Comment of the Week: A challenge to comment better

Every once in a while a comment comes in that surprises me. This one was short and sweet and seemed a perfect way to begin the season of lights.

Gregg Dal Ponte works for the Oregon Trucking Association (an advocacy and lobbying group for truckers and freight businesses). I’m always happy to see him post on BikePortland not only because it shows that we are succeeding somewhat at not being a groupthink bubble, but also because I like reading what he says.

Gregg spent the long weekend in a “take-on-all-comers” situation in the comments section of our post about missing Naito bollards. He was holding his own just fine, but then something must have happened on Sunday, because after reflecting for a few hours, his thoughts became more introspective.

Then he posted this gem:

A final thought …. I told myself I wouldn’t do it again and in this very thread my sarcasm is on display. So, my apologies to everyone on this forum. The truth is I struggle with some of the thoughts expressed here. Going forward I am going to try very hard to draw my inspiration from something said by a friend of mine:

“A place to start: Cut the trash talk. Stifle the snide remarks. Don’t sugarcoat Oregon’s shortcomings but aggressively attack the state’s problems, not its policymakers. Develop workable solutions, regardless of whose idea they are, by finding common ground.” (Dick Hughes)

That’s a tall order. If I slip up feel free to call me on it.

Gregg quotes from a Thanksgiving piece Dick Hughes wrote in the weekly newsletter, Capital Chatter. Most of us could benefit from taking that advice to heart — dropping the gotchas, and working on being able to disagree with someone without vilifying them.

Thank you for commenting, Gregg, and for sharing these good thoughts.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero is on the board of SWTrails PDX, and was the chair of her neighborhood association's transportation committee. A proud graduate of the PBOT/PSU transportation class, she got interested in local transportation issues because of service cuts to her bus, the 51. Lisa has lived in Portland for 23 years and can be reached at lisacaballero853@gmail.com.

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Art Lewellan
Art Lewellan
2 months ago

“Cut the trash talk. Stifle snide remarks. Don’t sugarcoat Oregon shortcomings, Attack-address State problems, not policymakers. Develop workable solutions no matter whose idea by finding common ground.”

Solutions: Authors Ernest Callenbach “Ecotopia” Chris Carlsson “After the Deluge” and Architect Richard Register “Ecocities” design inspired an essay titled “The Walking Communities of 2040”

The essay trash talk is limited to accountability of powerful business interests; the most powerful among whom are travel/transport related. Petroleum is near last on the list because the others don’t care how we power cars as much as that we have no choice but to drive and transport essential commodities the longest distances.

Ecotopia banned private car ownership. After The Deluge (sea level rise), motorized transport was near curtailed. The Walking Communities essay focus is reducing VMT as a condition of an electric supply system and land-use design.
Cut the trash talk most definitely a worthy cause.

surly ogre
surly ogre
2 months ago
Reply to  Art Lewellan

As far as I can tell, Oregon and/or California, Washington is/are the leader of reducing fossil fuel dependence in the USA. we need Gregg Dal Ponte to tell us what he (and OTA) is doing to promote electric / battery / hydrogen trucks. What is being done about improving safety of large trucks to avoid crashes, especially with people on bicycles or walking. What is he and OTA asking ODOT to do to improve safety. Does he think high freeway speed limits help or hurt safety and why? We indeed are all in this together. Some of us have larger roles to play, some of us ride bikes and don’t want to die like Sarah Pliner, on an ODOT orphan highway in an urban setting.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
2 months ago
Reply to  surly ogre

The power we use in Oregon comes predominantly from natural gas and coal which makes us a climate arsonist state. Oregon is a hydro-energy production leader but a large fraction is exported to other states.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

The power we use in Oregon comes predominantly from natural gas and coal which makes us a climate arsonist state.

If we produce 100% of our power from hydro (we don’t), and export all of it, then import an equivalent amount of coal energy from Montana, does that make us a climate arsonist state? By my calculation, no, we’d be a non-emitter.

Electrical potential is even more fungible than dollars; it’s not even logical to consider allocating it the way you have; it can only be considered in the aggregate.

All that said, in my scenario, even if Oregon is a non-emitter state, and even if you have solar panels on your house, it would still be good to reduce your consumption because it would take less coal to power the whole grid (which encompasses Oregon, California, and Montana) if that grid has fewer sinks of potential.

But your statement is not based on science or logic.

pierre_delecto
pierre_delecto
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Electrical potential is even more fungible than dollars; 

I agree completely and this is why spending Oregon energy consumption dollars propping up coal and natural gas plants while claiming a false veneer of greeness is pure garbage logic.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  pierre_delecto

spending Oregon energy consumption dollars propping up coal and natural gas plants

Are we doing that? Again (sticking with my fictional scenario) if we sell our power to CA, and buy it from MT, we’re essentially acting as a conduit for CA to buy MT power.

We could “reduce” our climate impact just by using our hydropower in-state, and letting CA buy directly from MT. The net CO2 emitted would be exactly the same, but somehow we’d be more virtuous. I think.

When I turn on my lights, it is literally impossible to say where the potential I’m using came from. The financial arrangements between CA and OR and MT have no bearing on that.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The financial arrangements between CA and OR and MT have no bearing on that.

The fact that Oregonians paying utility fees fund coal and gas plants has no bearing on the continued existence of poisonous and ecocidal coal and gas plants?
.
OK…then.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

The fact that Oregonians paying utility fees fund coal and gas plants has no bearing on the continued existence of poisonous and ecocidal coal and gas plants?

Only to the extent that not paying them would reduce the amount of coal burned. If we paid our hydropower producers instead, CA would pay MT for the power and we’d be in the same place.

Oregon’s “share” is the net amount of fossil fueled energy we consume. And yes, we consume a fair bit, but not as much as you’d blame us for.

John V
John V
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

For whatever reason I’m unaware of, it made sense for Oregon to sell hydro power to CA at one point. I don’t know, I would suspect it has to do with the HVDC interconnect being constructed and at the time we had more power than we knew what to do with, so we were selling excess. But that’s just a guess.

The fungibility argument can go both ways. If my above wild guess is true, when OR demand increased, we could have been building cleaner energy sources instead of increasing coal power demand. But either way, OR buying coal power contributes to net coal power production. Your suggestion implies the only possible scenario is that OR stops selling the hydro to CA. Maybe the MT buying deals happened before it was feasible to build out alternatives.

But this is all just silly. Climate change doesn’t know about state borders and OR buying coal power means we’re contributing to it. We don’t have to.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  John V

when OR demand increased, we could have been building cleaner energy sources

We have been doing exactly that, and I expect we will continue to do so.

The fungibility argument can go both ways.

I agree; that’s why using less matters even if your home produces enough solar to cover your usage (as I stated earlier).

I also agree this conversation is essentially about accounting, but look at the comment I was responding to that kicked it all off.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

We have been doing exactly that, and I expect we will continue to do so.

This is simply not true.
.
Fossil fuel-derived energy consumption in Oregon over time:
.
2020: 48%
2018: 45%
2016: 45%
2014: 49%
2012: 45%

https://www.oregon.gov/energy/energy-oregon/Pages/Electricity-Mix-in-Oregon.aspx

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Both can be true: a) We’ve been building lots of new renewable generation capacity; and b) Demand is increasing at a rate outpacing our ability to build (thanks to new datacenters and other large consumers of electricity that if not located here would be located somewhere else).

I think we’re again focused on an accounting issue.

Bottom line that I believe we agree on: we need to accelerate the pace at which we’re building renewable generation capacity, reduce demand where possible (but not by delaying the adoption of electric vehicles), and retire coal and methane plants as soon as we can.

You and I see the world very differently, but we’re both Clear Eyed Realists(tm) when it comes to climate change.

cc_rider
cc_rider
2 months ago

At the end of the day, Greg’s organization writes the checks that actually decide ODOT policy. It’s all good while it’s all good, but the next time a pedestrian or cyclist gets obliterated on the St. Johns bridge, or N Columbia, or the hundreds of people who die on State roads each year, the reality is that Gregg’s work and his organization are at least partly responsible because they dictate ODOT policy.

Gregg is obviously paid to not see the benefits of alternative transportation, so it’s not like he’s gonna see the light. It’s kind of embarrassing for him and his organization that he communicates in that way IMO.

Damien
Damien
2 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

It is useless to argue with a man whose opinion is based upon a personal or pecuniary interest; the only way to deal with him is to outvote him.

-William Jennings Bryan

Or:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

-Upton Sinclair
(or so the internet tells me, right next to the invention of the internet being attributed to Abraham Lincoln)

That said, as a recovering political hobbyist/ex-internet warrior, the original comment’s sentiments are worthy of repetition, so I’ll give Gregg credit there and to Lisa for highlighting it.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
2 months ago

This is the guy that in the same comment section pushed the old disproven narrative that roads are paid for exclusively by motorists and therefore they should have priority over cyclists. This is who you are propping up. Good job Bike Portland

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

Roads are paid for largely by motorists and other road users, but it doesn’t follow that drivers should have priority over cyclists (who are often themselves drivers).

We should separate the factual assertion (largely true) from the political conclusions we draw from it.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Roads are not paid for largely by motorists. You have stated this often but have never been able to prove it. This is tiresome. If you wish your statement to be taken as a factual assertion then you must prove it to be a fact.

The cost of building road infrastructure appears to have very little link to the costs levied on motorists. The subsequent cost of maintaining infrastructure is more directly linked to motorist costs, but there is nowhere near enough money from this to properly maintain the built infrastructure.

cc_rider
cc_rider
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

There are also external costs burdened by everyone. A child who grows up next to one of Greggs precious trucking routes who develops asthma will pay in actual costs and poorer health outcomes for the road.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Gregg and the executives at the trucking companies who employ him don’t live anywhere near a trucking route and probably live in nice cul-de-sac far from the negative externalities they lobby for.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

A child who grows up next to one of Greggs precious trucking routes who develops asthma will pay in actual costs and poorer health outcomes for the road.

Yeah, this was very true in the 1960s through 80s, but much less so now as most vehicles burn fuel much more efficiently and cleanly than before, and the lead from gasoline has all been removed. A bigger concern these days are the unregulated gas motors on all those suburban lawnmowers and leaf blowers, the high-altitude pollution from northern China, and the fact that Portland metro is largely in a basin with hills on all 4 sides (compared to Atlanta for example which is largely on an exposed ridge). That’s not to say that highway pollution is negligible, it’s just not as bad or as important as it used to be. I’ve also seen numerous studies that highway air pollution is worst about a half-mile or so from the highway, and not right next to it, though obviously the rumble is worst next to it. And of course the worst air of them all is the air inside your abode and your car.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
2 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

The problem with “cars are cleaner” on a mile by mile basis is that we have 3.5x as much VMT these days as in the 60’s (980b in 1967, 3.28t in 2022).

Meanwhile, weight has gone up dramatically (1982 Honda Civic Station wagon 1900lb, 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback 3000lb) – so with over 3x the VMT, 1.5x the weight for similar cars the tire and brakepad micro particle pollution is up dramatically over the 60’s.

To suggest that the health effects from pollution are not creating enormous external costs is really disingenuous.

You might not want to repeat that around Adoo-Kissi-Debrah.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I think that in any accounting of external costs (which I believe should be internalized wherever possible), you also need to include the external benefits. I’ve never seen anyone try to do this, so I have no idea where the balance is, but we all accrue passive benefit from having a functional road network even if we don’t use it directly.

cc_rider
cc_rider
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I think that in any accounting of external costs (which I believe should be internalized wherever possible), you also need to include the external benefits.

Why? If the question is “how much do roads cost and who pays for it?”, why would benefits be relevant? Getting a benefit from something doesn’t lower the cost.

Chris I
Chris I
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

How much is a human life worth?

Andrew S
Andrew S
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

About $13M

https://www.transportation.gov/office-policy/transportation-policy/revised-departmental-guidance-on-valuation-of-a-statistical-life-in-economic-analysis

There are plenty of ways to refute the methodology, but this is the federal guidance. It would be interesting to hear from someone at ODOT and/or PBOT on how or if VSL (or other external factors) is incorporated into cost estimates for planned projects. I’m not smart on how this is actually considered.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

Pish.

At FEMA’s the official government rate for a human life is 43% cheaper!

Only $7.5 million dollars!

https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-08/fema_bca_toolkit_release-notes-july-2020.pdf

John V
John V
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

That’s not how much a human life is worth, it’s misleading to call it that. That’s some kind of measure of how much profit or money moving around a human might be worth, but that assumes capitalism has any bearing on the actual value of things, which we know it doesn’t.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  John V

That’s not how much a human life is worth

If you believed human life was worth infinity dollars, you would never ride your bike (or do anything) on the remote chance you might kill someone, and no value you could possibly derive from that ride is worth an infinite amount of money.

(tiny tiny probability * infinity = infinity)

So if it’s not worth infinity, it means human life has a dollar value.

Lower yourself a bit and come up with your own estimate.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

In a corporate fascist state like the USA, statistical models suggest a human life is worth several million dollars.

I, on the other hand, fiercely agree with Ernesto G. that “the life of a single human being is worth millions of times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.”

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I, on the other hand, fiercely agree

You certainly don’t live your life as if you believe that.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You certainly don’t live your life as if you believe that.

I was going to disagree but you are correct that I’m not entirely consistent in how I value each and every human being. Nevertheless I think Ernesto G. would have likely agreed with me that the lives of poor people — of the working class — are worth more than the lives of a small number of rich people.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Sounds great; but I don’t believe you believe it.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris I
Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

This is tiresome.

I agree. To refute me, all it would take is a single budget document showing the legislature transferring money to ODOT. As far as I know, no such document exists, but it’s hard to prove a negative.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

As you probably know, these funding streams are too complex to show in a single document. I’ll have a go at making a case though.

Less than 30% of PBOT’s funding comes from user fees at city and state levels.
(See GTR funding at https://www.portland.gov/transportation/budget/overview).

This does not account for Federal user fees like the federal gas tax. The federal gas tax accumulates in the Highway Trust Fund, which fitlers down through ODOT. The Fund has been in deficit for years (see fig 1. at https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R44332). So, money from this source is perhaps only two thirds user fees.

It’s far more complex than a single transfer of money at state level. Most of the above is not happening at state level. But most of the city-level funding is not apparently from user fees, and the main federal user fee (gas tax) is not bringing enough revenue to pay for the highway fund outgoings.

There are a lot of blanks here still, but I’m not seeing how it adds up to “Roads are paid for largely by motorists and other road users”. How about you prove your statement true? Maybe it’s not provable either way, in which case maybe we can agree that it is not clear how or by whom our roads are paid for?

EDIT

To refute me, all it would take is a single budget document showing the legislature transferring money to ODOT

Here is an ODOT budget document showing $552 million in “transfers to ODOT” in sources of revenue for the ’21-’23 adopted budget.

See page 207 of the document (which is page 220 in my viewer)

https://www.oregon.gov/odot/About/Budget/ODOT%202021-23%20Legislatively%20Adopted%20Budget.pdf

Are you happy now? I don’t actually think this is much of a “gotcha”, as I still don’t understand their budget. It could be for services performed for other departments or something. I just wish you would stop making statements that you can’t back up.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

I just wish you would stop making statements that you can’t back up.

I’ll make a deal with you and the other readers of BP. I’ll refrain from making any more statements about the source of transportation revenue if others do as well.

I only bring up the topic in response to someone else making unsubstantiated (and usually false) claims about the transportation budget.

I don’t actually think the topic is particularly important or even interesting — what does it actually tell us? I don’t think the question of whether transportation revenue pays for the roads in their entirety reveals anything about cycling or confers any “moral rights”.

And no, the $552M is not a “smoking gun” — it does not undermine my primary assertion at all. From the same document you cited; search for “552”:

Transfers to ODOT—$552 million. These funds come from dedicated revenues from the cigarette tax, local government match on construction projects, DMV portal fees from NICUSA, and Transportation Growth Management match from Land Conservation and Development. Transfers established by HB 2017 include a privilege tax on new car sales and a bike tax to support Connect Oregon, and a payroll tax to support public transit.  

You should at least be open to the possibility that you can’t prove me wrong because I’m not actually wrong. And as I said above, so what if I’m not? I don’t think the budget proves any larger point.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You should at least be open to the possibility that you can’t prove me wrong because I’m not actually wrong.

Very much so. You could be right. You have not made a convincing case, but you could be right. You just cannot or will not prove it.

the $552M is not a “smoking gun”

I agree. I agreed when I brought it up. Some of the $552m is user fees. Some is not. My whole point is that the budget cannot be simplified to the point you were trying to make about “user fees pay for the roads”.

I’ll make a deal with you and the other readers of BP. I’ll refrain from making any more statements about the source of transportation revenue if others do as well.

You’re offering to stop making unsupported claims if we all just agree to not talk about the subject at all? That’s a terrible deal.

I don’t think the budget proves any larger point.

I don’t actually think the topic is particularly important or even interesting

I’ve been harassed multiple times on the street because I “do not pay for the streets” so should “get off the road”. The budget shows that this accusation in unsubstantiated. Road funding is complex and unclear, and there is a decent chance that motor vehicle users are subsidized by non motor vehicle users. This is important to me. I do not like being yelled at when I’m cycling around. If people had yelled at me “you might not be paying for the streets, or maybe you are subsidizing my driving, but it’s hard to understand the complexity” then I probably wouldn’t be here in this conversation. But her we are. This is important to me. It has apparently been important enough to you to keep replying. Maybe nobody else cares, I do not know.

Damien
Damien
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

If people had yelled at me “you might not be paying for the streets, or maybe you are subsidizing my driving, but it’s hard to understand the complexity” then I probably wouldn’t be here in this conversation.

Irrelevant aside, but to the original spirit of the COTW, I’d absolutely offer to buy someone a beer who yelled something like this at me on the street from a motor vehicle.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

But cyclists are told *constantly* – by Gregg and others – that cyclists have no “right” to cycling infrastructure b/c we don’t pay for it in the same way that motorists supposedly pay for the infrastructure they use.

It’s critically important that smart people debunk the “motorists pay for it” claim – which you make also, all the time – so that we can get to a place where EVERYONE sees that EVERYONE has a stake in creating cycling infrastructure.

Case closed!

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Fred

But cyclists are told *constantly* – by Gregg and others – that cyclists have no “right” to cycling infrastructure b/c we don’t pay for it in the same way that motorists supposedly pay for the infrastructure they use.

You can’t win this argument with a budget document; you’re better off pointing out why the whole premise is flawed.

which you make also, all the time

Because it’s true. And also largely irrelevant.

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You can’t win this argument with a budget document

The budget documents show that funding is complicated and it is unclear the mix of user fees and other funds that pay for roads. I think that has been proven.

Because it’s true

(that motorists pay for insfrastructure)

You have failed to show that it is true. I thought you were going to stop making this unfounded statement? Why do you expect us to just take your word for something that you seem to acknowledge is basically unprovable?

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim

I suggest that the next time someone yells at you on the street, you respond that it’s complicated and there is some federal general fund money in the mix, so, depending on the details of your tax return you may in fact be contributing to the roads through that, and anyway you drive sometimes (if in fact you do), so you pay that way, and maybe via some other as of yet unidentified mechanism, and therefore you have a 5% (or 10%) right to be on the road and you only need that much because of your narrow wheelbase, so please look over these budget documents and you’ll see how complicated it really is.

The driver will probably be long gone by the time you finish your retort, no doubt fearful he’ll get shot by the crazy guy on the bike.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Jay Cee

Yeah I disagree strongly with Gregg’s comments on that thread about funding, but I am glad that he shares his perspective — as long as he does so authentically and with an eye toward being persuasive and listening to other viewpoints respectfully. I really want this to be a place where people with very different views can educate each other, and in many ways I value perspectives that run counter to the assumed positions of “the BikePortland crowd” even greater than others because they are less common around here. This being said, I agree it was jarring to see something from him as Comment of the Week, but I trust Lisa and her judgment.

Travel Guy PDX
Travel Guy PDX
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

Well aren’t they? (Paid mostly by motorists). I’d love to read an unbiased report on what taxes fund road construction and maintenance.

cc_rider
cc_rider
2 months ago
Reply to  Travel Guy PDX

It depends on how you define “pays” and where you cut off for costs incurred.

For the interstate system, the feds paid 90%. Most major road projects will require some amount of federal funding that isn’t the state gas tax or registration

https://highways.dot.gov/public-roads/summer-1996/federal-aid-highway-act-1956-creating-interstate-system

I consider sidewalks a part of the road network, and those are paid for and maintained (ish) by property owners or the developers who made the original dwelling.

Additionally, it’s hard to say motorists are paying for roads when most of the money goes directly to addressing the damage that said motorist do. If you pay $1000 in taxes but do damage that creates $1500 of repairs, can you really say you’re paying for the road?

Asking who is “paying” is kind of silly in the first place. We’ve just chosen to have this “fee for use” model. In reality, all those gas taxes can just as easily go in to the general fund rather than a special highway fund and have the DOT funded that way. Most taxes go to all sorts of things. I pay for schools even though I don’t use them. I pay for parks that I’ll never go to. We live in a society and part of that is paying for things you don’t use that other people need/want.

We can move the buckets around and fund bike infra through a different bucket, maybe take some of the general funds ODOT if it makes cagers feel better, but all its doing is obfuscation.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

all those gas taxes can just as easily go in to the general fund rather than a special highway fund

Not in Oregon, according to our constitution.

cc_rider
cc_rider
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

That can be changed. A whole bunch of car-brained special interest groups funded Measure 1, I’m sure we could find climate-change related groups who would be interested in sponsoring a measure.

I don’t personally care because, like I said, its just shuffling buckets around.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

That can be changed. 

Indeed it can be. But until it has been, the bucket of money used for transportation is kept insulated from the tub of money in the general fund.

That money is not really fungible because we can’t make the transportation bucket smaller (without changing the constitution) or larger (without changing budgeting practice consistent for many decades).

Ryan
Ryan
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

To insert empirical transportation funding data from a local jurisdiction into the conversation…
https://www.washingtoncountyor.gov/lut/transportation-funding

WashCo is an interesting data point because it is responsible for rural roads, some urban collectors and arterials within incorporated areas (cities), and roads of all functional classifications in urban unincorporated areas.

About half the funding pie is gas taxes and vehicle fees. The other big chunk is MSTIP, whose revenue comes from property taxes.

Screenshot-2023-11-28-at-2.13.27 PM
David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 months ago
Reply to  Ryan

MTIP & STIP are a combination of Metro, ODOT, and federal grants.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

MSTIP is something else.

From link above:

Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program (MSTIP): We collect MSTIP funds through property taxes. We use the funds to pay for projects directly, or we use them to leverage other local, state or federal funds.

Ryan
Ryan
2 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Yes. In that graphic above though, MSTIP is not a combination of MTIP and STIP. MSTIP is a separate funding source specific to Washington Co. – https://www.washingtoncountyor.gov/lut/mstip

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago

Interesting. There are 9 comments now as I write, and none of them are even remotely attempting to address the suggestion put forth that maybe trash talking, snide and sarcastic comments are not the best way to further dialogue or to work out real differences.Instead, most seem to attack the author and dismiss what the author says because of his career choice. That is not the best way to sound like anything other than a petulant child. I can only hope the regular posters can do a deep think on why they post and why they more often than not judge ideas not on their merit, but on a percieved bias they see in the poster.

MarkM
2 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Thank you! This is one reason why I stopped posting here. FWIW, I’m the son of a long-haul trucker.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago
Reply to  MarkM

But here’s the thing: Gregg’s invocation of Dick’s quote is a really common, passive-aggressive tactic used in Oregon all the time. Here’s how it works:

  • Person A makes claim;
  • Person B disputes claim;
  • Person A disputes the disputation;
  • Person B supports the disputation;
  • Person A invokes some metaphysical claim that purports to take the argument to some ethereal level that it never had in the first place, thereby inoculating the original claim from any possible defects and – most important – inoculating the claimant from any bad motives.

This tactic is a way of NOT engaging with the issues and especially a way of invalidating all of the points that went against the original claim.

If you actually read the argument Gregg made and then the points the commenters made in response to Gregg’s claim, you would see that the commenters made a really strong case – with actual evidence – that Gregg’s claim did not hold up.

I’m glad Gregg comments here, but he needs to be willing to learn something, just as the so-called “bike people” (his words) should be also. I’m willing to learn from Gregg but his comments seem incredibly narrow and biased, which undercuts whatever else he could teach us about how freight works and what its particular needs are.

cc_rider
cc_rider
2 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

There are 9 comments now as I write, and none of them are even remotely attempting to address the suggestion put forth that maybe trash talking, snide and sarcastic comments are not the best way to further dialogue or to work out real differences.I

I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying at least. My point is “polite disagreement” provides the veneer of niceness but the reality is that Gregg is operating from a position where he can and does actually effect policy and his organization advocates for unsafe and dirty roads that lead to real negative outcomes for real people. At some point, “polite disagreement” just translates to “don’t say mean things about the bad things I do”.

nstead, most seem to attack the author and dismiss what the author says because of his career choice.

His career choice is pertinent to what he says. I wouldn’t expect a rancher to have a reasonable discussion on whether beef tastes good, would you? Part of the reason I said his comments were embarrassing for him is because you’d think someone who is in his position could coherently talk about the subject of road funding and usage without sounding like “Joe who types in all caps on Nextdoor”.

His comments are on par with what I’d expect from someone who has never thought about transportation until they get mad about something in a news article.

I can only hope the regular posters can do a deep think on why they post and why they more often than not judge ideas not on their merit, but on a percieved bias they see in the poster.

LMAO the idea that Gregg isn’t bias is comical.

The reality is that Gregg engaged in what I’d call “shitposting” and then kind of regretted it and did a “can’t we all get along post”. His comments are rude and sarcastic and any sarcasm directed back at him. His lack of response when shown he was wrong makes it even worse. His posts were unprofessional and really drive home that he doesn’t really have any interest in compromise.

His post was vapid and insincere and it’s disappointing that its comment of the week.

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I did not folow the discussion the “comment of the week” came from after it quit talking about the subject which was bollards. I personally am in favor of lockable, removable metal bollards, but that is completely outside the scope of this article.
I do not know what vitriol was exchanged between everyone, nor do I care. I am responding to the part of the discussion highlighted by the comment of the week.
It seems you are still arguing the old discussion and highlighting my point wonderfully by continuing to attack a poster days later rather than respond to the idea being highlighted.
From your comment just now I get that you dislike Gregg and therefore dislike anything written by him and as I pointed out, you are still not addressing the issue that came up.
Seriously, what is there to misunderstand?

cc_rider
cc_rider
2 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

So you are commenting on discussion around a comment for which you have zero context?

It seems you are still arguing the old discussion and highlighting my point wonderfully by continuing to attack a poster days later rather than respond to the idea being highlighted.

“Continuing to attack” What? Perhaps you should read the original thread as you don’t seem to know whats going on. You and I are commenting on a post that was posted yesterday afternoon.

From your comment just now I get that you dislike Gregg and therefore dislike anything written by him and as I pointed out, you are still not addressing the issue that came up.

I don’t have any feelings towards Gregg whatsoever. I’m commenting on the topic of this post. I have no idea why you are talking about the bollards in this post. I’m addressing the content of this post.

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I wasn’t really singling you out. I was addressing the 9 comments that weren’t addressing the quote in the Comment of the Week. You clearly took offense at that and responded to my post trying to….say that you were really responding to this post by talking about a previoius post?
What do you think the topic of this post is?
I read is as focusing on this quote…..
“A place to start: Cut the trash talk. Stifle the snide remarks. Don’t sugarcoat Oregon’s shortcomings but aggressively attack the state’s problems, not its policymakers. Develop workable solutions, regardless of whose idea they are, by finding common ground.” (Dick Hughes)

This is the context I am going off of. Did I miss where you were discussing this?

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
2 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

…but aggressively attack the state’s problems, not its policymakers

attack the state’s problems, but not the people who cause the problems…

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

We’re most likely never going to be attacking the people who cause the problems as few people have the intestinal fortitude to take a good, hard look in the metaphorical mirror.

John V
John V
2 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

It seems you are still arguing the old discussion and highlighting my point wonderfully by continuing to attack a poster days later rather than respond to the idea being highlighted.

Not really. Attacking the ideas of the poster, yes. Not attacking the poster. And the reason it’s coming up again is because context matters. The comment of the week may be a nice sentiment in isolation and anonymized. Sure. But highlighting this comment only serves to distract from the actual arguments being made and it’s just respectability politics.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 months ago

The originating comment thread was frustrating for me to read because commenters were talking past one another–some were talking specifics about PBOT budget, others ODOT, others national stats.

We get what you are saying, but the way this blog is set up, it rewards those of us who do focus on specifics rather than broad introspection – we get more “thumbs up” and replies from other commenters – and so we continue to talk past each other.

MarkM
2 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Earlier this year, in a message to BikePortland, I made the following comments: “But as I’m guessing you know, you can game the Likes in the discussion threads today. I have no idea if the readers who seem to crave attention might be doing this, but I certainly saw some nefarious practices when I was active on IG, e.g, “buying” Likes and Followers, bots, shadow accounts.”

Based on a simple test I just did, it appears this hole still exists. Perhaps it’s because the underlying structure of the BP blog is still WordPress.

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago
Reply to  MarkM

I enjoyed your observations and pictures based on your walks when I was participating more in the discussions. I completely understand why you quit commenting on the site though, its too bad there is a certain orthodoxy that the denizens prefer.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  jakeco969

too bad there is a certain orthodoxy that the denizens prefer.

That’s untrue. Unless you are referring to our preference for people to have good-faith, respectful conversations?

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago

Always count on you for excellent journalism and a wild optimism (which I admire by the way).
3/4’s of this thread is a continuation of previous thread, the few that did address Lisa’s Comment of the Week didn’t take it seriously because someone whose views they disliked used a quote. No one cared to address the quote, they simply ignored it because they didn’t like the viewpoint of the poster. Thats not a serious attempt at conversation. The discussions on road budget were indeed good faith and respectful, but as soon as it wandered into what the thread was about, it dissolved into “Gregg bad so anything he writes is bad.”
The orthodoxy I mentioned is not thinking outside ones comfort level or even seeming to wonder if anyone not in agreement with everything has a valid point to offer. Its not an echo chamber, but several of the prolific commenters have demonstrated they don’t like to challenge their own belief system very much. I don’t know what to call it, but it does exist.

Travel Guy PDX
Travel Guy PDX
2 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I know a rancher who is vegetarian. Just sayin…..

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago

The thread continues with the majority re-arguing a previous thread apparently about who is more to blame, the trucking industry who provides almost the entirety of goods consumed in Portland or the elected officials who Portlanders continue to vote for who are in the pocket of said trucking lobby.
Meanwhile the ideas of listening/reading comprehension, arguementative persuasion and manners have once again gone completely by the wayside.
The world faces an environmental apocalypse that many parts of the world are already experiencing. Large masses of displaced humans all over the globe strive to get somewhere, anywhere where there is a future that has food, water and maybe some easing of the constant violence they are subjected to.

https://time.com/6209432/climate-change-where-we-will-live/

The article is a little sensational, but the essential part is this…….

Our best hope lies in cooperating as never before: decoupling the political map from geography. However unrealistic it sounds, we need to look at the world afresh and develop new plans based on geology, geography, and ecology. In other words, identify where the freshwater resources are, where the safe temperatures are, where gets the most solar or wind energy, and then plan population, food and energy production around that. 

The PNW is where a lot of these resources are and where a lot of these people are going to be coming, as well as fellow citizens driven out from the midwest and southwest. It will be the dustbowl on steroids.
Practicing an ability to listen to other peoples concerns and respond to them coherently is going to be much more important than trying to find some off the wall quote to own the trumpistans or the libtards.
I personally don’t enjoy raising and harvesting our chickens and goats, i’d much rather be hanging out, driving all over, hitting bars, trying craft beers and all the other fun things i did in Portland, but I believe in the coming environmental apocalypse and am preparing myself and my family.
Practicing getting along is hard and it will be harder once enough people are desperate enough.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Nah – you’re overthinking this whole thing. Here’s a summary:

Gregg made a claim that several intelligent commenters debunked. Then Gregg invoked some Higher Rhetorical Power that he would endeavor to follow, in the process impugning the motives of the other commenters.

Does it get us closer to avoiding the climate apocalypse? Nope.

You know what would? Getting more people onto bikes, which is only going to happen when Portland gets serious about providing good places to bike, which it is simply not interested in doing, at the moment.

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago
Reply to  Fred

You don’t get the point at all that the quote Lisa picked is meant to be separate from the whole vitriolic spewing in the previous thread, do you? It’s to stand on its own and be discussed. The commenters can’t seem to break free from the idea that “Gregg said” which shows my point that many here are incapable of separating ideas from the ones presenting the ideas.
My further point is more people on bicycles is good, but not going to change the results of the coming/in motion climate upheaval. Only cooperating and preparation will see any of us through that.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Getting more people onto bikes, which is only going to happen when Portland gets serious about providing good places to bike

We had a lot more people on bikes when there were a lot fewer good places to bike. If there is, as you assert, a causal relationship between those two things, then it runs the opposite direction you claim it does.

360Skeptic
360Skeptic
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Except not really. Because what’s really happened is that we’ve _lost_ good places to bike. The places still physically exist, but they’re no longer good because they have become unsafe in bizarre, unpredictable ways (not just relatively predictable right hooks and left crosses, for example). Or in the case of the Springwater, the 205 path, etc., we can no longer _depend_ on them to be good from one week or month to the next. So the more intuitive causal relationship (not your posited reverse) is still valid, and it’s what the city has abandoned.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  360Skeptic

I take your point, especially about the I-205 and Springwater paths, but elsewhere the network has considerably improved since we hit peak cycling, and the decline in ridership started well before the chaos of recent years, which does not support the notion that ridership rates are dependent on infrastructure. There are other more dominant factors at work.

I still totally support building and improving bike facilities, and it is entirely possible better facilities will attract some additional riders, but I don’t believe that will be near enough to reverse Portland’s decline in cycling. And every time ridership ticks lower, it makes the politics of building new facilities harder.

As I’ve said before, all this works out fine for me personally, as I get to enjoy better facilities that are less crowded. But I don’t see any way we are going to meet our ambitious cycling targets, and I don’t think bikes are ever going to be an important part of reducing our CO2 emissions or pollution profile.

None of this changes the way I behave; I still support bike projects where I can, I still don’t drive to get around town, and I still enjoy riding in Portland.

But it definitely changes my predictions about what the future will look like. I don’t think Portland will ever look like Amsterdam, even if we build canals everywhere.

SD
SD
2 months ago

When someone argues for the status quo, they automatically have two advantages. One, they can claim to be a realist, and two, they can make appeals for a “civil” tone. Both of these approaches can be masks, as they were during this discussion. The premise that we can survive in a world with the unsustainable transportation system that the commenter has embraced and promotes exists only due to a lack of examination. A consensus of lazy thinking. The call for focusing on positives , being polite,, etc. appear innocuous, but also paper over a century of tremendous harm to real people that built a system off of the suffering of people without power.
The comment is the voice of mismanaging a sinking ship, while getting satiated off of the buffet. It is time wasting. No solutions, progress or leadership.

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago
Reply to  SD

This is not a continuation of the previous thread.
No one is arguing for the status quo in this thread. I can see that your bias against the comment of the week poster is such that you can’t look past who that is and focus on what he is saying without attributing negatives to it.
Bias such as this is what contributes to the lack of solutions and progress. The world is fast approaching a reset that the “first world” citizens can’t comprehend and how much trucking flows into Portland won’t affect it at all. Time would be better spent fostering communication and trust rather than divisiveness.

360Skeptic
360Skeptic
2 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

For what it’s worth, my bias against the poster is that he was promoting falsehoods — and likely is paid to do so, given his job. So he was either lying or true-believer delusional. With such a person, “foster[ing] trust” is out of scope.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  360Skeptic

my bias against the poster is that he was promoting falsehoods

Many of the issues discussed here have no objectively right and wrong answers, they are essentially political questions involving tradeoffs that different people might make differently.

But where someone is making demonstrably false statements, the best response is to politely demonstrate they are false by presenting evidence.

SD
SD
2 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

The commenter argued that whatever mode was used by the majority on a street, like Naito, should be the only mode that is supported and developed by the city.

This is the definition of status quo.

jakeco969
jakeco969
2 months ago
Reply to  SD

He argued that in a different thread. This thread was supposed to be about the quote. Are you really that incapable of knowing that? I am honestly curious now why you keep coming back talking about a previous thread.