lincoln-harrison neighborhood greenway
The inter-neighborhood hostilities over the city’s Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project seem to have reached a new level.
Volunteer activism is alive and well in Portland.
After hundreds of comments, dueling online petitions, and a now-legendary open house that devolved into a “mob scene” takeover, the City of Portland has emerged with a new approach to the Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project.
They have altered their initial plans and — in an effort to assuage naysayers of certain elements of the old plan — have redoubled their efforts to effectively communicate the need for the project in general.
“We are still strongly committed to the project. But it is clear that some additional community engagement is necessary.”
— John Brady, PBOT director of communications
After what was described by readers as an “ugly scene” where some attendees acted with “strong hostility and aggression,” at an open house on Tuesday night, the Portland Bureau of Transportation said they now plan to extend the public process for their Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project.
The main sticking of the project are plans for semi-diverters that would prohibit people in cars from turning onto Lincoln from 50th. Dozens of readers who attended the open house said it was taken over by neighborhood residents who are vehemently opposed to the diverters. In comments (that are still coming in) they recount a “mob” scene where people where being shouted down, intimidated, and ultimately silenced by anti-diverter advocates who allegedly took over the meeting.
Asked today whether the project will continue as planned, PBOT Communications Director John Brady told us that, “We are still strongly committed to the project.” However, Brady added that opposition to the diverters means PBOT needs to make some course corrections. “But it is clear that some additional community engagement is necessary,” Brady added. “We believe we can do this engagement and still implement the project as planned by next summer.”
Remember earlier today when I told you tonight’s PBOT open house for the Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement project might get interesting? Well from what we’re hearing so far, interesting doesn’t even describe it.
I wasn’t there, but several sources are reporting that it was completely bonkers. The crowd that’s vehemently opposed to a diverter at 50th and Lincoln was apparently very aggressive and nearly took over the meeting.
Here’s what what we’ve gleaned so far about how it went from emails, comments and tweets:
“It was a disaster. They never should have agreed to give a presentation and let the pitchforks form around them.”
I’m sensing a disturbance in the Force. Various respected sources and a general feeling of uneasiness in my bones tells me that tonight’s open house for the City of Portland’s Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement project will be very consequential.
In other words, there’s auto traffic diversion on the table — specifically a duo of semi-diverters on Lincoln on both sides of 50th — and a lot of very loud and very angry people are opposed to them. Yes, there are lots of people who support the diverters at 50th, but from what I’ve heard the nos have it.
As we reported last month, the Mt Tabor Neighborhood Association voted 45-5 against the diverters at 50th. And that opposition has continued. Yesterday someone went door-to-door and passed out this flyer:
Remember that opposition to the City’s plans for traffic diversion as part of the Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway project we we warned you about earlier this month? It hasn’t gone away. In fact, it appears to be getting stronger.
At the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s open house for the project just one day after our post was published, we heard that people against the diverters “swamped” people who support them. “By a lot,” our source said.
Then, at their monthly meeting last night, the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) voted 45-5 against one specific part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s proposal: a semi-diverter on both sides of Lincoln at SE 50th. According to a BikePortland reader who was at the meeting, the vote was a motion to oppose the proposed diverter at 50th and Lincoln as currently designed and to request more information and a meeting with PBOT to ask questions and share concerns.
If your understanding of Portland is only through Portlandia episodes or the glowing, brochure-like visions shared in magazines and conference presentations, you might think we ride everywhere on perfect paths while passersby wave at us benevolently.
As real as it may seem, that happens only my dreams (thanks Debbie Gibson).