Commissioner Hardesty asks supporters for feedback on priorities, accomplishments

Posted by on January 5th, 2022 at 1:44 pm

Hardesty with PBOT Director Chris Warner at Ned Flanders Crossing opening in June 2021.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has opened up a survey that asks her supporters how she should prioritize her efforts in 2022. Among the eight options to choose from are, “Climate Change and Reducing Harmful Carbon Emissions” and “Transportation and Pedestrian/Bike Safety.”

While those two seem to have the most direct implications for readers of this site, all of them have a major impact on the experience of anyone biking around the city.

The survey (which is a campaign tool and requires respondents to share an email address) also includes a list of achievements and then asks which of them she should “protect and expand”. Transportation policy items on the list include: “Daylighting 300+ Street Corners”, “Transformation of 82nd Ave”, and “Implement Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility”. We covered Hardesty’s daylighting investment back in November. The “transformation” of 82nd she references has to do with the $80 million in funding granted to the City of Portland to upgrade the arterial and take over ownership from the Oregon Department of Transportation. The other transportation accomplishment she mentions is POEM, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s set of recommendations aimed at making driving more expensive that was adopted by City Council last fall.

And just like her list of priorities, all of the achievements listed by Commissioner Hardesty — policing, public health, denser housing, energy grants — have strong connections to bicycling and mobility.

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Hardesty has overseen the Portland Bureau of Transportation for over a year, and has won substantial support from advocates for being outspoken about improving Portland transportation from an equitable and climate-based perspective. During her tenure as PBOT leader, she’s also had contentious exchanges with some Portland bike advocates, specifically regarding Portland’s Bicycle Plan for 2030, which she said she was unfamiliar with at a May 2021 Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting. More recently, Hardesty has shown support for the youth climate activists rallying against ODOT’s I-5 expansion project.

So far Hardesty has two challengers for her seat in the primary elections in May: Rene Gonzalez and Vadim Mozyrsky.

You can find out more about Hardesty’s first year overseeing PBOT by listening to BikePortland’s recent podcast interview, where she shares her experiences and thoughts on what’s to come.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)donel a courtneyWattssoren (sorin)dwk Recent comment authors
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Watts
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Watts

I took the poll, and consider it a campaign event to remind supporters that she’s done some things. Nothing more.

SolarEclipse
Guest
SolarEclipse

Oh well, requires an email address to submit the survey. I’ll pass since I don’t want to be added to yet another politician’s email list.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

Yep. That’s why we made it clear the survey was intended for supporters and not a general survey.

Tod Runsalot
Guest
Tod Runsalot

the survey was intended for supporters

Perhaps she’d gain some perspective by listening to a group other than her fan club / boosters.

Fred
Guest
Fred

I’d recommend no one fill out the survey who doesn’t want to be added to Jo Ann’s campaign spamming list. It’s not really a survey – it’s an email-address-harvesting tool.

The survey seems like another disappointment from Jo Ann. What I really want to see her doing is delivering competent transportation services, and anyone who cycles around Portland can clearly see she is not delivering them. I can’t seem to get leaves and tree trunks removed from bike lanes in my part of town, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We need charter reform so that politicians like Jo Ann don’t have operational control of bureaus – we need lifelong professionals running city bureaus.

Watts
Guest
Watts

Today, bureaus are run by professionals (Warner, in the case of PBOT), and overseen by politicians (Hardesty in particular, the entire council in general).

Charter reform is no panacea to bureaus being unresponsive to city residents, especially if it adds additional layers of insulation between us and the city employees carrying out the policies of our elected representatives.

soren (sorin)
Guest
soren (sorin)

These lifelong professionals are often in the “property-class” elite with a track-record of intentional classism, unintentional racism*, and cronyism (selecting their well-off and university-educated friends/acquaintances for jobs and committees).

*does it really matter that it’s unintentional from a moral perspective?

Watts
Guest
Watts

does it really matter that it’s unintentional from a moral perspective?

Yes. Morality is deeply intertwined with intention.

Marjorie
Guest
Marjorie

I’m surprised by this puff piece for Hardesty’s fundraising campaign. This is not an official Portland government survey – it’s just a way for Hardesty to gather emails for her campaign.

I follow city hall politics pretty closely. I have yet to see anything Hardesty has proposed that has moved the needle on climate change or bike transportation. She’s very good at talking about her outrage on this issue and that, but miserable on implementing anything new which would require some consensus with other commissioners. She does seem to be taking credit for other people’s work: “transforming” 82nd avenue with money that the legislature provided without any effort on Hardesty’s part; “daylighting” street corners over a year after a lawsuit against the city was filed for traffic accidents; and being a champion for clean energy all while the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund has been in the press for mismanaging clean energy grants. If anyone can point me to one program that Hardesty actually created (not just coincidentally maintained because she was put in charge of this or that bureau that was already implementing the program) that deals with bike safety or clean energy, I’d love to hear about it.

If BikePortland is going to carry Hardesty’s water, it would be nice if there was at least some means to provide critical input rather than just a pat on the back for work that began before she was put in charge of PBOT.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

I appreciate this comment Marjorie. I saw the story as a way to show what Hardesty believes are priorities and what she considers to be her accomplishments. As PBOT Commissioner, I have a very low bar for what type of stories I will do on her. In other words, almost anytime she mentions transportation stuff, you’ll probably see it here.

I disagree strongly that this post is an example of me “carrying Hardesty’s water”. I never said this was an official survey and made it clear it was for her supporters.

As for a means to provide critical input, that’s not something a politician in a re-election year would be likely to ever give!

That’s also what you just did with your comment. Hardesty and her staff follow this site closely, so you’re welcome for the platform to express your opinion about the job she is doing.

Marjorie
Guest
Marjorie

I appreciate your feedback to my comment. I hope it didn’t come off as accusatory or too caustic. It’s just that I’m out almost every day around the city, and it’s disheartening to see how deteriorated some neighborhoods have become. That’s not in any way a reflection on you or the good work Bike Portland is doing, but I feel a lot of despair about how our city council has mismanaged the situation so badly. Again, thanks for the response.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

I hear you Marjorie. The condition of our roads – and especially the bikeways – really bugs me too. And the fact that it doesn’t seem to be anyone’s priority at City Hall right now is maddening to me. But I have to balance that with all the other shit going on right now and I haven’t figured out the precise tone I want to use in terms of pressuring the city to clean up the bike lanes versus giving them a bit of breathing room given all the other stuff on their plate.

donel a courtney
Guest
donel a courtney

Well Jonathan, at least its on your agenda–I’m curious when you say bikeways, do you include the 205 path and the springwater? I saw a photo on reddit of the 205 path near the 84 interchange two weeks ago where someone had hauled an entire 40ft trailer across the entire 205 path amongst a whole lot of other junk–it generated almost 600 comments on reddit. You can imagine the tone of most of them.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin

Yes of course I consider I-205 path is a bikeway. And yes, I can imagine the tone of reddit comments about the path. I am verrry familiar with how people feel about the paths.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Well she has allowed the city to collapse under her watch.
That is one thing she can be “proud” of and tout to her supporters.
She has not done nothing!

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Well she has allowed the city to collapse under her watch.

Ah yes, she famously is the mayor and city council all by herself. I was skeptical of electing her to every single city council seat, but I’m personally impressed at what Hardesty has accomplished whole holding every single city and county elected position. Truly amazing.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Provide a list of anything positive you think she has done…..

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Provide a list of anything positive you think she has done…..

I’m not a huge Hardesty fan and I think under her watch PBOT has continued to fail us on a daily basis.

That being said, PBOT isn’t the reason the city is crumbling. Folks who want to blame Hardesty for the current state of the city are at best ignorant and most likely either racist, sexist, or both. Hardesty is getting blamed for issues like homelessness that fall primarily Dan Ryan and Multnomah County and PPBs illegal work slowdown which is the fault of Police Commissioner Tear Gas Ted Wheeler, who has failed to hold the cops accountable.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Thanks for the usual rant that any critique of Hardesty is racist….
She counts on that….
Being feckless, over your head and bad at your job has nothing to do with race.
See Ted Wheeler.
[ed: Cut a phrase—inflammatory.] … you just gave the weakest possible defense of her.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Thanks for the usual rant that any critique of Hardesty is racist….

I didn’t say that any critique of Hardesty is racist did?

you just gave the weakest possible defense of her.

I’d hope so! I’d encourage you to go back a read critically what I wrote because you surly didn’t understand what I said.

There is plenty to critique Hardesty for and I critique Hardesty in the comment that you misunderstood. Hardesty has largely failed to make any change in PBOTs good ‘ol boy motorist first culture and as a result our roads are more dangerous than ever. That’s on her. Critique of Hardesty’s job performance as head of PBOT is legitimate.

My point is that people who blame Hardesty for every other problem are either ignorant, racist, sexist or a combination of the three. Blaming Hardesty for the increase in crime and/or homelessness is such a massive stretch that I’d reckon most people doing it don’t have understanding of how our government works and watch a little too much Fox News. While you might say you think Ted Wheeler is bad at his job, which he is, you and the rest of the conservative online community spill a lot more ink about Hardesty for some reason…

Watts
Guest
Watts

I didn’t say that any critique of Hardesty is racist did?

Pretty much, yes, you did. I hold Hardesty accountable (though not solely accountable) for Portland’s sorry state of affairs, and that is not related to ignorance, racism, sexism, Fox News, or misunderstanding how government works.

We need leaders to rise to the challenges we’re facing. She hasn’t.

PS If you want me to make a similar criticism of Wheeler, when Jonathan runs an promotion for his campaign and folks start interpreting blaming him for the city’s deterioration under his watch as signs of racism, sexism, and ignorance, I’ll happily contribute similar comments.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Pretty much, yes, you did.

I don’t know what to tell you, this is a reading issue on your part if that’s what you are getting.

I hold Hardesty accountable (though not solely accountable) for Portland’s sorry state of affairs, and that is not related to ignorance, racism, sexism, Fox News, or misunderstanding how government works.

Right, you hold one city councilor, who is in charge of the transportation bureau, responsible for the decades long failure of both Multnomah County and the City of Portland. That’s just not rational in the slightest and motivated by something other than an actual assessment of her accomplishments or lack there of.

Just look at the original comment I replied to. DWK said “Well she has allowed the city to collapse under her watch.”

You don’t see whats problematic about assigning all the blame of the city collapsing on the head of a person in charge of the transportation bureau? You really think DWK has some rational reason for blaming her over failed leaders such as Wheeler, Ryan, and Kafoury?

We need leaders to rise to the challenges we’re facing. She hasn’t.

Really? What has PBOT done that is not ‘rising to challenge’? It seems like nothing particularly radical has happened at PBOT either way. I personally think she has failed at PBOT because she has failed to get PBOT to put safety above motorist speed, but it’s really hard for my to point to that as the biggest problem in Portland right now and it’s really hard for me to see how she could change the culture of PBOT without massive turnover in the management staff.

Watts
Guest
Watts

Right, you hold one city councilor, who is in charge of the transportation bureau, responsible for the decades long failure of both Multnomah County and the City of Portland.

I hold her responsible (but not solely responsible) for the rapid and alarming degradation of Portland while she was in office. It seems like you want to diminish her role to being just the person at the top of PBOT, where you concede her performance has been lackluster, but Hardesty is a City Commissioner first and foremost, and makes city-wide decisions along with the rest of city council. Like all leaders, she takes credit when things go right, and gets blamed when they go wrong. And it’s hard to argue that the past 3 years haven’t been some of Portland’s worst in living memory.

Perhaps if you pointed out how Hardesty’s decisions or actions or partnerships or whatever made an important difference, rather than insulting those who hold her accountable, you’d make a more convincing case.

PS I believe dwk also referenced Wheeler as being a problem as well, so I don’t think they believe Hardesty is the only source of failed leadership.

PPS As to other leaders who have failed us, there are plenty. This article is about Hardesty, so it makes sense to focus on her here. We can continue this conversation at the Dan Ryan article.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Perhaps if you pointed out how Hardesty’s decisions or actions or partnerships or whatever made an important difference, rather than insulting those who hold her accountable, you’d make a more convincing case

I think you’re extremelyconfused on what my ‘case’ is. I’m not trying to convince folks she’s done a good job. I’m pointing that she gets a disproportionate blame, hate, and vitriol for her time/role in our government. Not just here, but Nextdoor and r/portland as well, really anywhere conservatives congregate. There are legitimate criticisms of her actions and then there are the folks who just want to hate her for her gender identity and/or skin color.

dwk ‘critiqued’ Ted after I brought him up. Stuff like what dwk started with is absolutely a product of racism/sexism towards Hardesty. That type of absolutist language is never used when conservatives and neoliberals talk about Wheeler or Ryan.

Again, I really encourage you to go back and read what I wrote because it seems like you think I’m pro-Hardesty.

We can continue this conversation at the Dan Ryan article.

You nor dwk would even post if this was about Ryan.

Watts
Guest
Watts

There are legitimate criticisms of her actions and then there are the folks who just want to hate her for her gender identity and/or skin color.

Funny, though, that many who “hate her for her gender and skin color” don’t seem to hate Mapps. Or (according to you) Kafoury.

Perhaps it’s something about her position on issues of policing in a time of an unprecedented deterioration of law-and-order. Not that she’s entirely wrong, but her frontal assault on the police, accompanied by accusations untethered to reality, was clumsy and uncollaborative, and she suffered from singularly bad timing. She’s probably done more damage to the city than any other individual in recent times, elected or not.

Her message, delivered more carefully and strategically, could have been transformative. Now that well is poisoned.

Also, I strongly object to your characterization of criticisms of Hardesty as “hate”. I certainly don’t hate Hardesty. I have said many good things about her, which I stand by.

You nor dwk would even post if this was about Ryan.

Please don’t tell me what I would or would not post about Ryan. You have a very long track record of misjudging me, and you really have no idea.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Funny, though, that many who “hate her for her gender and skin color” don’t seem to hate Mapps. Or (according to you) Kafoury.

Mapps is a conservative. I’m sure they do hate him for the color of his skin, they just aren’t going to be vocal about it.

Perhaps it’s something about her position on issues of policing in a time of an unprecedented deterioration of law-and-order. Not that she’s entirely wrong, but her frontal assault on the police, accompanied by accusations untethered to reality, was clumsy and uncollaborative, and she suffered from singularly bad timing. She’s probably done more damage to the city than any other individual in recent times, elected or not

There it is! Hardesty, the leader of the transporation bureau, is responsible for the break down of law-and-order. Totally rational. Makes all the sense in the world. Obviously the two-term Police Commissioner is not responsible for the behavior of the police bureau, no sir.

Her message, delivered more carefully and strategically, could have been transformative. Now that well is poisoned.

Her message was fine. The poison is all the ‘i’m not a conservative I just have all the conservative opinions’ folks who spend huge amounts of time trying to convince people that she is responsible for …more damage to the city than any other individual in recent times, elected or not” because she openly critiques the police and wants to hold them accountable when they break the law.

You have a very long track record of misjudging me, and you really have no idea.

I actually have a really good idea. I’m not misjudging you. Maybe you just don’t like what you see when you are called out?

Watts
Guest
Watts

Her message was fine.

I guess we’ll find out. Portlanders voted strongly in favor of more police accountability, so if Hardesty can convince folks she’s been an effective champion of that cause (her signature cause, no less, despite being “the leader of the transportation bureau”), she should enjoy a comfortable re-election.

If people generally agree with my viewpoint, that she hasn’t, she’s going to struggle in November.

dwk
Guest
dwk

I think Ryan is doing a crappy job as well.. Stop insinuating that I and others are racist… You have no idea what my skin color is.. you really ought to check yourself.

dwk
Guest
dwk

I am not a conservative by any means… Wow.
So a criticism of bad government makes one a conservative?
So much for any discussion with someone that limited in thinking…
I actually want effective people to make government work well.
She is not one.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

So a criticism of bad government makes one a conservative?

Nope! You’re even free to criticize Hardesty, lord knows that I do. It’s when you place the entirety of the blame for a corrupt and inefficient City and County government all on the head of one women that I get suspicious of the motivations behind your criticism.

I’ll go ahead a re-quote you

Well she has allowed the city to collapse under her watch.

Hardesty is just one City Councilor. If I were you, I’d do some self-reflection about you focus and blame her specifically. Especially because the bureau she runs is probably the most competent bureau out of all of them.

Ted is basically MIA but Hardesty gets more criticism for even coming up with ideas on how to improve things. It’s a joke.

PS
Guest
PS

Folks confuse blame with critique, especially Hardesty. I can’t imagine being surprised that people don’t think I am good at my job after I try to leverage my years of activism into the management of hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of employees and it doesn’t go well. Are there a multitude of things to critique her for, absolutely, is it because she is a woman and black, no. Except when she makes it such, as with the whole incident with the Lyft driver in Washington, when she thought because she was this little old black woman she would be attacked in “rural” Washington when she didn’t quite have the power she thought she did.

The people of Portland literally have no one but themselves to blame for what has happened to this city. Quit electing aspirational candidates who have no place running the bureaus of this city or vote to change our form of government to a strong mayor with district representation as most recently Mingus has suggested, but has been voted down numerous times by the apparently well educated populace of this city. Otherwise, live with it, or try to sell your house to someone from CA before the bottom really falls.