Racial bias concerns and staffing shortage present enforcement challenges for Portland Police

by on March 7th, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Vision Zero Task Force member Karis Stoudamire-Phillips speaks at a meeting in City Hall yesterday.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We hear from many of you that it feels like streets in Portland are getting more lawless by the day. One reason is a severe lack of police presence due to a staffing shortage that’s been years in the making. The flip side of that is a concern among traffic safety advocates and the Police Bureau that too much presence in certain parts of the city might lead to unfair or over-policing.
[Read more…]

Tamika Butler, racism, and the segregation of public space

by on November 13th, 2017 at 10:01 am

Tamika Butler after her talk at PSU Wednesday night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Why don’t more African-Americans ride bicycles?”

That headline from a national advocacy organization asks a question that’s common to many planners, policymakers, and advocates. It’s a question that helped spark a discussion about equity that has been a focus of many programs, studies and initiatives over the past decade.

For the most part the response to that question has centered around standard stuff like research and data, attempts to uncover the barriers to bicycling faced by people of color, and how organizations can be more inclusive. Those are important parts of the work; but what if we’ve been avoiding the root cause?

What if we aren’t making enough progress because we’re too uncomfortable to acknowledge the racist foundation of our land-use policies, transportation system and planning culture? What if the white privilege of many planning and advocacy professionals has led to the segregation of black people out of bike lanes? What if many black people do bike, but in places white people don’t usually associate with “cyclists” or “commuters”?

Those are just some of the questions that bounced around my head as I biked home from a talk given by Tamika Butler on Wednesday night. Butler was chosen by Portland State University’s Inititiave for Bicycle & Pedestrian Innovation to give the Anne Niles Active Transportation Lecture. She didn’t hold anything back.
[Read more…]

How can our community support the fight against white supremacy?

by on August 16th, 2017 at 11:29 am

PDX Bike Swarm - ALEC F29 protests-8

A sign from a protest in February 2012.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Like many of you, I’m struggling to focus on anything but the sorry state of our nation.

The events in Charlottesville and their aftermath have made it clear that the white supremacy movement is alive and growing in America. And now that Donald Trump has cleared a space for hate to flourish, we’ve reached a new and dangerous place in the fight against it.

Why am I bringing this up on a bike blog?

BikePortland plays an important role in our community. As an independent media outlet, our relatively large audience is one of the smartest, most engaged, and most civically active groups of people in Portland. Because of that — and because of the privileges and safety I personally enjoy as a comfortable, independent, middle-class, business-owning white male — I have a responsibility to listen to the community and do what I can to help fight this cancer of hate and prevent it from metastizing.

I have some sense about what to do as an individual. What I need your help with is what to do as publisher and owner of this platform we’ve all created together here at BikePortland.
[Read more…]