A guest perspective on the PBOT street fee: Brian Willson

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Brian Willson-14-13

Brian Willson, photographed in June 2011.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Publisher’s note: This guest opinion is part of our ongoing coverage of City of Portland’s efforts to pass a “Transportation User Fee.”

Submitted by S. Brian Willson, a Woodstock neighborhood resident


I am a nearly 73 year-old double BK amputee who handcycles to most of my engagements, meetings, events, etc, in Portland. I’ve handcycled about 70,000 miles over the past 16 years. Though I drove for many years with hand controls, I chose to get rid of my automobile and driver’s license as part of my commitment to reduce my direct reliance on fossil fuels, cars, and excessive carbon dependence, in conformity with Portland’s Climate Action Plan.

How does the Street fee contribute to Portland’s transportation goals in the Climate Action Plan? And even city officials acknowledge that it’s not nearly sufficient to meet our estimated transportation funding needs.

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Local antiwar activist Brian Willson recovering from collision

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Willson’s Varna handcycle was damaged in a June 3 crash.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Brian Willson, a widely known veteran of the Vietnam War and the movement to end it, is on the mend after a June 3 crash at the corner of Southeast 51st Avenue and Clinton, not far from his home.

Willson, who we profiled in 2011 when he published an autobiography and set off on an 1100-mile hand-powered book tour, said he was northbound, waiting his turn at the stop sign of that intersection, when a woman driving an SUV heading west on Clinton “turned the corner sharply, but directly into me rather than into the correct southbound lane, going about 15 mph.”

It was a difficult experience for the lawyer and longtime peace activist, who lost his lower legs in 1987 while lying on railroad tracks in protest of U.S. arms shipments to Central America. His insurance and the woman’s are covering the physical damage to his body and handcycle, he wrote, and he’s waiting for the outcome of a pain-and-suffering settlement.

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