Portland’s Platinum downgrade petition finds support, nears 500 signatures

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Looks like the grassroots effort to get a national organization to officially downgrade Portland from its lofty Platinum bicycle-friendly status has some legs. Nearly 500 people have signed on in under two days.
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Not only have petition authors Will Vanlue and Paul Jeffery struck a chord with Portlanders, they’ve also succeeded in getting major local and national attention for the idea. Today at noon Vanlue will join League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud radio show. Bicycling, a large national magazine has picked up the story. And, closer to home, The Oregonian has covered it too.

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Petition launched to strip Portland of ‘Platinum’ bike-friendly status

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Petition at Change.org.

It’s been nearly seven years since the League of American Bicyclists bestowed Portland with its highest honor; a Platinum-level bicycle-friendly community designation.

Now there’s an effort to strip Portland of that award.

Platinum is the highest ranking possible in the League’s widely-respected program that judges cities with a combination of technical analysis, local expert interviews, and an application process. Portland is the only large city to reach this status — the other cities are Fort Collins and Boulder in Colorado and Davis, California.

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Portland toasts Platinum with current, former leaders of local bike movement

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Former Mayor Bud Clark (L)
and Mayor-elect Sam Adams at the
celebration last night.
(Photo: Thomas Le Ngo)

Last night at City Hall, the City of Portland hosted a party to celebrate their achievement of becoming a Platinum-level bike-friendly city.

As attendees gathered around the steps in front of the building and filled commemorative water bottles with root beer out of a Platinum pump, short speeches were made by three leaders who have played major roles in Portland’s biking success story: City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams, former Commissioner and now U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and former Mayor Bud Clark.

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Southwest Portland residents say they “want to be Platinum too”

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BTA Bike Boulevard Ride

Advocacy group SWTrails wants to create conditions
like this in Southwest Portland.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Proclaiming that, “Southwest Portland wants to be Platinum too,” SWTrails has released their latest list of “immediate actions” and recommendations for bikeway improvements in their part of the city.

SWTrails has worked with Southwest Portland residents and the City of Portland Office of Transportation for well over a year (we last heard from them back in November) to identify and map out a comprehensive list of improvements that they say will bring SW Portland up to par with other areas of Portland’s highly touted bike network.

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Putting Platinum to work; Blumenauer shares the news in speech on House floor

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My ride with Earl Blumenauer-1.jpg

In this photo taken in March,
Blumenauer gets ready to ride in
front of the Rayburn House Office
Building in Washington DC.
(Photo © J. Maus)

In some ways Portland’s Platinum designation is more important for America than it is for our city. What the award does is to provide inspiration and an example to cities around the country to start making a renewed effort to mirror our accomplishments.

Just one day after receiving Platinum, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (formerly Portland’s Transportation Commissioner) wasted no time in sharing Portland’s story with his congressional colleagues.

Below is the text of a short address Blumenauer made on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday:

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In heralding Platinum, Portland looks back and ahead

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Commissioner Sam Adams, flanked by PDOT staff at this morning’s Platinum press conference. (Photos © J. Maus)

The mix of attendees at today’s press conference illustrated one of the main reasons Portland has catapulted above all other American cities on its way to achieving Platinum. We have stitched together a diverse coalition of activists, agencies, companies, advocates and organizations — all working together to move biking forward.

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Press Release: Portland Platinum News Conference

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News Conference from: Portland Office of Transportation

LEAGUE OF AMERICAN BICYCLISTS NAMES PORTLAND A “PLATINUM” LEVEL BICYCLE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY

News conference is scheduled for today:
10:00 AM – Tuesday, April 29
Downtown Bike Gallery
1001 SW Salmon Street

The coveted designation of “Bicycle Friendly Community,” given at levels from Bronze to Platinum, recognizes those communities that are improving conditions for bicyclists and cycling safety. Portland is the first large U.S. city to gain the designation and joins Davis, California, as the only other Platinum city in the country.

Commissioner Sam Adams will be joined by Senator Ginny Burdick, Metro Council President David Bragdon, Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves, Oregon Transportation Commissioner Gail Achterman, Bicycle Transportation Alliance Executive Director Scott Bricker, business owner Chris King, Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer, and representatives from the offices of Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler and Congressman Earl Blumenaur.

Portland earns Platinum; becomes first major U.S. city to win the award

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Bridge Pedal, 2005. Portland OR

This photo was taken at Bridge Pedal
in August of 2005. The “Sam” is City
Commissioner Sam Adams, who has
made achieving Platinum a priority.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland has gone Platinum.

The League of American Bicyclists will officially announce later today that Portland has become the first major city in America to be designated as a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community. (The only other city to have reached the Platinum level is Davis, California with a population of 63,000.)

The much-anticipated decision came from the League’s Executive Director Andy Clarke via a conference call last week in Commissioner Sam Adams’ office while local advocates, industry leaders, and key city staff were present.

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An interview with Commissioner Sam Adams

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Sam Adams
(All photos © Jonathan Maus)

Unless you live in a cave, you know that tonight in Southeast Portland, City Commissioner Sam Adams will announce his candidacy for mayor (5:30 at Roots Brewing in SE Portland).

But that’s not why I met up with him for an interview on Tuesday.

Surprisingly, even though we’ve seen each other a countless meetings and events over the past two years, we’ve never spoken for more than a few sentences here and there.

It was good to finally sit down and hear what he had to say about how bikes figure into the future of our city.

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PSU seminar to highlight first Platinum city

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UC Davis professor Susan Handy
will discuss bicycle policy.
Photo: Active Living by Design

As part of their ongoing Transportation Seminar Series, PSU’s Center for Transportation Studies will host a seminar titled, Bicycling in Davis, California; A Critical Look at Policy and Behavior in the First Platinum Bicycle City in the U.S.

The presentation will be given by Susan Handy, an environmental planning professor at UC Davis.

Davis achieved Platinum status from the League of American Bicyclists back in September of 2005, but the city is experiencing some growing pains.

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Portland’s “Platinum” Bicycle Master Plan gets rolling

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Bicycle Master Plan meeting

Portland bike insiders are wondering how we can go beyond the confines of U.S. standards for bike-friendliness and begin to adopt infrastructure and policies already in use in places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

But before Portland can become a world-class bicycling city, we must first have a plan to get there.

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