Misleading opposition campaign claims South Park Blocks Plan will lead to mass tree deaths

Posted by on June 14th, 2021 at 4:30 pm

Riders in the South Park Blocks.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Does the City of Portland want to swap dozens of historic trees for cycling access in the South Park Blocks?

According to a campaign launched by critics of South Park Blocks Master Plan, that’s exactly what Portland Parks bureau has in mind. But is their opposition really about protecting trees? Or is it rooted in anti-cycling bias and a desire to maintain a status quo that includes ample space for cars?

A Change.org petition (right) started by a downtown art gallery and a blog post from a board member of the Architectural Heritage Center have raised the spectre of the death of 86 trees in order to build out the designs in the plan.

The issue is coming to a head because Parks released a recommended draft of the plan on June 1st and council will host a hearing on it July 7th.

The blog post, written by former reporter for The Oregonian, Fred Leeson, refers to a study by concerned citizens that found the plan would eliminate 26% of the parks 325 trees. “Many [trees] would be sacrificed to make way for the ‘Green Loop’ two-way bicycle lanes along 10 of the 12 blocks,” reads Leeson’s piece. “From its earliest planting of deciduous trees in 1877, the park has never been considered as a thoroughfare for any kind of vehicles.” (The Park Blocks are currently a thoroughfare for both driving and parking cars, but Leeson doesn’t mention any concerns with that.)

“Many [trees] would be sacrificed to make way for the ‘Green Loop’.”
— Fred Leeson, Building on History blog

“No trees would be sacrificed for the Green Loop.”
— Tate White, Portland Parks

Leeson’s claims are echoed in a petition started Sunday by the Pearl District-based Elisabeth Jones Art Center, a gallery that also sponsors a Tree Emergency Response Team program. 137 people have signed the petition in the past 24 hours. The petition’s creator claims it’s the work of “bicyclists,” but at least one cycling activist in Portland says it’s part of a disinformation campaign. Iain Mackenzie, a Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee member and founder of Next Portland, a blog about architecture and development, used his Twitter account to urge bicycle users to not sign the petition.

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The plan calls for using existing street right-of-way. (Source: South Park Blocks Master Plan)

Mackenzie also says the Building on History blog post, “Is not an accurate or honest description of the plan.”

It’s worth noting that earlier in the South Park Blocks Master Plan process, some of these same critics — many of them attached to the Downtown Neighborhood Association — vehemently opposed the bikeway alignment through the park. It’s also important to note that a better bikeway through the park blocks isn’t just a random idea: it’s binding city policy passed as part of the Green Loop alignment adopted in the city’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Despite that, the Downtown Neighborhood Association fought to move the Green Loop to Broadway. When that request was not granted, they advocated to have bicycle users dismount while riding through the park and asked the city to create a “cyclist licensing and bicycle registration program.”

The plan itself takes tree health very seriously. It includes a “Tree Succession Strategy” that Parks Director Adena Long references in her introductory letter: “The tree succession strategy
provides a long-term guide for replacing trees when they naturally reach the end of their life spans.” The removal of trees is also clearly addressed in the plan: “This master plan does not advocate removing any mature healthy trees.”

I asked Portland Parks Senior Planner Tate White if these concerns over tree removal were legitimate. She said, “No.”

Graphic from a blog post that claims Parks will remove the trees marked in red (they won’t).

“No trees would be sacrificed for the Green Loop,” White clarified. “Anywhere it’s proposed it’s proposed on existing pavement.” White added that they respect concerns about the new bikeway being close to tree roots, and that when any construction takes place the Urban Forestry department will be on the scene. “If we found the trees were going to be harmed, we would make changes. Trees are supposed to be part of the Green Loop, we want to have mature trees along it. That’s the goal,” White added.

The reason for the discrepancy between Leeson’s tree removal claims and Parks’ denial of it comes down to where the park boundary is drawn. Portland Parks uses the legal tax lot boundary, which does not include trees that are “in the park.” Critics of the plan consider these edge-line trees part of the park, but Portland Parks does not. “Those are essentialy street trees” is how White put it. Even so, as conceptual drawings clearly show, the designs in the recommended draft adopted by council do not encroach on any trees — which makes the claim and graphics on the Building History blog post (at right) very misleading.

This debate is happening in part because cars currently take up so much space. If the City of Portland had its way, both streets adjacent to the Park Blocks would be completely carfree and the issue of being too close to trees would be moot.

The Connected Cultural District (Appendix B) concept adopted with the master plan will be presented at a city council hearing July 7th. It calls for a “traffic-free Green Loop”.

Check out these wonderful before and after images:

Keep in mind, this is just a master plan and there’s no dedicated funding to build out this $23-$46 million vision. Not yet at least.

A spokesperson for Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio said they welcome feedback on the plan at the July 7th council meeting, “That are based on actual facts.”

CORRECTION, 6/15: This article originally stated that city council considered the recommended plan in May. That was incorrect. The plan has not be in front of council yet. I regret the error. – Jonathan

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

Sounds a lot like the anti-bike sentiment from the Forest Park/River View constituency – “Who will think of the elk and salmon?”

Greenwashing has long been used to keep undesired people out of public spaces. Not a great look.

Cyclekrieg
Subscriber
Cyclekrieg

^^^ This. People like Dr. Thompson, Marcy Houle, et.al. wax poetic about the Olmstead Brothers while not explaining they worked hand-in-glove with segregationists to create parks and greenspaces as ways to reward certain groups (whites) or to create buffers between groups.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

This group also tried to get any changes to parks reviewed by the Design Commission, as part of the DOZA project. Parks argued that they have their own public involvement plan and designers on staff. That amendment was not adopted.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

The core of this group is Chair Wendy Rahm and board of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. The majority of the DTNA board live in the Elliot Condominium tower at 10th and Jefferson.

cct
Guest
cct

some of the trees are unhealthy, and need replacing. central park seems to do just fine having a huge cycling route through it. i think the main problem is that the money could be better spent elsewhere in the cycling or park communities.

but this made me laugh: “it’s binding city policy passed as part of the Green Loop alignment adopted in the city’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan.”

the city has been ignoring parts of ‘binding’ comprehensive plans since the 80s. keeps land use attorneys happy, though.

Timothy C. Page
Guest
Timothy C. Page

You should read the blog that Fred Leeson has published. It has information from an expert arborist who claims there are 86 healthy trees that will be taken out. The developers are in control here. https://buildingonhistory.blogspot.com/2021/06/so-what-about-those-trees-on-south-park.html?fbclid=IwAR3FHrsbhbuFsejflv-sLsNqo6-61GhuH_YtAsx3urLO9Ggot1beREtqf4A

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

Did you read the article? The veracity of Leeson’s claims are discussed in it. According to Portland Parks, zero trees are being removed for this project.

Douglas Kelso
Guest
Douglas Kelso

I love the plan. (The actual plan, that is.) It sacrifices nothing beyond some mostly-unnecessary parking. Motorists still have access to the corridor; they’ll just need to park around corners. A few small businesses like Sesame Donuts will lose some street parking right in front of their storefronts, but I bet Green Loop foot traffic will more than make up for any lost business from motorists.

J
Guest
J

Can’t we accomplish everything by simply making SW Park carfree? If not totally car free, remove parking and use diverters to eliminate cut through traffic. And it won’t cost $25MM that should be spent on East Portland.

Brilyn F.
Guest
Brilyn F.

Looks cool! Regarding funding it’s too bad Portland can’t spend some of the $217 million they are getting from the federal relief bill on the project. I’m afraid it’s all going to be consumed by cleaning up the garbage, junked cars and RV’s and caring for the greater region’s houseless.

https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/oregon-cities-counties-receive-15-billion-relief-bill-how-much-will-your-town-get/283-fd15a185-a1a4-42b3-921a-d3313f878ccb

X
Guest
X

The South Park Blocks have a tree problem right now. It’s not caused by the car hegemony (although that’s a problem too). There are lots of big 80-100 year old American Elms that seem to have survived the blight well enough, thankfully, but one or two are literally dropping out every year because their roots can no longer support their tops. One fell on my friend’s building in the ice storm last winter. If you go to SW Park and Columbia you can guess which will be the next to go, its top is totally out of balance with most of the mass supported by one long branch out over the street.

I love trees. I’m still pissed at Good Samaritan Hospital for putting in a new driveway with mature Red Oaks in 40″ tree wells surrounded by pavement. Those trees are still dead and yeah I think they paved over the holes.

The Parks Department doesn’t have a perfect record on saving trees. I’d like to hear a little more about how they are going to protect root zones and avoid soil compaction because I don’t trust any construction company or crew around anything green. Nevertheless this petition sounds like cold dead hands on the parking space nimbyism. I won’t sign it.

paulcone
Guest
paulcone

No, the trees aren’t dropping because the roots can’t support their tops — they’re dropping because of Dutch Elm Disease. https://www.portland.gov/trees/dutch-elm-disease

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

That’s true. In addition, the elms are also reaching the end of their natural lives.

Aging trees, however, cannot be fixed and Portland will lose hundreds over the next few decades.

“At some point that tree you love is going to start to decline,” city forester Jenn Cairo said. “Trees are like humans. They eat. They breathe. They also die.”

https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2012/07/south_park_blocks_urban_forest.html

DIANA STUART
Guest
DIANA STUART

But Dutch elm can live to be up to twice their current age (up to 300 years) if properly maintained. Thus MasterPlan has no provision for maintaining and inoculating which is less expensive than the maintenance of other” activated” parks in downtown. In fact the South Park Blocks is the only green treed grassy space for many downtown residents who don’t have a back year. And it’s was designated as a pedestrian priority park. This plan ignores the ecological damage of “activating” (read concrete) instead of deciduous carbon scrubbing trees that should be maintained and protects to continue to be the Lungs of the city. Parks says no removal? Check out the center “promenade “ which has to remove center two riws of trees. And disruption of sidewalk on perimeter violates tree code by invading rood bed areas damaging trees.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Dutch Elm disease is terminal and a tree diagnosed with Dutch Elm is required to be removed. I wouldn’t count on those trees making it much longer – parks has removed nore than 50 elms already. There used to be many Dutch Elms back east. They are all gone. The elms you see east of the rockies are pretty much all Chinese elms or hybrids bred to resist the fungus.

X
Guest
X

If a tree falls over in the winter when the soil is wet, is that Dutch Elm disease?

Steve
Guest
Steve

I don’t recall the downtown business lobby raising any concerns about mature trees being removed for new commercial buildings such as the Moxy Hotel (large oak tree removed next to 10th Ave) or the currently under-constriction Ritz-Carlton. I wonder why?

Steve
Guest
Steve

Actually it was four large planetrees (over 2′ in diameter) that existed on that corner before construction of the Moxy. You can see them on Google street view from August 2018.

Watts
Guest
Watts

I’m clearly missing something; which trees are slated to be cut down? Your write up suggests few if any, whereas the petition asserts 25% of the existing trees will go. That’s a pretty big difference.

The petition asserts a bike lane is being built through the park; my understanding is that the current sidewalk and a parking lane will be repurposed to a MUP.

Are the petitioners simply misinformed?

maccoinnich
Subscriber

You’re correct. The Green Loop path would be built where there is already hardscape. The petition is falsely claiming that trees will be cut down for the Green Loop path. There is an inventory of every tree in the park in Appendix A of the Master Plan, which describes the Condition, Health, Structure, etc of every tree, along with a recommendation for whether trees should be retained or not; none of the trees proposed for removal are proposed in order to make way for the path.

 
Guest
 

I’ve still seen no good arguments against just closing the Park Blocks to cars entirely. Nobody drives here anyways except to find a parking spot, and eliminating parking removes this singular reason why people drive here. Make it carfree, add food carts, and watch it blossom.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

I think many people who visit these types of websites for bikes are for watching or starting to understand that car storage and urban high density areas is no longer a situation to be born by the public. However a vast majority of people do you believe that the public should bear the burden of free car storage for their vehicle especially if that person lives adjacent to a road. At the same time when you try to explain to somebody that they would never put their dining room table on the road next to the curb, they don’t really get it. So to say that an entire parking garage in their mind would be suddenly taken away from them after they have gotten it for free for so long, simply makes no sense to them. Then gets even worse when the city devise a scheme where they Provide all you can use parking with a parking pass. That even further codifies to thinking that somehow the public should take care of their parking. A simple solution is to charge for parking 24 hours a day at roughly $10 an hour. And actually enforce that parking I doubt I’ll ever happened

 
Guest
 

Regardless of whether or not parking here should be preserved, the proposed project for the green loop removes all of it. And if parking is removed, there’s no reason not to go the full extra mile in making them carfree. There’s plenty of alternate routes for drivers to use in 12th, 10th, 4th, and 2nd (although 2nd and Clay really needs a traffic signal).

Roberta
Guest
Roberta

What we have here is a blatant disregard to the facts. The Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association should have city funding revoked for 2 years. There is absolutely no excuse for pandering blatant lies in city planning processes. Slanderous and potentially dangerous.

I would like to remind everybody that every day more and more people are dying on the streets and this Green Obfuscation plan to save their parking garages is absolutely hilarious to watch from rural Oregon.

Rich Portland neighborhood associations, funded by the city, to slander city planning departments to “save the trees” is actually a farse to save their parking lots.

Big time lols. They want the accessibility of downtown but aren’t willing to pay the cost.

Those parking spots should go to rural freight trucks delivering food.

Peace out Y’all

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

Perhaps how the existing leadership of this public established neighborhood association has handled this public communication* should lead to other residents running for association leadership so that it operates in a more ethical manner, as they would expect a City department or private business to do. [*Failing to communicate fact-based messages truthfully and completely.]

Watts
Guest
Watts

“Blatant disregard for the facts”; “pandering blatant lies”; “slanderous and potentially dangerous”. It would have been helpful if you provided some specific examples to back up what sound a bit like baseless insults.

I’m a bit surprised that this post was considered civil enough to be published, to be honest.

Roberta
Guest
Roberta

GASLIGHTING ALERT!!! Obscuring love for trees as an excuse to hold up a publicly adopted bike plan? I’m not sure what more PROOF you need. Blatantly ignoring decades of public planning processes. Saying all the past Portland Planning documents adopted by previously elected members of office is not important.

DANGEROUS? YES – have you forgotten we continue to loose friends from road deaths and facing a climate catastrophe.

We don’t care about being civil anymore, nor do we care about your GASLIGHTING!!!

Jason
Guest
Jason

Well played.

Watts
Guest
Watts

Sorry, asking for just a little bit of substance to back up a series of inflammatory statements is not gaslighting. And who is this “we” you claim to be speaking for?

In future, please either ignore my posts or respond to their content. Attack my ideas all you want, but please don’t level accusations against me personally.

Thank you.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

I assume most of those trees are non-native anyway, so even were it the case that trees would die, there are probably sound ecological reasons to replace them with something that supports native wildlife better.

X
Guest
X

It’s kind of reasonable to select native species for some proportion of new plantings. But, a city environment can be very different from the forest or savannah conditions that native trees are adapted to so it’s not always going to work out. There’s also a move toward planting some trees from places a little warmer and a little drier than what we have been accustomed to in the past.

If we give up on trees that aren’t native there goes over half the standing tree cover. I’ve planted four Oregon white oaks in Portland and they seem pretty happy. The biggest and oldest trees that I personally planted in Portland are two Bradford pears in a curb strip. I didn’t pick them out, and I later found out that variety is a serious weed in some places, but I’m not about to go cut them down.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

Curbside parking on the South Park Blocks was doubled from one side of the street to both sides of the street when the bus mall was rebuilt for the MAX Orange line. Just reversing that change would be a vast improvement; the next level alternative would simply be to close the South Park Blocks to parking and driving other than limited commercial deliveries, no other changes are really necessary (except repaving, those roads are in horrible shape!).

Sabrina Louise
Guest
Sabrina Louise

We can agree with Jonathan Maus, that the Green Loop belongs in the street and that vehicles including bicycles have always traveled in the streets along the Park Blocks. However, the park itself, a pedestrian park that extends from curb to curb has not allowed cyclists, scooters or skateboards and that is what this master plan would change.

What folks are up in arms about is the Green Loop being situated in the current park with a 10 foot buffer of bushes that intrudes into the park, presumably to protect cyclists from the riff-raff in the park. It is important for everyone to know that the downtown neighborhood has the highest density of affordable and subsidized housing in the city. Yet these folks are invisible as the Green Loop brings commuters form other neighborhoods to enjoy a recreational playground where people scoot, walk, jog and bike together.

MYTH: People object to Green Loop taking over the street

FACT: People object to Green Loop taking over 14 feet of what is now pedestrian park where neighbors gather and do Tai Chi and lounge on the grass. The Green Loop would take over pedestrian sidewalk, remove it and regrade it right in the protected root zone of the trees. The end result? A bike and scooter preferred route that pedestrians will now need to navigate. As more and more motorized vehicles travel on trails, the Green Loop model of commingling users is an outdated. All around the city new developments separate walkers from cyclists. People object to what PBOT is calling “frontage”. Frontage for what? Frontage for the green loop is repurposing park land with no regard to how people currently enjoy that space. PBOT justifies this as retaking a street right of way for vehicles – note bicycles, bikes and scooters are vehicles per state and city code. That street right of way has been vacated for 144 year for this beloved People’s Park, pedestrian park where all are welcome. Just park your vehicle before entering.

MYTH: Tate White says only dead and dying trees being removed.

FACT: The arborist hired to evaluate the health of the trees found that 97% of the trees are healthy and only 11 are “dead or dying”. Yet the Master plan shows 86 trees removed and not replaced. There is a math problem here. Who is right?
Lesson states the park has never been a thoroughfare for any kind of vehicle.
Maus states The Park Blocks are currently a thoroughfare for both driving and parked cars. Both are right the park as platted and experienced from curb to curb has never been a thoroughfare for vehicles. Maus refers not to the park, but the Park “blocks” including the street where both cars and bikes have long enjoyed access to the beauty and shade of the the tree canopy overhead.

MYTH: The Center City 2035 comprehensive plan adopted the Green Loop alignment as city policy.

FACT: The Center City 2035 plan identifies the South Park Blocks as a pedestrian prioritized neighborhood where walking find the primary mode of getting g around. Safety of pedestrians and removing obstructions to pedestrian travel are identified goals. The Green Loop is identified as a concept but the route is not approved in the comprehensive plan.

MYTH: Urban Forestry will be present during construction. This will prevent damage to the protected root zone identified in the city Tree code.

FACT: Any disruption of the roots and construction work or planting in the root zone will damage the roots that have grown to fill all the available space. The idea that supervision by Urban Forestry will prevent that damage or that once damage occurs they can undo harm by stopping work suggests Urban Forestry has super human powers. Given that Urban Forester, Jen Cairo has deemed the American elms to be “colonizers”, can we trust that department to protect the trees?

MYTH: Even if the South Park Block Master Plan is passed by the city vote on July 7th, there is no funding for the estimated total cost, so they wouldn’t start putting the plan into action right away.

FACT: “This planning project was made possible by funds received by the Portland Parks Foundation, contributed by Walter C. Bowen, CEO of BPM Real Estate Group to satisfy the approval conditions set by the Portland Design Commission for the Broadway Tower project. The Broadway Tower is a new office, retail, and hotel building on SW Broadway between SW Columbia and Clay Streets. The BPM Real Estate Group made a commitment to build affordable housing and provide funding for a South Park Blocks Master Plan and to fund improvements on the specific park block nearest their affordable housing development between SW Columbia and SW Clay Streets.”The affordable housing land is FOR SALE. No housing has been built as promised. (July 2019 SPB Master Plan FAQ)

As a cyclist and a pedestrian, I see a cheaper, greener, simpler solution to be to close off the streets surrounding the park to cars, which allows a multi-use path, but doesn’t damage the largest carbon sequestering canopy in the downtown area. Continued maintenance of the trees instead supports the future of this pedestrian-focused park, and the “lungs” of our city.

FDUP
Guest
FDUP

I believe that the Park Blocks are actually exempt from the ban on sidewalk riding in the downtown core.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Yes – this is true – from the city code bikes are allowed “In the area bounded by the west property line of SW Ninth Avenue, the east property line of SW Park Avenue, the north property line of SW Jefferson and the south property line of SW Salmon Street.”

https://www.portland.gov/code/16/70/320

J
Guest
J

Right? Why does Parks think it is a good idea to shrink the park, cut or kill most of the large shade trees, and blow $25 million dollars – when all we need to do is make SW Park car-free? If PBOT can’t imagine a car-free SW Park, then simply eliminate the parking and use that space for a separated bike lane.

Keviniano
Subscriber
Keviniano

Sabrina Louise, thanks for the extensive presentation. The crux of the conflict seems to be around whether trees will be removed. You write that, “the Master plan shows 86 trees removed and not replaced” but you do not make clear how you used the information in the plan to arrive at this number. Looking through the actual report and appendices, here’s what I’ve found:

P. 47: “this master plan does not advocate removing any mature healthy trees”

P. 109, regarding the Green Loop path: “No tree removal is proposed.”

Appendix 1, pages 74-86 show a spreadsheet with ~29 trees recommended for removal, with several of those on adjacent streets off the park itself. I counted ~68 trees as “optional”, again with several on adjacent streets. “Optional” is defined on p. 47 as “those that could stay but are not necessarily long-term amenities.” Each recommendation is explained in the comments of the spreadsheet, e.g., “Codominant leaders, hollow with trunk decay 0.5‐6′ SW face, surface roots and root damage”

X
Guest
X

Yes. Existing large trees are extremely important. A tree’s ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide* is very dependent on its mass. It’s not good process to be constantly removing healthy mature trees and planting small ones. If we make any changes around trees it should be to (very carefully) remove pavement and replace it with soil, or perhaps to replace hardscape with some water absorbing surface.

Construction workers take a lot of crap, see “Vogan”, but some of the blame has to go to planners who fall in love with a concept and ignore real damage. I also do not trust city foresters to fully see this through. They don’t get paid to lay in front of machines.

*provide shade, cool the air, absorb water, shelter birds, etc

MarkinNoPo
Guest
MarkinNoPo

You don’t mention your hope for a car-free path in your fact-challenged public Facebook post, Sabrina. Just the opposite actually. After raising alarm by falsely claiming that the plan would destroy “at least 25% but likely more” park trees, you ask readers to forward city commissioners your letter endorsing keeping cars in the park:

I (and My husband/wife/partner) love the South Park Blocks just as they are…

Similarly, the change.org petition claiming to speak for “bicyclists” says nothing about cycling — other than lamenting the false perils of this multi-modal access plan, of course. This is gaslighting, on behalf of gas-belching cars.

Actual cyclists: how should we fight back? If parochial interests are going to lead a charge against multi-modal transportation under the false flag of Portland cyclists, we need to push back. They may still win a victory for automobiles, but they shouldn’t get away with doing it in the Orwellian name of cycling or air quality.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

The best way to combat this misinformation campaign is to testify at City Council on July 7th, to ensure that City Commissioners aren’t just hearing from the people who are against any provision for cycling in the park.

hamiramani
Subscriber

If the Parks folks treat this dishonest petition like PBOT treated Hawthorne repave/repaint petition it won’t matter even if thousands of anti-bike folks sign the thing.

Let’s realize the vision of a car-free downtown by remaking the South Park Blocks (AND North Park Blocks) for people.

Watts
Guest
Watts

Before we label the petition as “dishonest”, I think we need some clarity on what the plan calls for. There are conflicting accounts, with some wordplay regarding “street trees” vs “park trees”. Given that the plan is a written document, it should be pretty straightforward to see what it says. If the plan itself is so muddled that it’s impossible to determine what it says, then calling an interpretation of that “dishonest” might not be merited.

Keviniano
Subscriber
Keviniano

Watts, you can get all the clarity you need from reading the plan. I’ve looked at the plan (see above). Appendix A is incredibly detailed about tree management, down to every single tree. The petition says at 25% of the trees will be cut down, and that’s not what the report says at all.

No one making these claims about catastrophic tree loss is referencing where in the report they’re getting their data.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

My head is going to explode soon. Even if I didn’t care one bit about bikes or trees (I love both, just to be clear), the modern-day, Trumpian tactic of simply stating lies as facts–not even “alternative facts” any more–just stating, “nope, the sky is green!” drives me absolutely nuts. Nobody knows or understands “what”, “why”, “where”, and “how” any more, so it’s just down to “who” (or “whom”). You choose whoever (“whomever?”–dang it!) you want to believe, and they are your source of truth, regardless of actual facts. But first, choose what you want to believe, and then find a “who” that agrees, of course. And don’t change your mind. Never, ever change your mind. Or listen to anyone else.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

From today’s Oregonian story:

Opponents say the Green Loop would shatter the area’s tranquility by drawing an influx of cyclists, skateboarders and people on e-scooters and present safety hazards to pedestrians entering and leaving the park.

“This is the only calm green space for many downtown residents, it is our backyard,” said Rahm. “We believe that bicycles are an important part of our transportation system. But does that mean bicycles should be given priority over pedestrians? Whose safety matters most?”

Rahm and others have also said publicly and in campaign literature that the city would likely have to remove even more trees while constructing the pathway.

Some of those claims are exaggerated or flat-out inaccurate, however.

..

Parks officials have said repeatedly that the city would not proactively cut down elms under the tree succession strategy but rather would replace them as they were deemed hazardous or dead. Nor would any trees be harmed or killed during the construction of the multi-use path, which will only take over space that is already paved.

“In the process of this plan’s development, we have witnessed ongoing objections to the Green Loop component of the design,” said Rachel Edmonds, a landscape architect who has worked as an outside consultant on the project. “Critics are attempting to create fear and anger by spreading misinformation that the Green Loop component of the master plan design will require massive tree deaths.”

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

Ugh – worse than I initially thought. This whole “Bicycles are bad for pedestrian safety” argument is insane. The exact same play as Forest Park and mountain biking. Pretty funny that neither group seems to mind cars despite the safety and environmental impacts.

Timothy C. Page
Guest
Timothy C. Page

Most of this seems to support signing the petition. There’s more in support of the petition than there is of the plan. There’s no need for this project. The bicyclists can use Park Avenue. It’s not a high traffic throughway either direction. Readers, please sign the petition.