Broadway plans made for Commissioner Mapps weeks ago, but he says he’s never seen them

Slide from briefing document created for Commissioner Mapps on August 21st.

Just three weeks after Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps hired Millicent Williams to lead his transportation bureau, she was already committed to major changes to a 16-block stretch of Northwest and Southwest Broadway through downtown.

In newly leaked emails from Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Millicent Williams to PBOT staff, we learn that she wanted to address Broadway as early as August 15th, a full month before an email she sent to staff turned into a public relations crisis for the bureau and forced Williams to apologize Thursday for “moving too fast.”

Unlike her contrite tone late last week, Williams was urgent and serious in her emails from mid-August.

August 15th email to PBOT staff from PBOT Director Millicent Williams.

In an August 15th email to a select group of PBOT staff, Williams wrote: “We need to meet about Broadway… I have thoughts about what we can do to both meet our goals and to be responsive to the concerns shared by the ‘downtown’ community.” She knew some of the invitees would have timing conflicts, but she expected them to attend. “Please do what you can to adjust your calendars,” she wrote.

There was one point in that initial email Director Williams made sure to underscore: “Please note that one of the options cannot be to leave things the way that they are, so I will disabuse you of the notion that doing nothing would be sufficient,” she wrote. And then one paragraph later, “Again, doing nothing is not an option.”

We still don’t know exactly why there was so much urgency around this specific bike lane. From a PBOT traffic flow and safety data standpoint, it does not raise any flags (ironically, the current parking-protected bike lane design was installed after years of study and careful planning as a way to reduce what was one of the most high-crash streets in the city). PBOT maintenance staff have said the bike lane is hard to maintain — but there are dozens of miles of similar bike lanes throughout the city that pose equally difficult maintenance challenges. What we do know is that several hotel and business owners have complained about the bike lane recently.

PBOT staff, led by Central City Capital Program Manager Gabriel Graff, noted the urgency in Williams’ email and responded immediately. He and other PBOT staff met with Williams to brainstorm possible changes one week later. Graff then used ideas from that August 21st meeting and rounded up at least 12 high-level PBOT staff to develop a matrix of 15 potential actions (see below) the bureau could take. On August 28th, he sent Director Williams an email that included a two-page list of those actions. The matrix included a relatively (for one week’s work) detailed analysis of each option based on seven factors. Graff also included input on whether or not staff could recommend each option.

“I’d like to share the deck and the potential/proposed solutions with the Commissioner’s office for their review and consideration.”

– Millicent Williams, PBOT director, on September 6th

On September 6th, Williams replied to Graff and wrote, “If there are no objections, I’d like to share the deck and the potential/proposed solutions with the Commissioner’s office for their review and consideration.” Graff then wrote that he’d be happy to prepare a summary of the options. “Go for it,” Williams replied. “[Commissioner Mapps] and his team like to see background information.”

Two hours later, Graff came back with an additional five pages and the document was now named “Broadway briefing book for Commissioner Mapps.”

It’s clear from the name of the document and Williams’ emails that it was intended to be shown to Commissioner Mapps. In my interview with Mapps Thursday he said he talks with Williams several times a week, but that he hadn’t had a formal briefing on this project. “I’m waiting for the point where we sit down and talk about what our options are,” Mapps said. “And we haven’t done that yet.”

Two days after she received the briefing book from PBOT staff, Williams emailed the Broadway team again. “I realize that, in order for the Commissioner to be able to make a well-informed decision/recommendation, he (and I) will need a bit of clarity on a couple of things,” she wrote.

Based on the specific items Williams sought to clarify in that email, and on a summary of notes from the August 21st brainstorming meeting with PBOT staff, we now have a clearer understanding of the primary impetus for action on Broadway. On a slide titled, “Concerns noted in 8-21-23 staff briefing from Director Williams,” the document lists eight items:

  • Concerns regarding driver confusion, hard to move about 
  • Drivers feeling stuck, not realizing they are waiting behind parked car in the pro-time lane
  • Hotels and businesses are concerned
  • Concern regarding ongoing maintenance costs, difficulty sweeping
  • Concern regarding aesthetics of street, bike lane, parking signs
  • Concerns from hotels regarding loss of valet space, patron and cyclist conflicts
  • Consider reverting the bike facility to a traditional bike lane or moving to another street
  • Commissioner requests action

Note that none of those points include negative feedback about the design from bike lane users, nor is there anything on that list about making the lane better for bicycle riders. Every single concern brought to that meeting from Directors Williams (who was likely acting on behalf of her boss, Commissioner Mapps) comes from either a political, car driver, or business owner, point of view. This is despite public statements made (only after our first story broke) by PBOT and Mapps’ office that this whole thing was spurred by “mixed feedback from people biking.”

Williams’ September 6th email to Graff sought clarity on four points, all of which had to do with satisfying concerns from business owners on Broadway:

  1. The platforms for the Heathman and the Vance will support the contiguous flow of all modes as they connect with (or are aligned with) the one in front of the Schnitzer.  Got that.  While I understand that the Benson is supportive of the platforms based on the need for an operational work-around, have we asked about whether or not their needs would be met if returned to the original curb-tight parking with loading and valet zones? Are there any other platforms planned between the Benson and the Heathman?
  2. Can we deconflict the signage in front of the Schnitzer?  I would ask that we use the special ‘5 minute’ parking signs and/or emphasize that the spaces in front of the platform are passenger loading and unloading zones.  I propose that we discourage any ‘real’ parking there.  I’m fine with a complete removal of any reference to actual parking and that it be designated as a passenger loading zone for the three spaces in front of the venue.
  3. For the other two hotels (Heathman and Vance), can we do the same thing but allow for up to 15 minutes of parking for hotel guests who are loading and unloading.  5 minutes isn’t enough time.
  4. If we returned the rest of Broadway (NW Hoyt to SW Salmon) to curb tight parking with a bike lane to the left of parking, what would that do to everything else?  I’ve read your report and recommended solutions.  Trying to envision how the two operational constructs would fit together.

Graff offered his most detailed and pointed response to that last point. “On the plus side, this would reduce ongoing maintenance costs of the parking signs and flexposts and may win us some points with some downtown business stakeholders and the hotels,” he wrote. But, he continued, “On the downside, it would be a step backward on safety for people walking and biking. While it may feel like an odd setup for visitors to downtown, the current configuration results in less exposure for pedestrians crossing the street and better visibility for people turning across the bike lane.”

“I would predict the politics of switching back to a traditional bike lane would be mixed but very unlikely to be a net win for the Commissioner or the Bureau. We’d get some support, but I would guess the response from safety and cycling advocates and progressive business interests would be outrage. Politically, I think it would be a challenging change for the Bureau to deliver.”

– Gabriel Graff, PBOT Central City Capital Program Manager

Graff’s opinion of the current Broadway design is based in large part on PBOT crash data. In a slide shared in the briefing book, PBOT shares that between 2015 and 2019, one out of every 42 bike crashes citywide happened in the one-mile stretch of Broadway that Mapps wants to change. But since PBOT changed the design (granted, traffic is down about 50% from pre-pandemic levels) crashes for all users have decreased by 42%. Crashes with people walking and bicycling are down 100% and 77% respectively.

And for his final bit of insight on the fourth option, Graff shared something that was extremely prescient:

“I would predict the politics of switching back to a traditional bike lane would be mixed but very unlikely to be a net win for the Commissioner or the Bureau. We’d get some support, but I would guess the response from safety and cycling advocates and progressive business interests would be outrage. Politically, I think it would be a challenging change for the Bureau to deliver.”

After reading his comments on September 8th, Director Williams claims she consulted with Commissioner Mapps. It’s unclear if that consultation actually happened and/or what level of detail Mapps and/or his staff were given about the Broadway plans before Williams moved forward with them. Mapps told me during our video call on September 21st that he hadn’t yet seen Williams’ set of proposals.

Mapps’ alleged ignorance about details of the Broadway plans is difficult to square with the facts. Given that he told Williams to work on the project and it had top priority in her mind, along with Williams’ statements about having Mapps’ support and Mapps’ claims that he talks regularly with her, it’s very likely Mapps has seen and reviewed a copy of this briefing book.

We also know he has heard a lot from business owners who don’t like the current design. The Portland Metro Chamber, who endorsed and donated to Mapps during his 2020 council campaign, opposed the Broadway bike lane (and related reduction of driving lanes from three to two) in 2018 on grounds that it would have “significant, unnecessary economic impacts on our downtown retail core.”

And on May 4th, during a meeting where PBOT reps, Commissioner Mapps and his staff pitched the Chamber on a new plan to raise funding for PBOT, former Chamber President and CEO of downtown commercial real estate firm Melvin Mark Companies, Jim Mark, railed against the Broadway bike lane. According to someone who was at the meeting but who has requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, Mark, unsolicited, shifted the focus of the conversation away from the revenue idea and “just went off on the bike lane.” According to our source, Mark lambasted PBOT for spending money on bike lanes and said the bike lanes are bad for business.

Then, within a just few weeks of hiring Director Williams, Mapps made it her top priority to change the bike lane to the old design.

And on the morning of September 14th, just six days after Graff’s warning that it would backfire on PBOT and would be a “step backward on safety for people walking and biking” Williams chose that option anyways and did so with what she claims was Mapps’ support.

As we reported last week, Williams emailed PBOT staff with clear marching orders: “After reviewing all of the information and consulting with the Commissioner, I would like to ask the team to do the following…” she wrote, and then shared 16 detailed steps to remove the protected lane and replace it with the old, door-zone bike lane between NW Hoyt and SW Broadway.

And in case you missed our update Friday, I received a more complete version of that initial September 14th email that included these questions which illustrate the pressure Williams felt she was under to get this done quickly:

  • How long will it take for us to do the work?
  • When can we start?
  • How will we publicize/communicate about what we are doing?
  • Is night work an option?

Another part of the email we didn’t have until Friday was the final paragraph where Williams wrote:

“I recognize that this might be a fairly bitter pill to swallow and that there might be some politically charged discussions and advocate engagement.  Please allow the Commissioner and I to handle those conversations.”

While Mapps has repeatedly denied that anything had been finalized or that he had ever seen a set of options or supported any one of them, and despite public statements from his office and PBOT that “nothing is imminent” and that all talks “have been very preliminary,” his bureau director felt she had his full support to move forward with a major reconfiguration of a high-profile, downtown bike lane.

And Director Williams wasn’t the only person who was confused. Graff, PBOT’s central city project manager, was clearly under the impression that the change was to be made and that it came directly from Commissioner Mapps.

“I know there is a lot of effort and heart that has gone into recent work on Broadway and, as our director notes, this may be a ‘bitter pill to swallow,'” Graff emailed other PBOT staff on September 14th. “I am hoping to use this time to identify next steps and develop answers to the questions raised by this change… I am working on outlining a communications strategy for this new direction.”

Mapps also insisted in my interview with him Thursday that a public outreach process was always on the table. But we now know that the decision had already been made — completely devoid of transparent public comment or feedback. Not even PBOT’s own advisory committees were in the loop. And recall that Mapps said in the interview Thursday, “I feel fairly confident that they’ve done a good job of listening to people who are stakeholders in this space.”

Shortly after my interview with Mapps, where he repeatedly said he trusts Director Williams and that she’d done nothing wrong, Williams has made an apology. She even went so far as to tell members of PBOT’s budget committee, “I was not directed by the commissioner to do anything that I’ve done.” When asked for an on-the-record interview, PBOT has refused, saying Williams needs to focus on upcoming budget talks. On Friday, Commissioner Mapps cancelled a town hall meeting that was supposed to take place this evening.

Now that there’s been such an uproar, PBOT says a public process to consider changes on Broadway will be announced soon. Based on an update published to the project website last week, the option to revert the bike lane to its old, unprotected, door-zone configuration is still on the table.


— PDF: Emails between PBOT Director Millicent Williams and Central City Program Manager Gabriel Graff, 8/14 – 9/14.

— PDF: “Broadway briefing book for Commissioner Mapps

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Charley
Charley
8 months ago

I think this episode points to a broader point, though it’s more philosophical and a little speculative.

Years ago, the Atlantic had an article by David Frum titled, “If Liberals Won’t Enforce Borders, Fascists will.” By detailing the rise of fascist leaders following large surges of immigration, he laid out a broader point about political leadership:

“Voters get to decide what the country’s problems are. Political elites have to devise solutions to those problems. If difficult issues go unaddressed by responsible leaders, they will be exploited by irresponsible ones.”

(Just to be clear, the important parallel I see here isn’t fascism, but rather the principle in Frum’s inset quote above. Mapps doesn’t seem like fascist, and removing bike lanes isn’t itself fascistic; Mapps is irresponsible, and William’s plan is an irresponsible idea.)

——————————————–

People have whined about bike lanes for a long time, but the City kept adding new ones and improving the ones we have. Only recently have we seen an attempt to roll back a safety improvement on this scale.

Why is this happening now?

I believe the economic and social conditions of downtown were terrible in 2020, and have only slowly improved. Our City’s inability to answer the high profile crises of housing, crime, and drug abuse have intersected with larger economic shifts (WFH, bad publicity for tourism) that have specifically reduced the value of much downtown real estate and depressed business downtown.

The rich, well-connected, and politically powerful people who own those businesses and real estate probably hoped that the end of the pandemic would help with all of these crises, but it’s 2023 and they are probably starting to doubt that any relief is coming their way. As a result, these folks are currently having a fever pitch freak-out.

We are now enjoying a political moment in which those rich people are screaming “DO SOMETHING” to every elected leader they can find.

There’s a lot of energy around all these issues. There’s a new movement to re-criminalize drug possession. The Governor has a flashy new downtown-focused task force, and her housing task force is turning out ideas that would supposedly make development easier. I’d like to point out that some of the ideas currently floating around are not necessarily going to solve problems, but are highly visible attempts by politicians to “DO SOMETHING” and appear responsive to legitimate public concerns. The best example is Gonzalez directing Street Response not to hand out tents.

Voters at large also reflect the shift in mood. The Clackamas County Commission went all Republican, and Rene Gonzalez won 54% to Hardesty’s 45%.

—————-

That protected bike lane didn’t cause the Benson or the Vance to have fewer guests. There are obvious business reasons why they’d feel stressed: there are tons of hotels downtown, a big new one going in, and tourism isn’t turning around fast enough for comfort. But business leaders obviously do dislike that bike lane for whatever reason, and they might be enjoying this moment of influence and thinking, “at least we can get rid of that inconvenient bike lane.”

Of course, even an understandable freakout by some businesses and landlords doesn’t necessitate government action, and removing a protected bike lane on Broadway won’t really help solve the crises we face. But doing so would be a highly visible way for a politician to prove that he is responsive to an important constituency.

————————

Just think about how difficult our actual crises are:
Solving homelessness would require thousands of housing units to be built, on top of objections from homeowners and neighborhood associations. Solving drug abuse would require treatment to be cheap and omni-present, and the state can barely manage to open any new facilities, much less train and hire the many hundreds of professionals to staff them. Solving the dislocation of work-from-home economics on downtown cores would require either coercing businesses to coerce workers back to the office (good luck!) or laboriously turning office buildings into housing
Political leaders are trying to seem responsive to all this! They are also trying to answer a huge variety of constituencies: not just the majority of local voters who lean left, but also noisy far left activists and rich people who give them campaign cash, or might hire them for a cushy job after a stint in public office.

In this kind of environment, some politicians will see an opening for a candidate who, while accomplishing little, butters up important constituencies with big talk and flashy action around the periphery.

——————–

As long as our regional political leadership seems incapable of managing issues that most voters agree are terrible problems, voters will shift right, business leaders will freak out harder, good politicians will avoid the mess, and irresponsible politicians will figure out ways to further their career by pandering to the worst instincts humans have.

If we want good bike lanes, we’ll need a City that feels safe and prosperous.

One protected bike lane is just a symptom of this.

maxD
maxD
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

COTW

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

Frum is such a moron, and his argument in the quote is specious. “If democrats won’t do what fascists want, fascists will [try to] do what fascists want”. It’s dumb and nonsense. This is what it always means to have parties with opposing views. This kind of attitude is the bane of the Democratic party; lets do a little bit of what our opponents want and hope that makes them like us? No, that’s just an own goal you fools. Doing own goals is a bad political strategy.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

I think you’re misreading the principle he’s outlined:

It’s not that Democrats should just do “what fascists want”, but rather that if the public doesn’t see Democrats successfully tackle important issues, the politics will end up deranged.

For example, local Republicans might like to see the police beat up and imprison drug users on the street, while Democrats would prefer to see drug users get treatment and get off the street (that is, in fact, what we voted for). Since *neither* response is happening, voters are getting very frustrated; the politics have been drifting rightward as a result.

It’s this drift rightward that I’d like to avoid. We end up with PSR not handing out tents and Mapps beholden to a few business owners. It’s cruel and ultimately ineffective.

The only solution is *effective* liberal governance. I argue we wouldn’t be facing this drift to the right if our political system had done a better job of managing the crises. Our response has been slow and ineffective.

For example, if we had built out and trained up the drug abuse treatment system *before* decriminalizing drug possession, perhaps we wouldn’t be seeing the increase in public drug use.

Without that very visible signal of social disorder, I believe we’d have avoided the public’s thermostatic reaction in favor of re-criminalizing drug possession. What part of this would be an “own goal”????

People react poorly to social disorder, and by poorly, I mean moving to the right. The solution is obviously not fascism, but effective liberal governance. No part of that requires “doing what fascists want.”

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

Well, yes, I agree we should do effective governance. It’s just that usually the arguments that say that lean towards actually just giving in a little to the “other side” (whatever that means, conservatives for example). Like, how would a drug abuse treatment system like you suggest even work if it existed alongside all the drugs they’re supposedly treating being criminally illegal? Who is going to trust a system like that when they’re by definition breaking the law and being asked to essentially turn themselves in?
I agree they failed at having treatment ready with decriminalization, but I don’t think the solution is to continue criminalizing something that fundamentally should not be a crime, because criminalizing drug use is a bad idea. The solution should have been not suck at governing, have the treatment system ready or be making visible progress on it. That would be good governance without giving reactionaries what they want and it was possible. Instead of saying why don’t we do that, we get people arguing we should do a little bit of what the reactionaries want (keep putting people in jail for drug use) while we drag our feet maybe coming up with treatment programs before maybe eventually decriminalizing. Maybe. And if we did, the exact same people would still be complaining about drug use because they would still see people using drugs just like they did before it was decriminalized.

I’m just saying instead of arguing that we weaken political demands (which yes, ends up being a favor for our political opponents), we expect and demand better governance. That’s it. Frum’s argument is always we should do things a little bit bad because somehow that will make us look good. I’m saying we don’t need to make that silly compromise. We can just have good things, but we need political pressure (the hard part!) and leaders who actually believe that.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

Frum’s article concerns immigration, and the crises Portland faces are of course different. The principle a failure of good liberal governance can create the space for a reactionary backlash fits pretty well, though.

You and I might disagree about which policies constitute “good liberal governance” but I would guess you agree with me we haven’t seen it here recently. In that case, would you grant me my main point: that the failure to address the visible social problems that bother most voters in this town has created an environment in which local elites and voters tack right, and irresponsible politicians take advantage?

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

Yes, I grant that. If people don’t see government doing things people want, they’ll swing (usually) to the right. That’s almost always the argument people on the (what some would call) “far” left make: better things are possible, we have to actually use government to do good things (e.g. closing traffic lanes for ped/bikes, liberal use of diverters, putting people in housing, etc).

Of course, that reactionary backlash is almost always not entirely grass roots. See: propaganda from the police (e.g. “we simply won’t ever enforce traffic laws”) and then the verbatim reporting of those talking points as fact by almost all local news. They’re going to pick up on whatever less than perfect state of affairs they can find and blame it on whoever happens to be in power (e.g. the histrionics about Eudaly and Hardesty).

If Frum (and your) argument is that voters and irresponsible politicians will tack right based on whatever social problem they happen to see, we’re not going to ever get away from that problem until we live in a futuristic utopia. I think we (whatever you consider “on the left”) just need to get away from self flagellation about whatever reactionary backlashes happen, because they’re going to happen. Stick to your principles, and sure, try not to fumble things too hard, but no going “ahh, you’re right, we messed up on [decriminalizing drugs, what have you]”. I don’t know. It’s hard.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

You wrote, “If Frum (and your) argument is that voters and irresponsible politicians will tack right based on whatever social problem they happen to see, we’re not going to ever get away from that problem until we live in a futuristic utopia.”

That’s not my argument!

To restate Frum:

“If difficult issues go unaddressed by responsible leaders, they will be exploited by irresponsible ones.”

Many people in Portland feel that local leaders have not “addressed” our “difficult issues.”

There are always problems to deal with. The derangement comes when the polity feels that government isn’t trying to solve the issues. I’m pretty sure that if most voters felt that the City appropriately solved what has ended up being a spiraling multi-crisis, our local politics wouldn’t have moved rightward.

Also, it’s kind of immaterial that the backlash is “not entirely grassroots”: wedge issues are used by organizations on both right and left all the time! Nationally, Democrats are currently trying to wedge independents away from Republicans by increasing the salience of abortion rights (which are popular with voters at large, but unpopular among Republicans). Political organizations spend a ton money on this issue is of course, and not all of that is grassroots.

The key is that because our government has not progressed toward solutions to the issues, the wedge becomes more important to more voters (an increase in its “salience”), and irresponsible people take advantage of it for whatever cause they prefer.

Some of those people prefer less safe bike lanes, and they’ll use Portland’s crises to wedge persuadable politicians away from safer traffic policies, and persuadable
voters away from the center left government we’ve had previously.

I’d like to end the obvious human suffering that we see in Portland. On top of that, failing to solve our problems empowers these actors whose politics I do not like.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

I grant your argument, I just think when you say

I’m pretty sure that if most voters felt that the City appropriately solved what has ended up being a spiraling multi-crisis, our local politics wouldn’t have moved rightward.

They will always find something. It seems like a moving target.

It just seems like the argument boils down to “if something isn’t done well, political opponents will use that” and of course they will. I also don’t fully agree that things like measure 110 were actually done all that poorly. It is fine, the backlash is coming as a result of other factors like cops going on blue flu strike and lies willingly spread by various media outlets, along with homelessness which is a problem nation wide.

Maybe I’m just griping because it’s an obvious point and feels like it only actually serves to make people think we should be appeasing political opponents. Because what else could it mean? Do perfect governance and never make mistakes? Of course, I’d love that! That’s hard to do.

But I don’t want to go back and forth forever, and I don’t have a grand thesis argument to make. I agree that when bad things happen, whoever is in charge gets blamed, which seems to be the mind blowing crux of Frum’s point, a rehash of things everyone has already known since the beginning of politics.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  John V

I take your point. I can see how it sounds like an obvious truism.

However, there’s clearly something else going on here: Portland has had progressive government for a long time. There were government failures (Wapato Corrections Facility),
contentious issues (N Williams bike lane) and numerous political disagreements along the way, but the politics didn’t start deranging, and the City didn’t take a turn to the right.

Even after the Great Recession, when home values tanked, and then from 2012-2019 when rents spiked, we elected liberals on platforms of environmentalism and social programs.

Surely the right could have made hay of issues during this time period… but, crucially, the public felt safe and the town felt prosperous. Furthermore, I think most voters felt that the political system was responding to their desires (generally, for stronger social and environmental policies).

When the pandemic started and our familiar litany of problems all exploded, people’s desires shifted… but the politicians were slow to shift, and of course the problems didn’t get solved either.

There’s something that I must not be saying correctly, because you keep saying that I mean for us to “appease our political opponents.” That’s not it! I don’t go to Fox News for policy ideas, and City leaders shouldn’t, either!

Rather, I think politicians should respond to *voters’* legitimate concerns.

That’s not always happened: in previous years, politicians and local leaders have been dismissive about the effects of visible homelessness, public drug use, an increase in property crime, etc.

It has taken a while for politicians to approach the issue of homelessness, for example, as an issue that impacts people who are not themselves homeless. It’s obviously true that a person living on the street deserves compassion and help, but sometimes that was the *only* message politicians would give to citizens concerned about the effects of homelessness. People would look to elected leaders for help, and hear that they were being selfish for wanting streets that don’t smell like urine.

After years of that kind of response, followed by an apparent inability to actually make a dent in the problems, people have started to go kind of crazy.

9watts
9watts
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

Charley,
I want to thank you for saying all this so well. It feels right on the money to me, and is very helpful in make sense of where we are. I have been thinking much of this but not articulating it as clearly.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Thank you! The process of writing it all down helps me think through it. Also, it’s really mostly Frum’s ideas that I’m just trying to map onto local conditions.

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

There were government failures (Wapato Corrections Facility),contentious issues (N Williams bike lane) and numerous political disagreements along the way, but the politics didn’t start deranging, and the City didn’t take a turn to the right.

Um…What? You’re sure you’re talking about Portland?

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  Serenity

In Portland we’ve had pretty liberal Commissioners for the entire time since I moved to Portland and started paying attention (2007). There were problems and political controversies during that time, but most voters weren’t freaking out about the state of the City and the political makeup of the Commission didn’t shift to the right.

People for Portland got real steam, and Gonzalez beat Hardesty in 2022; I think that year marks a real shift in the politics of the City. (Although you could make an argument in favor of Wheeler’s November 2020 victory over Iannarone as a turning point).

As I argued above, I believe we can attribute that shift to voters’ dissatisfaction with the City’s approach to homelessness, public drug use, property crime, etc.

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

Untrue. Yes, we’ve had liberalish commissioners, but politics started shifting right long before 2022.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  Serenity

I’d be open to hearing the evidence for “long before 2022”. As I mentioned before, one could certainly argue for 2020.

In 2020, Mapps beat Eudaly, and the transportation bond measure failed, *but* the tax to fund preschool for all passed, and a big library funding measure passed. Maybe that was a kind of “teetering on the edge” turning point?

The elections of Hardesty in 2018 and Eudaly in 2016 don’t seem like shifts to the right. In 2016, the City Council officially adopted Vision Zero. In 2018 the Clean Energy Fund passed. None of that reflects a shift to the right.

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

I would argue that Portland had already started a slow shift to the right before Eudaly was elected. 2016 was also the year that Wheeler was elected. Out of state investment firms & developers had already started buyinng up Portland, driving up prices. When I moved here in… I think 2009, there were maybe 3 wheelchair accessible apartment buildings downtown. Very few buildings were shiny & new. High rises & luxury housiinghasd already started to take over. Programs that were easioer to access had gotten more difficult. People had started caring less about the things that made Portland what it was. Once they decided to tear out the Alder Food Carts & to move in the RItz Carlton, there was no going back.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  Serenity

Yes, shifts in real estate, cost of living, and the quality of apartment buildings definitely predate 2022!

But when I said voter sentiment and local politics moved to the right, I meant things like elections and referendums, not rent or real estate, which don’t usually have a left/right valence.

You did mention Wheeler was elected in 2016. Maybe his politics are to *your* right, but his campaign platform was pretty standard left-Portland fare (pasted from the Oregonian):

“…his pledges include:
Making east Portland the top funding priority in the parks budget; increasing east Portland’s tree canopy by 10 percent in three years; offering a plan for citywide bus rapid transit service; proposing incentives for businesses to replace old diesel engines with newer, clean models; hiring the “most racially and socioeconomically diverse administration in city history”; ensuring enough shelter space for homeless Portlanders by the beginning of 2019; and paying for skills-training that helps 25,000 Portlanders find jobs offering $25 an hour by 2025.”

That’s doesn’t sound like “moving to the right” to me!

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

I know what you said. Maybe shifts in real estate, cost of living, and the quality of apartment buildings may not seem to you like evidence of a shift in voter sentiment. It deffinitely is. Nothing occurs in a vaccuum, as you know. Allowing big developers, and investment firms from back East to come in where they hadn’t been allowed before is a shift. Allowing luxury housing to become the norm, and getting rid of more affordable housing. How many Wheeler’s pledges did he keep? How many street trees have been planted, versus the number cut down or allowed to die? Yes Eudaly, and Hardesty were elected… but how were they treated? And I certainly haven’t seen enough shelter space for homeless Portlanders materialize, or voters seeming to care very much whether enough shelter is provided.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  Serenity

I suppose a shift in voter sentiment could be measured by the details of real-estate investment, but wouldn’t that investment be much better explained by rising real estate values?

It seems to me that investment in new buildings (whether by local investors or investors from the East Coast) would naturally follow from the increasing popularity and population of the City. When rents increased locally, it made a lot of sense to spend money to build a new apartment building here, because those buildings would collect a ton of rent!

Do new buildings mean “rightward political shift” to you? If so, how do you explain a place like West Virginia, which has high levels of poverty, relatively little residential investment, and huge levels of support for the Republican Party? Large parts of the Midwest have suffered from a lack of investment: your theory would indicate that they are solidly to the left, but that’s just not true! Heck- take a look at the Plains states- many communities are literally shrinking: are they moving to the left now?

Or, even closer, do you think residential development *in this state* could be used as an indicator of shifting politics? Hood River has also experienced a ton of residential growth and development: has that area also moved to the right politically? (A cursory look at the City Council’s webpage will quickly answer the question).

I don’t think this theory holds true at all!

Also, what are you referring to when you say that “Allowing big developers, and investment firms from back East to come in where they hadn’t been allowed before is a shift.” Do you think there was some kind of law preventing this?

I’m not aware of any such law or policy. In fact, I think geographic limits on real estate investment or purchasing would probably not pass judicial review. If we had such a system in place, I wouldn’t have been allowed to buy a house here, because I’m originally from out of state. Do you really believe that this was not allowed?

Are you just saying the “vibe shifted”? In which case I certainly agree with you. The City got a lot of great press in national outlets, it got more developed, and lot of new people moved into town. I met people who moved here because it seemed like Portland proved that liberal values could create a great city! It didn’t seem like they made the City redder, though.

As to street trees and shelter space, I think the systemic governmental failures in this regard are exactly the reason voters are shifting right: voting for left platforms didn’t get the results that voters hoped for.

As to the treatment of Hardesty and Eudaly, racism and sexism count for a lot.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

“As to the treatment of Hardesty and Eudaly, racism and sexism count for a lot.”

But not for Williams and Mapps.

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

Allowing the Alder food carts to be torn out- a big part of the what made downtown Portland attractive & allowing the Ritz Carlton to come in downtown also seems like evidence of a shift to me.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
8 months ago
Reply to  Charley

wedge issues are used by organizations on both right and left all the time!

The left has never had political power in Portland or the USA. And while it’s true that liberal democrats are nominally to the left of the fascists in the republican party, the democratic party has always been thoroughly anti-poor, racist, xenophobic, and brutally imperialist.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

There are definitely some strong feelings in this comment, but the tendency toward hyperbole has led you into some false conclusions.

Different countries obviously have different political parties with different values and goals. The Democratic Party isn’t as far left as, for example, the German Green Party, but we have a two party system here, and the “left” gains power only in coalition with the rest of the Democrats. That’s not all that different from European green parties, which often only gain power in parliamentary coalitions.

Obviously, the Democratic Party also has a very long history which includes such disgraces as the Confederacy, the internment of Japanese-Americans, a number of ill-considered foreign wars, and the exclusion of Black people from unions. However, since the political realignment of the 1960’s, liberal have increasingly sorted into the Democratic Party, while conservatives and reactionaries have increasingly sorted into the Republican Party. You know this, right? Right?

If you think the left has never had power here, you’re ignoring the radical shifts in regulation, unionism, civil-rights and environmentalism over the last 120 years. If the left didn’t have any power, was it the *right* that gifted us with these reforms? Are you really going to argue that?

In the context of the bike lane debacle and local politics, it is useless to ignore the fact that, if your priorities are social spending, environmentalism, and human-powered transportation, Democrats have better platforms than Republicans.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I can’t help myself.

This is Pierre Delecto’s headcanon Democratic Party:

FDR: famously anti-poor
Barack Obama: famously racist
Kamala Harris: famously xenophobic
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: famously brutally imperialist

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
8 months ago

Williams is horrible, she should be replaced immediately. She is doing real harm to this city and she’s only been here a few weeks! Stop putting a few hotel owner’s feelings (most of whom don’t even live in the city) over the real safety of the citizens of Portland. Mapps will not win the mayoral election if Williams remains as director of PBOT

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

That’s all true about Williams, except she’s doing exactly what her boss wants her to. It’s clear that both of them are doing real harm to this city as you put it. All that to say, I don’t know why Mapps would replace a director who is doing exactly what he wants.

Nick
Nick
8 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

It’s important to consider who benefits from her actions (Mapps appeasing business interests it seems) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cui_bono

Maybe she was hired to do the dirty work?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatchet_man

Neither of these absolve her from responsibility, but there’s lots of blame to go around.

cc_rider
cc_rider
8 months ago

Both Williams and Mapps need to resign. Seriously. This is so obviously pay for play.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that both Williams and Mapps are lying. Good job on the reporting. It’d be intersting to look at Williams phone/Teams records and see if and when she talked to Mapps after you published your first story.

Props to leakers. Shine some light at the rot that infests the City of Portland’s leadership.

Klpo
Klpo
8 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

That’s hardly going out on a limb. That Mapps and Williams are lying is the obvious conclusion to draw from what was presented in this article.

ShadowsFolly
ShadowsFolly
8 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

A politician lying?!?!?! No way!
Just say it ain’t so! LOL

If every politician had to resign over lying we wouldn’t have anyone left.

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  ShadowsFolly

Maybe, but politicians should absolutely resign when they are caught lying or doing otherwise unethical behavior. It’s okay to try and make the world a better place

Deez
Deez
8 months ago
Reply to  ShadowsFolly

This is lying that is related to literally corrupt and antidemocratic actions. That should get you canned every time, at minimum.

Michael
Michael
8 months ago
Reply to  Deez

Luckily, we have a performance review coming up in 13 months!

Fuzzy Blue Line
Fuzzy Blue Line
8 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Mapps & Williams have clearly made a decision to hitch their political future to keeping downtown businesses happy rather than placating active transportation advocates. BP readers may not like it but that’s what is happening here. And let’s not kid ourselves, Williams is a politician just like Mapps. The PBOT Director position is 100% political even if it isn’t elected. Always has been. Always will be.

zuckerdog
zuckerdog
8 months ago

Geez, the optics don’t look good…

…and did you listen to (don’t just read the transcript) Jonathan’s interview with Commissioner Mapps last week?

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  zuckerdog

After reading the transcript, I could not bear to listen. 🙁

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago

“I was not directed by the commissioner to do anything that I’ve done.”

Commissioner requests action

It’s impossible to square these two different things up, and it’s obvious that the Commissioner directed Williams to do these things. Absolutely shameful, they Director Williams should be resigning

Bjorn
Bjorn
8 months ago

Williams has a history of lying in the workplace to the point of being convicted of a felony, I think this counts as her second chance already, she should resign. There also seems to be very little chance that Mapps isn’t lying here too. Wheeler needs to remove his bureaus if he doesn’t resign. The only thing missing here is exactly who paid to have this pushed forward because something clearly made it priority one and it was probably cash. We can’t permit this level of corruption in city government.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
8 months ago

And we wonder why Mapps has done everything in his power to subvert charter reform.

Arturo P
Arturo P
8 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

That’s a falsehood Michael. Mapps is a strong supportive of charter reform, even offered his own improved version. We’ll be sorry it wasn’t embraced in a couple of years.

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Come on, Mapps was spearheading a campaign to vote no on this charter reform for a “different option” that was sorely lacking in details. He was not a proponent of the charter reform that Portland voters overwhelmingly approved in the most recent election.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Here’s what Mapps actually did. He said “don’t vote for that charter reform. After you vote no – and elect me – I’ll tell you all about MY charter reform.” When voters rejected that idea and voted in charter reform, Mapps set about doing everything he could to castrate it. Once charter reform got the nod from the voters, Mapps and the rest of the council had a clear mandate from the voters: Implement it and start now. He’s done everything he can to weaken it or block it. His attitude and comments have been patriarcal, basicallly telling the voters they don’t really know what they voted for, but he knows what we really need.
He had his chance. Voters rejected it. Do your job.

maxD
maxD
8 months ago

Mapps has demonstrated that he is a horrible, craven, dishonest politician. Williams has demonstrated that she is unscrupulous. PBOT gets some credit for its resistance, but the “Potential Actions Matrix shows the flaw within PBOT: For options where the bike lane is removed, the safety is rated “High”. PBOT does not conceive of cycling as a necessary, City-wide transportation mode that needs support, they evaluate based on individual segments. Thinking about Broadway this way, if you delete the bike connection bike safety become near perfect because there are no longer any bikes on Broadway. This is the kind of thinking that closes a intersection to pedestrians to make it safe rather than addressing the problem. PBOT would never consider this approach for car traffic- that is modelled as if it is constant and mandatory. I wish PBOT would see cycling demand as a transportation demand- removing the bike lane on Broadway should have an “Extremely Low” rating because those cyclists will no longer have a safe-ish place to ride and will be mixing it up in trafffic somewhere instead.

finally, screw Jim Mark- what a self-important, entitled blowhard.

SB
SB
8 months ago
Reply to  maxD

As far as I can tell, the safety rating of “High” is only given to options where the bike lane is removed from Broadway but relocated to a different street, like 5th or the Park Blocks. So there’s still a bike facility, just not on Broadway.

Maybe your point is “where are folks supposed to safely ride in the meantime while the new lane gets built?” Which is more than fair.

Aaron K
Aaron K
8 months ago
Reply to  SB

One of the things we learned at 26th and Powell is that even if you have an improved parallel bikeway, people will still need to bike on Broadway, and they will be less safe if infrastructure is removed.

I’m ALL FOR bike improvements to the Green Loop (finally), but we can’t sacrifice other bikeways to get us there.

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago

Worth saying that Jim Mark is a commercial landlord. He has no idea if people get to businesses on Broadway on bikes, since he certainly has nothing to do with the daily operation of any businesses on the corridor. Of course, Mingus Mapps being beholden to the PBA (or Metro Chamber if you prefer) is straightforwardly corrupt and bad for obvious reasons, it’s also bad because the things that the rich and powerful want are not in line with what makes a place good or not. Broadway is a better place to walk and linger since the changes went in last year, and having safe access on bikes + fewer cars plays a big role.

maxD
maxD
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

not disagreeing with you, just adding: He is a 3rd generation CEO of his real estate company- meaning, he was born rich and handed a big job. He acts like he know what is going on and expects people to listen because he has money, and it is very very disappointing to see Mapps fall for it. Jim Marks should NOT be given any speacial voice just because he is rich.

SD
SD
8 months ago

Mapps is clearly using his bureau for personal gain. This is reckless and he should should be stripped of PBOT. Williams and Mapps have to go. If Mapps does become mayor, what kind of city manager would he try to appoint?

Steve Demarest
Steve Demarest
8 months ago
Reply to  SD

He might appoint Millicent Williams.

Dusty Reske
Dusty Reske
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Demarest

Scary, but the council has to approve the City Manager hire.

Austin
Austin
8 months ago

Because of this political stunt brought on by Mingus Mapps, I have already decided that I will NOT be voting for him to be our Mayor. If this is any indication of how he plans to operate in the Mayor’s office then this will be damaging.

Also Mayor Wheeler should definitely take control of all bureaus so as to not let any other Commissioners play similar political theater.

Arturo P
Arturo P
8 months ago
Reply to  Austin

Remember the mayor will be nearly powerless in the new Portland government—no vote and no veto power. We could elect a chihuahua and we’d barely notice.

Fred
Fred
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

I vote for the chihuahua (that’s a fun word to type).

Michael
Michael
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

I would not call the new mayor “powerless.” They will be the immediate supervisor of the city manager, who will in turn manage every aspect of city government. Imagine Millicent Williams managing not just PBOT, but Parks & Rec, Development Services, Police, Fire & Rescue, etc.

If the Broadway saga for the past week gets you riled up, you should not be taking solace in the idea that Mapps would be a “weak mayor.” No, he’d just bring this still of management to the entire city. That should scare the bejeezus out of you.

Damien
Damien
8 months ago
Reply to  Michael

I would not call the new mayor “powerless.” They will be the immediate supervisor of the city manager, who will in turn manage every aspect of city government.

I think people underestimate the value of the tiebreaking vote as well – meaning the mayor gets to decide on anything truly controversial or split. The 7-5 split (or 8-4, 9-3, etc) already represents a strong majority that a mayoral vote wouldn’t change anyway (e.g. 7-6). Even many veto thresholds are usually targeted at two-thirds, which would be a one vote higher requirement than today (8-4).

Time will tell how often we see that, but it’s not an insignificant power.

Dusty Reske
Dusty Reske
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Yes, but the Mayor is the City Administrator’s boss.

The Mayor would manage the city administrator, who could be fired by either the Mayor or a vote of ¾ of City Council.” portland.gov

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
8 months ago
Reply to  Austin

Political stunt cooked up by Jonathan Maus, you mean?

Definition of a nothingburger.

Change the design, stop the hyperbole.

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Dave,Dave,Dave… *shaking my head* What are you even talking about?

idlebytes
idlebytes
8 months ago

But since PBOT changed the design (granted, traffic is down about 50% from pre-pandemic levels) crashes for all users have decreased by 42%.

I think traffic being down and crashes also being down is irrelevant considering that crashes increased during the pandemic.The fact that Broadway saw the opposite happen suggests all the more that this change was a win for safety.

morganblee
morganblee
8 months ago

What do these businesses, and in particular Jim Mark, not understand? Who do they think use the bike lane? People. People use them. People who are customers, employees, business owners. Generally also the same people who have been loyal to keeping Portland alive. All those companies that Melvin Mark finds or manages properties for? Guarantee they have plenty of employees that commute by bike to the office. Guarantee those companies advertise providing bike parking.

Mapps & Williams have no business being civil servants and the faster they are gone the better. These decisions are not in the best interest of Portland or Portlanders.

SD
SD
8 months ago
Reply to  morganblee

Jim Mark and other Portland exploiters like him are dinosaurs tryin to drag everyone into their graves. Many of them seem to be freaking out because the market is changing and they expect city hall to execute their ill-conceived dictates.

Michael Andersen
8 months ago

Thanks for this valuable reporting, Jonathan and BP. I wanted to add a note of appreciation for one little part of it: I really like how BP has, in its coverage, taken the time to specify why anonymous sources are insisting on anonymity. Requiring people to articulate that is good for the credibility of the reporting and creates pressure to use anonymity only in cases when, as now, it’s truly important.

SB
SB
8 months ago

After reading this piece and reflecting on last week’s coverage, I kind of wonder how much any of this is because of hotels.

There are three hotels mentioned by name in these emails — Benson, Heathman, Vance. Both the Heathman and Vance sit south of SW Salmon, where (if I’m reading all this correctly) the current bike lane configuration would remain. So, wouldn’t this issue of their loading zones mixing with bike traffic persist for them? Makes me think that folks such as Jim Mark or his like are at least as much of a driving force here as any hotel.

The other thing that has struck me as odd about this from the beginning — why keep the protected bike lane south of Salmon, but tear it out between Hoyt and Burnside? I don’t know about y’all, but when I ride down Broadway north of Burnside, I don’t get much of a “big-money business interests” vibe. Who are you even trying to appease by tearing out a protected bike lane through that stretch?

dw
dw
8 months ago

I wish Mapps would just come out and say “we’re going to rip out the Broadway bike lane. Too bad bikers.” He obviously wants to kowtow to the absentee landlords that own the buildings along Broadway, so why not just get on with it? He’s taking a gamble that caving to business owners will get him votes, so why not go all-out on it? Being a politician means sometimes taking sides, right? As it is right now, he’s just pissing everyone off.

However it shakes out, he’s definitely not getting my vote.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
8 months ago
Reply to  dw

Correction: “Too bad citizens of Portland”

carrythebanner
8 months ago

Some possibilities:

  • Mapps saw this report, understood it, and knowingly approved an action that was: not recommended, reduced safety, didn’t meet city policy, and cost more. There were recommended options which fared as good or better on every axis listed in this matrix, and those were not chosen.
  • Mapps saw this report, didn’t fully understand it, and approved it anyway.
  • Mapps saw this report, didn’t approved it, and Williams’ is being dishonest about Mapps’ approval.
  • Mapps didn’t see this report, and Williams is being dishonest about Mapps’ approval.

There are still unknowns as to why this became a sudden priority (acknowledged in the article), to the extent that night work was floated as a possibility. Some very strong suspicions, for sure, but even sticking with the known facts there is a lot of dirt here. I think we’re going to find more than one person with dirty hands when this is all out in the clear, but at a bare minimum one of these two is lying and should not be in charge at PBOT.

VTRC
VTRC
8 months ago
Reply to  carrythebanner

Someone’s making a play now to add conservative cred to their resume. Plan was to tear it out to stick it to them liberals/bikers while looking pro business.

SB
SB
8 months ago

Also, this whole debacle reminds me … Instead of all this nonsense, how dope would it be if we had just closed 5th and 6th to cars completely and made them continuous transit/pedestrian/cycling malls?

Heavy sigh.

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  SB

Whatever you do, don’t review the study that the PBA commissioned when they pushed TriMet to allow both through travel and street parking on the transit mall when it was being revamped in the mid 2000s for the MAX Green line.

Or if you don’t value your sanity, here it is. I personally find it ridiculous that they just sort of compared occupancy rates and retail turnover between 4th/Broadway and 5th/6th with no consideration as to what the prevailing street conditions are like on the respective streets. 5th/6th have long been the center of stale office building developments, while Broadway is (and has long been) the primary commercial corridor in the city. Bleak stuff, and the PBA has been pretty strongly anti-ped/bike/transit since its inception

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

The transit mall was a pit before they opened it to driving. The transit mall is still a pit. the problem isn’t whether people can drive on the street or not; it’s just an undesirable place. Frequent bus service creates hostile spaces.

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Frequent bus service creates hostile spaces.

In my hometown (Madison, WI), the most desirable retail street and the spine of most transit service (when I lived there anyways) is State Street. The presence of lots of buses does not create a hostile place at all. On the contrary, it lets people get there easily on a bus (likely from campus) and the environment of the street (wide sidewalks, narrow road, tons of shops/restaurants/bars) make it an inviting place to be.

The transit mall here is the center of a ton of giant (mostly empty these days) office buildings that take up entire blocks. Maybe it supported more shops/bars/restaurants in the pre-2020 era, but realistically the hyper-concentration of office space onto 5th/6th has been an issue for quite a long time. There’s currently like a total of 5 non office/admin uses in the heart of the transit mall (Burnside to PSU), of course it’s a pit. No one has any real reason to go there other than to be in transit.

However, I am of the opinion that the transit mall in Portland poorly serves transit riders a lot of the time. It’s painfully slow to travel down the mall on a bus or train (due to light timing + having to make every stop). And I’m not a fan of split one-way corridors as a rider either (I’d prefer for 5th to be the MAX street, while 6th could be the bus street).

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

However, I am of the opinion that the transit mall in Portland poorly serves transit riders a lot of the time. 

I agree with your post, and especially this. The thing I find oppressive about all the buses is the it is very loud. That makes it unpleasant. If we had quieter, cleaner buses, it might be a different story.

Luckily, TriMet is getting right on this and will be converting their fleet from diesel to electric by 2040, like a guest arriving after the party has ended.

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

It can be loud, but I don’t think it’s all that much louder than any other street in the city to be honest. TriMet’s bus electrification plans are a can of worms I’m not interested in opening right at this moment (they didn’t even consider trolleybuses!), but hopefully they can implement battery buses without service cuts. I have my doubts based on the relative complexity required in operation a bus network on a battery bus vs. a diesel one.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

hopefully they can implement battery buses without service cuts

You don’t need to worry… that transition is so far in the future as to be irrelevant.

In the meantime, private transportation is going to continue it’s acceleration towards electrification, increasing the emissions gap between cars and bus service.

And yes, the buses are hella loud, especially in a hardscape-canyon like the transit mall.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

And replacing all those buses with ten or twenty times as many driverless robotaxis will definitely make the space less hostile, right?

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

If they were quieter, it might.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

There are ways of reducing road noise that don’t involve giving the street completely over to private automobiles:

https://www.intelligenttransport.com/transport-news/11876/quiet-and-without-emission-11-new-trolleybuses-delivered-to-arnheimnl-by-hess-and-vossloh-kiepe/

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

“There are ways of reducing road noise that don’t involve giving the street completely over to private automobiles”

Of course there are. My point is that the current situation on the street sucks, and TriMet is showing zero urgency to electricity their fleet, despite the rather pressing reasons to do so quickly.

WRF
WRF
8 months ago
Reply to  SB

The idea of making 5th/6th Ave and Yamhill/Morrison bikes/transit only and closing them to cars has been a dream of mine for what feels like forever. Having watched many drivers use the wrongs lanes or turn in front of oncoming buses/MAX trains made a couple friends and I develop ideas of making the transit streets effectively bicycle arterials through downtown.

maccoinnich
maccoinnich
8 months ago
Reply to  SB

It was studied as part of Central City in Motion, and it wouldn’t have created a great environment for cycling. Buses do use the leftmost lanes, especially approaching and north of Burnside (where there’s just two lanes). There’s also some buildings with parking access from 5th/6th. So for many blocks we’d probably have wound up with something that looks similar to what exists today, except with some sharrows on the street.

SB
SB
8 months ago
Reply to  maccoinnich

Yeah, I guess when I imagine car-free, I’m also imagining no buses. Put the buses with the other cars. Leave the Max tracks where they are, and convert the current travel lane into like a linear green space for walking and cycling only.

Basically the vision for the Green Loop, except 15 years ago. Pie-in-the-sky stuff, I know.

ShadowsFolly
ShadowsFolly
8 months ago

Hopefully, after this episode, that folks will begin to realize that 99% of the time the decision for a project has already been made and public outreach is just theater.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
8 months ago
Reply to  ShadowsFolly

Yes. This explains why we didn’t get bike lanes on Hawthorne, and many other city decisions that affect safety. A business owner or two object, and staff is told to change the plan.
This one still stands out because they are UNDOING safety infrastructure instead of just blocking it from being built.

Jack
Jack
8 months ago

I called their offices to ask for their resignations. It is unacceptable to bring a dangerous design back. Their complete disregard for human life makes them unqualified to hold the office, in my opinion.

Mingus Mapps’ office: 503-823-4682
Director Williams’ office: 503-823-8770
PBOT Constituent Services: 503-865-6089

Paul Faris
Paul Faris
8 months ago

“The Broadway Bike Lane Scandal.” Even though I bike Broadway weekly, I can’t muster as much outrage as everyone else about this one. I may have to wait for the movie.

maccoinnich
maccoinnich
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Faris

While I do care about the outcome here, I also think we’re seeing a preview of what a Mapps administration would be like, and it’s not good.

Deez
Deez
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Faris

It’s not scandalous just because it involves a bike lane. It’s because of their motivations, and their methods of carrying our their public duties.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Faris

I may have to wait for the movie.

With an AI resurrected Jimmy Stewart playing the role of Jonathan Maus.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Faris

This is essentially Street Trust / other lobby groups using BikePortland to poison Mapps’ mayoral campaign.

I’d like to see Jonathan’s emails.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

If by “using Bike Portland” you mean “taking advantage of a terrific, independent journalistic accomplishment relevant to their interests” then you are correct.

If by “poison Mapps’ mayoral campaign” you mean “reveal how he behaves when he thinks no one is watching,” you are correct.

Journalists are not infallible, but the work they do usually follows their own incentives, and Maus has been crystal clear about his. He hardly needs direction from some non-profit to report on some malfeasance related to cycling in Portland. No conspiracy is necessary to explain the great reporting going on this last week.

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

If they’re doing it by publishing Mapps’ and his bureau’s emails, they’re not the ones doing the poisoning. They’re just revealing Mapps poisoning his own campaign.

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Is that you, Mingus?

Michael
Michael
8 months ago

You’re doing the Lord’s work here, Jonathan. Kudos to you and the brave soul at PBOT risking their career to keep the city from backsliding!

Ed
Ed
8 months ago

I wasn’t aware that it was a Vision Zero best practice to have a director and elected official, neither of which is a certified engineer, design a bicycle corridor.

Michael
Michael
8 months ago
Reply to  Ed

Everyone’s on board with Vision Zero until it’s time to do Vision Zero shit.

Daishin
Daishin
8 months ago

Mapps = arrogant, evasive, duplicitous.

Davod
Davod
8 months ago

I’m surprised Prosper Portland and the Broadway Corridor project weren’t mentioned as possible motivators for the behavior (unless I skimmed!), with Johnson and Kearney being extended through the previous usps site to Union Station and the general goal to make the area actually sustainable and walkable (meaning some low-income and mostly apartment and retail development projects), this eyesore of a “look at how much we love bicyclists” attempt may as well go too

blumdrew
blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Davod

I’ll be honest, I tried my best to follow this but it’s not adding up. Surely Prosper would prefer to have a protected bike lane directly connected to their new development at the USPS site?

joan
8 months ago

“I would predict the politics of switching back to a traditional bike lane would be mixed but very unlikely to be a net win for the Commissioner or the Bureau. We’d get some support, but I would guess the response from safety and cycling advocates and progressive business interests would be outrage. Politically, I think it would be a challenging change for the Bureau to deliver.”

Nailed it.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago

A. Terrific reporting! This is documentary evidence of real importance to the city.
B. Maps lied about his level of involvement and knowledge of the issue.
C. Williams seems to have lied about hearing complaints from cyclists.
D. There’s extremely clear evidence that, even after Graff pointed out removing the protected bike lane would be less safe, Williams chose to do exactly that.

These two have got to go.

Steven Smith
Steven Smith
8 months ago

I like how the PBOT Director and Commissioner in charge selected one of the options identified as reducing safety and being inconsistent with transportation policies. What are their job descriptions again?

BikeSoft
BikeSoft
8 months ago

Speaking of leadership why hasn’t the Street Trust released a statement? I suppose The Street Trust ripped their own metaphorical protected bike lane out years ago.

Looks like Bike Loud is having another red shirt day at City Hall at the Tuesday Council Work Session. I’m not sure it’ll have true impact more than the phone calls and emails have but I do appreciate someone being reactive to the situation and showing up and pushing.

If the director or commissioner wanted to attempt to burnish a tarnished reputation who’s ring would they kiss? Surely they can point towards “we’re building 4th” and other CCIM elements, but who’s standing next to them at the lectern?

Never let a good crisis go to waste.
– Rahm Emanuel

I keep on wondering if the Bicycle Transportation Alliance was still a prominent voice in our community, would a politician even consider this kind of change?

carrythebanner
8 months ago
Reply to  BikeSoft

Speaking of leadership why hasn’t the Street Trust released a statement?

The Street Trust testified at council a few days ago about this; they posted their comments to Twitter & maybe elsewhere: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xSCzINvNC4TxcfRbFShS3M7N9Fx6UKE309SR1Oodwj4/mobilebasic

BikeSoft
BikeSoft
8 months ago
Reply to  carrythebanner

Thanks for offering that and thanks to Sarah Iannarone for the thoughtful testimony. Those are excellent points. I stand corrected.

I had looked on The Street Trust’s website and the email list. When I looked and didn’t find anything related to Broadway I was particular annoyed to only find mention of The Alice Awards. It felt like they were asking for money and recognition on one side without doing the work on the other.

Somehow I still wish the Street Trust felt more active in the conversation. Maybe I should be listening harder.

eawriste
eawriste
8 months ago
Reply to  carrythebanner

“Why would the federal government fund infrastructure installation that PBOT might later decide to remove? Estimated costs for removing the westside lane range from 50% to a staggering 300% of the original installation cost. It’s difficult to imagine why USDOT would entrust PBOT with their money when there appear to be issues locally with project planning and implementation as well as fiscal responsibility.”

The Street Trust could have ignored this issue, but it directly affects their ongoing applications for federal funding. That means millions of dollars are at stake for this. For those people who think this issue is limited to “just a bike lane” think about how future funding for other infrastructure may come under question by one foolish decision by Mapps and Williams.

Steve Demarest
Steve Demarest
8 months ago

Jonathan, thank you for your excellent work and your service to the community.

Arturo P
Arturo P
8 months ago

Time for Mapps to cut his losses with Williams. If he wants to be mayor a quick firing will help him politically. He remains the odds on favorite to win but an acknowledgment of his poor hiring decision would make me more willing to vote for him (again).

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

A quick firing will only help him with the people who aren’t paying attention. For anyone who cares about this particular issue and is paying attention, it’s clear this came from him so a firing would obviously be theater.

Adam
Adam
8 months ago

Good afternoon Team – 

We need to meet about yet another death on a PBOT street, this one at SE César Chávez and Taylor, where yet another Portlander, a children’s librarian, Jeanie Díaz was killed simply waiting for a bus. The issues that have been brought to my attention are not new and certainly concerns that many of you have heard about before (likely for years). I have thoughts about what we can do to both meet our goals and to be responsive to the concerns shared by the ‘Sunnyside’ community. Please come to the meeting prepared to discuss options. Please note that one of the options cannot be to leave things the way that they are so I will disabuse you of the notion that doing nothing would be sufficient.

I recognize that this will present a challenge for several folks. Please do what you can to adjust your calendars to attend. Also, please forward to anyone else who you think should be in attendance.

Again, doing nothing is not an option.

dw
dw
8 months ago
Reply to  Adam

Dude this is such great framing of the real issue here. Someone died due to the street design (and lack of enforcement) and PBOT does a bunch of hand-wringing and platitudes, while a couple business owners complain that someone on a bike was mean once and the city is ready to blow a bunch of money to reconfigure a street. Total double standard.

Adam
Adam
8 months ago
Reply to  dw

What’s bizarre too is that Broadway prior to the current design was still a space where people parking or dropping off at hotels would have to encounter cyclists and often there would be conflicts around use of the right of way. The only difference between now and then is what side of the car those conflicts would likely transpire, the driver side or passenger side. Reverting the design won’t stop the conflicts it will just tend to force the conflicts into the lane with moving cars, which is overall more dangerous.

Maybe just give the doormen official permission to use handheld STOP signs when they have to help a guest dropping off? And is it really too much to expect that people in a city take responsibility for themselves to civilly communicate and accommodate each other when they have to share the same space? I’m fine biking down Broadway knowing I might have to stop, multiple times even, to allow people to drop off, and if those people are gracious enough to let me pass, I’ll thank them and move on.

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  Adam

And is it really too much to expect that people in a city take responsibility for themselves to civilly communicate and accommodate each other when they have to share the same space?

Yes.

John V
John V
8 months ago
Reply to  Adam

Comment of the week.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
8 months ago
Reply to  Adam

Absolute double standard. Comment of the week

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  Adam

Perfect.

I’d like PBOT to be asked to show what emails get sent after traffic deaths. Do emails like this one go out to staff? I’d guess not, but I’d like PBOT to show us what types of things–if any–have generated emails of this urgency in the past.

Candace Hill
Candace Hill
8 months ago

Just a small point for future discussions and testimony: When people claim that “bike lanes are bad for business” the question should be asked, “whose business?” I see plenty of cargo bikes, box bikes, and courier and delivery bikes use the lanes downtown. These riders deserve a safe corridor as they go about their business. Employers do not need to subsidize transit or parking for employees who travel by bike. And PSU can manage many more bikes than parking garages. Business interests are everywhere and not just in storefronts. Also, take a visit to those hotel websites to see if they advertise the great biking opportunities in Portland.

Charley
Charley
8 months ago
Reply to  Candace Hill

Amen! You can’t be neutral on a moving train. The City’s actions and inactions create and modify markets and business conditions. Every policy has consequences and it’s up to businesses to adapt or perish. Sure, they can gripe, but it goes too far when they convince politicians to spend money on their behalf, in order to make conditions *less safe* for citizens.

Business owners often ideologically identify as capitalists, but when it comes down to it, most would be happy for the government to spend money… as long as they profit.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Candace Hill

If it were a simple question of lost business revenue as a consequence for improved safety, there would be no question in my mind. Human lives are more important than money or property. But research shows bike lanes are actually good for business, and M. James Mark is a know-nothing crank:

https://www.planetizen.com/news/2023/02/121370-bike-lanes-are-good-business-why-dont-business-owners-believe-it

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

Research shows bike lanes are actually good for business, and M. James Mark is a know-nothing crank

I highly doubt this is true for the hotels, where nearly every guest arrives by car. Whether bike lanes on Broadway have brought numerous more folks to the street or led to the more pedestrian friendly feel that advantages (some) businesses is left for you to observe.

The bike lanes make it a far better place to ride (though still a lousy one), but I still never just spontaneously stop to grab a hotel room. I am always amazed at how anonymous internet commenters seem to know better how particular businesses operate than their know-nothing owners do.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

And I am amazed how often anonymous commenters think their own anecdotal observations outweigh published research. Since we don’t have an alternate universe in which everything else is the same *except* for the bike lane on Broadway, we have no way to know what the specific economic impact is here. It’s certainly possible that a safe cycling facility is an amenity that hotel guests might actually *want* and be willing to pay a premium to be able to use. But as I said, safety is more important to me so I don’t really care.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

Safety is not a binary; in this case I agree that the increment of safety that the bike lanes represent almost certainly outweighs the costs that they impose.

So just leave it at that and don’t tell business owners you know who their customers are and what they want better than they do. That only undermines your more important argument.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Even when business owners demonstrably have no idea what their customers want? Strange attitude for such a supposed Clear-Eyed Realist™: https://www.fastcompany.com/3067515/why-local-businesses-shouldnt-worry-about-eliminating-on-street-parking

In this case the hotel owners sure seem to think their customers are the type who might appreciate safe bike infrastructure: https://heathmanhotel.com/explore/portland-directory/

Clear-Eyed Realist™
Clear-Eyed Realist™
8 months ago

If “just 4%” of the hotel customers arrive by car, the figure cited in the article, I’ll concede the article accurately describes the hotel’s situation, along with everything else and issue an apology to you and state that you did, in the end, know better.

I don’t doubt for a second that many hotel guests fancy themselves the type that might want to take a bicycle jaunt around Portland, and that some actually do. That doesn’t mean that they want a traffic lane running through their loading zone.

We all agree that removing the bike lanes would be a huge overreaction and a big step backwards. I basically agree with those who are saying that the hotel situation still has room for improvement, and that PBOT should resolve the situation by focusing on those conflict points. If they did that, we could end up with a situation that works better for cyclists, works better for the hotels, and PBOT comes out looking like the hero.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago

At what percentage would you concede that protected bike lanes are “good for business”? Keep in mind that downtown hotels also incorporate bars and restaurants, which are exactly the kinds of places where customers arriving by bike and on foot can end up spending *more* each month than drivers:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-12-05/cyclists-and-pedestrians-can-end-up-spending-more-each-month-than-drivers

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

I don’t think the “good for business” framing is the right one here. Better is the the idea of how we can improve the situation for everyone, which in this case I think is entirely possible. Everyone wins when conflict is reduced.

PBOT made a big improvement on Broadway, but they didn’t get it quite right. They seem to be willing to spend some real resources to fix the project’s shortcomings, so let’s see what else staff can come up with.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

So far you’ve been highly critical of the empirically supported good-for-business framing while appearing to tacitly endorse the apparently feelings-based bad-for-business one. It’s a curious kind of grassroots bike advocacy that unquestioningly takes the side of millionaire CEOs in an effort to avoid “conflict”.

eawriste
eawriste
8 months ago

Socially, you’ve been caught in a watts-off, an argument generally based in Rationalist thinking branded as “Clear Eyed Realism”. Unfortunately, empiricism, research, science, data, etc. are just various means of framing a conversation in this context.

Watts-off
Watts-off
8 months ago
Reply to  eawriste

I think arguments that the bike lanes are actually good for the hotels from a business perspective are pointless without specific data to that end. Data from Toronto is about as unspecific as it comes.

It would be far better (but less fun for those who want to “stick it to the man”) to focus on reducing remaining conflicts in the loading zones because that is an opportunity for the elusive win-win.

A watts-off is focusing on the mundane practical issues while bypassing the more entertaining cultural/political ones.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts-off

Fortunately we have not just data from Toronto, but also New York, Auckland, Dublin, Los Angeles, Vancouver BC, San Francisco, Seattle, Melbourne, and yes, Portland, among other cities large and small. All support the conclusion that “replacing on-street parking with a bike lane has little to no impact on local business, and in some cases might even increase business. While cyclists tend to spend less per shopping trip than drivers, they also tend to make more trips, pumping more total money into the local economy over time”:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-13/every-study-ever-conducted-on-the-impact-converting-street-parking-into-bike-lanes-has-on-businesses

the last positivist in portland
the last positivist in portland
8 months ago
Reply to  eawriste

research, science, data, 

One of these things is not like the others (e.g. you can’t find it on the internet when arguing with someone).

Watts
Watts
8 months ago

 empirically supported good-for-business framing 

I haven’t seen any empirical evidence that the new bike configuration on Broadway is beneficial (or harmful) to the hotel’s business*, but I do generally have confidence in the observations by owners/managers about what is good for their business specifically**. Those folks are certainly in a better position to judge than you are.

The conflict I was referring to is the car/bike kind of conflict that we all (i.e. cyclists, PBOT, and millionaire CEOs) want to reduce. It’s hardly radical to suggest that a better loading zone configuration would benefit all parties. You obviously want to argue about the general business case, but I think focusing on practical improvements in the conflict zones is far more likely to be fruitful at this point.

*I haven’t even seen any info about whether cycling or driving has increased or decreased along the corridor as a result of the new configuration, much less whether any changes in traffic has impacted their business one way or the other. Nor have I seen any data on an increase or reduction in conflicts in the hotel loading zones.

**It can be true that bike lanes help the business climate in general but harm specific businesses, so extrapolating from one situation to another is difficult. It can also be true that bike lanes can impact different corridors differently. Specific observations are more valuable than general ones.

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The loading zones could be redesigned to work much better–for everyone, like you said. They could be better for hotels–especially the Heathman–than what they had before. I’ve described that in other comments, and several people have shown examples in Seattle and elsewhere of ones that would work better.

It seems like many people have viewed this as “We better demand what we want or they’ll get what they want” viewing the solution as bike lane or no bike lane. The better option is to fix the problem areas, especially when they can be fixed to improve things for everyone.

I think people (bike riders or hotel operators) are good at identifying what are problems for them, but often not good at seeing what the best solutions are. So they go straight to whatever is obvious to them, then dig in to get their way.

Damien
Damien
8 months ago
Reply to  qqq

I think people (bike riders or hotel operators) are good at identifying what are problems for them, but often not good at seeing what the best solutions are. So they go straight to whatever is obvious to them, then dig in to get their way.

This is true in so many facets/areas/arenas, and certainly what I’ve come up against in my engineering career (or political observation, for that matter).

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  Damien

Yes, and luckily designers can step in and see what the base issues are that people are bringing up, then come up with solutions that really do address those. But the last thing the designers need is for their boss–who’s not a designer–to bypass them, and work out a bad solution with those people.

It sounds like that happened here–PBOT has a team of designers/engineers with the ability to solve issues, but their boss bypassed them and went straight to choosing an obvious but flawed solution because she didn’t appreciate what designers/engineers do, or maybe because she wanted to look decisive and in charge.

Getting post-construction input is good, but shortchanging or ignoring analysis and going straight to “solutions” is bad.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Needless to say, I don’t share your confidence in the ability of downtown business and property owners—who virtually all commute downtown by car—to accurately judge the impact of bike infrastructure. Which is in line with what those Toronto researchers found. Other studies in New York had similar results:

http://web.archive.org/web/20230201072330/https://www.wired.com/story/the-battle-over-bike-lanes-needs-a-mindset-shift/

Bike lanes have been shown to boost business sales in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis, in addition to the other studies mentioned. Given the weight of evidence, it seems silly to pretend that Portland is somehow the exception:

https://retailwire.com/discussion/are-bike-lanes-good-for-retail/

I don’t know what observations on the part of business owners you’re talking about. What this article describes is a second-hand report of a commercial landlord decrying the Broadway bike lane as “bad for business” apparently without any facts to back it up. That is the comment I am disputing, and which you went out of your way to defend.

.
.
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You’re probably right that people aren’t arriving for a hotel stay by bike. But I have been to the downtown Hilton and many other large hotels many, many times by bike for conferences and large meetings. Similarly, don’t underestimate a fancy hotel bar or restaurant (looking at you the Nines). I’m certainly not driving to those.

Watts-off
Watts-off
8 months ago
Reply to  .

I’m certainly not driving to those.

Nor I. But I think arguing about business climate is doomed; for every study that shows that bike infrastructure is generally beneficial, a business owner can say “yeah, but not for me”.

The whole “we know better; this is actually good for you” framing is never effective, and it just makes those arguing it seem arrogant.

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts-off

Post-truth politics in a nutshell. “For every study that shows that vaccines and masks are effective, a quack doctor can go on Fox News and say “nuh-uh’. The whole ‘we know better; this is actually good for you’ framing is never effective, and it just makes those arguing for evidence-based health policy seem arrogant.”

socially engineered
socially engineered
8 months ago
Reply to  Candace Hill

Indeed, the Heathman, whose manager was so distressed by the protected bike lane on Broadway, pictures a fashionable lady wheeling a Heathman-branded bike on its website and urges visitors to “rent a set of wheels and set out on your own path”: https://heathmanhotel.com/explore/portland-directory/

The Benson Hotel brags, “Portland’s cycling culture peaks during Summer’s multi-week Pedalpalooza”: https://bensonhotel.com/news/portland-summer-picks-2/

And the Vance advises travelers, “Hop on a bike from Biketown and get to eating” like a local: https://www.hotelvance.com/explore-portland

Clearly these hotels think bicycle culture is good for business and want to promote it…or at least a pleasing simulacrum of it.

Screenshot 2023-09-26 at 5.46.40 PM.png
Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
8 months ago

One word: Veloprovo

SD
SD
8 months ago

A glimpse at the “king makers” of Portland politics… truly absurd

PBA Bike Lane copy.jpg
Jesse B.
Jesse B.
8 months ago

I have a strong suspicion these types of things are going to happen even more once Portland is ran by an unelected city manager.

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago

So who is lying?

ShadowsFolly
ShadowsFolly
8 months ago

/Sarcasm if folks can’t recognize it
Maybe the solution is to block off the whole street and sidewalks and only those folks that can prove they have business at the hotel can get through. Afterall, it’s only about the Hotel and what they and their customers want right?

Portland’s motto, “business owners are priority 1, everyone else, take a number”

Serenity
Serenity
8 months ago
Reply to  ShadowsFolly

Nailed it.

TonyT
8 months ago

One other not insignificant danger of doing business this way is that it is incredibly demoralizing to employees. I once did an internship at a company and worked as a designer on projects. We’d work hard, invest ourselves in a project for months and higher ups from the parent company would roll up in their limos (really!), have meetings and our project would get axed. It convinced me to never work there.

If PBOT employees invest themselves in these projects, do all the outreach that they’re supposed to, and people like Mapps/Williams can just go outside of the process and kill it because of a couple of well-heeled bikelane haters, then quality employees will eventually go elsewhere. You pay people to do the job, but the only way to get people to actually invest themselves in the work is to offer them respect and a sense of purpose. This is how you rip all the trust out of an organization.

9watts
9watts
8 months ago
Reply to  TonyT

THIS! THIS!
Exactly. A huge risk to everything we care about here!