NW Portland Week

Welcome to our special coverage of northwest Portland.

The stories below were produced between April 11 ~ 15th, 2016 as part of a focused look at biking in this part of the city.

Thank you for helping us make NW Portland Week a success!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 19th, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Get Together NW Portland Week-10.jpg

Some of the crowd at our Get Together on Friday.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

20 stories, hundreds of images and many new friends and discoveries made for a highly successful NW Portland Week. Thank you for reading and contributing (I think the comment threads were as interesting and valuable as our reporting). And a special thanks goes to our 250 subscribers. Their monthly payments are what make these special reporting projects possible.

So, what did we learn?

We learned that northwest Portland has more potential when it comes to bike access investments than any other part of the city. And if you think those investments would only target “the rich” you might want to read Michael’s excellent story that debunked that myth.
[Read more…]

NW Portland’s best secret routes, hang-outs, and other cool things

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 15th, 2016 at 4:44 pm

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NW Cornell road just below Upper Macleay Park.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

How often do you just bike around the city and take the time to slow down and see everything? Not just traffic or street signs but everything. These special weeks when we focus on one part of the city give us the opportunity to let a place soak in. Over the past five days I’ve discovered lots of cool stuff about northwest Portland (I hope you have too!). I’ve found new shortcuts I never knew existed, made a few new friends, and have gained a much deeper understanding of this beautiful, historic, and thriving part of our city.
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Portland’s best model for population growth without catastrophe is right in front of us

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 15th, 2016 at 3:52 pm

2018 NW Everett Street, built 1910.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

Portland’s “huge population boom” and “explosive growth” have driven such a painful housing shortage that it’s not uncommon these days to hear Portlanders wish the city would stop creating so many jobs.

Since 2008, the city’s population growth rate has been about 9,000 net new residents per year, or 1.5 percent.

But when many of the buildings that continue to define northwest Portland were built, Portland’s population was growing by 7 percent every year for years on end. In the decade of the 1900s, the city that started at 90,000 residents added 11,679 new ones every year on average.

[Read more…]

New Flanders Bridge or not, crossing I-405 is about to get easier

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 15th, 2016 at 2:16 pm

NW Portland Week - Day 5-10.jpg

NW Couch where it crosses I-405. Riding through here you must keep your head on a swivel and scoot quickly across three intersections (two of which have no traffic signal).
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

Eight years ago, when former Mayor Sam Adams made his case to re-use the old Sauvie Island Bridge as a new crossing of I-405 at NW Flanders Street, one of his chief arguments was safety. Adams and Portland Bureau of Transportation staff convinced Portlanders that the nearby crossings at Burnside, Couch, Everett and Glisan, were inherently unsafe for bikers and walkers.
[Read more…]

People on Bikes – NW Portland edition

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 15th, 2016 at 10:34 am


(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

Here’s what cycling — and the people who do it — look like in northwest Portland. [Read more…]

A lost scrap of NW Portland history: How a fortune cookie helped save Thurman Street

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 15th, 2016 at 9:52 am

Dragonfly Coffee House on NW Thurman.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

Thurman Street is the last neighborhood north where you can find the sort of stuff that, for a lot of people, make Portland Portland.

One block north of the Food Front Cooperative Grocery and the gluten-free bakery Dessert Labs, you hit the Holiday Inn Express. Then come the railroad tracks, warehouses, gravel distributors, floodplains and eventually just trees to the end of the earth, or at least to Scappoose.

Walking down Thurman Street itself is so rewarding that one of Portland’s most famous residents wrote a whole book about it. They keep a copy behind the reference desk at the branch library on NW 23rd and Thurman: Blue Moon over Thurman Street, published in 1993 by the novelist Ursula K. Le Guin and the photographer Roger Dorband.

[Read more…]

Exploring biking’s potential in the Northwest Industrial District

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 14th, 2016 at 2:06 pm

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Can you see the potential in this decommissioned railroad right-of-way on NW Front?
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: riding a bike in the Northwest Industrial District is not for the faint of heart. I enjoy it only in an Escape-from-New-York-get-my-adrenaline-pumping-urban-assault kind of way. But if you stop and look and allow yourself to dream you can see vast potential.
[Read more…]

The Flanders Crossing could be the city’s best bridge project in many years

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 14th, 2016 at 9:32 am

flanders bridge span

As part of a new neighborhood greenway, a small biking-walking bridge here would be expected to carry five times as many people a day as Tilikum Crossing’s average weekday bike count.
(Photos: M. Andersen/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

Someday, quite possibly two months from tomorrow, northwest Portland will finally land the biggest bike infrastructure investment in its modern history.

The Flanders Crossing bridge across Interstate 405 came close to reality eight years ago, then died amid shifting details and election politics. But it’s too good an idea to stay dead — and events of the last few weeks suggest that it may be on the edge of a breakthrough.

[Read more…]

The lower Northwest District is Portland’s invisible capital of bike commuting

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 13th, 2016 at 4:38 pm

invisible capital

Hidden in this street is an important lesson about bike transportation in the United States.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

Almost every map or chart you will ever see of “where people commute by bike” is incomplete.

Nineteen times out of 20, it’s based on only half of the picture: the locations people commute from. In the United States, we make almost no effort to calculate where people are bike-commuting to.

Little-known fact: according to the best data available, almost nowhere in Portland brings in a larger percentage of its commuters by bicycle than the lower section of Northwest 21st and 23rd, between Marshall and Burnside.

[Read more…]

Troubled past, hopeful future for neighborhood greenways in northwest Portland

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 13th, 2016 at 1:51 pm

NW Portland Week - Day 1 ride-52.jpg

NW Raleigh was set-aside as a bike street by the City of Portland in 1999. Today it’s a neighborhood greenway in name only that has exceedingly high auto volumes and none of the safety features common in other parts of the city.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

When you browse over to the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s neighborhood greenways website and follow the links to the list of current projects you’ll see that northwest is the only one of the five quadrants that has this sad note next to it: “PBOT currently does not have any new neighborhood greenway projects in Northwest.”
[Read more…]