“An avid cyclist, Jesse knows it’s wrong to take $20 million from sewer ratepayers already suffering from 95% increases this decade to pay for bike improvements.”
— From Cornett’s voter pamphlet statement
City Council candidate Jesse Cornett is in a race to unseat Commissioner Dan Saltzman. Not surprisingly, Mayor Sam Adams’ plan to divert $15 million in the Bureau of Environmental Services budget for construction of bike-friendly Green Streets is becoming a political football in that race.
It’s a challenging issue for Cornett. A regular bike rider himself, he’d like to be seen as the bike-friendly candidate. But, he is also is not immune from the tremendous amount of negative publicity Adams’ plan has gotten. Adams’ BES/PBOT/Green Streets plan has been widely criticized as a backroom deal that swapped “sewer money” for “bike lanes.” Portland Mercury news editor Matt Davis even called out the plan in a speech at City Club recently titled, “Blood in the Bike Lanes.”