BikePortland Podcast: Former Mingus Mapps policy advisor Matt Glazewski on climate change politics

Posted by on October 21st, 2021 at 2:16 pm

Direct link to episode MP3 file

In this episode, I talk with Matt Glazewski about the politics of climate change in Portland.

Glazewski is a climate expert with 15 years of government experience who’s worked on disaster resiliency projects at the local, regional and federal levels. He’s worked with the Federal Emergency Management Administration FEMA and the National Weather Service where he once briefed U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (in photo). He also helped draft the first-ever climate action plan for Clackamas County. Glazewski was most recently a senior policy advisor for Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps. I wanted to share Matt’s perspective because earlier this summer he says left his job out of frustration with the lack of progress on climate change among other city staff and elected leaders. In his final days as a City Hall staffer, Glazewski shared his concerns publicly during the open comment period before a city council meeting.


“It was a colossal failure, in my opinion, to redo the project the way that it was done, especially when we have bike plans going back 25 years that say we’re going to put bike lanes on Hawthorne.”
— Glazewski on PBOT’s decision to repave Hawthorne with wider auto lanes and no bike lanes

You might recall Glazewski from a story we did back in February where he suggested using green street and stormwater management infrastructure as a tool to deter vehicular violence. He also spoke out personally (not as a representative of Commissioner Mapps) about his support for bike lanes on SE Hawthorne Blvd, and don’t miss the part of our interview where I ask him more about that controversial project.

You can learn more about Glazewski on his website or follow him on Twitter @sentencesrunon. Watch and listen to his testimony at Portland City Council on June 21st via YouTube.

Thanks for listening! Please share with your friends if you are so inclined. You can find more episodes and get all your subscription links on our podcast page.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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MattYexXSDXavier R. Recent comment authors
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I really loved this episode. I missed Matt’s outgoing speech to city council and I’m glad to have heard it here. Is there somewhere I can find a transcript of his speech? I would like to follow up with the members of city council based on his critiques and suggestions. I hope Matt will run for city council. He has my vote.


This is really an amazing interview that reveals what many of us have shared concerns about: This city council lacks the political will and courage to address the existential crisis that is climate chaos. As Matt Glazewski says, the climate crisis is central to every issue we face; in my opinion, ignoring it is akin to denial of the impending catastrophe from the societal upheavals that will ensue (and have already started).

Matt, we need your voice as an elected official in Portland!

Jonathan, thank you for this timely and important interview.

Zach Katz
Zach Katz

This was fantastic. Matt’s heartfelt candor was really touching and refreshing to hear. Also, I still wonder all the time about what happened behind the scenes for the Hawthorne decision, so it was cathartic to hear an insider’s theory about that. Thanks for this interview, Jonathan and Matt.

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)

This was a powerful interview, thank you to both of you. It confirms what many suspect—a lot of goals and aspirations, but failure on the follow through. It’s like, dare I say it?, performative governing. I’m glad that MG pointed out that there are good people within the bureaus, that’s been my experience also.

Xavier R.
Xavier R.

Hard to focus on climate change for a city with rampant shootings and a homeless crisis. Climate activists need to realize that cities need to provide basic law enforcement response and a climate of personal safety before the citizens will be able to focus on climate change.


I’m one of the people who have trouble focusing. However I do know two things:
–The chance I will suffer from direct interpersonal violence next year is probably less than 1 in 100.
–The chance that I will be seriously impacted by a climate related event next year is about 1 in 3. ‘Climate’ can injure or kill people just as dead as a bullet can, and a climate event effects every single person in the entire region. See:Heat Dome.

There are people who are literally better insulated from climate impacts than I am. Often those are the people wound up about ‘caravans’ headed for our borders. Climate policy = immigration policy.


Downplaying the importance of personal safety won’t help us solve climate change problem.


“Climate activists need to realize…”
You act as if we aren’t the same as you. Climate makes these problems worse. They are tied together, not different. Your comment actually highlights one of the main reasons why we do not focus on climate – people think it’s a one or the other situation.


Fantastic interview! The response to Matt from city counselors reminds me of the sentiment that seems all too common in Portland, which is
“We’re Portland, everything we do is focused on climate, because we’re Portland.”
“We’re Portland, a Portlander driving a Subaru is the same as riding a bike, because we’re Portland.”
“We’re Portland, every City Council decision is green, because we’re Portland.”