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Portland’s transportation bureau has a new logo: Here’s what it means

Posted by on May 3rd, 2021 at 2:27 pm

As you might have seen in our previous story, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has a new logo.

Turns out it’s not just a branding refresh and a new slogan, it’s part of what the agency calls the “Realize Safety Initiative.”

PBOT Communications Director John Brady reached out to share more of the context:

“The Realize Safety initiative is not directly about traffic safety. Instead it’s part of PBOT’s effort to raise awareness about the crucial importance of personal safety on our streets and sidewalks.

Realize Safety represents PBOT’s commitment to consider all Portlanders’ experience in the public right-of-way. That is, traffic safety is only one side of the coin when it comes to people feeling safe on our streets and sidewalks. Personal safety and freedom from harm also means being free from hate, bias, and other forms of discrimination and violence. These negative experiences are still far too common, especially for people who are Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and/or from immigrant and LGBTQIA+ communities.

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PBOT staff that work in our active transportation programs like Safe Routes to School, developed the Realize Safety message after years talking with community members about their experiences facing harassment, discrimination, or other forms of violence in their day-to-day lives travelling from one place to another—walking, biking, driving, or taking transit.

Thus, Realize Safety is a message we carry with us as PBOT staff. It is reinforced in our communications by the email signature which staff are using during the month of May. And it is reinforced by the work we do in community, in the form of personal safety resources we compile and share in partnership with organizations, the public, and our own staff. This is on top of the work we already do to promote traffic safety.”

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

That is great ODOT is considering safety in a more holistic way: “Personal safety and freedom from harm also means being free from hate, bias, and other forms of discrimination and violence.”

BUT I am not sure that the thin blue lines / strips successfully communicate that after this summer of protests. Plus the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the logo…was a car tire tread skid mark. ;-(

maxD
Guest
maxD

agreed! My first thought when I saw the logo, before reading the article was that this might be an anti-PBOT campaign- it looks like someone drove across some fresh white paint intended to control people driving and then ran right over PBOT!

J_R
Guest
J_R

Cool. A new logo! I hope that some staffers can attend far away conferences to present this important new step in PBOT’s evolution. And, an annual report next year to measure the success! They will undoubtedly need to add staff to celebrate this historic step.

New letterhead. New signs for the trucks. New…. Wow!

Give me a f***ing break. Is there nothing else they could work on? Could anyone actually pick out the old logo? What possible difference could this make?

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

When I served on the PBOT Bureau Advisory Committee, part of our job was to help save the agency from harming itself. Clearly the present TBAC has failed on this basic task.

The meaningless catchphrase was obviously designed by a clueless group of upper-level management, but the parallel lines on the PBOT logo says it all – we build stroads so you can drive faster and maim other users more efficiently.

If PBOT wanted vision zero, then the lines would have looked like crosswalks and diverters.

maxD
Guest
maxD

I walked my dog to Swan Island yesterday afternoon. Thank god I couldn’t convince my teenager to join. Halfway down the hill, I hear idling and turned to see a full-size pickup driving behind my on the sidewalk!! there was no safe place to get out of the way so I kpt walkig and frequently checking on the truck. The driver rolled closer, pulled over, hopped out and aggressivly demanded if I had a problem, then proceeded to threaten to run me over. I keep walking, he keeps driving behind me. I call 911 and ask for help. They advise me to wait there for a half hour for an officer to show up. Between Concord Overpass and Greeley, there are no side streets, not one to call out to for help, just people flying by at 60 mph down the hill, and a guy who made a serious sounding threat to run me over WHILE HE DROVE BEHIND ME ON THE SIDEWALK.So I kept walking,and 45 minutes later a cope calls to let me know the truck is gone. I tried to get a photo but the truck had no plates and I was scared so most of the photos did not turn out.

Let me be the first to call absolute one hundred percent BULLSHIT on this message of safety from PBOT. The truck was cone, but 6 other cars remain. They all got there by driving down the sidewalk/bike path. A half mile away at Hazelnut Grove, I counted 8 cars this morning. PBOT installed then removed a bollard to exclude cars. They are tacitly permitting a path that is less than 10′ wide to be used as a driveway and calling it a safety improvement. I emailed with them a dozen times about the Greeley path- they did not realize people were driving on it and had zero knowledge of the actual conditions of the path. They refused to address any safety concerns (speeding, lack of connections for pedestrians, dangerous bike connections, etc) because, in their words, this was a freight project, not a vision zero project. Look at Hawthorn/Madison! They refuse to add any stop bars/curb paint to cue people driving into the new scenario and people are parking all over, driving in the bike lanes on Madison, pulling into crosswalks to turn onto Hawthorne not realizing there is no longer a parking lane there. And that little isolated bike lane along 12th- how on earth is a person ona bike ever supposed to get into or out of that lane? It has zero connections at either end- it is a death trap!

Riding down Going this morning on the new, 2-way MUP along the ramp: at the top is nothing! No connection to anything, no signs, just people flying by at 60+ mph. 4 PBOT truck and 6 or 7 PBOT dudes are standing around in the interchange south of Going, I ride over and let them know here is no signage, no warning, the bike lanes just end. What do you think the response was? Concern? Nope. Bemusement. Some snide comments blaming the contractor.

PBOT absolutely DOES NOT have a culture of concern for safety. For them to make grandiose claims revolting, shameless lie. They cannot even manage traffic. Their primary role is to manage traffic- traffic deaths and injuries are way up and PBOT’s poor management bears a large measure of the responsibility for that.

Miranda R
Guest
Miranda R

Yep, Portland now meets the criteria for a “failed state”. 30 minute response to a 911 call! Terrible. I’m sorry you had such a scary experience.

Suburban
Guest
Suburban

Is this correct: You were walking westbound on Going Street between Corncord overpass and Greely Street. or is this correct: You were walking Northbound On Greely Street path after walking past Hazelnut Grove.

maxD
Guest
maxD

The first is correct: I was walking west along Going between Concord and Greeley. The cars at hazelnut Grove are also a dangerous problem. It occurred to me that PBOT and Joann Hardesty are in the surprising position of pitting citizens against each other: people driving on patch vs people walking/biking on paths. Most people driving on paths are homeless, and I suspect many people biking/walking on a path would feel threatened by that and call the police. PBOT is in the unique position to immediately solve this conflict by excluding cars from places where they are not allowed. By not doing that, PBOT/Hardesty are fostering these conflicts, potentially violent conflicts that may have to be resolved by police. If Hardesty wants to demonstrate that she believes the Police are not the answer, this could be an excellent place for her start: show that PBOT and infrastructure can be used to create safety and avoid dangerous conflicts that require police intervention. No conflict, no police, no unintended consequences.

Christopher of Portland
Guest
Christopher of Portland

They already aren’t doing enough for road safety and now they’re dumping a bunch of stuff they can’t fix onto their plate.

Lowell
Guest
Lowell

The lines in the logo point in the direction that traffic fatality totals are trending.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

“hey it would be nice if there were bike lanes on Hawthorne”
“nope, can’t do that, but here is this nice slogan in our email signatures now”
“thanks, PBOT, I feel safer now”

Ben G
Guest
Ben G

I read the four lines removed from the letters as slashes or a skid. Are they supposed to be speed bumps? A grate? It’s not a cross walk. I’m not trying to slam the new logo, but I am confused on the message it is trying to send.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

A rebrand is what happens when management wants to appear to be doing something to fix a problem while not doing anything to fix the problem.

DCSeymour
Guest
DCSeymour

The Skidmark in the logo really is doing the heavy lifting here.

Lee C
Guest
Lee C

PBOT can’t even provide physical safety to pedestrians and bike riders. Now they want to provide emotional safety too? Maybe try to accomplish your core mission before moving on to the next issue.

ivan
Guest
ivan

In the midst of a traffic fatality emergency (and that’s true even if PBOT wants us to place all the blame for ODOT-owned road fatalities on ODOT), NOW is when PBOT chooses to announce a new logo?

Jesus, PBOT, read the room.

squareman
Subscriber

That logo looks almost as dated as some of ODOT’s level of service policies and throughput for cars over people’s safety. Since it’s only supposed to be a temporary logo, perhaps PBOT can donate it to ODOT so they can look as fresh as their 1980s policies.

Dave
Guest
Dave

It looks like tire tracks on a pedestrians back to me–perfect for an establishment transportation agency with no concern for the lives of non drivers!