Welcome to the Comment of the Week, where we highlight good comments in order to inspire more of them. You can help us choose our next one by replying with “comment of the week” to any comment you think deserves recognition. Please note: These selections are not endorsements.
Today’s Comment of the Week is in response to one of our articles on the fatality at SE Powell and 26th. The comment came in over the weekend.
What caught my eye was that, within the comment, reader “Rachel b” quotes from a comment she wrote about Powell and 26th six years ago, back in 2016. This sent me on a journey through all the previous BikePortland articles about this intersection, and also many of the comments.
It is sobering and frustrating how many times Rachel b warned about the street she lived on.
Phillip Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post, said, “Journalism is the first rough draft of history.” I already knew BikePortland was a “first rough draft” for the story of transportation in Portland. What Rachel b made me think about is that, along with that draft, comes a time capsule of comments that give the reader a pretty good idea of how people were reacting to the news.
Here is what Rachel b wrote (I couldn’t find the exact comment Rachel quoted from, so I’ve substituted part of another one, also from 2016, with a link):
My deepest condolences to the family & friends of Sarah Pliner. What a sad loss.
Chris I is right, as I seem to recall he is about many issues. Everything became about the movement of freight once the City gave UPRR carte blanche–no neighborhood input–to move their main operations from Albina Yard (right next to freeway access but developable) to Brooklyn Yard (in the middle of several neighborhoods & nowhere near freeway access).
I lived on SE Tibbetts off 26th & then on 26th itself during that sneaky transition & lived to see SE Powell become a nightmare & SE 26th also become a thruway for bumper-to-bumper semis that didn’t even fit on the road.
But hey–ODOT finally got their extra inches, eh? By having the gall to call the road they colluded to make dangerous ‘not safe enough for cyclists’ & ripping out a bike lane.
I wrote this (below in quotes) about the deadly morphing of SE 26th in BikePortland comments back in 2016 & I hate how evergreen the discussion is. Did you remember SE 26th went through a significant City-led years-long process to become a designated green street complete w/ traffic-calming & bike/ped-friendly features? Hahaha. Joke was on us once UPRR got the green light. That changed everything. But UPRR now makes more than Google so we can all take comfort in our neighborhoods being sold for that.
[from 2016] “I remember reading Union Pacific nearly doubled their freight/rail traffic from Portland to Chicago in the past year. Doubled! I wonder if Portland benefits significantly from this? We seem to be a throughway for UP–someplace to drag stuff through–increasingly, coal and oil. We are reaping the health fallout, though … [read more from 2016]”
Lisa Caballero has lived in SW Portland for over 20 years. She is on the Transportation Committee of her neighborhood association, the Southwest Hills Residential League (SWHRL) and can be reached at email@example.com.