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Updated: 19 weeks 4 days ago

Oregon legislature finds ‘missing middle’, passes ban on single-family zoning

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 14:38

Built in 1927, this duplex has been illegal for almost a century. HB 2001 changes that.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

When it comes to boosting bicycle mode share, where we build our homes is more important than how we build our streets. Density of residential dwellings matters because the viability of bicycle use increases as people live closer to their jobs, schools, friends, and other destinations.

That’s why we’ve talked up the connection between cycling and land-use planning and zoning on this site for well over a decade.

Now we’re very happy to share that over the weekend the Oregon Legislature passed a bill that bans single-family zoning. This is a boon for the potential of efficient transportation modes like cycling, and transit.

Here’s the lowdown from Michael Andersen at Sightline:

If signed by Gov. Kate Brown in the next month, House Bill 2001 will strike down local bans on duplexes for every low-density residential lot in all cities with more than 10,000 residents and all urban lots in the Portland metro area.

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In cities of more than 25,000 and within the Portland metro area, the bill would further legalize triplexes, fourplexes, attached townhomes, and cottage clusters on some lots in all “areas zoned for residential use,” where only single-detached houses are currently allowed.

Read more about the bill at Sightline.org.

Or, as some more dramatic headlines have summarized it: The bill bans single-family zoning.

Longtime BikePortland readers will recall that Andersen began writing about this “missing middle” housing back in 2015 in our Real Estate Beat column. Andersen’s story was inspired in part by a Pedalpalooza ride led by local developer Eli Spevak, who led participants on a tour of multi-family homes built before Portland’s establishment of “single-family” zones.

In the past four years, activism around more housing options in residential neighborhoods has flourished and in the end it was a very broad coalition that helped make the passage of HB 2001 a reality.

Thank you to everyone who worked on this bill. We can’t wait to see how it impacts the creation of more vibrant, healthy, earth-friendly — and more bikeable — neighborhoods.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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‘Grilled by Bike’ embraces BBQ season, Portland-style

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 13:28

Pedapalooza might be officially over, but memories live on (and we’ve still got photos to share!).
(Photos: Eric Thornburg/no.lens.cap on IG)

There are many aspects of living in a bike-friendly city that are never captured in myriad annual lists and rankings.

One example is the number of people who can cook a meal on their bike and/or have a fresh-cooked meal anywhere they park it. In Portland that number is growing thanks to the popularity of Grilled by Bike.

We first shared word of this fun trend in 2015. Since then, interest in taking grills from the backyard to the bike lane has only gotten stronger.

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Ride creator and leader Eric Iverson.

This year’s sixth annual Grilled by Bike Pedalpalooza Ride once again saw a healthy turnout.

People showed up with a number of set-ups. There was a grill in back of a tricycle under an umbrellaj, a ‘BBQ Battle Cart’ in a trailer pulled behind a Surly, and a basic fold-out table with a hibachi on top, just to name a few. And while burgers and brats were popular grill items, there was also vegan pigs in a blanket, Dutch oven brownies, pineapple, and more.

Local bike club The Belligerantes are the pioneers of Portland’s grill-by-bike scene, having started the trend in the mid 1990s.

The Belligerantes are bike grilling legends.

Below are a few more photos from our Pedalpalooza reporter Eric Thornburg…

Want to get in on the action? Join Grilled By Bike Club on Facebook.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The Monday Roundup: Danish secrets, Dublin’s downfall, self-driving kids, and more

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 11:29

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Rack Attack.

Here are the most noteworthy stories we came across in the past seven days…

Danish secrets revealed: A new resource launched by the Cycling Embassy of Denmark and Union Cycliste Internationale is a treasure map and advocacy arsenal of Danish solutions to cycling and urban planning challenges.

Carfree politics: A shift to the right in Madrid’s politics has produced ominous clouds over the city’s recent ban on cars in its city center. Clean air and healthy cities shouldn’t be partisan!

It works in Boston: Given that Portland is doing essentially the same thing, the success of Boston’s bus-only lanes is worth paying attention to.

Bread by bike: Portland has its share of bike-based businesses; but I’ve yet to hear about anyone like this Oakland baker who makes and then takes bread to customers on two-wheels.

Dublin’s downfall: There might be lessons for Portland in this story about how Dublin’s once lofty biking goals and plans have stymied since a 2013 economic downturn and a few controversial projects.

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Propaganda for the win: Anti-car sentiment isn’t just a given in Dutch culture, it was nurtured in part by 50 years of activism stoked by artwork and posters that helped people visualize the terrible consequences of car abuse.

Kids know: About the only unbiased, truthful source of information we can rely on these days is our kids. Thankfully The War on Cars podcast asked a few of them how their lives are constrained by car-dominated streets and cities.

Car parking isn’t green: This same article about Seattle’s massive new parking garages could have been written about Portland.

E-bike regs not keeping up: We finally find a way to get more Americans on bikes and now outdated regulations are keeping people from using them to their full potential. America. Sigh.

Tweet of the Week: Archival footage of altercation between a driver and safe streets activists in Amsterdam:

Don't ever let anybody tell you that #Amsterdam has always been this way.

De Pijp, now a picturesque low-car neighbourhood, only got that way because of fierce protests from residents who fought for their streets. In the case of this video, literally fighting in the street. pic.twitter.com/rz7MiEdoyg

— Not Just Bikes

In shadow of Oakridge, Westfir deserves a spotlight

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 11:37

Passing riders contemplate a stop for refreshments on the patio of Westfir Lodge.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Today Westfir is as quiet as it was 100 years ago. The loudest thing is the roar of water over rocks in the nearby river. But it wasn’t always such a sleepy place.

The 60-miles of bliss known as Aufderheide Scenic Byway begins in Westfir.

Around 300 people call Westfir home today — far less than half the number employed by the Hines Lumber Company at its peak in the 1950s.

I recently spent a few days in Westfir and learned about its history and future through the eyes of a young business owner who wants to make it a destination for cycling and other outdoor pursuits. Often lost in the shadow cast by the legendary mountain biking reputation of its larger sister-city Oakridge, Westfir has a charm all its own. And now, thanks in large part to new owners of the Westfir Lodge and Mountain Market, the former sawmill town offers an excellent base camp to explore the quintessential Oregon landscape right outside its doors.

The place known today as Westfir has sustained human life for hundreds of years. Rich with clean water, healthy soil and vibrant forest life, its valleys and riverbanks were home to native tribes long before white people settled in the early 20th century.

In her wonderful book of poetry and narrative non-fiction, Window to Westfir (2006, Many Names Press), former resident Margarite Tuchardt writes: “There were deer and the soft rustle of bird wing in maple leaves. The valley gave shelter to Indians as they sat chiseling black arrow heads… Steelhead and salmon made their way up the swift currents and over rapids. The forest was carpeted with shite trilliums and sour grass… The is what greeted the first settlers of this magical valley.”

(Click for captions to learn more.)

The town of Westfir didn’t exist until the 1920s when it was built as a home for sawmill employees. It took about twenty years for the lumber economy to finally get rolling. In 1945 Edward Hines bought the mill for $2,000,000 and Westfir hit its stride. Ms. Tuchardt was seven at that time. She lived in a small house along the North Fork of Middle Fork of the Willamette River. In her book, she recalls a “boom time” for the idyllic town with a butcher shop, dance hall, high school, post office, market, and doctor’s office where a benevolent man known as Dr. Varney would do everything from remove tonsils to deliver babies. 750 people lived in Westfir at its peak.

(Old photos of sawmill hanging on the wall of Westfir City Hall.)

Westfir was a classic Oregon timber town: Built with trees, with money made from trees, for people who worked with trees. But when the tree-conomy went away, most of the town did too. During my visit I walked on the old mill site (below). After learning about how immense and busy it once was, it was surreal to see nothing but a few paved roads and footprints of buildings where hundreds of men and women worked and massive industrial machinery once whirred and clanked all hours of the day.

Where the mill once stood.

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(Fantastic roads — paved and unpaved — await.)

I was surprised to find a city hall in Westfir, and pleased to see it adorned with a bicycle.

(Sharon Elrod runs the desk at Westfir City Hall, which is also the town’s museum, library, and video rental store.)

While the sawmill is gone, trees are still the center of Westfir’s economy. Today people don’t cut and process logs; they ride around and over them and they stare at them as they drive, drift, and pedal by.

The Westfir Lodge where I stayed for a few nights last month while I took part in the Sasquatch Duro gravel race, is the same building that housed the office and headquarters of Hines Lumber Company. Westfir is no stranger to cycling enthusiasts. It sits at the base of one of Oregon’s best singletrack runs: the Alpine Trail.

Tracey Sunflower runs the Westfir Lodge and Mountain Market.

Trails are what brought Noah and Tracey Sunflower to Westfir. The Pennsylvania natives and former residents of Anchorage, Alaska bought the lodge last summer and have worked all winter on renovations. They plan to turn it into a destination for outdoor adventure. Just last week Tracey became an official guide with permits to lead hiking, snowshoeing and mountain biking trips in the Willamette National Forest. She’s the first and only guide in the area to have such privileges.

A 29-year-old Pennsylvanian running a lodge in rural Oregon might seem like a stretch; but the more I learned about Tracey and the longer I stayed at her lodge, it all seemed completely natural. Tracey and Noah have been river kayaking guides for many years. Before living in Alaska they spent summers leading river trips in Chile. Years later they settled down and got 9-5 jobs. Noah, 34, worked for a non-profit and Tracey worked at a major hotel where she learned the ropes of the hospitality business.

(Breakfast of organic eggs from nearby hens and sourdough baked in the lodge’s kitchen. Scenes from inside the lodge.)

When they were ready to venture out, Tracey and Noah scoured real estate listings throughout the pacific northwest. Tracey said they’d never even heard of the Oakridge area before a visit last May. “We looked at many other spots; but we kept coming back to this one. It has everything… And all these resources are much closer than they were in Alaska.”

Salt Creek Falls, east of Westfir off Highway 58.

Tracey wants to make Westfir a destination for all types of adventurers. “There are many more things to do here than just mountain biking. People can bring their families. There’s tons of hiking; people don’t realize we have 50 different named trails nearby. We have a yoga studio in town. There are waterfall hikes and overlooks, and in winter there’s skiing and snow-shoeing.” Salt Creek Falls, second largest in Oregon after Multnomah Falls, is just a 30-minute drive away.

Tracey and Noah have been busy renovating the lodge. They’ve also created a cozy market that serves small bites, draft beer, good wine, travel essentials and souvenirs. From the front door of the market you can walk across the street and be on legendary Aufderheide Drive Scenic Byway — a 60-mile, paved riverside road shrouded by a lush tree canopy.

For now, the lodge is the only business in Westfir. I’m not sure how long it will stay that way; but Tracey is. “There’s never going to be even a streetlight here. There’s never going to be a McDonald’s here. The city just wouldn’t let it happen, and there’s no land for it either.”

I highly recommend checking it out while the river and the wind are the loudest sounds in town. When you get to the lodge, tell Tracey and Noah I said hi. WestfirLodge.com.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Jobs of the Week: Abraham Fixes Bikes, King Cycle Group, Inc., Seven Corners Cycles

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 07:01

Three great opportunities in the local bike industry have been listed recently.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Part-time Mechanic/Service Writer – Abraham Fixes Bikes

–> Customer Service Representative – King Cycle Group, Inc

–> Full Time Experienced Bicycle Mechanic – Seven Corners Cycles

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

Be the first to know about new job opportunities by signing up for our daily Job Listings email or by following @BikePortland on Twitter.

These are paid listings. And they work! If you’d like to post a job on the Portland region’s “Best Local Blog” two years running, you can purchase a listing online for just $75. Learn more at our Job Listings page.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Comment of the Week: ‘Distracted walking’ is the ‘all lives matter’ of transportation

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 06:45

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s be too long since we put the spotlight on one of your great comments. Let’s try to do this more often shall we? If you see a great comment, just hit “reply” and write “comment of the week”. If you do that, I can find the best comments in a quick search.

OK, onto the comment…

Last week (or so) we highlighted a noteworthy exchange at Portland city council during a discussion about the bureau of transportation’s vision zero program. As city staff outlined their approach of “shared responsibility” and made it clear that people using cars have to do a better job not running into people outside of cars, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty expressed discomfort. She said some of PBOT’s vision zero work is making roads “confusing” and is “making people lose their minds”. Hardesty also instructed PBOT to spend more time on people who walk around with their heads buried in their phones, saying people who are distracted by electronic devices are a “huge issue.”

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Reader Glenn II wasn’t having it. Here’s his response to Hardesty’s comments:

“Look, I feel disgust and pity for people glued to their phones as much as anybody, but ‘distracted walking’ is not a thing as far as I’m concerned. ‘Distracted walking’ is the ‘all lives matter’ of transportation — true in principle, but too often twisted around and used by members of an entrenched and powerful majority, who are responsible for most of the problems — to minimize and shut down the concerns of the minority.

Distracted walking collision: “Oh excuse me,” and get on with your day.

Distracted driving collision: “She is survived by her husband Chad and sons Chad Jr. and Jeremy. Services will be at Johnson’s Funeral Home.”

So no, f— me very much, I’m not falling for that one.”

We have yet to hear a clarification or follow-up from Commissioner Hardesty.

Thank you Glenn and everyone else who chimed in here and on Facebook. As Portland struggles to stem a spate of serious and fatal crashes, how we talk about this problem matters. Whether you agree or disagree with Commissioner Hardesty, her comment spurred an important dialogue that should make our policies and actions more effective.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Friends and family join road safety activists to remember Lou Battams

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 12:55

They re-traced the final steps of Lou Battams on Southeast Foster Road.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Louanna “Lou” Battams life touched many people in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood of southeast Portland. The 82-year-old was remembered at a memorial last night as a creative, smart, and selfless person who devoted her later years to helping vulnerable people.

“This event has had a profound impact on our community. It’s a tremendous loss.”
— Matchu Williams, Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Assoc.

Battams herself was described by neighbors as a strong and capable woman who did projects around her home and garden that inspired people half her age. After decades as a friend to many and a pillar of strength in the community, it was her own vulnerability as a person trying to cross Southeast Foster Road on foot that led to her death. There are no marked crosswalks or signals at the intersection with 71st Avenue where she was struck on June 13th and it’s unclear what happened prior to the collision.

About two dozen people gathered at that intersection last night to remember Battams. Among the crowd were her son, next-door neighbors, people who knew her from her work with the local neighborhood association, and one little girl who told me Lou was her friend.

One of Battams’ next-door neighbors told me she would bring cookies to kids on her street. Another said she walked on and around Foster often to pick up a newspaper or to get to church where she volunteered preparing meals for the homeless. A skilled painter later in life, I learned that Battams had a geology degree and used to fly in helicopters over Mt. St. Helens to study its volcanic activity.

Matchu Williams is co-chair of the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association and would see Battams at neighborhood events. He’s also a leader with BikeLoudPDX, the group that helped organize the event. “Our city has done a lot to make Foster Road safer,” he said into a microphone barely audible over the roar of passing car engines. “But they can do more to protect our community members so we never have to experience loss like this ever again.”

“This event has had a profound impact on our community,” Williams continued. “It’s a tremendous loss.”

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The group took a moment to reflect on how safe it was to cross in a big group, and how it should feel that way for everyone.

BikeLoudPDX volunteer and Co-Chair of Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association Matchu Williams addresses the crowd and assembled media.

By a cruel irony, Battams was killed just one block away and just 10 hours after the Portland Bureau of Transportation cut the ribbon on Foster’s recent safety updates. But in keeping with their promise to respond quickly to fatal crashes, PBOT has already made several changes to the intersection.

Sarah Iannarone said Battams cared deeply about vulnerable people.

The speed limit on Foster (at least this section) has been reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph. PBOT has installed plastic wands at the corners to prevent drivers from using the bike lane to get around stopped traffic. They’ve also closed the easternmost crosswalk to discourage people from using it (neither crossing at 71st is marked). I’ve reached out to PBOT confirm these changes and find out if anything else is in the works.*

Battams is one of 27 people who have died on Portland roads this year. That number is alarmingly higher than previous years at this same date. In 2018 we had 34 deaths total and 17 by the end of June.

I can only imagine how Battams would have reacted upon learning an innocent person had been killed simply trying to cross the street so close to her home. Given what I learned yesterday, she would have offered to help any way she could. We owe it to her — and everyone else impacted by these tragic, unnecessary deaths — to do the same.

*UPDATE, 4:13pm: PBOT Communications Director John Brady shared a clarification:

“The ‘No Crossing’ signs were not put in because of the fatality. Rather their installation was a condition that had been placed on nearby development. They just happened to be installed right after the fatality. Secondly, the speed limit was reduced to 25 for the construction; we are keeping it at 25 mph while we apply to ODOT for a permanent reduction to 25 mph.”

UPDATE, 6/28 at 8:03 am: PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly has left a comment below that you should not miss:

“Hey Ted [a commenter she’s replying to] and Bikeportland, I am painfully aware of every death on our streets and was heartbroken to learn of Ms. Battam’s death just hours after we celebrated the improvements to Foster. With my support and direction PBOT is doing more than ever to respond to and prevent fatalities. I don’t need emails to raise my awareness or accelerate this work. I need support from my colleagues and their bureaus on our Vision Zero work, I need the legislature to give us the ability to reduce speeds on more of our roads, I need ODOT to improve their roads, or better yet adopt Vision Zero statewide, and I hate to say it but we need more enforcement. PBOT cannot engineer or educate fatalities away entirely (and it’s going to take a long time to correct every shortcoming on our roads). Sadly, there are too many people who will continue to break the law and endanger people’s lives regardless of what we do. We will be installing more speed and red light cameras around the city which dramatically reduce specific behavior but don’t help with distracted or impaired drivers or other rampant and asinine behavior we see on the roads. We have half the number of officers in the Traffic Enforcement Division that we had 10 years ago despite significant population growth and increase in traffic. More than four times the number of people died in traffic fatalities than were murdered in the City of Portland last year. We are not putting our police resources where they are most needed.”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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PBOT confirms Biketown will see big expansion and e-bikes in 2020

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 09:58

Oh the places they could go with an electric motor.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In news that won’t surprise anyone that’s been following along closely, the Portland Bureau of Transportation announced at a city council meeting yesterday that their planned bike share expansion will include electric bikes and cover more parts of the city.

“We’re really excited about the electric bicycle piece of this… We think it will really make a difference.”
— Steve Hoyt-McBeth, Biketown program manager

The first official confirmation of the upgrade came from Biketown Program Manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth. He was at council to ask commissioners for an extension of the city’s current contract with Motivate, Inc., the company that operates the Biketown bike share system.

During his short presentation, Hoyt-McBeth said the city plans to release a request for proposals this summer that would, “Expand Biketown into new neighborhoods, and hopefully include the entire city and that will include electric bicycles.” The new system isn’t expected to be up and running until spring of next year (2020).

Electric motors on bike share bikes available in every corner of the city would be a game-changer. Housing prices have forced many Portlanders to live further than ever from jobs and other destinations and access to a relatively cheap, reliable, fun, efficient (no traffic!), bicycle could vastly increase the viability and the appeal of bicycling. A survey taken last year revealed that more than a third of Biketown members said they’d use the service more often if the e-bikes were available.

The ultimate size and geographic scope of the upcoming bike share expansion will depend in part on what vendors offer in response to the RFP. But Hoyt-McBeth made it clear in his language yesterday that expanding the system to places like east and southwest Portland with e-bikes is a foregone conclusion. “We’re really excited about the electric bicycle piece of this,” Hoyt-McBeth said, “We think it will really make a difference — not only for people in general in making biking and bike share more attractive to more people — but also from an equity perspective as we move this system out into east Portland and other areas… hopefully into southwest as well. And with the hills, having an electric bike will really make biking more viable for people.”

If you haven’t noticed, e-bikes are beginning to proliferate on Portland’s bikeways. And if you’ve ridden one, you know first-hand how life-changing they can be. Having power-assist means people can ride further, faster, and carry more stuff without getting as tired. It opens up the idea of cycling to a much broader swath of the population and it allows existing riders to ride even more.

Portlanders got a taste of electric bike share last summer when Jump and Lime offered motorized bikes during a closure of the Portland Aerial Tram.

Last fall, Portland hosted a bike share conference where Ryan Rzepecki, the founder and CEO of Jump, a leading electric bike share company, confirmed to me he was already in talks with PBOT. In his keynote speech, Rzepecki sang the praises of “light electric mobility” and said, “Regular pedal bikes never showed the type of growth and traction as you’re seeing with electric vehicles. The amount of people interested in riding e-bikes or e-scooters is much higher than folks riding a pedal bike because this is mostly about transportation and not recreation or exercise. It’s about getting where you’re going quickly, conveniently, without breaking a sweat. And electric mobility offers that in a way that pedal bikes don’t.”

Biketown’s current system has 1,002 (relatively heavy and slow) non-electric bikes strewn across 147 stations. The city’s contract with Motivate is set to expire on August 1st, 2019. Yesterday PBOT asked council to support an ordinance (PDF) that would extend the existing contract and allow them to increase the value of it by $3.4 million so they could continue to pay Motivate through April 30th, 2020. As per city council demands when the bike share program was established in 2013, Biketown doesn’t use any public funds (beyond Hoyt-McBeth’s staff time, which is paid via general transportation revenue that comes from gas taxes, parking revenue, and so on). PBOT pays Motivate for operation of the system solely through user fees and sponsorship revenue from Nike and Kaiser Permanente.

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All commissioners present yesterday were strongly in favor of the ordinance and it passed 4-0 (Mayor Ted Wheeler was absent).

Commissioner Fritz at council yesterday.

The only minor quibble with Biketown came from Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

Just as she did when the bike share plan was first passed in 2015, Commissioner Fritz expressed concerns that Biketown users don’t have easy access to city-provided helmets. “Have we made progress on the helmet issue?” she asked Hoyt-McBeth. “We have not made progress on having something available in real-time,” he replied. Hoyt-McBeth explained that a company PBOT was in discussions with to provide helmets at their kiosks went bankrupt and they have yet to see anyone else enter the market. “When we come back with the new RFP,” he added, “That will be an opportunity to see if there are other solutions out there.”

Commissioner Fritz also used the occasion of yesterday’s meeting to remind people that riding bikes and scooters on sidewalks downtown is not allowed. “People say this is the reason we can’t have nice things. If people continue to break the rules then there will be a problem and they will no longer be able to have the nice things of the bikes and the scooters; because it’s all about shared space and safety.”

Lest you think Commissioner Fritz is anything but a fan of Biketown, she offered Hoyt-McBeth congratulations prior to her “yes” vote. She noted there was zero controversy with Biketown and that the program has been a huge success. “I think it’s definitely a good thing that it has become less controversial and has become more of a way of life.”

And by next summer bike share will be an even larger part of our lives.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Weekend Event Guide: Pedalpalooza picks, Sunday Parkways, Naked Ride, Oregon City and more

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 08:04

Let’s roll.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The last weekend of Pedalpalooza will end with a bang. Saturday’s World Naked Bike Ride promises to be a night to remember and there’s a big party ride the night before to get you all tuned-up and in the mood.

And of course Sunday Parkways is the perfect way to nurse your fun hangover. Come out and bask in the pride of a city that can celebrate its 50th edition of this open streets event.

Have fun out there!

Friday, June 28th

Galactic Disco Party Ride – 6:00 pm at Colonel Summers Park (SE)
Get on your best 70s space, sci-fi-themed garb and get your groove on this space-themed ride. Stop includes Ecliptic Brewing and then ride will meet up with Loud n Lit Ride. More info here.

Loud n Lit – 9:00 pm at Irving Park
This is the most anticipated, loud and fun party ride of Pedalpalooza. Hosted by venerable mobile sound system and fun-making legends Sysfail and Dutch, the urge to enjoy yourself will be irresistible. More info here.

Saturday, June 29th

Lents Green Ring Tour – 10:00 am at Green Lents Community Tool Library (SE)
Come learn about the gems of Lents on this 5-mile loop around their “Green Ring” hosted by the neighborhood association. More info here.

Cat Six Cycles 5th Anniversary Party – 5:00 pm at Cat Six Cycles (NE)
Local bike shops are such a crucial part of our local biking ecosystem. Come out support a great neighborhood shop! More info here.

World Naked Bike Ride – 8:00 pm at Laurelhurst Park (NE)
This is it. This is not a drill. It’s time to show the world how many people in Portland care about riding free and confident in the streets. Make a statement about fossil-fuel-free mobility, body positivity, free fun, or whatever. Just come out and be a part of it! More info here.

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Kidical Mass Ride to Sunday Parkways – 10:00 am at Irving Park (NE)
Get your Sunday Parkways pre-funk on with a fun and safe group ride that’s perfect for kids. More info here.

Six Hours of Mt. Hood (race) – 10:00 am at Mt. Hood Skibowl (Mt. Hood)
There’s still time to register to race! I did this last year and it was fantastic. Tons of singletrack and full of challenges amid a magical mountainous setting. Do it with a team or solo and I’ll see you at the after-party! More info here.

Oregon City Coffee Ride – 10:00 am at Lents Park (SE)
Been meaning to venture south to Oregon City? This is your chance. Join the Portland Bicycling Club for an excursion to coffee in Oregon’s first city. More info here.

Sunday Parkways North Portland – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
For the 50th Sunday Parkways, the City of Portland will bring it back to where it all started: North Portland. Come and enjoy the myriad activities and see our community at its best. And raise a glass to PBOT! More info here.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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‘Gathering on the Greenways’ is inaugural event for new community group in southeast

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 13:57

Volunteers with Inner Southeast Action greet a user of SE Lincoln at the event this morning.
(Photos: Brighton West)

Story and photos by Brighton West.

A new community group in southeast Portland organized a ‘Gathering on the Greenways’ as their inaugural event this morning. Inner Southeast Action was formed to embrace change and to promote livability, inclusivity, sustainability and climate protection.

On June 26th, they set up at the intersection of 30th and Lincoln from 7:00 to 9:00 am to create a Breakfast on the Bridges-style event on the east side. They plan to repeat this event three more times this summer on different inner southeast neighborhood greenways.

One thing that was different from Breakfast on the Bridges (besides the lack of a bridge) was that organizers were also greeting car users. As drivers pulled up, volunteers thanked them for driving safely, gave them a map of the greenway and — in true Breakfast on the Bridges fashion — offered them a homemade muffin.

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“This was a great opportunity for cyclists and drivers and neighbors to interact and get to know each other as people, not just ‘drivers’ or ‘bikers’.”
— Andrea Brown, event organizer

The feel of the event was very community-oriented and positive. Neighbors on foot, bike commuters, kids, dogs and even drivers embraced the opportunity to stop to socialize on the quiet, neighborhood street. The gathering epitomized what a neighborhood greenway is supposed to be: low-stress and family-friendly.

One of the organizers, Andrea Brown said, “This was a great opportunity for cyclists and drivers and neighbors to interact and get to know each other as people, not just ‘drivers’ or ‘bikers’, and everyone was really happy about the community building.”

The traffic operation changes at SE Lincoln and 30th have had a tremendously positive impact on street safety. According to PBOT Neighborhood Greenways Program Coordinator Scott Cohen, data shows a more than 16% decrease in vehicle speeds and a 35% reduction in cut-through traffic. These are significant safety improvements for such a low-cost project. Definitely something to be celebrated!

Community members are brainstorming ways to make the intersection even more community friendly, so expect to see some new paint, landscaping or other aesthetic improvements soon.

The next Gathering on the Greenway will be July 24th at a soon to be announced location. Learn more at InnerSoutheastAction.org.

— Brighton West

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Memorial planned for Louanna Battams on SE Foster Road tonight

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 07:57

BikeLoudPDX and the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood will co-host a memorial for Louanna Battams this afternoon (6/26) at 4:30 pm.

Ms. Battams (she was known as “Lou”) was the 82-year-old woman struck and killed by someone driving a car as she attempted to cross SE Foster Road at 71st on June 13th. The tragic death happened just hours after the City of Portland cut the ribbon on the long-awaited streetscape project that’s intended to improve the safety of the street.

According to people who knew Battams, she lived just a few blocks from where she was hit and, “Was a pillar in the Lents community, loved pottery, and is survived by her son.” Battams was formerly active in the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association

Coverage from The Oregonian the day after Battam’s death.

At the event tonight friends will share stories of Lou, there will be a moment of silence, and then attendees will walk across Foster as a group across SE 71st.

Here’s more from a statement released by event organizers where they say Foster Road updates are already outdated and recommend more changes to make the street safer:

“The Mt. Scott-Arleta Community is hosting a memorial to highlight the ongoing crisis of traffic fatalities and serious injuries on Portland streets, with the support of BikeLoudPDX. Everyone is encouraged to bring flowers and stories of Lou to share.

PBOT redesigned and invested $9 million to improve the safety on Foster starting back in 2007. This has included wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes, protected turn lanes at intersections, and rapid-flashing walk signals. We applaud PBOT for working diligently over the last decade to see these improvements through; however, the standards we use to design safer streets for people of all modes has changed since the original design.

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The 2019 Vision Zero toolkit includes a “rapid-response” measure to determine immediate safety improvements that can be made following fatal crashes. Examples include the bump-outs and
Leading-Pedestrian Interval (LPI) at NE Broadway and Grand after the death of Lori Woodard, and lowering speed limits along Marine Drive after a fatal crash by Mayoral emergency ordinance.

We recommend that Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and PBOT Director Chris Warner perform the following as part of the “rapid-response” safety improvements:

– Install “protected corners” made of temporary materials at unmarked crossings along Foster and at the marked intersection of 72nd Ave

– Add marked crossings every 200-300 feet, as outlined in the 1998 Portland Pedestrian Guidelines for Pedestrian Districts

– Add speed-reader boards to alert drivers of them going faster than the new 25 mile-per-hour speed limit along Foster.

– Install bike lane stencils in the bike lane at each intersection to help prevent people driving from using the bike lane as a turn lane, thereby putting pedestrians at risk.

The memorial event begins at 4:30 pm this afternoon (6/26). More details on the BikePortland Calendar.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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ODOT renames Portland region headquarters after outgoing director Matt Garrett

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 07:26

Presenting the Matthew L. Garrett Building.

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s regional headquarters in Portland is now known as the Matthew L. Garrett Building.

The agency installed the name of its outgoing director on the side of the building last Friday. He resigned from the position back in January and his last day at the agency is June 30th.

In a video published by ODOT (below) you can see crews installing Garrett’s name on the new building while co-workers pile on the praise. Region 1 Public Information Officer Don Hamilton says, “Matt Garrett’s great legacy for ODOT was the standard he set for kindness and decency. I think naming this building after him is a reminder of that standard he set for all of us at ODOT.”

With less than a week until the Garrett era comes to a close, the adulation he’s receiving from colleagues and the timeless honor of having his name adorn the the Region 1 building, stands in stark contrast to how many transportation advocates will remember him.

While Garrett might have been a nice guy and a good manager, he failed to move the agency away from being a powerful automobile user advocacy group that looked to build and expand freeways and highways at every opportunity and no matter the cost. Despite a promise Garrett made in front of eager ears at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit in 2012 to become less highway-centric, ODOT remains a regressive force in our region that often seems to do more to block progress of biking and walking than to promote it.

Garrett was Region 1 director in 2005 when ODOT completed a major renovation of the St. Johns Bridge. Despite studies showing that a different lane configuration was possible, ODOT caved to the trucking lobby and the project maintained maximum driving capacity. In so doing, ODOT failed to address glaring safety issues and the bridge remains devoid of safe and comfortable space for cycling and walking to this day.

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Garrett in 2016.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

On the state level, Garrett was a key booster of the Columbia River Crossing project that drained state coffers of $200 million in planning money before its spectacular failure in 2013. In 2015 his admission during legislative testimony that the state had drastically miscalculated carbon reduction numbers doomed a major transportation funding package.

When Garrett announced his resignation, former Metro President David Bragdon said, “Finally, the end of a reign of error – hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on cost overruns, false testimony to the legislature and public, rampant cronyism, an insatiable addiction to debt, and near-total ignorance of modern trends in transportation, cloaked in meaningless platitudes and p.r. spin, the one thing he was semi-good at.” And The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler added that, “[Garrett] leaves an agency that does not seem prepared for the challenges and opportunities to meet Oregon’s transportation needs in a way that lives up to our values.”

Despite his controversial tenure that included people on both sides of the idealogical spectrum calling for his removal, Garrett is being celebrated as a mentor and superlative leader by ODOT and members of the Oregon Transportation Commission. In an interview with an ODOT PR person published to the agency’s YouTube channel last week, Garrett shared these parting thoughts: “As I look to June 30th, I think I’m going to be able to say, that over the course of time I did my very best to make sure that the decisions, the deliberations, the way I ran this organization was right and just. And I feel pretty good about that.”

The Oregon Transportation Commission plans to name an interim director at their July 1st meeting.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Oregon passes version of “Idaho Stop” law that allows bike riders to treat stop signs as yields

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 15:37

Closer than expected.

The Oregon House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 998 today by a vote of 31 to 28. From here the bill will go to Governor Kate Brown’s desk for signing.

This is a huge victory for bike advocates who have worked for years to get this legislation through. Once it becomes law, every bicycle rider in Oregon will be able to legally treat every stop sign and flashing red signal as a yield sign. That is, you will no longer have to come to a complete stop at every frickin’ stop sign!

Here’s the official summary of the bill (PDF below):

Permits person operating bicycle to enter intersection controlled by specified traffic control devices without stopping. Permits person operating bicycle to turn without stopping at intersection with specified traffic control devices. Creates offense of improper entry into intersection where traffic is controlled by stop sign. Punishes by maximum fine of $250. Creates offense of improper entry into intersection where traffic is controlled by flashing red signal. Punishes by maximum fine of $250.

sb998A-Engrossed

After passing with strong bipartisan support in the Senate and several committees, the debate prior to today’s vote was very nerve-wracking for supporters of the bill. One by one, several House reps stood up and gave reasons why they would not support the bill. Fortunately, none of them had good arguments. It was the same old, uninformed opinions and it was clear that everyone who spoke against it simply didn’t understand the bill. Either that, or they are just so blinded by their driving privilege they couldn’t fathom this type of change to traffic law.

*Reps Gorsek, Findley and Noble voiced strong opposition to the bill.

The bill was carried on the floor by Rep. Barbara Smith Warner. She stood with great strength in support of the bill and

Rep. Smith Warner with Sen. Floyd Prozanski, the bill’s chief sponsor, beside her.

She introduced the bill by explaining how it was about “usability” and that, unlike driving a vehicle, bicycle riders constantly need to start and stop under their own power. Rep Smith Warner also explained that bicycle users have superior peripheral vision as they approach intersections. She addressed safety concerns by sharing a statement from the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police and Oregon State Sheriff’s Association: “While we have some concerns,” the statement read, “There are studies that indicate the law could actually improve safety… The bill places the entire burden for good decision-making on the bicyclists who must proceed through intersections safely… We believe it will be important for this new law to be carefully monitored to be determined if it’s resulting in positive outcomes in terms of safety for both bicyclists and motorists.

Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) was first to stand up and debate the bill. “In a place like Portland,” he said, “Where you have cars and buses and trucks and skateboards and roller-bladers, and now these zipping, whatever-they-are… scooters! I think when you consider how hazardous it is for motor vehicles to try and drive around places like Portland and their concern about reducing traffic accidents, that this is probably something that is problematic at best and I would urge a no vote.”

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Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) did some heavy-lifting on the floor today, and his voice mattered because he’s chair of the House Rules Committee where the bill was heard. He explained to lawmakers that being able to retain momentum at an intersection is a major safety benefit — especially for riders like him who aren’t very fast and strong. “I’m coming up a very slight incline. I come to a full stop. I look both ways. No traffic. I try to get going and make it across the intersection. By the time I get to the other side there are cars bearing down and honking their horns because I’m not fast enough to make it across the damn street! This is true. And I’ve seen it with kids too.”

“I don’t think we are interjecting a law into an environment where we should assume that bicyclists are unaware or careless. I think we can count on them to use this new ability responsibility.”
— Rep. Ken Helm

Rep. Ken Helm (D-Washington County), a dedicated rider himself, had positive words about the bill. “Bicyclists take their role on the road very seriously,” he said, “I don’t think we are interjecting a law into an environment where we should assume that bicyclists are unaware or careless. I think we can count on them to use this new ability responsibility.”

Rep. Ronald Noble (R-McMinnville), a former police officer, didn’t support the bill. He also didn’t seem to understand it. “I could apply the same rationale when I ride a motorcycle,” he said. “I’m very aware of my surroundings and there are times when there is no traffic and it’d sure be nice to just ignore the traffic control device and make my way through. Similar to driving a patrol car in the middle of the night when the streets are bare and it would be nice to disregard the traffic signals.” What Rep. Noble gets wrong in his analysis is that a motorcycle has a motor and one of the main rationales for the bill is to allow human-powered bicycle users to retain their precious momentum. He also let slip that he think the bill would apply to “traffic signals”. That’s wrong. It would only apply to stop signs and flashing reds.

In her final speech before the vote, Rep. Smith Warner answered every concern that was brought up and closed out the debate by saying, “On behalf of all the bicyclists in this state and in each of your districts, I would urge an aye vote.”

The vote was excruciatingly close. But none of that matters because it passed. It passed! After so many years of struggle and effort by legislators, volunteer activists, advocates, and community leaders, it passed. The law will go into effect January 1st, 2020.

Here’s how the votes went down:

Bjorn Warloe in 2007.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

I want to especially thank Senator Floyd Prozanski for so capably shepherding this bill through — not just this time around but for pioneering this legislation in 2003! And let’s not forget that we wouldn’t be here without the dedication of volunteer activist Bjorn Warloe. Bjorn single-handedly introduced the “Idaho Style” movement to Oregon in 2007 and spent countless hours lobbying legislators and rounding up advocates to push it forward. Despite frustrations, he never gave up. Even this past weekend he told me he was going through his list of advocates and leaders to make sure they emailed testimony to the House Rules Committee. Thank you Bjorn!

Thanks are also due to former House Rep Jules Bailey who fought for this bill and took a lot of heat in the tumultuous Battle of 2009. Thank you Jules!

With so much bad news out of Salem right now, it feels good to get a victory for bicycling.

UPDATE: Here’s a 14 minute video I spliced together of the floor speeches (might still be processing, but should be done soon):

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Policymakers ride off-road trails amid pleas for more of them

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:13

Tom Armstrong from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is the lead project manager for the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan. I think it’s safe to say that he now has a much better understanding of what he’s working on.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Hoping to create a stronger appetite among policymakers for more off-road cycling trails, volunteer advocates with the Northwest Trail Alliance offered up a tasty appetizer on Friday.

The all-volunteer nonprofit that has surged to over 1,600 members over the past year hosted dozens of staffers, planners, and policy advisors from the city, state and region at the Gateway Green bike park. Their message was loud and clear: Please help us create more off-road cycling access in Portland, and let us help you make it happen.

For several of the planners and policy advisors in attendance it was their very first time riding singletrack trails and off-road paths.

After meeting at Pioneer Square, NWTA volunteers led groups of attendees on MAX light rail out to Gateway. It’s just a short downhill ride on the I-205 path between the transit center and the bike park. Once there, participants sipped on free pour-overs of Bike Park Blend from Loam Coffee, a local brand that caters to the Pacific Northwest mountain biking scene. Portland bike shop Fat Tire Farm (located on NW Thurman about a mile from the most popular entrance to Forest Park) brought loaner bikes and gear to make sure everyone could ride.

Faces in the crowd included representatives from Prosper Portland, the City of Portland’s transportation, governmental affairs, environmental services, parks and planning bureaus, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Metro, Lake Oswego Parks Department, Travel Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office, and many others. (Click images below to read names and titles.)

NWTA Advocacy Director Andy Jansky emceed the event. He offered brief remarks and introduced a few other advocates to share their perspectives.

Jansky invited who he referred to as “just the right kind” of mid-level bureaucrats that can get things done (not too high or low on the org chart). “We want to connect kids and families to nature close to where they live,” he shared during a speech at the outset of the event. And while there’s a lot of interest in mountain biking and locations throughout the region to do it, “What we don’t have,” Jansky said, “Is a place you can get to without having to drive a car.”

Another NWTA leader, Erin Chipps said, “I know a lot of people that have left Portland because there’s no place to mountain bike.” Chipps spent over a year as a volunteer on the advisory committee for the City of Portland’s Off-Road Cycling Master Plan, which she said has been languishing for over a year without any progress. “We’re hoping those of your out here today can talk to those around you and push this plan forward.”

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Bike advocate Ron Strasser makes the case for more trails to Tom Armstrong from City of Portland.

The NWTA has had major success building new off-road trails with land managers and government agencies at many locations surrounding Portland like Scappoose, Lake Oswego, Stub Stewart, and others; but there’s been an ongoing impasse over similar projects within city limits. Sadly, Portland has become an island of no mountain biking while surrounding communities are eagerly moving forward and embracing the stewardship, environmental, community livability, and public health benefits that urban off-road cycling provides.

At Friday’s event the idea was to cement relationships between off-road cycling advocates and policymakers in order to push through the logjam. And what better way to do that than to share lunch and a bike ride together?

One of the hottest topics shared among participants was the concept of urban off-road cycling corridors. There’s an effort to stitch together parks and other green spaces using unpaved right-of-way to create trails adjacent to existing roads. ODOT Planner Glen Bolen had never ridden Gateway Green before Friday and he had a great time on the trails. He said there’s potential for a pump track and/or off-road trails at an ODOT-owned site south of SW Slavin Road between I-5 and Barbur Blvd.

“I went to City Hall and asked for more trails when I was in first grade. Now I’m in fourth grade and I still don’t have trails to ride.”
— Gigi Greenstadt, in a speech to attendees.

Another idea is to work with Prosper Portland, Portland’s economic development agency, on a placemaking tool referred to as a “pop-up pump track”. This would be a skills course/pump track that could be installed on a temporary basis anywhere in the city in order to activate public space and build awareness for more permanent facilities in local parks.

There’s no shortage of ideas on how to improve off-road cycling opportunities in Portland. What we need is political and bureaucratic urgency to make it happen.

Fourth-grader Gigi Greenstadt is tired of waiting. She testified at Portland city council in 2015 when the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan got started. “I went to City Hall and asked for more trails when I was in first grade,” she said in a short speech on Friday. “Now I’m in fourth grade and I still don’t have trails to ride.”

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Project Manager Tom Armstrong is leading the off-road cycling planning effort. He didn’t have much news to share during his remarks other than to say, “We’ve gone through some staff changes that have delayed this plan.” Perhaps getting out on some trails, meeting advocates face-to-face, and seeing all the positive experiences of others at this event will make him even more determined to move forward.

Armstrong isn’t the only important agency staffer who got first-hand off-road experience on Friday. I also saw Portland Parks Planner Maya Agarwal, Metro Parks Planner Karen Vitkay, Portland Parks Land Manager Rachel Felice, and several others.

Another off-road rookie at the event was Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Environmental and Sustainability Policy Advisor Amy Rathfelder. “I got into job to help the community,” she told the crowd, “And seeing all the great work being done here I’m exciting to help move this issue forward.”

CORRECTION, 6/26: This story initially said this was Tom Armstrong’s first mountain biking experience. That was incorrect. I regret the error.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Family Biking: Oxbow Regional Park is a great bike camping destination

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:27

Kidical Mass PDX at Gresham Main City Park en route to Oxbow Regional Park.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

We just returned from a weekend at Oxbow Regional Park with the annual Kidical Mass PDX bike camping trip and my kids declared it their favorite bike camping site in the area.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Mind you, this is a best of two since our only other bike camping experience in the area was a trip to Stub Stewart last summer, but our whole crew of 17 had a great time for the 25-mile trip, including a family on their first bike camping trip, a spur-of-the-moment-joining family, and a kid who discovered one day prior he was much too big for his old bike and took his mom’s bike instead!

What the kids liked:

No MAX ride. For our Stub Stewart trip we took the MAX blue line to the west end of the line in Hillsboro to avoid the hills and busy roads of the west slope. This trip to Oxbow was easy to bike from start to finish. However, we live in Woodstock very close to the Springwater Corridor Trail so some families may opt to take the MAX blue line to the east end of the line in Gresham to get started.

Packed for fun.

No pets. With no Pixie in tow I didn’t have a good excuse to not run after a soccer ball all weekend and played with the kids more.

Inclusive nature play area with climbing on salvaged logs and a real boat!

Water play station in the new Oxbow inclusive play area.

The map of the playgrounds is the only map you need.

Awesome playground. The new inclusive nature play areas are really something! We visited the one by the group picnic areas several times (conveniently next to a big grassy field to kick a soccer ball around), completely ignoring the old traditional play structure right across the street. We took our bikes for each playground run, but other families considered it walking distance from the campground. The other new nature play area is much closer to the campground and features a mud kitchen, something I would have loved as a child, but am so glad my kids didn’t find their way to as a mom who didn’t bring along extra changes of clothes.

It’s a short walk with one switchback to get to the river.

Rocks and water, camping must-haves.

The Sandy River. Walking east just past the end of the campsites yields river access down a short dirt trail. My older kid went swimming on Saturday (brr!), but just exploring the expansive rocky dry parts of the riverbed is fun and doesn’t get your only pair of shoes soaking wet.

What I liked:

No mosquitoes! I don’t know if this was a fluke of the weather, but I didn’t get one mosquito bite and I’m always the first person mosquitoes seek out. When I was borrowing the Surly Big Easy e-cargo bike and carried the kids up Mount Tabor at 4pm on a March afternoon within 10 seconds of sitting on a bench by the playground a dozen mosquitoes feasted on my legs. So I know from mosquitoes!

No dew. Not a big thing, but it seems worth mentioning that despite being alongside a river and experiencing mild June temps, our tents were all dry in the morning.

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By site 29 find four flush toilets with sinks and four free showers. There are also pit toilets and portapotties throughout the campground.

Free showers. Not that we usually bother with showers when we go camping, but it’s nice that they’re free! I wish I’d noticed this during my test run in March because ever since one mishap several years ago I bring enough quarters for everyone on on the trip just in case.

What I didn’t like:

No cell phone service. None of our group had service in the campground and most of us didn’t anywhere in the park, but I think one phone worked by the entrance. Some might think no signal is a good thing, of course.

A deer right next to the playground.

No pets. I like bringing Pixie along, even though it means 10 more pounds of cargo and needing to be alert for birds of prey. But hey, no pets means more wildlife! We saw a deer casually munching unattended food at site 21 on our way in.

No alcohol. Personally, I don’t mind the no alcohol rule, but it seems worth mentioning in the minuses column.

Bad vacant/occupied signage. Half the vacant/occupied labels on the fancy bathrooms (the ones with sinks, though not all the sinks work) are mismarked. This is really for the “What the rangers don’t like” list because they have to field complaints about it all day long. We found it slightly annoying.

My 12-year-old trooper made it up the big hill with lots of walking and zero complaints!

The hill. I had previously written off Oxbow for family bike camping on account of its horribly big hill (downhill on the way to camp, uphill to leave), but Sara, my Kidical Mass PDX Co-Director, arranged for vehicle support Sunday morning and ferried most of us up the hill. My March test ride was on my unladen road bike and I had to rest even before the first turnout so I didn’t feel any great need to tackle the hill again, but I figured I’d make things quicker by not taking up a truck spot and pedal up. However, I did put all my heavy stuff (camp kitchen, snacks, U-lock, pound of unnecessary shower quarters, tents) on the truck. One of my kids opted to pedal up, too. As did Corey and Penny on their tandem with all their gear in a trailer, and Nettie went up on her loaded road bike. My kid needed to rest and walk a lot of the way, but we still beat the second truckload of campers up and he said he’d do it again!

Rock. Stars. Cory and Penny.

Know before you go:

The route to Oxbow Regional Park
We used the time-tested Kidical Mass PDX route to Oxbow, which is the same, save for the very end, as the KMPDX route to Dodge Park. Starting at Woodstock Park we have three quiet miles of city streets to Cartlandia, then 11 miles of pleasant Springwater Corridor Trail. We leave the trail at SE 267th/Rugg Road and quickly turn east on SE Stone Road for an uncontrolled crossing of Highway 26. This is worst part of the route, but it’s better than using an alternate route that has a better 26 crossing but puts riders on busy SE Orient Drive for a stretch.

Quickly across Highway 26 on Saturday.

We discovered that Saturday traffic is much better than Sunday, both in terms of waiting for an opening to cross the highway and for seeing cars on all the other roads. However, we didn’t encounter any impatient people in cars and the only honking was accompanied by a “Woo hoo, you go!” (Note: never honk at people on bikes unless there’s an emergency…though Saturday’s horn tapping and cheering was very sweet.)

Everyone passed us with plenty of room, plus the hill out of Oxbow is quieter than the hill out of Dodge.

There’s currently a detour (link is a PDF) for bridge #140 decking replacement through early August and it wasn’t bad. The detour isn’t as flat as the trail, but it took us past lots of horses, several of whom we met (as well as their owner who drove up and introduced herself, her dog, and the horses) on our way home.

Horses along the Springwater Corridor Trail detour.

This year most campers started at Woodstock Park, but one family met us at Cartlandia and one at Gresham Main City Park, having taken the MAX there. An hour-long stop at Gresham Main City Park (11 miles into the journey) for lunch, resting, playing, and chatting helped break up the trip.

Camping again this summer
Looking through the Oxbow reservations I see a couple available Friday and Saturday sites (out of 74) which leads me to believe people cancel reservations and it’s worth keeping an eye on availability. There are also many sites marked “call center” which might be reservable over the phone. If you can camp on a Sunday or weekday there’s a lot of availability throughout the summer still, which is probably what we’ll do. There’s no hiker/biker area — sites are all $22 with a $8 booking fee and they can hold up to six people. Firewood is $5 a bundle and available by the entrance gate. It’s about 2.5 miles with some rolling hills from the entrance gate to the campsites so if you’ve got energy and space to get your wood on the way in, do it so you don’t have to go back.

Not that it’s a competition, but Gregg had the heaviest load by far! And then he added his two kids and their two bikes for most of the ride home!

I’m already thinking of ways to cut weight so I can tackle the hill with all our gear next time. Ditching the pound of unnecessary shower quarters, swapping my U-lock for a lighter lock, using plastic plates instead of metal, and not carrying our food waste home will be a good start. This was our first time using two tents — the kids in our REI Half Dome 2 Plus and me in our new-to-us REI Quarter Dome 1. I’ve never had a tent all to myself before (we usually all cram into the 2 Plus or I’ve camped “alone” with Pixie) and it was soooooooo nice so that extra weight will stay.

Weece’s Market at mile 17.5 of 24.2.

I’ll entice the kids up the hill with a promise to stop at Weece’s Market (note: no public restroom at Weece’s) for candy at the top, but I don’t think I can entice them to help carry gear up a hill so big. However, I still very clearly remember the days I was carrying both kids and gear so I always feel 100 pounds lighter when camping these days!

Have you been to Oxbow Regional Park? If so, do you have any tips to add? What do you think of the hill? Thanks for reading!

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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Car passenger attempts knife attack on man biking in rural Washington County

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 09:54

Photo from bike-mounted camera shows car passenger’s attempted assault.
(Photos: Hank Bosak via Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost)

We need your help to find suspects of an attempted assault and dangerous pass in Washington County that happened this past Saturday (6/22).

Incident happened just west of Hillsboro.

Hillsboro resident Hank Bosak was riding on NW Hornecker Road at around 2:00 pm on Saturday when the driver of a black or dark blue sedan passed him very closely. When Bosak returned home and watched video taken via his on-board cameras, he was shocked to see that there was a knife in the outstretched arm of the car’s passenger.

Bosak initially intended to file a citizen citation (using the procedure outlined in Oregon law), but when he saw the knife he immediately got a lawyer and contacted the sheriff’s office.

According to Ray Thomas with the Portland-based law firm Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost*, this is the second time Bosak has had a dangerous run-in with a driver in rural Washington County. In 2004 (in a case that Thomas also worked on) he was the victim of a hit-and-run on nearby NW Susbauer Road that left him with multiple fractures and internal injuries. Bosak recently mounted front and rear GoPro video cameras on his bike so he’d have more evidence if/when he ever found himself in a similar situation. Unfortunately that time came on Saturday.

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A clear shot of the license plate (560 BLS), but the car is unregistered.

Thomas said Bosak was riding on Hornecker Road when he checked his handlebar mirror and saw a driver move his car toward him as he rode on the fog line. “The car passed Bosak at what seemed as close as a foot to him at about 45 mph,” Thomas shared with us via email today. “Hank yelled but the car occupants kept going and disappeared in the distance.”

Bosak’s bike.

Thomas says the video Bosak downloaded when he got home clearly shows a man lean out of the car’s window with a large knife in his hand in a position to stab him. After he called Thomas for legal advice, he also filed a formal criminal complaint with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The case has been assigned to Deputy Kenneth Coon (no relation to TCN&F law firm) with case number 50-191740742. Thomas says Deputy Coon ran the plate number from the video and learned that the car had been sold and the new owner had not yet registered it with DMV (which is against the law).

Since the car can’t be traced to a current owner or address, at this point all we have are the images and video from Bosak’s GoPro, the license plate number, and the make/model of the vehicle. “It is important that the images be circulated and an identification of the young men involved before they succeed in hurting someone,” Thomas says.

If you’ve seen this car and/or have any information about the driver or passenger — whether related to Bosak’s case or not — please call Deputy Coon at (503) 846-2700 and refer to case number 50-191740742.

*DISCLAIMER: Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost is a financial supporter of BikePortland.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Pedalpalooza goes to the prom (photo gallery)

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 08:22

(Photos: Eric Thornburg/no.lens.cap on IG)

The annual ‘Dropout Prom’ drew a great-looking crowd Friday night. The theme was Cosmic Space Invaders and judging from the images captured by our Pedalpalooza embed Eric Thornburg, you all nailed it!

Check out these beautiful people enjoying friends, riding their bikes, and dancing in the streets…

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There’s still a week of Pedalpalooza left! Check out the calendar and be a part of it.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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At victim’s urging, no jail time for people who tied string across I-205 path

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 14:47

Carlene Ostedegaard after being cut by string that was purposely placed across the I-205 path.
(A friend of Carlene Ostedegaard)

Last week the man accused of tying a string across the I-205 bike path in order to hurt someone was sentenced to 20 hours of community service. When we shared that on Twitter, some of our followers felt the consequences should have been more severe.

After all, the string caused several lacerations to the face and neck of Montavilla resident Carlene Ostedegaard, who was biking home from work when she became ensared in the trap.

Today the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced that it was Ms. Ostedegaard’s request that the people who caused her injuries were not jailed.

The DA’s office said the parties in the case have reached a pretrial resolution. 23-year-old Raven Jones was the “primary actor” in the incident and pleaded to one count of assault in the third degree, a Class C felony. Here’s more from the DA’s office:

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Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Katharine von Ter Stegge put Jones on 36 months of formal probation, ordered that she conduct 40 hours of community service, undergo an alcohol evaluation and perform any recommended treatment, write the victim an apology letter within two weeks, and continue to work with a homeless outreach program.

The other person involved in the incident, 27-year-old Antonio Tolman-Duran, has received 12 months probation and must perform 20 hours of community service. Tolman-Duran pleaded no contest to one count of recklessly endangering another person.

“From the onset of this case, the victim expressed her desire that the defendants not be sent to jail and that she receive an apology letter. We are fortunate that the injuries in this case were not more serious,” said Deputy District Attorney Todd Jackson in statement. “These defendants purposefully took string, tied it tightly on both ends across a multi-use path near I-205 and Southeast Division Street.”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Big weekend push helps Oregon’s ‘Idaho Stop’ bill pass final committee

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 13:45

“Hey, did you hear we might not have to stop at these anymore?”.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon’s attempt to decriminalize rolling stops for bicycle riders took a giant leap forward today when it was voted out of the House Rules Committee 5 to 2.

At Senate Bill 998‘s first House hearing on Thursday, committee members voiced several concerns with the idea of allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs and flashing red signals as yields. One member noticed there were only three pieces of testimony in the official record. So on Friday we put out a call to get more people to email the committee.

By today’s meeting there were 183 emails filed on the State legislative website — the vast majority of which were in strong support of the bill.

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Despite that, there were still two committee members who voted against it. Rep. Denyc Boles (R-Salem) said, “I still have some safety concerns,” prior to her “no” vote. Rep. Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio) also voted no.

Through three committees and the full Senate, SB 998 has tallied 48 total votes with 36 in favor and just 12 opposed. The final step before this bill becomes law is a vote on the floor of the House. We now wait for that vote to be scheduled.

With just one week left in the legislative session, and with the Senate side in complete disarray because Republicans are still AWOL, there’s an excellent chance the House will take up this legislation. There’s also a good chance it will pass once they do.

Reached for comment today, Senator Prozanski’s office shared, “The Senator fully expects it will pass the House before sine die.”

This is the closest we’ve been to moving forward with this sensible law change since it was first introduced in 2003.

Fingers crossed. Stay tuned. And thank you to everyone who answered our call and wrote an email to the committee.

UPDATE, 3:16pm: The bill has been scheduled for its third reading tomorrow (6/25). Bills are usually voted on after their third reading. So we might know the fate of SB 998 very very soon.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Oregonian: Alder Street food cart pod could move to North Park Blocks

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 11:33

Future (carfree) food cart pod promenade?

In case you hadn’t heard, Portland’s most famous food cart pod was recently evicted from its space on Southwest Alder Street to make way for a new hotel.

The Oregonian reported this morning that Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s office wants to move the carts to the North Park Blocks:

Eudaly’s chief of staff, Marshall Runkel, said moving the carts to the blocks between West Burnside and Northwest Davis streets and Northwest Park and 8th avenues could bring new life to the under-used park space.

The move would “be a net positive” for the blocks said Runkel, who provided The Oregonian/OregonLive with mock-ups showing 37 carts may be relocated to streets around the park area.

The North Park Blocks would be the perfect spot for food carts*. The location is also along the future Green Loop route and The Oregonian reports that backers of that project are fully behind the cart pod idea. What makes Eudaly’s plan even more interesting is that it would utilize existing public right-of-way for the carts. Space currently used to park cars would be turned into seating areas where you could meet friends and eat great food from small, local businesses.

You might recall that when news first broke that the Alder Street carts would have to move, there was an effort to create a “Culinary Corridor” and place them on SW 9th Avenue. That plan hasn’t come together yet, so the North Park Blocks could be considered a temporary location until a more permanent place was found.

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Why the hell not?

If these carts are reborn on the North Park Blocks, the City of Portland should seriously consider making the adjacent streets — NW 8th and NW Park — completely carfree. Imagine being able to stroll and roll on a wide park and plaza space in the heart of our city with such proximity to major destinations like Powell’s, the Pearl District, Brewery Blocks, Old Town/Chinatown, and so on.

There’s considerable support for carfree streets on city council right now (and there has been for many years). Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has said, “I believe in a Portland where you can get where you need to go without using a car.” Commissioner Eudaly didn’t even own a car for several years while in her twenties and has been a very outspoken critic of driving during her tenure as commissioner-in-charge of PBOT. Her bus-only lane project would remove hundreds of auto parking spaces and drastically reduce driving space throughout the city.

A carfree North Park Blocks could be another section of a future carfree loop in northwest. It’s only a matter of time before we prohibit driving on NW 13th. Then all we’d need to do is take the forthcoming major bikeway on NW Flanders one step further and then link those three streets with Couch and we’d have a world-class carfree promenade that would connect neighborhoods and re-vitalize our city.

Here’s to hoping. We’ll keep you posted on Eudaly’s plans.

*NOTE: After posting this, a reader on Facebook commented that he believes this is a, “Blatant attempt to get the unhoused out of that area.” I hadn’t considered that. It’s true that there are several important resources for homeless people around the North Park Blocks. It’s worth considering the impact Eudaly’s plan would have on them.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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