Big day at City Hall affects pedicabs, taxi safety and backyard homes

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Commissioner Fritz.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A flurry of end-of-year activity at Portland City Hall Wednesday led to changes in three different stories we’ve been tracking on BikePortland.

With Commissioner Amanda Fritz playing a key role in all three votes, the council agreed to delay changes to pedicab rules that would have required pedicab operators to hold driver’s licenses and have a year of continuous driving experience; to require a one-time “defensive driving” training for taxi, Lyft and Uber workers rather than retrainings every two years; and to allow small accessory dwelling units to be built near the edge of properties as long as they’re no larger than the garages that have long been allowed near property lines.

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New rules would require Portland pedicab operators to drive cars and carry car insurance

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Filmed by Bike 08-29.jpg

A night ride.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

“Half my guys don’t even have driver’s licenses — in fact, I don’t have a driver’s license.”
— Kyle Kautz, owner at PDX Pedicab

Three weeks ago, a task force convened by Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick released a new set of regulations for “for-hire vehicles” like taxis, Lyft and Uber.

Also included in the new rules: pedicabs — but the rules for those seem to have been written mostly with copy-paste buttons.

The result: According to code now under review at city council, car-free Portlanders would need not apply for pedicab jobs.

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Photo of the Week: DeFazio and Oberstar’s pedicab ride

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As we mentioned yesterday, Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) is currently on a tour promoting job creation through transportation infrastructure spending. Before coming to Portland, Oberstar stopped in Eugene to take a tour of stimulus funded projects. Joining him on the tour was Eugene Congressman Peter DeFazio. To get around, the two hopped in a pedicab from Emerald City Rickshaws which was pedaled by Portlander Ryan Hashagen (who owns Portland Pedalworks, the two businesses are sister companies).

Check the photo below the jump…

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Saltzman creates new pedicab committee to oversee policy changes

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Ryan Hashagen, owner of
Portland Cascadia Pedicabs.
(Photos © J. Maus)
-Video below-

Today in City Council chambers, Commissioner Dan Saltzman proposed an amendment to the City of Portland’s proposed changes to the Private For Hire code. The amendment, which passed unanimously, will create an ad-hoc committee to address the issue of how the City regulates pedicabs.

Last month, we reported that one local pedicab business owner, Ryan Hashagen of Portland Cascadia Pedicabs, was very concerned that the new code would have a negative impact on his business.

The City issued a statement refuting Hashagen’s concerns, but that didn’t stop Hashagen from swinging into action. He organized fellow pedicab owners, he rounded up pedicab operators to testify at City Hall, he did the local media circuit, and he met with Commissioner Saltzman to present his concerns.

Now it seems like Hashagen’s work has paid off.

According to Hashagen, the new committee would include representatives from pedicab companies, pedicab operators, the BTA, PBOT, the Police Bureau and the Revenue Bureau. The committee will be tasked to meet and come back to Council within 60-90 days with revisions to the current Private For-Hire code, or Hashagen says, “Maybe even an entirely new set of codes specific to pedicabs.”

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Pedicab operator allegedly run down by man in a car; suspect still on the loose

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“If I would have been a pedestrian or on a regular bike, I would have been dead…I feel like an attempt was made on my life. I told the cop I was assaulted but for some reason this was put on the backburner. They told me my case was placed at a low priority.”
— pedicab operator

Last Saturday night at about 2:30 a.m., a pedicab operator was allegedly run down by a man driving a late-model Mercedes while riding east on NW Davis Street in downtown Portland.

The woman, who has requested anonymity because she fears her safety and her job, says the impact from the collision caused her to “fly about twelve feet backwards through the air and land on the ground.”

A witness says the car was traveling at about 40 miles per hour. The impact left the pedicab smashed, but the woman was miraculously unhurt.

I spoke with the victim this morning and she is still in shock and disbelief — not just because of the crash and its aftermath, but because she feels the Police Bureau has not responded adequately to a situation she says could have easily ended in a fatality.

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City refutes pedicab owner’s allegations

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Pedicab company
operator Ryan Hashagen.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Last week, we published an interview with Portland Cascadia Pedicabs owner Ryan Hashagen. In it, Hashagen shared serious concerns about new policies being crafted by the City of Portland’s Revenue Bureau that would bring pedicabs under regulation for the first time.

Hashagen told BikePortland, and many other local media outlets, that if the regulations went forward as currently proposed he (and other pedicab company owners and pedicab operators) would “cease to operate”*. Hashagen feels that they have not had enough time to digest proposed changes and influence the policy-making process.

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Pedicab business owner concerned about proposed regulations

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Ryan Hashagen, owner of
Portland Cascadia Pedicabs, is
concerned about new regulations.
(Photo © J. Maus)
-Video below-

The City of Portland is currently in the process of updating their “private for hire transportation” policies. As part of this update, and partially at the request of local pedicab operators, they will also be regulating pedicabs for the first time.

The growth of pedicabs has skyrocketed in Portland in recent years in large part due to new businesses like PDX Pedicabs and Portland Cascadia Pedicabs.

Ryan Hashagen, owner of Portland Cascadia Pedicabs, is all for new regulations. He wants pedicabs to be treated as legitimate businesses and he wants customers to know they’ll be assured a safe ride. Hashagen knows all to well about the importance of safety. In August of 2008 one of his Seattle-based pedicabs was involved in a crash that left a 60-year old man dead.

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Pedicab company offers audio tour of Old Town

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A PDX Pedicab in action.
(Photo by dvanhorn/Flickr)

Here’s a cool, pedal-powered activity for your summer house guests…

PDX Pedicabs and the Old Town/Chinatown Neighborhood Association have teamed up to produce a 45-minute audio tour that they say will take pedicab passengers, “back through the layers of Old Town history”.

This new “eco-tour program” is made possible by pedicabs that have been outfitted with an audio system that plays a presentation written by “neighborhood insiders and cultural specialists”.

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Free Pedicab Rides on Free Cone Day

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The Best Day Possible to be from Portland

Imagine a day when local celebrities provide FREE rides only to be delivered to Ben & Jerry’s for a FREE Cone. Well dream no longer because Pdx Pedicab has partnered up with Ben & Jerry’s, New Avenues for youth, and the One Campain to provide

FREE rides on FREE cone day April 29th from noon – 8pm. Simply call 503-Pedicab from within the city limits to be picked up and swept away to ice cream delight.

The two Ben & Jerry’s locations being served are:

Ben & Jerry’s
301 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR

Ben & Jerry’s
524 SW Yamhill St, Portland, OR

To request a ride to one of these locations simply call 503-Pedicab (503-733-4222). Also there will be some celebrity riders giving rides throughout the day:

Commissioner Sam Adams 1pm – 2pm

Ryan Christiansen
Founder Same Underneath Clothing Company