chris smith

After OTC vote, Metro candidate Chris Smith calls for new highway governance model

Avatar by on April 2nd, 2020 at 3:50 pm

Chris Smith.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Chris Smith is outraged by what just happened.

The Portland Planning & Sustainability Commissioner member, transportation activist, and Metro Council candidate watched this morning as the unelected, five-member Oregon Transportation Commission brushed aside considerable concerns about the I-5 Rose Quarter project and voted unanimously to let the Oregon Department of Transportation move forward without any further objective analysis.

In response, Smith wants to strip the OTC of its powers to oversee urban highways. Here’s the statement he just shared with us:[Read more…]

Regional leaders greenlight $129 million for I-5 Rose Quarter project

Avatar by on March 26th, 2020 at 3:59 pm

PBOT Director Chris Warner re-affirmed his agency’s support of the project.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’re at that awkward stage in a highway mega-project when the agency in charge is under a cloud of controversy and still (after years of planning) doesn’t have an official endorsement to start construction, but still wants money to keep the project moving forward.

Of course I’m talking about the Oregon Department of Transportation and the I-5 Rose Quarter Project. And it seems whenever I do, there’s growing skepticism and concern from regional leaders about it.

Here’s the latest…
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Chris Smith: Why I’m running for Metro District 5

Avatar by on February 6th, 2020 at 12:53 pm

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Governor Brown asked about I-5 Rose Quarter project at City Club event

Avatar by on January 27th, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Governor Brown and moderator Colin Jones at the City Club event today.

Governor Kate Brown spent about an hour with members of the City Club of Portland today. At the event, a preview of the 2020 legislative session, Brown fielded two questions about the controversial I-5 Rose Quarter project.

As we reported Thursday, the Oregon Department of Transportation and their bosses at the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) are facing an intense barrage of questions and concerns from elected officials and community groups over their plans to expand I-5 between I-84 and I-405.[Read more…]

Guest post: Biking away (some of) my Amazon Prime guilt

Avatar by on August 20th, 2019 at 9:49 am

The author on his Benno e-bike.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This story is by northwest Portland resident, Planning & Sustainability Commissioner and devoted civic activist, Chris Smith.

I confess, I’m a heavy user of Amazon Prime. Not in the “I’m too lazy to go to the grocery store” way, but more of a “there’s so much selection, I can get exactly the thing I’m looking for!” way. If I can buy what I need locally, I definitely do.

I’m aware of the potential negative impacts of this convenience: exploitation of workers at Amazon warehouses, impact on local retail and — especially given the focus of my activism — last mile impacts on the local transportation system.

I think I have an answer for that last point: Amazon Lockers.[Read more…]

City of Portland wants to make side guards mandatory on all garbage and recycling trucks by 2022

Avatar by on May 30th, 2019 at 11:50 am

Side guards installed on a garbage truck during a City of Portland pilot project.

It’s been a long time coming, but Portland is finally about to take a big step forward in road safety. The Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS) announced today they’ll propose a change to the City’s administrative rules that would require all garbage and recycling contractors to fill gaps in the sides of their trucks by 2022. The new mandate would apply to about 195 vehicles that currently don’t meet federal safety standards.
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Planning Commission finds ‘missing middle,’ votes for more housing citywide

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on September 17th, 2018 at 1:04 pm

A 1905 duplex on SE 33rd Avenue in Portland. Like many other cities, Portland made these illegal on most lots in the mid 20th century. Photo by Portland for Everyone.

“What do the neighbors have to be afraid of? It’s buildings, people or cars.”
— Chris Smith, Planning Commissioner

An earlier version of this post was published by the Sightline Institute. It’s by BikePortland’s former news editor, Michael Andersen, who started covering the need for “missing middle” housing — especially in Portland’s most bikeable neighborhoods — for us in 2015. We last covered this issue in May, just before the crucial public hearings described here.

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The most provocative housing policy event of this week in the Pacific Northwest started happening four months ago.
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Planning commissioner forces City to defend I-5 widening project

Avatar by on March 2nd, 2017 at 2:53 pm

N Williams Ave Community Forum.JPG-24

Chris Smith thinks widening I-5 in Portland is a big mistake.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Noted transportation activist and Portland Planning and Sustainability Commissioner Chris Smith made a bold move Tuesday night that could have thrown a wrench in the works the State of Oregon’s top transportation priority.

Smith put forward a motion at a work session meeting of the Planning Commission that would have taken the I-5 Broadway Weidler Facility Plan out of the City of Portland’s Transportation System Plan. The TSP is Portland’s road investment guidebook and any major project that wants funding must be listed in it. As we reported yesterday, this $450 million (estimated) project is one of three freeway mega-projects lined up to receive significant funding in the transportation package currently being negotiated in Salem.

Smith was the sole PSC Commissioner to vote against the project when it was passed as part of the N/NE Quadrant Plan (a component of the Central City 2035 Plan) back in 2012. Judging from his pointed remarks about the project Tuesday night, he still hasn’t warmed up to the idea.
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Wonk Nights work! 30 months later, city kicks off bike parking reform

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 23rd, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Bike Parking Wonk Night-7

The crowd of problem-solvers in 2013.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

BikePortlanders may remember that a few years ago, Portland Planning and Sustainability Commissioner Chris Smith approached us with an idea: he felt the city’s bike parking rules needed an update, and wanted help proving it.

So we teamed up with our friends at Lancaster Engineering to host a “wonk night” at which 30 attendees broke into groups and brainstormed ideas for updating the city code that tells developers how to design bike parking and how much of each type to include.

Smith wrote us this week to share some good news: Tomorrow night is the first meeting of the Bicycle Parking Stakeholder Working Group, which has been officially tasked with rewriting the city’s code.

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Commissioner Fritz questions city plan to legalize tiny homes near property lines, a perk currently given to auto storage

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on November 20th, 2015 at 10:55 am

Sally Spear, right, lives in a backyard home in Northeast Portland with her daughter’s family.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Until this week, Portland seemed poised to eliminate one of the many ways it prioritizes housing for cars over housing for people.

For decades, there’s been exactly one way to build a 15-foot-tall structure up to the edge of most Portland property lines: put a car in it.

Want an accessory dwelling unit the same size as a garage? Sorry, that’ll have to be set back five feet from the property line, even if it has no windows or doors facing the property edge.

Bike sheds currently face the same restriction: unlike garages that were designed for cars, bike sheds must be at least five feet away from the property line in all single-family residential zones.

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