Rest in peace, Commissioner Fish

Commissioner Fish at the opening of the Ventura Park Pump Track in July 2012. He was beaming at the sight of so many kids riding in the park.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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What’s wrong with SW Jefferson? Plenty, if you ask Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Fish

Drivers heading west on SW Jefferson get backed-up between 18th and I-405. There’s one westbound lane for driving where there used to be two (the right lane is only for turning).
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

“I bike that every day and I believe it’s made the biking situation worse.”
— Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland

Yesterday a City Council Work Session on the Bureau of Transportation’s Vision Zero program turned into a sharp critique of recent striping changes SW Jefferson Avenue. Commissioner Nick Fish interrupted a presentation by outgoing PBOT Director Leah Treat (her last day is Friday) to share his concerns that a new lane configuration has made conditions worse. Mayor Ted Wheeler, who said he bikes home on the road every day, agreed with him.

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Art Museum’s easement expansion request on hold amid stiff opposition at first Council hearing

The Portland Art Museum says their $50 million expansion plans would create one of our city’s best public spaces — but it’s the existing public space they want to close that has put their project on shaky ground.

Portland City Council held its first hearing on PAM’s Rothko Pavillion project last week. At issue is whether or not the City should amend an existing public easement on SW Madison between Park and 10th that runs between the museum’s two main buildings. PAM’s new pavillion aims to connect the buildings with a new structure that would display art, host events, and serve as its main entrance. The public would be allowed to move through the new structure without buying a ticket; but access would be limited to museum hours (10:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday through Wednesday and 10:00 to 8:00 pm Thursday and Friday) and people riding bicycles or walking dogs would be completely prohibited.

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City Council votes to fund Better Naito and Halsey safety upgrades

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Hales at council this morning.
Hales at council this morning.

What started as a vision of a few tactical urbanists is now officially ensconced in City of Portland policy.

A few minutes ago Portland City Council unanimously agreed to to pass the fall supplemental budget package that included $350,000 for a seasonal version of the Better Naito project. The budget also includes $1 million for upgrades to outer Northeast Halsey Street — funding that will trigger a $1 million match in funds from the Bureau of Transportation to complete the project.

As we reported earlier this week, these two projects emerged from a list of six requests made by the Bureau of Transportation in an attempt to get a piece of a $4 million piece of the General Fund that was up for grabs.

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Fish warns of auto congestion as Council passes ‘Livable Streets Strategy’

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City's rendering for the new Ankeny Plaza, a prototype of their new Livable Streets Strategy.
City’s rendering for the new Ankeny Plaza, a prototype of their new Livable Streets Strategy.

The City of Portland’s transportation bureau got past a key milestone on Wednesday when City Council voted to move forward with their Livable Streets Strategy.

Specifically, council supported the city’s $149,158 contract with consulting firm Nelson/Nygaard to come up with the framework of the strategy and set into motion what we’ve called “a new era of open streets.”

But during Wednesday’s otherwise uneventful council session we got a unexpected preview of the political debate that might lie ahead.

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Portland City Council passes Vision Zero resolution

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Vision Zero’s big day.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A few hours ago Portland City Council unanimously passed a resolution that reads, “No loss of life is acceptable on our city streets,” a phrase that’s part of the city’s larger goal of Vision Zero.

Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick introduced the resolution by calling out naysayers: “I think there are people who assume it’s not possible, people might think accidents happen,” he said. “That is not true.”

Mayor Charlie Hales said the city’s official embrace of Vision Zero isn’t just a soundbite. “This is a serious commitment by the city to say ‘This is our goal and we meant it.'” However, despite requests from advocacy groups, the city did not amend the resolution to set a firm target date to achieve Vision Zero and they didn’t dedicate any specific funding to implement the new policy. (One amendment pursued by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance was passed. It requires the city to take specific steps to prevent racial profiling as new enforcement measures are rolled out.)

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Oregonian editorial calls on city to ‘reconsider its bike ban’ in River View

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river view natural area

River View Natural Area, looking north.
(Photo: City of Portland)

The City of Portland’s defensive legal move to ban mountain biking in Southwest Portland’s River View Natural Area is an unfair breach of trust with mountain bikers, according to The Oregonian’s editorial board.

“River View, where cycling has occurred for years, remained the best city option for serious, if limited, mountain bike trails,” the newspaper wrote in a scathing editorial published online Wednesday. “To that end, cyclists attended meetings, participated enthusiastically in the public process upon which Portland places so much emphasis and trusted the city to act in good faith. The city did not.”

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Portland Commissioner Nick Fish “sad” after getting his bike stolen

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East Sunday Parkways-2

Commissioner Fish on his bike in May 2011.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland bike thieves’ latest victim works in City Hall.

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish got his bike stolen last night. According to an update to his personal Facebook page, Fish parked his bike in the racks in front of 24 Hour Fitness in Hollywood and went in for a workout. When he returned 30 minutes later his bike was gone.

“I have been reading about friends who had their bikes stolen recently,” Fish wrote, “Well, tonight I joined the club.”

The bike, which was locked with a cable lock, was a grey and black Trek hybrid that Fish says he bought with his Obama stimulus check.

Fish isn’t the first high-profile city official to get his bike stolen. Back in September 2013, Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat got her beloved bike stolen after leaving it overnight outside the Portland Building on SW Madison. Fortunately for her, it was recovered a few days later.

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Commissioner Fish: New Forest Park singletrack ‘in the next 9 months’ – Updated

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Family trip to Stub Stewart State Park-20-87

Biking in Forest Park is finally
set to improve.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

City Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversees Portland Parks & Recreation, has just emailed stakeholders a progress report on bicycle access in Forest Park. The statement includes a commitment to build a new, bike-specific singletrack trail in the park within the next nine months.

The update comes two years after Commissioner Fish and Parks & Rec issued a list of “management actions” to move the issue of bicycle access forward. That report was considered a disappointment by off-road biking advocates who had worked within the process for years to improve trail access in the 5,000 acre park because it didn’t include any firm commitments to expand or improve singletrack opportunities.

The management actions, according to Parks, were aimed at getting a better grip on the ecological health, user demographics, and management resources before expanding trail riding options. With those things completed, they are now poised to move forward. There are no more excuses to not improve bicycling in the park.

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Breaking ‘logjam’, City of Portland commits to Gateway Green project

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Gateway Green Kick the Dirt event-6

The Gateway Green site as it looks today.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish announced earlier today that the City of Portland will assume an official leadership role in the Gateway Green project. It’s been over a year since the project has moved significantly forward, but today Fish said the City’s decision to step up with leadership responsibility and financial commitment will help “break the logjam.”

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