Transportation advocates rally around Commissioner Eudaly as challenger gains momentum

Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly is in trouble.

As Willamette Week reported today, she’s well behind challenger Mingus Mapps in both polling and fundraising and there’s a very real possibility she won’t earn a second term on council.

This reality has set off alarm bells within Portland’s transportation reform circles. As the commissioner-in-charge of the transportation bureau, Eudaly has led several very popular initiatives. Most notably her office created the Rose Lane Project which has the stated goal of reducing commute times for people of color. Eudaly’s vision of streets as places for much more than just car and truck users is also evident in the Safe Streets Initiative, a major undertaking to make public right-of-way more accessible and safer for vulnerable road users and small business customers.

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Dan Ryan wins seat on Portland City Council

Dan Ryan

Dan Ryan earned a seat on Portland City Council by nabbing 51% of ballots cast in the race against Loretta Smith for position 2. Ryan has a lead of about 4,500 votes with just 3,474 uncounted ballots remaining. Ryan will fill Nick Fish’s seat when he moves into City Hall next month.

Ryan is a former Portland Public School board member, graduate of Roosevelt High School in St. Johns, member of many local advisory boards, and former executive director of education nonprofit All Hands Raised.

Before typing anything else, I want to say I dropped the ball on this race. I’m sorry. I regret not getting both candidates on record about cycling and transportation-related issues. In years past we could rely on those issues being part of the campaign dialogue and news cycle. But as transportation has fallen off the list of high-priority topics now dominated by police reform, homelessness, affordable housing, and other important issues; it’s our responsibility to raise the issue.

Now we have a new council member who’s gone largely unvetted when it comes to transportation policy. Ryan (like most candidates these days, unfortunately) doesn’t mention transportation on a list of “strategic priorities” on his website. At the transportation candidate forum held back in March, Ryan’s comments lacked substance and didn’t make it into our lengthy coverage. The only notable stance he’s taken publicly is to oppose ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter project, which he said is “Not OK” because it would lead to, “Spewing emissions on middle school kids,” and “Impinging on the Esplanade.”

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Candidates on Bikes: Mingus Mapps, Chloe Eudaly, Seth Woolley, Keith Wilson and Sam Adams

Left to right: Mingus Mapps, Chloe Eudaly, Seth Woolley, Sam Adams, Keith Wilson.
(Photos: Respective campaigns)

It’s been a tough pill for me to swallow, but the truth is cycling just doesn’t command the same attention in local political circles that it used to. With so many people struggling to put a roof over their head and all the systemic injustice and inequality that has become even more glaring in recent years, it’s understandable that personal mobility doesn’t merit as much attention as it did a decade ago.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t ask candidates for local office what they think about it!

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Portland City Council candidate Mingus Mapps wants to ‘reclaim our streets’

Mingus Mapps
(Photo: Mapps campaign)

Locked in a heated race against incumbent City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and former Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Mingus Mapps has jumped into the Covid-19 open streets discussion.

Eudaly, who’s in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, doubled down on her decision to not adapt our streets to realities of the virus outbreak last week. Eudaly’s position thus far hasn’t changed for nearly a month now and puts Portland further and further outside the mainstream as big and small cities nationwide seize this moment to create healthier streets (see our Monday Roundup for the latest updates).

Mapps’ campaign announced this morning that he wants to “reclaim our streets” and has a “constructive compromise” to offer.

“Mingus Mapps calls on the City of Portland to publicly encourage neighborhoods to apply for block party permits to close down streets in their own neighborhoods,” the announcement reads. “Mingus supports this ‘bottom up’ approach that empowers Portlanders to build social capital and bring neighbors and children outside while also maintaining social distancing. He encourages the City to allow permits to last for up to one week.”

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