Washington County

Welcome to our coverage of Washington County. Browse posts below and click the headline for the full story. If you have news tips or feedback please get in touch.

Love riding gravel? Meet Washington County’s unpaved road “Kahuna” Dan Morgan

by on March 2nd, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Dan Morgan on Smoke Ranch Road, one of his favorites. After riding roads like these for years, he’s now helping make sure they stay unpaved.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s fitting that I first met Dan Morgan on a gravel road.

The 66 year-old former dairy farmer, IBM retiree and Beaverton resident has been riding unpaved country roads his whole life. Now that the activity has become one of the biggest trends in cycling, he’s become an ambassador of sorts. He’s also working to prevent the county from paving over this newly discovered paradise.
[Read more…]

A closer look at cycling on Millikan Way in Beaverton

by on February 26th, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Millikan looking east toward Hocken and City Hall.
(Photos by Naomi Fast)

A former Portlander who now lives on the West Side, Naomi Fast is our Washington County correspondent.

In Beaverton, Millikan Way is a useful route to be acquainted with for visits to — or through — the city on a bike. If you’re new to this area of Washington County, or if you haven’t ventured out on a bike much yet, here are a few things to know.
[Read more…]

Beaverton City Council needs to hear about how auto parking decisions impact cycling

by on February 8th, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Lloyd northbound toward Millikan, where cars could soon line both sides of the street.
(Photos by Naomi Fast for BikePortland)

This story is from our Washington County correspondent, Naomi Fast.

We need to talk about on-street auto parking in Beaverton.

A big picture glance at Beaverton Traffic Commission meeting agendas shows that over the past couple years, on-street car parking is a consuming and intersectional problem. Residents have been asking the city to lower speed limits rather than rely on parked cars for traffic calming, as well as further restrict on-street car parking. But the parking restriction requests are coming in for two different reasons: some are concerned about safety while traveling on car-cluttered roads, while others are concerned about people sleeping overnight in vehicles on the street.

Biking as transportation is — thankfully — being acknowledged somewhat in the search for solutions. However, some advocates are concerned certain proposed bike lanes (on a section of 5th, specifically, which the Bicycle Advisory Committee endorsed) were being used by the city to justify a new ordinance that would, in effect, evict houseless people from staying overnight in vehicles on the street. Washington County just enacted their own ordinance prohibiting camping on-street in RVs. Like Portland, Beaverton is struggling to house all its residents. The city has even decided to apply for an Urban Growth Boundary expansion.

But today, I’d like to outline a seemingly small detail of the bigger parking problem. It’s an example of the kind of mundane traffic decision that should be considered from a carfree person’s perspective, as part of the equity consideration.

And I think it’s worth a call-to-action for people whose preferred or primary mode of travel in Beaverton is a bicycle.
[Read more…]

Finding heaven on the Hell of the North Plains

by on January 22nd, 2018 at 4:04 pm

And then there was this bright green meadow on our way up to the top of Wildcat Mountain.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Sometimes all it takes to find a good adventure on two wheels is to just look a little harder.

Many of the best roads on Saturday’s Hell of the North Plains ride were in places I’ve ridden or driven near for many years. But somehow, someway, the routefinding raconteurs at Our Mother the Mountain (OMTM) manage to go deeper into (relatively) local backroads than most of us will ever venture on our own.
[Read more…]

Undercover distracted driving sting leads to 107 stops in just 5 hours

by on October 13th, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Like shooting fish in a barrel.
(Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

Just how rampant is dangerous driving and law-breaking among drivers? Our latest example comes from Washington County where sheriff deputies in Aloha went undercover to help educate the public about Oregon’s new hands-free driving law.

In five hours of work they stopped 73 people for violating the new law, passing out 11 citations and 62 warnings.

The Sheriff’s office called it a “non-traditional enforcement mission” (they prefer “mission” instead of sting) because they used undercover deputies. The plainclothes deputies stood on the sidewalk at intersections as “spotters” and would then tip-off other deputies when they saw violations.

Oregon’s new distracted driving law (HB 2597) went into effect October 1st (we have an in-depth post about it from our legal expert Ray Thomas coming Monday). It covers many more behaviors than the old law (which only focused on cell phones) and also applies when you are stopped in traffic.
[Read more…]

A tour of Washington County’s new ‘bike infrastructure theme park’

by on August 29th, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Looking north toward Highway 26.
(Photos: Naomi Fast)

– Words and photos by BP Subscriber and Washington County Correspondent Naomi Fast

I took a tour of some of Washington County’s hot-off-the-asphalt-truck bicycle infrastructure, and my verdict is in: it’s worthy of inviting guests from Portland to come check it out.

So come take a virtual ride with me!
[Read more…]

Help make biking better in Beaverton via this online open house

by on May 31st, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Beaverton’s bike network will be better if you share your feedback.

The City of Beaverton has opened a virtual open house for their first-ever Active Transportation Plan. The plan, which also includes walking-related infrastructure of course, will help city staff implement the right facilities in the right places.
[Read more…]

The impact of fear on ‘bike safety’ in car-centric Beaverton — UPDATED

by on May 17th, 2017 at 10:19 am

Beaverton to Tualatin ride-3

What would make streets like this “safer” for bicycling? Fear-mongering? Or perhaps a bit more encouragement and reassurance?
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Ms. Fast is BikePortland’s Washington County correspondent.

Sometimes I wonder if a well-intentioned “bike safety” presentation can do more harm than good.

At May’s meeting of the Beaverton Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC), Ben Howard, committee rep and a member of the Beaverton Police Bicycle Patrol unit, gave the committee a flawlessly organized but somewhat chilling presentation on bicycle safety. He introduced it as the same presentation he and police partners regularly give at community events and at companies like Nike, providing audiences with:

— Top five bike safety tips (my paraphrase, in no particular order, is: helmet, defensive riding, defensive riding, helmet, helmet)
— Summary of commonly asked bike law questions
— A warning about being “dead right”

Not included as program bullet points were safety concerns like:
— What is being done by the city to halt traffic violations by drivers?
— To whom—exactly—riders should report unsafe bike lane obstructions?
[Read more…]

Washington County Board of Commissioners adopts policy preference for protected bikeways

by on January 17th, 2017 at 11:20 am

Beaverton to Tualatin ride-3

A bit of separation would be nice.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Roads in Washington County are notorious for being wide and fast — which is why a new policy to physically separate motor vehicle users from bicycle users is such good news.

Last week the Washington County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to codify their preference for protected bicycle facilities on major County roads.

In a statement about the policy, District 1 Commissioner (and Vice-Chair) Dick Schouten* said, “The board has long recognized the need to not only provide access to bicyclists, but to make sure that access is safe and equitable. Bicycling and other forms of active transportation promotes healthy lifestyles, reduces traffic congestion and improves our quality of life. As a Board, we are committed to doing everything we can to support this by making sure our roadways are safe for all modes of transportation.”

The policy (begins on page 45 of this PDF) that passed at the January 10th meeting not only states the Board’s preference, it also requires County staff to evaluate the feasibility of separated bicycle facilities on all County-funded capital road projects and then present those options to the Board before projects move beyond the 30 percent design stage. Also, when designing new road projects, County staff will be required to evaluate at least two bicycle facility types — including at least one that provides physical separation and/or protection of bicycle users from motor vehicle users.[Read more…]

Forced to steal, a Cedar Hills teen turns in her mom and gets a new bike

by on October 7th, 2016 at 11:45 am

This duo was arrested on multiple charges.
(Photos: Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

We’ve covered many bike theft stories over the years; but we’ve never heard of anything quite like what we learned from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office this morning.

A 13-year-old girl in Cedar Hills (seven miles west of Portland) called the police to report a bicycle that she suspected was stolen. The amazing thing is that the bike was given to her by her mother and she told the responding officer it was probably stolen. She was right. She also disclosed that her mom had forced her to steal all sorts of things from apartment complexes and donation drop-off locations.

Deputies investigated and found out that the girl’s mom — 33-year-old Beaverton resident Lara Kent and her partner, 37-year-Jack Harman Jr. from Portland — had a U-haul van and a storage unit stuffed with stolen goods. They tracked down the van and the storage unit and ultimately arrested the duo.

Among the 70 stolen items recovered were jewelry, checks, mail, license plates, new clothing, 10 bicycles and one electric scooter that belonged to Portlander Cheryl Evans.
[Read more…]