Special coverage of the 2007 Legislative Session

You can also read about the BTA’s legislative efforts on their website.


TriMet lobbies for more freeways in a misguided ‘fix’ for Portland congestion

Posted on February 22nd, 2017 at 9:25 am.

I-5 traffic from N Skidmore.jpg

Don’t believe the hype.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is a guest post from former news editor Michael Andersen.

The top executive of Portland’s mass transit agency said this week that the Portland region has four top transportation priorities, and three of them are to expand capacity of urban freeways.

[Read more…]

Here are the Oregon House bills we’re following this session (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on February 21st, 2017 at 1:36 pm.

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-1

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The 2017 Oregon Legislative Session is well underway and we’re following as many bills as humanly possible (in a one-person newsroom).

Out of the thousands of bills swirling around the halls and meeting rooms of the state capitol building in Salem, there are few of particular importance to transportation reform advocates. Last week we shared the Senate bills we’re following and below are the House bills we’ve got an eye on…

House Bill 2355

Summary: “Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to develop method for recording data concerning officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops” (Official overview)
[Read more…]

The legislative session, The Street Trust, and you (a three-part series)

Posted on February 1st, 2017 at 2:25 pm.

For Every Kid Coalition.jpg

The Street Trust is part of a large coalition of nonprofits working to make sure the upcoming transportation package gets passed with adequate funding for biking, walking and transit. Safe Routes to School funding will be a major focus.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

(Note: This article is written by Gerik Kransky, policy director for The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance). It’s the first in a three-part series about their work on a major funding package that will be debated during the 2017 Oregon legislative session.)
[Read more…]

This simple bill will make it easier for cities across Oregon to lower speed limits

Posted on January 12th, 2017 at 3:21 pm.

New 20 MPH Sign

Cities know best.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Interstates and urban highways are one thing; but why should the State of Oregon be able to tell cities and counties how to set speed limits on local streets?

It’s a question that has irked City of Portland transportation officials for many years and one that has grown in importance as Vision Zero has emerged as a top priority. Speeding is the top factor that determines whether someone lives or dies in a traffic collision, so it’s no surprise that cities want to do everything they can to keep it under control. But under current law the Oregon Department of Transportation wields nearly complete oversight of speed limits. With just one narrowly-defined exception (more on that below), ODOT gets first and final say about how fast people can legally drive on every street in Oregon.

That might be changing thanks to a bill making its way through the legislative process in Salem.

Currently, the one exception to ODOT’s oversight of speed limits is on residential streets that have been engineered specifically to prioritize vulnerable roadway users. Cities and counties won the right to lower the speed limit on residential streets (a.k.a. “neighborhood greenways” in Portland) to 20 mph in the 2011 legislative session.
[Read more…]

Amid talk of congestion relief, Salem Dems reboot transportation bill talks

Posted on April 18th, 2016 at 12:44 pm.

Speaker of the Oregon House Tina Kotek

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The 2017 Oregon legislature hasn’t even been elected yet, but state House and Senate leaders are getting ready for another try at a transportation bill.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, and House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-North Portland, told the Salem Statesman Journal that they’re planning another “bipartisan, bicameral legislative committee” to start negotiating a deal that would presumably include a statewide gas tax hike.

[Read more…]

As state law passes, the fight for affordable proximity moves to City Hall

Posted on March 4th, 2016 at 12:36 pm.

trauma

A rally last fall to better protect Portland tenants from displacement.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After years of fighting, a “grand bargain” on affordable housing passed Oregon’s legislature this week. But it won’t begin shaping Portland’s bikeable neighborhoods until after the city council takes action of its own.

Representatives for Mayor Charlie Hales and his council colleague, Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman, say that plans to do so are already underway.

Any city plan seems certain to include some level of “inclusionary zoning,” a measure that could require that up to 20 percent of units in some new buildings be sold and/or rented at discount prices to people who make less than 80 percent of the median income. (As of 2015, that 80 percent figure means that a family of three that makes less than $52,950 would qualify for the reduced-rate units.)

[Read more…]

Negligent driving bill won’t pass this session

Posted on March 3rd, 2016 at 1:52 pm.

“Split second motor vehicle responses should not lead to a felony.”
— Eric Deitrick, legislative rep for Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

A bill that would have increased the consequences for people whose negligent driving resulted in a serious injury of a vulnerable road user has ran out of time.

After sailing through the Senate Judiciary committee on a 4-1 vote, SB 1553-B easily passed the full Oregon Senate on February 26th. The bill was lining up support and was expected to do well in the Oregon House, but then Salem politics got in the way. We confirmed this morning that with just a few days left in the shortened legislative session, the bill is stuck in committee and it won’t move forward.
[Read more…]

BTA and environmental groups line up against bill that could boost bus service 42%

Posted on February 10th, 2016 at 2:08 pm.

First snow day of 2014-1

The proposed tax hike would be enough to upgrade
20 bus lines to frequent service.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A coalition of transportation and environmental groups is opposing a payroll tax that would create a massive boost to TriMet bus service.

As reported Wednesday by The Oregonian, they’re doing so because the tax would fall flatly on both rich and poor workers, like TriMet’s existing payroll tax does.

The main differences: unlike TriMet’s employer-side payroll tax of 0.7337 percent, which is invisible to employees, this tax of 0.185 percent would appear on paychecks alongside Social Security and Medicare; and the revenue could be spent only on bus service, unlike other payroll taxes that have been earmarked for new rail service, bus service or construction projects.

[Read more…]

‘Negligence gap’ bill passes committee 4-1, now heads for Senate vote

Posted on February 10th, 2016 at 1:37 pm.

prozanski

Senator Floyd Prozanski ferried
the bill through committee.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 to pass a bill that would revise existing law and create a new crime for negligent motor vehicle operators.

As we reported yesterday, Senate Bill 1553 would add one sentence to the list of behaviors that could result in someone charged with violating ORS 163.165. The sentence reads, “[A person commits the crime of assault in the third degree if the person:] With criminal negligence causes serious physical injury to another who is a vulnerable user of a public way by means of a motor vehicle.”

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office is pushing for this new law out of frustration over cases where someone causes serious physical injury due to their negligent driving and is able to walk away with only a traffic ticket. The new crime would come with a felony charge punishable by a maximum of 11 months in jail for the most egregious cases. The DA’s office say they anticipate most of the cases will result in probation and a restitution payment plan to the victim overseen by a parole officer. In total the law is estimated to be triggered in about 15-16 annual cases statewide. [Read more…]

Lawmakers hear testimony on bill that would fill driving’s “negligence gap”

Posted on February 9th, 2016 at 11:20 am.

corkett-salem

Julia Corkett’s son had his leg severed by a man who
made a dangerous left turn. She testified about it
in Salem yesterday.

A man’s decision to make a dangerous left turn in front of Alistair Corkett back in May led to a horrific outcome. The 22 year-old’s leg was severed from his body. Barry Allen, the man who was at fault for Corkett’s life-changing injury, was only given a traffic ticket.

If Corkett had died in the collision, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office would have pursued criminal charges which would not only have provided some level of justice for the community but would have allowed Corkett’s family to seek restitution from the state. However, because Corkett “only” suffered an injury, the DA did not pursue criminal charges.

Back in October at a BikePortland event that was inspired by Corkett’s case, Multnomah County DA Rod Underhill did not mince words when expressing his frustration. “It pissed me off. I’m angry. It just doesn’t seem right. We need to change the law.”
[Read more…]