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PBOT Commissioner Hardesty to speak at ‘Youth vs ODOT’ rally


Official event flyer.

UPDATE, 2:15 pm: Organizers just announced Hardesty will not attend this event due to a long city council meeting on the budget.

Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty will lend her voice to an ongoing protest against the Oregon Department of Transportation this week. On Wednesday she plans to speak at the Youth vs. ODOT rally that has taken place in front of ODOT headquarters on NW Flanders street in downtown Portland since early May.

The protest is organized by Sunrise Movement PDX, youth climate justice groups, and No More Freeways. This week will be the 15th edition of the event and organizers say they won’t stop showing up until their demands are met. The demands include an environmental impact statement for the I-5 Rose Quarter project, an immediate moratorium on all freeway expansion and construction projects, and a youth climate justice representative on the Oregon Transportation Commission.

Since it started at the beginning of may, these protests have gained momentum and the attention of an increasing amount of community and elected leaders. In September, State Representative Khanh Pham showed up on her birthday and said it was time for ODOT to take “serious action” to fight climate change. When the Portland Youth Climate March stormed through Portland this past summer, thousands of protestors stopped at the location to recognize the activism of these youth climate leaders.

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Hardesty, who faces a re-election battle from Vadim Mozyrsky, seems to be leaning into Portland’s vaunted constituency of transportation reform activists like never before. Last week she touted a new investment in intersection daylighting, and over the weekend, local transportation advocacy influencers helped Hardesty fundraise at a virtual election house party.

One of the hosts of that party and a longtime Hardesty supporter and campaign volunteer is Tony Jordan, executive director of the Parking Reform Network. Jordan will join Hardesty as a speaker at the Youth vs. ODOT event Wednesday.

There’s also a “Climate Bike Ride” from City Hall to the event. It meets at Terry Schrunk Plaza (across from City Hall) and will be led by Bike Loud PDX Board Member Cathy Tuttle. Find details on that ride on the BP Calendar.