gideon Street and 14th Avenue.

It’s a fitting honor for Stacey, who earned a political science degree (in 1972) as an undergraduate at Reed College less than two miles away. And a carfree connection built by TriMet that links two neighborhoods over a light rail line also fits as a symbol of Stacey’s legacy: He’s been on the front lines of transportation, land-use and urban planning advocacy in our region for nearly four decades.

Stacey also has a direct connection to the Gideon Overcrossing.

A nearby bridge was demolished in 2013 as TriMet began construction of the Orange Line MAX and a new crossing was promised as part of the project. But when the federal government reduced their funding contribution, TriMet axed the bridge and the MAX line opened without a crossing near this location. Local residents and neighborhood advocacy groups who tired of getting stuck behind long freight trains with no safe or quick way around, fought to make sure the bridge was added as a top priority in Portland’s influential Central City 2035 Plan. Stacey joined that fight and used his seat on Metro Council to lobby on behalf of the bridge.

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At the Biketown launch in 2016, Stacey joked to me, “We [Metro] gave this project $2 million and all I got was this helmet.”

Stacey’s experience and style gives him a mix of qualities that are as rare as they are important when it comes to being an effective community leader.

He was City of Portland planning director from 1989 to 1993 and was in charge of policy and planning for for TriMet between 1997 and 2000. His combination of legal acumen (he was a land use attorney for nearly three years after he left his City of Portland post), activism, planning expertise (he was executive director of land-use nonprofit 1000 Friends of Oregon between 2002 and 2009), and political experience (he’s a former chief of staff for Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the other currently-serving local elected with a bridge named after him) has served him well as a regional representative of the public’s interest.

Stacey has served on Metro Council since 2013 and was voted to his third consecutive term last November.

BikePortland readers might recall meeting Stacey at one of our Wonk Night events, or as a member of Portland’s Vision Zero Task Force. He has also been a supporter of Safe Routes to School and a critic of freeway widening projects.

In 2013 he attended an anti-Columbia River Crossing (CRC) event at Crank Bicycles where he warned attendees about how the freeway expansion project would impact Portland neighborhoods. I recorded his remarks that night:

A website has been set up where colleagues and friends are sharing praise for Stacey. For more on the news, see PBOT’s official announcement.

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