Former PBOT director Tom Miller back in City Hall as mayor’s livability director

Tom Miller at a PBOT event in August 2012.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The latest shakeup to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s staff includes another name that will be familiar to many of you: Tom Miller. After adding former mayor Sam Adams to his team back in January, Wheeler has now brought on Adams’ former chief of staff. Miller was Adams’ most trusted advisor during his ascent in local politics until Miller was named Bureau of Transportation director in 2011.

Now Miller, the former skateboarding activist and major fan of bicycling, is back to work at City Hall as director of sustainability and livability. He takes over a role left vacant when Amanda Watson departed from Wheeler’s office back in July.

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It’s official: Mayor Wheeler adds Sam Adams to his team

Sam Adams at a Safe Routes to School event in north Portland in 2010.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Former Portland mayor and transportation commissioner Sam Adams is back.

Mayor Ted Wheeler has confirmed a strong hunch we shared earlier this month that Adams would be added to his staff.

In a statement published today, Wheeler said Adams will serve as his director of strategic innovations and, “lead work on key second-term policy priorities.”

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Candidates on Bikes: Mingus Mapps, Chloe Eudaly, Seth Woolley, Keith Wilson and Sam Adams

Left to right: Mingus Mapps, Chloe Eudaly, Seth Woolley, Sam Adams, Keith Wilson.
(Photos: Respective campaigns)

It’s been a tough pill for me to swallow, but the truth is cycling just doesn’t command the same attention in local political circles that it used to. With so many people struggling to put a roof over their head and all the systemic injustice and inequality that has become even more glaring in recent years, it’s understandable that personal mobility doesn’t merit as much attention as it did a decade ago.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t ask candidates for local office what they think about it!

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Former Mayor, now council candidate Sam Adams thinks time is now to create more safe street space

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

As the debate rages about whether or not Portland should add space and safety to streets for vulnerable people, a former mayor thinks it’s time to move forward.

Sam Adams was on Portland City Council from 2005 to 2012 — first as a commissioner, then as mayor. Throughout his tenure he was in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the agency was one of this top priorities. Adams now finds himself on the outside looking in as he eyes the council seat occupied by the current PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

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Former Portland Mayor Sam Adams named to League of American Bicyclists board

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
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Sam Adams
(Photo: World Resources Institute)

Sam Adams might have left Portland for a job in Washington DC back in January; but it looks like the biking bug he caught while serving as our city’s mayor between 2008 to 2012 traveled with him.

Adams, who — for better or for worse — was a champion for bicycling throughout his political tenure in Portland, is now the newest member of League of American Bicyclist’s board of directors. In an announcement by the League yesterday they described Adams as “a strong advocate for safe bicycling and pedestrian options” who “helped expand Portland bikeways system by 75 miles, and focused new investments.”

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Sam Adams as leader of City Club: Good news for bicycling?

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Adams sticking around policy debates.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Former mayor Sam Adams hasn’t taken much of a vacation after his four tumultuous years leading the city. Today the City Club of Portland named Adams their new executive director. He starts next week.

If you feel (as I do) that Sam Adams understands (and cares about) the issue of transportation — and specifically the role bicycles should play in a healthy transportation network — than this should be seen as good news.

City Club of Portland is a non-profit, member-supported organization that works to promote civic literacy (their motto is, “Good citizens are the riches of the city”). Governors and members of Congress speak at their “Friday Forums” luncheons, which are held in a large ballroom of a stuffy downtown hotel. By way of their history and membership base, City Club has significant political heft and respect among electeds and policymakers. They use that respect to elevate and take positions on important issues through the publication of policy and research papers.

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An exit interview with Portland Mayor Sam Adams

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
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Mayor Adams
(Photos © J. Maus)

It’s been nearly three and a half years since I last sat down with Portland Mayor Sam Adams. To say a lot has changed — both in bike infrastructure/policies and our city’s relationship with Adams — since that time would be a vast understatement.

Adams and I sat down in a diner in Old Town. We were joined by his spokesperson Amy Ruiz and his transportation policy advisor Catherine Ciarlo (last time it was just him and I, which I prefer). Read the interview below…

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