As the Oregon Department of Transportation bulldozes their way to several freeway expansion projects in the Portland region — including one in the central city that even Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler supports — grassroots activism against the projects has flourished. When the powerful, the paid-off, and (much of) the public are blinded by ODOT’s slick pitch and PR tactics; we rely on independent, courageous, creative people and coalitions to speak out against these immense mistakes.
Paul Rippey, a folk singer who lives in the St. Johns neighborhood, is one of those people.
It’s time to educate ourselves about the candidates running for Portland City Council.
A proposed policy before the city council Wednesday would withhold city permits from builders that block sidewalks or bike lanes around their work sites without first considering reuse of parking and travel lanes.
The action comes after a months-long social media campaign from Oregon Walks and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, which evolved out of a years-long behind-the-scenes effort by the BTA.
The city’s draft policy stops short of saying that walking, biking or traveling by mobility device are always higher priorities in work zones than traveling by car. Instead, it says that walking and biking routes should only be blocked if no other option is “practicable.” Here’s some other relevant language:
The day after she drew criticism for suggesting that biking should be deemphasized compared to transit in city planning, Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz went out of her way to put forth a different proposal.
It came Wednesday at the tail end of a report from Portland Streetcar Inc., the publicly chartered rail transit service that Fritz has become an enthusiastic supporter of. Discussion of one of Streetcar’s perennial problems — getting stuck behind cars, either in traffic or due to parking mishaps — seemed to prompt her to ask a question: do we really want cars to be able to use streetcar lanes at all?
And for that matter, she asked, do we really want cars to be able to use the major biking streets?
offered conditional support.
(Photos from City Council live feed)
Advocates of a 10-cent local gas tax joined up to form quite a list of endorsers Wednesday for a midafternoon hearing at Portland City Council. Council heard a presentation and testimony about the idea ahead of adopting a resolution to send the tax to the ballot.
“I feel like a possum on I-5 during rush hour right now,” said Paul Romain, a lobbyist for Oregon gas retailers who was one of only two people to speak clearly against the measure.
Offering support was everyone from a freight advocate to a business advocate to an environmental justice advocate from East Portland to a frequent City Hall testifier who goes by the name of “Lightning.” While almost everyone seemed to like the idea, a close look at their testimony reveals mixed feelings that could offer clues to future debates.
After a long pause to gather its strategy and thoughts, Portland’s city council is expected to launch its latest plan Wednesday to raise money for the city’s streets.
The new concept, a public vote for a temporary local gas tax of 10 cents per gallon, comes endorsed by a 93-page report from the City Club of Portland and at least two mayoral candidates (Jules Bailey and Ted Wheeler) as the least bad way to slow the city’s deepening pavement problem while getting some high-priority safety improvements on the ground.
And in a new development, it looks as if some resources have been found for one of such a ballot issue’s biggest needs: an organized “yes” campaign.
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.
A half-hour city council hearing Wednesday on Portland’s proposed bike sharing system raised some questions but, seemingly, few serious concerns.
With a formal vote lined up next week, Commissioners Steve Novick and Nick Fish, along with Mayor Charlie Hales, all spoke warmly about the proposal.
Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman didn’t seem to be raising major objections, though both asked pointed questions: Fritz about safety and Saltzman about money. Saltzman in particular seemed upbeat about the plan. Neither offered a closing comment Wednesday, leaving themselves plenty of room to back away from the deal if they decide to.
Can Portland’s proposed transportation income tax count to three?
In the political tea leaves of Portland’s five-member city council, three is the magic number. And the tenor of Monday’s hearing on the city’s proposed tax suggested that consensus is building. But the vote seems likely to hinge on who would pay how much.
anti-Columbia River Crossing
rally in 2009.
All of Portland is hurting for Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s family this week.
Carpooling to his job in Salem, Steve Fritz was killed in a traffic collision Wednesday after a northbound pickup crossed the freeway barrier and collided with Fritz’s Nissan. The husband of the city council member died at the scene.
A vigil for Steve Fritz is planned this Sunday, Sept. 28, at 5 p.m. in Terry Schrunk Plaza, across the street from City Hall at 1221 SW 4th Avenue.
“We will have an open mic and will be collecting letters to be given to the family at a better time,” wrote Cameron Whitten, a local human rghts activist who got to know Fritz during Occupy Portland’s 2011 encampment and his subsequent hunger strike outside City Hall for housing justice, in an email. Whitten, who later supported Fritz’s reelection campaign, is among the organizers of Sunday’s event.
For her part, Commissioner Fritz wrote on Wednesday that her family would be suggesting charitable donations in lieu of flowers or cards: