In election aftermath, Blumenauer resolute on transportation agenda

Rep Earl Blumenauer at opening plenary-3

Blumenauer in 2012.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

As the Republican party takes over our federal government, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer feels like all hope for his transportation and livability agenda is not lost. Reached via phone from his D.C. office yesterday Portland’s popular representative referred to the election results as “personally appalling” and “grim news for the presidency.”

But despite major losses for Democrats, Blumenauer, who won over 73 percent of the vote in Oregon’s 3rd congressional district on Tuesday, is optimistic about the future of “livable communities” — a set of issues and policies he’s built a legacy on during 20 years in office.

In an interview yesterday I asked Blumenauer for his thoughts on the election, whether he’ll work with the Trump administration on a new transportation funding bill, and more. The questions and answers below have been edited for clarity.

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Trump in, Novick out: Recap and thoughts on the election

Eudaly scores upset win for council spot while Clinton's win in Oregon wasn't enough to carry her to victory.
Eudaly scores upset win for council spot while Clinton’s win in Oregon wasn’t enough to carry her to victory.

Last night’s election was full of surprises both nationally and locally. And that’s a huge understatement.

Donald Trump was elected president with 279 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 228 (so far). She becomes just the fifth candidate to lose after winning the overall vote count (her national popular vote margin over Trump was 166,443 as of 7:45 am this morning). His win comes despite — or more likely because of — the fact he was endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan, was dismissed by the political and media establishment, is an unabashed misogynist, told blatant lies throughout his campaign and repeatedly hurled vulgar and dangerous insults at a long list of public figures. Trump also connected strongly with a large voting block of rural white Americans who are fed-up with business as usual in Washington and he offered them a clear and simple choice.

Since last night, Trump and his staff have moderated the fiery tone they had on the campaign trail and both President Obama and Clinton have given respectful and hopeful concession speeches. “Donald Trump is going to be our president,” Clinton said this morning. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

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Portlanders divided sharply by geography on the local gas tax

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The paving and safety projects scheduled to be built with Portland’s proposed gas tax will be spread quite evenly across the city.

But votes on the gas tax definitely weren’t.

Of the 81 Multnomah County precincts in the City of Portland, only 19 tallied “yes” votes between 45 percent and 55 percent. In more than half of precincts, the vote on the 10-cent local gas tax, one of the country’s largest local fuel taxes ever approved by popular vote, was a blowout victory or loss by 20-point margins or even more.

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Comment of the Week: Candidate Eudaly on her transportation background

chloe eudaly

Chloe Eudaly.
(Photo via Eudaly campaign)

We’re always glad to see the subject of a story show up in a comment thread. When the subject of a story happens to be a political candidate on her way to hundreds of thousands of ballots in a few months, that’s even better.

Thursday morning, Portland City Council candidate Chloe Eudaly jumped (politely but authoritatively) into a discussion about her positions on transportation and housing. It was taking place beneath our post about her late surge to make the November runoff against sitting council member and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick.

Her transportation thoughts are, she admitted, weak on detail so far. But they’re strong on credibility — among other first-rate literary references, they included a story about her time biking around Amsterdam with one of the best-known writers about urban bicycling, “Dishwasher” Pete Jordan.

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Late returns push bookseller Chloe Eudaly toward runoff with Novick in November

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Chloe Eudaly.
(Photo via Eudaly campaign)

Looks as if Portland’s sitting transportation commissioner will get to spend the next five months running against the candidate for whom he had nothing but praise Tuesday night.

Commissioner Steve Novick took 43 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, sending him toward a runoff with what many people (including him) seemed to assume would be the relatively well-funded architect Stuart Emmons.

But Chloe Eudaly, owner of the independent bookstore Reading Frenzy and a co-founder of the Independent Publishing Resource Center and the tenant-focused Facebook community The Shed, has spent the last 20 hours first eating into Emmons’s lead, then (at 7:30 pm Wednesday) zooming past him for a lead of almost 1,000 votes.

By that point, Eudaly had 14.8 percent of the vote to Emmons’s 14.2 percent. It was a thin margin, but there are probably fewer than 10,000 votes left to be cast for either candidate (assuming that the two continue to take about 30 percent of the vote between them). Eudaly’s gains over Emmons have been not just growing but accelerating with almost every new release of ballots, making the chances of an Emmons rebound seem slim.

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Ted Wheeler is Portland’s next mayor; new local gas tax will improve streets

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Ted Wheeler crosses Tilikum Crossing during Sunday Parkways in September 2015.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland

Portland’s next mayor is a Multnomah County commissioner turned state treasurer who embraced protected bike lanes and more neighborhood greenway traffic diverters from almost the start of his run for office.

Ted Wheeler was drawing 58 percent of Portland’s primary vote Tuesday night, easily defeating opponents Jules Bailey and Sarah Iannarone, among others.

Wheeler also set himself apart on transportation issues by endorsing a local gas tax to improve Portland streets on the day he announced his campaign — a position that rapidly became conventional wisdom among local politicians and won a narrow victory Tuesday night.

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Five myths and a fact about the gas tax on Tuesday’s ballot

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SW Barbur Boulevard at Capitol Highway. The city’s proposed gas tax would add a sidewalk to Capitol Highway, connecting to Barbur Transit Center. Most Portlanders like sidewalks, so the oil industry prefers to refer to them as “other things.”
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Despite endorsements from big business, small business, every significant mayoral candidate and seemingly every civic or nonprofit organization in town, two major institutions oppose the gas tax on Portlanders’ ballots Tuesday: the oil industry and the Oregonian editorial page.

Last week, a poll showed the measure with a narrow lead. The oil industry responded Wednesday with their latest mailer (the “no” campaign has raised $165,000 so far, half of it from out of state) claiming that a tax on their product would be the worst idea ever.

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Our opinion: Vote ‘yes’ on the gas tax

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Sidewalk to nowhere-2

(Photos by Jonathan Maus and Michael Andersen for BikePortland)

Three years ago, before launching his long, awkward crusade to raise money for Portland streets, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick made a really good point.

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Bike Walk Vote will host ‘meet the candidates’ event Sunday at Velo Cult

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Bob Stacey (Metro Council), Sarah Iannarone (Portland Mayor), and Sam Chase (Metro Council) have all been endorsed by Bike Walk Vote.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Bike Walk Vote, the political arm of Portland’s transportation reform movement, wants to get you some face time with this year’s city council, county commission and Metro council candidates.

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Street Roots survey turns up differing priorities in mayor’s race

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Mayoral candidates Ted Wheeler, left, and Bim Ditson.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Street Roots, Portland’s first-rate paper about homelessness and housing issues, sometimes asks questions about the closely related subject of transportation.

A questionnaire distributed to the mayoral candidates and published last week includes a quick window into the ways different candidates think about mobility issues.

The question:

Please place the following items in order of priority as mayor.

• Increase parking
• Bike infrastructure
• Low­ or no-fare public transit

Here’s what they said:

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One week after forum, Ted Wheeler fields transportation questions

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Portland mayoral candidate Ted Wheeler.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Portland mayoral candidate and seeming frontrunner Ted Wheeler could imagine using decongestion charging to unclog Portland roads but isn’t ready to back a dedicated bus lane on Powell or Division.

He’s also a fan of dedicated bike signal phases and supports “rationing” auto parking as long as it’s done in conjunction with improved transit and biking options, but isn’t willing to specify how that rationing might take place.

Those were the takeaways from a blog post Wheeler put up Monday in response to questions that BikePortland and the advocacy group Oregon Walks relayed to him on Twitter after he was among the candidates to miss a mayoral candidates’ forum about transportation issues last week.

Here’s the full text of Wheeler’s responses. Some of the questions seem to have been paraphrased a bit, but not so much that their meaning was changed.

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