Comment of the Week: A powerful critique of the Portland Freight Committee

“Time [the Portland Freight Committee] was sent packing or at least reconfigured”
— Lenny Anderson

Lenny Anderson at opening of a bike parking shelter on Swan Island in 2013.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

My visit to the Portland Freight Committee (PFC) earlier this month led to an interesting revelation: Turns out, members of this influential committee think the use of large freight trucks on North Lombard should be prioritized above everything else. To say the committee is skeptical of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plan to remove two driving lanes to make room for a bike lanes and other updates is an understatement.

Reader Lenny Anderson took notice.

Lenny knows a thing or three about how freight advocacy works in this town. Before retiring in 2013, he spent 13 years improving access to-and-from the industrial district on Swan Island (home to UPS, FedEx, and others). Known to many as “Mr. Swan Island,” one reason Lenny was so good at his job is that he understood the way to move more freight was to encourage bicycling and transit use and remove as many single-occupancy automobile users as possible. “Every two people that ride down here is a semi!” he once said.

Read more

Leaders and activists toast Lenny Anderson, ‘Mr. Swan Island’

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Lenny Anderson retirement party-22

Lenny Anderson shows off his number 85 bus
stop sign as TriMet GM Neil McFarlane looks on.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of Portland’s most successful transportation activists was cheered into retirement Wednesday after 13 years in which he led Swan Island’s transformation into the city’s least car-dependent industrial park.

Lenny Anderson, 67, dropped out of a Ph.D program in the 1970s to work as a folk singer and printing press operator. He later co-founded two newspapers, including a defunct print quarterly for TriMet riders, before carving out a job for himself as the one-man Swan Island Transportation Management Association. In that role he become a tireless advocate for encouraging Swan Island’s 10,000 employees to get to work by bike, bus, or shuttle — anything other than in their cars.

Read more

Stalwart Swan Island transportation advocate Lenny Anderson announces retirement

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-10

Lenny Anderson, shown here at the
dedication of a biking and walking
path on Swan Island in 2010, is retiring.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Lenny Anderson, one of the most outspoken and effective transportation advocates in Portland, officially announced his retirement this morning.

Lenny had served as the executive director of the Swan Island Business Association for 14 years but he’s been best known in local transportation circles as the head of Swan Island’s Transportation Management Association (TMA), an organization he founded in 2000. In that role, Lenny was a fixture in countless transportation policy debates and projects. From sidewalks to bike paths and bus lines, the results of his efforts are evident all over Swan Island.

Read more

More criticism leveled at proposed Greenway Trail route

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“N. Greeley as an alternative to the Cement Road is unacceptable. The trail is to be a Willamette River Greenway Trail, not a tour of a truck route.”
— NPGreenway statement

The alignment for the North Portland Greenway Trail project being proposed by the Portland Parks & Recreation bureau is continuing to draw sharp criticism from activists and advocacy groups.

PP&R is hosting an online comment form to get feedback, and — as the comments to our story yesterday make clear — many people are not impressed that several segments of the proposed alignment use heavily trafficked streets and conventional bike lanes. The idea of a “trail” — or what I prefer to call a path — is that people can expect a dedicated, non-motorized facility away form the dangers and stresses of automobiles.

Read more

Advocates celebrate a new path onto Swan Island

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-2

A Breakfast on the Bridge was held
Wednesday to celebrate the newly revamped
path on the Going Street Bridge.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Yesterday was a good day for Lenny Anderson. For a man well-known to local politicians and city employees as a persistently unsatisfied advocate, he was smiling and singing the Bureau of Transportation’s praises.

“I’ve got to give them credit, the city really came through this time.”

The reason for Anderson’s happiness (besides the presence of friends, coffee, and pastries) is an improved connection for biking and walking traffic to the Swan Island industrial area on its main artery, N. Going Street.

Read more

Packed crowds at Metro CRC hearing

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

[NOTE: Read the comments below this article for thoughts and perspectives from readers that attended the hearing.]

metro hearing on the CRC-2.jpg

The Metro Council faces a packed room for
an important hearing on the CRC project.
(Photos © J. Maus)

A packed crowd has assembled at Metro Headquarters in northeast Portland for a public hearing on the Columbia River Crossing project.

Over 60 people have signed up to speak and extra chairs have been brought out to accommodate everyone. Faces in the crowd include Coalition for Livable Future’s Jill Fugilister, notable critic of the project Ron Buel (he’s the guy that wants to bury the I-5 freeway), veteran transportation activist Jim Howell (he played a role in the defeat of the Mt. Hood Freeway), former City Council candidate Chris Smith, and others.

Read more

BTA at a crossroads with Columbia River Crossing project

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“Moreso than any other project I can think of, this project has had the most divergent set of opinions within the BTA in a long time… We are still having a hard time stating our positions.”
BTA executive director Scott Bricker

After a year of working in good faith with the staff of the Columbia River Crossing project, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance finds themselves at a crossroads.

Despite the project’s contentious details, its potential ramifications for regional environmental impacts and massive funding implications, the BTA has remained on the sidelines of growing concerns about the project. Instead of opposing it, they have remained a supportive part of the massive planning effort that has been likened to “a train that no one wants to step in front of”.

When the BTA held a forum on the CRC last month they featured presentations from supporters of the project (one was a CRC project staffer and the other was BTA co-founder and Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder — who’s support of the project is the focus of a cover story in the Willamette Week).

Read more

North Portland greenway trail moves toward vision

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

[Potential trail would go
near University of Portland.]
Photo: Scott Mizee/npGreenway

Last night in North Portland the community got an update on npGreenway’s vision for a new riverfront trail that will someday link the St. John’s Bridge to the Eastbank Esplanade.

A group of of about 25 citizens, trail advocates, and neighborhood leaders came together to offer feedback, find out how to get involved with the effort, and get the latest scoop.

npGreenway recently completed their “vision” map with a grant from the North Portland Trust Fund, and they have been active in workshops and planning with the City’s River Plan project.

Read more

Salem gets bike bridge, what about Portland?

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

[Salem will convert this
bridge to bike/ped only.]
Photo: City of Salem

Back in November, I got an email from City of Salem project coordinator David Skilton. He wanted to share news that they’re converting an old railroad bridge on the Willamette to a bicycle and pedestrian-only crossing.

The Salem project sounds exciting. It’s got federal funding, is likely to get $1 million from ODOT Transportation Enhancement funds, and it just received its first private grant (from the Cycle Oregon Fund no less).

Read more