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Meet the BikeCrafters: Sketchy Trails, Bicycle Kitty, and Helmet Helper

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 14:13

In case you haven’t heard, Portland’s bike-centric holiday gift fair is back! BikeCraft 2017 is December 15-17 at the Bike Farm (1810 NE 1st Ave.) and it’s powered by Microcosm Publishing.

Here’s the latest in our series of vendor intros written up by Microcosm Co-owner and Marketing Director Elly Blue (see the previous ones here and here)…

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--> --> --> Sketchy Trails – Kristina Wayte (website)

The artist and her creations.

The first thing that struck me, looking at Kristina Wayte’s work, is her dynamic lines that really capture the thrill and focus of a headlong ride in a gorgeous setting. The second thing that caught my eye is how prolific she is—she has cards and prints, pint glasses and trucker hats, and even cowbells emblazoned with her art. She’s coming down from Seattle as a first time BikeCraft vendor, and I have a feeling we’ll be sending her home with a much lighter load.

How did you get started doing what you do?

I have been drawing since I was a child and then majored in Illustration during University. I began working at a games studio then changed gears when I developed Sketchy Trails. It all started from a mountain bike ride with my twin sister after her summer riding in Whistler. I was so impressed by her that I had to draw her riding. I had never drawn bikes before, but that drawing came so naturally that I continued to draw more. I love riding, but still thought I would run out of ideas after only a few. Now many many drawings later, I have too many ideas to put on paper.

What brings you to BikeCraft?

I met Brian of Velo Gioielli at Gigantic Bike Festival in Snoqualmie, WA. He told me about BikeCraft, and I am excited to be a part of it!

What is your favorite thing about what you do, and what’s your biggest challenge?

My favorite thing is creating a drawing that showcases an iconic trail feature and people responding with their experiences on that specific trail. My biggest challenge is the technical side of the drawing, wheels are hard to draw!

What is most meaningful to you about bicycling?

Nothing is better than conquering a new feature you have been eyeing for months. Or at the end of a brand new trail and you are just blown away with how incredible the ride was. The cherry on top is having your ride buddies with you during your successes and even failures.

Bicycle Kitty – Maria Schur (website)

Bicycle Kitty booth at BikeCraft 2016.

Maria demonstrating proper use of her “Bum-ease” pillow.

A few BikeCrafts ago, I stopped by Maria Schur’s booth to catch up about her long-distance riding exploits, when something shiny caught my eye: she’d painted a bunch of valve caps with nail polish. I’ve long resented valve caps and wondered what the point is, but these answered all my questions. I bought a handful and my rides since then have been infused with extra sparkly unicorn power. That’s only a small portion of what she offers, of course, and her main product completely escaped my attention: the Bum-ease butt pillow.

Here’s Maria in her own words:

When I was working as a bike messenger, I “invented” the butt pillow. It all started when I was told to “stand by” and the only place to sit was a cold stone wall. I was also getting annoyed feeling the outline of my tool kit and lunch on my back through my Zo bag.

And, thus, the Bum-ease butt pillow was born. These hand-made cushions are vinyl on one side and fabric on the other, creating the perfect warm dry place to sit wherever your bike may take you. I’ve carried mine on the Oregon Outback, on The Steens Mazama 1000, on the Thursday Night Ride, and more. It’s saved many a nice lycra short from getting ground-worn.

I’ll have three sizes for sale at the upcoming BikeCraft 2017:
– “Bony” for small butts or long trips
– “Badonkadonk” for big butts or very cold/wet days
– “Goldilocks” for everything in between

(In the photo of me sitting, I’m actually sitting on a “bony” sized bum-ease during a tour of the San Juan islands this September!)

You’ll also find my buddy flap fender extenders, complete with reflective accents, and embellished valve caps for sale.

Come by the Bicycle Kitty booth and say hi!

Helmet Helper – Patrick Leyshock (website)

Put it in and it’ll refresh your helmet.

Every BikeCraft, someone turns up with a new invention devised to solve a problem I never quite realized was a problem until I saw it. When Patrick Leyshock first emailed about his helmet de-stinkers, my reaction was “I wonder who needs something like that?” Then I headed out the door for work, and as I did I caught a truly foul whiff of my helmet, which has been repeatedly getting wet and not quite drying off since the smoke stopped and the rain started. I kind of knew that it smelled but it hadn’t really sunk in. And now that’s all I notice. Patrick, I think you’re on to something.

Here’s Patrick in his own words:

Our helmets get funky: from rain in the winter, and sweat year-round. I make “Helmet Helpers” that fight the funk. Helmet Helpers are tubes of Pendleton wool stuffed with Idaho cedar chips. They absorb moisture and odors, keeping your helmet good as new. Just fold the Helmet Helper in half and place inside your helmet when you’re not using it. Wool is naturally antimicrobial and resists staining. Cedar chips absorb moisture plus keeps bugs and critters away.

Helmet Helpers are a great holiday gift idea for “The Cyclist Who Has Everything”, and a good way to protect your helmet investment (especially if you have helmets that sit on the shelf most days of the year).

Similar products exist for other types of helmets, but either don’t work well for bicycle helmets, or use synthetic materials and chemicals. I realized there was room for improvement so began building Helmet Helpers in my workshop. We’ve got all the right things — wool and cedar — here in the Pacific Northwest.

At work I spend a lot of time in meetings or in front of a computer. After work, I enjoy working with my hands building Helmet Helpers. The challenges I tackle building Helmet Helpers — what color wool to use? how can I fill them faster? what stitch should I use to best seal them? — are refreshing.

I’ve been cycling in Portland for over 20 years, and cycle-commuting daily from the Cully neighborhood to OHSU for the last 3+ years. Zero carbon emissions, exercise, plus the sights, sounds, and smells of the streets … what’s not to like?

Give a Helmet Helper to a friend this holiday season! They’re available at a few local bicycle and motorcycle shops (Crank Bicycles, Vicious Cycle, and See See Motor Coffee, at the upcoming BikeCraft fair, and directly online at

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

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PBOT eyes “transformative” projects with influx of new funding

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 13:20

Map detail of PBOT’s $79.5 million transportation project investment strategy.

For the first time in decades, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has money to spend. Real money.

The typically cash-strapped agency has seen its fortunes take a major turn thanks to a combination of new funding sources: There’s the Fixing Our Streets program that’s funding a $64 million list of projects through 2020; an increase in Transportation System Development Charges thanks to booming growth; and Mayor Ted Wheeler’s $50 million Build Portland initiative just to name a few.

Then there’s the money coming to PBOT from the state transportation package (a.k.a. House Bill 2017) that was passed over the summer. PBOT is dividing up an estimated $15 million per year in discretionary funds from HB 2017 — that’s on top of set-aside funds coming from Salem for Safe Routes to School and other projects.

All told we’ve heard PBOT could have about $40-60 million a year to spend. By accounts of some veteran staffers we’ve talked to, that’s more than they’ve had in the piggy bank since the late 1990s.

At a meeting of the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) earlier this month, PBOT planner Zef Wagner and Shoshana Cohen from their finance group shared the agency’s latest thinking on how it should be spent.

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Before you get too excited, $40-60 million is a lot relative to what PBOT usually has; but they still claim to have $3.6 billion (with a “b”) in unmet maintenance and “safety and capacity” needs. Even so, the mere fact they’ve got a presentation titled “PBOT Investment Strategy” is a good sign.

PBOT outlined three major goals that will steer their investment decisions: manage existing assets, vision zero, and manage future growth. With an eye toward leveraging other funding sources, PBOT said they’re looking for “triple win” projects that touch on all three of those goals.

They shared a draft list of five “transformative triple win” projects that would total $61 million from a number of different sources. The projects are essentially complete rebuilds of big sections of outer SE Stark, the 42nd Avenue Bridge, NE Cornfoot Road, NE Halsey and NE 60th, and SW Capitol Highway:

And another five projects (some of which have already begun) have made a list labeled as “double win investments in safety and capacity”:

Portland City Council recently agreed to set-aside $5 million to rebuild the 42nd Avenue Bridge (over Lombard). That new bridge could tie into existing plans and work by PBOT on NE Cornfoot and Alderwood — main cycling routes to the Portland airport. With the neighborhood greenway on NE Holman that feeds into 42nd, Wagner said, “We could create a cohesive protected bike lane network to get to the airport.”

PBOT shared the maps below to show how these “transformative” projects align with adopted goals related to equity, safety (high crash network), and proximity to commercial centers and freight districts:

PBOT’s Wagner says this unprecedented confluence of funding sources offers the city a major opportunity. Instead of patchwork projects done on-the-cheap, there might be a chance to make major updates to a few key routes and finally begin to “bend the curve”.

“If we could combine Build Portland, HB 2017 and SDCs, we could really upgrade parts of the roadway… the type of thing we’re rarely able to do,” Wagner said. “We could reassess the character of the roadway.” Wagner also said the Bike Plan for 2030 is already seven years old and “It might be time to refresh that [project] list.”

Aligning different funding sources sounds easy, but red tape and bureaucratic turf wars often make it difficult.

If you’ve been dreaming of a major project in your neighborhood, now’s the time to ask PBOT for it. Make sure you’ve done your homework by read through the investment strategy first.

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

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Sue Stahl, accessibility advocate who pushed for Portland’s adaptive bike program, has died

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 16:06

Suzanne Stahl.
(Photo via Facebook)

One of Portland’s most persistent advocates for the rights of people with disabilities has died. Sue Stahl passed away on November 14th. She was 42 years old.

Stahl was a fixture in the fight to make Portland’s streets work better for all people, not just those in cars and on bikes. Her impressive advocacy resume included: Chair of the Portland Commission on Disability, board member of Oregon Walks, member of the City of Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and much more. She also ran for Portland City Council (against Steve Novick) last year.

BikePortland readers probably recall Stahl’s name in our coverage about the lack of adaptive bikes in Portland’s Biketown bike share system. Stahl began asking the Portland Bureau of Transportation about the accessibility of the system as far back as March 2016 — three months before it was due to launch.

After we broke the story on June 2, 2016, Stahl contacted BikePortland several times via email, hoping we would help her pressure PBOT to do more for riders with disabilities. Turns out she had been emailing PBOT’s bike share program manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth for months about the issue. On April 11th, she wrote to Hoyt-McBeth: “Is it possible to get hand cycles or trikes for people who want to participate in this program and have disabilities? I am under the impression that any program that uses federal grant money, either in part or wholly, needs to comply with ADA regulations. Yet only one bike design is used.”

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Stahl threatened to file an ADA lawsuit against the City of Portland and ultimately she found a sympathetic ear from fellow disability rights advocate Chloe Eudaly. When Eudaly got into a runoff with Novick for that seat on City Council, she pressured him (as incumbent PBOT Commissioner) on this issue. Together, Eudaly and Stahl forced PBOT to recognize the validity of adaptive bikes in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise. In the end, Biketown wasn’t violating any ADA requirements; but thanks in part to Stahl’s dogged activism, PBOT ended up launching the Adaptive Biketown pilot program this past summer.

Oregon Walks Board Member Scott Kocher emailed us about Stahl’s passing yesterday:

“It is sad and unexpected. As you may well know, she was an unvarnished voice for accessibility and equity, a former Oregon Walks board president, PAC member, Council candidate, and served on numerous accessibility related commissions etc. She pushed, and pushed PBOT for adaptive bike share bikes. She was often the only voice in the room who knew what it meant to get around Portland with all the barriers most of us manage to get by. Her life was not easy, and she wasn’t looking for easy. She was a champion and I’ll miss her.”

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

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The Monday Roundup: Seattle’s secret, Sicily’s stereo cycles, sad satire, and more

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 09:54

Welcome to the week! These are the best stories we came across in the past seven days…

Sponsored by Go To Ortho, a walk-in immediate injury care clinic that treats urgent injuries like breaks, sprains, fractures, dislocations and wounds.

Sad-tire: This Onion article is hits close to home when it quotes a make-believe NHTSA official as saying, “If every cyclist purchased and operated a car like you’re supposed to as an adult, bike fatalities would drop an estimated 40 percent within six months alone.”

Stereo-cycles: Teens in Palermo Sicily are into a hot new trend: Putting as many speakers as possible onto their bicycles.

Seattle’s secret sauce: Turns out the 1991, statewide “Commute Trip Reduction” law is one of the keys to Seattle’s success in reducing drive-alone trips.

L.A.’s bike bunker: While inspecting a homeless camp in Los Angeles, authorities uncovered a tunnel with 1,000 bikes, many of them suspected to be stolen.

Meanwhile, in Oregon: Two auto industry groups are lobbying the Oregon Supreme Court to kill the new 0.5% sales tax on new car purchases that the legislature passed to help pay for transportation investments.

Must-read transit journalism: The NY Times went deep to uncover the causes of NYC’s subway system failure.

Bikenomics strikes again: As Portland gets ready to start the SE Foster road diet project, Bike Biz UK has the story of a business owner who vehemently opposed a street project that removed auto parking — only to embrace the project after it was done.

When driving cars is outlawed: This story on Autoblog envisions a day soon where human-driven cars won’t be allowed on public roads so driving enthusiasts will take to the hills (and the tracks).

TriMet autopsy: Analysis from TransitCenter shows how housing price increases figure into the TriMet bus ridership decline. Lower-income people who are typically heavier transit users, now live further out, in places with less transit service, and vice versa.

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Race and renderings: A Streetsblog LA writer is miffed at renderings for a new project in a black community that shows only white people as its future denizens.

Getting tough on Uber: Is Portland City Council about to stand up to Uber? Possibly even kick them out of town?

Traffic deaths continue to rise: The 2016 fatal crash data is complete and it shows that the threat posed by vehicular travel in America is growing faster than our efforts to mitigate it.

E-MTBs coming to a trail near you: The International Mountain Bicycling Association now officially supports the use of Class 1 (pedal-assisted) e-bikes on dirt trails.

Bike share race: WaPo hosted a race of all six (yes six!) of D.C.’s current crop of bike share bikes.

Dockless disappearance: Industry watchers are buzzing about the abrupt death of Bluegogo, a China-based dockless bike share company. Is it an outlier or an omen?

Speed kills: Yet DOTs continue to raise speed limits. In Ohio crashes increased 24 percent in stretches of rural road where speed limits were increased to 70 mph.

MVdP = GOAT: A long and very pleasant read about cycling (mostly cyclocross) phenom Mathieu Van der Poel, whom CyclingTips calls “the most talented bike racer on the planet.”

Twitter thread of the week:

I am becoming convinced that autonomous vehicles are designed to solve the problem of "I live in a wealthy suburb but have a horrible car commute and don't want to drive anymore but also hate trains and buses."

— (((Matthew Lewis))) (@mateosfo) November 18, 2017

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

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Uber announces new staging lot and pickup/dropoff zones at Moda Center

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:22

Another year has past, @uber and @lyft drivers park in and block bike lane. Do something about this @trailblazers @PBOTinfo

— Steve 911 (@Intersection911) October 31, 2017

Ride-hailing giant Uber has responded to complaints of their persistent, dangerous, and annoying bike lane blockage behaviors outside of the Moda Center.

Uber’s map showing new staging lot north of Broadway and pickup/dropoff zone on Winning Way.

The problem, as documented by our friend Steve Bozzone in the above tweet, happens after Trail Blazer games (and we assume other big events) when Uber drivers block the bike lane on the south side of the Moda Center on NE Multnomah Street.

We joined with Steve and other readers to help raise a stink about this on Twitter recently and caught Uber’s attention. I engaged with them via private messages a bit and explained the problem and a possible solution. Then today another reader pointed us to an Uber blog post where they address the issue.

Hi @Uber_PDX can you pls tell drivers to stay out of bike lanes around @ModaCenter after the games?

— BikePortland (@BikePortland) November 16, 2017

Here’s the statement Uber has just released:
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As the exclusive rideshare partner of the Blazers, we have teamed up to make driving easier at this busy venue. We are excited to announce a new staging lot and pickup/dropoff zone after hearing your feedback.

With thousands of fans attending Blazers games each week, we have created a staging lot with a first-in, first-out system to give you a better driving experience. You will be able to queue up in our lot located on the corner of N. Benton Ave. and N. Broadway.

We have also moved the pickup and dropoff zone, which is now located along Winning Way. Once you receive a request, head across N. Broadway and make a left on Winning Way to find your rider between N. Benton Ave. and N. Center Ct. St. There will be police to help direct the flow of traffic across N. Broadway.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with our staging lot and pickup/dropoff areas so you can easily connect with your riders on gamedays at the Moda Center.

We hope these measures have the intended impact. Uber, if you’re reading this, we have many sources out there monitoring the situation and we’ll be in contact if the issue isn’t resolved.

Thank you for responding. And… go Blazers!

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

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Opinion: We failed Tamar Monhait

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 13:39

Memorial for Tamar at Water and Taylor.
(Photos: Patrick Rafferty)

I can’t stop thinking that we’ve failed Tamar Monhait.

Monhait is the woman who was killed while bicycling northbound on SE Water Avenue back in August. On that fateful night, a professional driver named Paul Thompson was operating a commercial garbage truck in the opposite direction. As Monhait crossed Taylor Street, Thompson made a sudden left turn in front of her. She died from the impact and took her last breath in the middle of that intersection.

The intersection isn’t as well-lit as it should be and Monhait did not appear to have a legally required front light. Thompson claimed he never saw her. The police say Monhait’s impairment from alcohol was a factor in the collision; but there’s no evidence she could have done anything differently to avoid the truck — especially since Thompson, according to the police, admitted he was trying to outrun an approaching train and gave no warning before making his turn.

As they always do with cases like this, the Portland Police Bureau did their initial investigation and then passed it along to the Multnomah County District Attorney. After taking a closer look at what might have happened, the DA decided they didn’t have enough evidence to convince a jury “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Thompson acted with criminal negligence. In Oregon, for driving behavior to rise to the level of criminal negligence, a person has to intend to hurt someone and/or must realize their behavior is risky, but still choose to do it anyway. If a person isn’t way above the limit in either speed or intoxicants, the chance of winning in a criminal case in court is even more remote.

In the end, the “only” things Paul Thompson did — at least in the eyes of the DA and police — is make a dangerous left turn and fail to his signal before doing so.

While Thompson’s actions weren’t deemed criminal by the DA, they still led directly to the death of another person. For that he received two traffic citations with nominal fines. He can write out a check and mail it in.

That’s not right.

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This case is the textbook example of why advocates changed Oregon’s careless driving statute in 2007. That addition to the law made it a heightened offense if your careless driving — defined as driving, “in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property” — contributed to the serious physical injury or death of a vulnerable road user (VRU).

Thompson was driving a large commercial truck in an urban area. He made a dangerous left turn without signaling. His actions led to Monhait’s death. He should be issued a citation for careless driving and be held accountable for the added consequences that come with the death of a vulnerable road user (the law requires the offender to appear in court, take a traffic safety class, and do up to 200 hours of community service or face steep fines and a one-year license suspension).

Portland lawyer Ray Thomas was one of the primary authors of the VRU law. He told me he was “appalled” when he learned it wouldn’t be applied in this case. In an email he wrote to Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office this week, Thomas wrote, “I am disappointed to see that this law has not been used in this case to further the Vision Zero goals the city has embraced. It is only by dedicating further future resources to reducing traffic injury and death that we will be able to make a difference. That opportunity presented itself in this case and was not taken.”

There’s still time to make this right. The police have six months from the date of the collision to issue citations.

Portland has adopted Vision Zero as its highest transportation priority. If we want that proclamation to have any meaning, we must apply every tool we have in seeking justice for victims of traffic violence.

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

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Deputy director of The Street Trust takes job at ODOT

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 11:56

LeeAnne Fergason.
(Photo: Tanja Olson)

LeeAnne Fergason is the new Safe Routes to School program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

ODOT announced the hire in a statement today, saying Fergason will join the agency in mid-December.

Reached today via email, Fergason told us she’s excited for her new role but, “Deeply saddened to say goodbye to The Street Trust.” “The Street Trust’s staff (old and new), partners (so many amazing partners), and supporters (our members and friends),” she continued, “have helped me so much, and I’m eternally grateful for all the smart, passionate, and kind people that have taken the time to teach me.”

Fergason is the longest tenured employee at The Street Trust. According to her official bio she began work there as a bike safety education instructor in 2007. Fergason became The Street Trust’s main advocate for Safe Routes to School (a program they implement with a combination of state, federal, and regional funding) and spearheaded their “For Every Kid” campaign. She moved into the deputy director role back in July when The Street Trust’s former deputy director Stephanie Noll left the organization.

There’s a lot of Safe Routes work to do at ODOT these days. The former manager of the program, Julie Yip, recently retired, and the statewide transportation package includes $125 million over the next 10 years for a new Safe Routes to School grant program. As ODOT announced today, one of Fergason’s first tasks will be to staff a new Rules Advisory Committee that will create the policy framework for how these new funds will be allocated.

According to the ODOT job description, Fergason will also be responsible for:

“Managing an advisory committee, identifying selection criteria, and developing and managing a project selection process.

Collaborating with ODOT’s Director’s Office, other ODOT branches, and the Oregon Transportation Commission.

Being a technical resource to parties interested in the program.

The position will also support the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Program and Transportation Options Program, helping to lead implementation efforts and integrate these modes and topics into the way ODOT and the state does business.”

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With the departure of Fergason, The Street Trust loses yet another veteran staffer. Of the organization’s remaining 11 full-time employees, only five were hired before 2016. Five of The Street Trust’s current staff — including Executive Director Jillian Detweitler, were hired in 2017. The current average tenure of a Street Trust employee is 3.5 years.

As I wrote in an editorial back in April, The Street Trust is going through a major transition as an organization: From staffing changes, to the formation of a new political action committee and a change to their name and mission.

The Street Trust plans to celebrate what Executive Director Jillian Detweiler calls her, “immeasurable contributions” at the organization’s upcoming Holiday Party on December 7th (5:00 to 7:00 pm at Glisan Garage, 714 NW Glisan).

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

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Oregon House Speaker will host meeting to plan new crossing of Columbia Blvd in St. Johns

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 10:32

KPTV coverage from August 2016.

It’s been about 15 months since high school freshman Bradley Fortner was nearly killed while trying to walk across North Columbia Blvd on his way to his first day of school. He was hit by a pickup truck driver and spent a week in the ICU with swelling in his brain.

Fortner lives in a part of north Portland that is effectively walled off from George Middle School and Roosevelt High because of how dangerously people drive on Columbia Blvd. Prior to the collision, his family and neighbors said the road was so wide and so full of trucks and speeding drivers that they knew a tragedy like that was “inevitable”.

There’s a pedestrian overpass at this location, but it’s so unkempt and out of the way that most people opt not to use it.

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Three months after Fortner was hit, 75 people packed a community forum on traffic safety in St. Johns. Resident and neighborhood leader Travis Parker expressed his frustrations. “To say that ODOT won’t do anything about Columbia because they want to prioritize freight is insane,” he said. “People are dying.”

Kotek at a St. Johns community forum last year.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Now with $1.5 million set-aside in the statewide transportation package, the City of Portland is working on a new solution to tame Columbia and make it safer for people to cross.

It just so happens that this district is represented by the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, Tina Kotek. She’s partnering with Portland’s Safe Routes to School program to host a community meeting on November 27th at Roosevelt High School. In a statement about the meeting Speaker Kotek said she wants feedback, “On how this project will best serve the community.” “The evening will include activities that will allow the community to directly engage with Portland transportation staff about this project. Light snacks and a kid’s activity station will be provided.”

If you live, ride or work in this area and care about traffic safety in St. Johns, please consider attending.

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

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Mt. Tabor neighborhood votes 45-5 against diverters at 50th and Lincoln

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:26

Pretty clear where the Tabor Rising neighborhood group stands on the issue.

Remember that opposition to the City’s plans for traffic diversion as part of the Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway project we we warned you about earlier this month? It hasn’t gone away. In fact, it appears to be getting stronger.

At the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s open house for the project just one day after our post was published, we heard that people against the diverters “swamped” people who support them. “By a lot,” our source said.

Then, at their monthly meeting last night, the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) voted 45-5 against one specific part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s proposal: a semi-diverter on both sides of Lincoln at SE 50th. According to a BikePortland reader who was at the meeting, the vote was a motion to oppose the proposed diverter at 50th and Lincoln as currently designed and to request more information and a meeting with PBOT to ask questions and share concerns.

Diverters are a tool PBOT uses to reduce the number of people who drive on a street — and the goal with this project is to restore Lincoln as a low-stress, family-friendly bike route. PBOT’s established guidelines say the target “average daily traffic” (or ADT) volume on a neighborhood greenway should be 1,000 cars per day. Lincoln at 50th has around 1,500 ADT.

PBOT proposal for 50th and Lincoln.

While many neighbors and people who use Lincoln are in favor of the diverters, the voices opposed to it are making themselves heard.

A summary of notes from the MTNA’s November 2nd meeting (PDF) offers a glimpse of what the group is hearing from its members. Here are some of the concerns:

➤ Diverters will just make drivers cross Lincoln at other streets, causing even greater safety problems.

➤ Neighbors say this is an “equity concern” because the money PBOT would spend on this diverter could be used in “other neighborhoods lagging in bike infrastructure.”

➤ “Policies that squeeze people out of cars ignore/dismiss the needs of the disabled and of the aging… Low-wage job holders are more likely to be dependent on cars.”

➤ There’s a fear that too many diverters will “isolate” the neighborhood and increase emergency response times.

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Instead of the diverters, MTNA says potential solutions could be a bike-only signal, more speed bumps, better enforcement of existing laws, and just one diverter on the west of 50th (instead of on both sides).

“We will take this vote and the sentiment it expresses into consideration as we continue to refine the design.”
— John Brady, PBOT

We asked PBOT to respond to last night’s vote. Communications Director John Brady said, “We are currently in the outreach phase of the project, so we will take this vote and the sentiment it expresses into consideration as we continue to refine the design.”

“We feel it is important for community members to know that we studied the car volumes along the proposed Greenway corridor,” Brady continued. “The diverters that we have proposed, including the diverter at 50th and Lincoln, are at intersections where the volume of cars exceed the acceptable standards in our city’s Neighborhood Greenway guidelines.”

Brady urges everyone to take the official project survey. While you’re at it, there are petitions floating around both for and against this project.

PBOT will host another open house for this project on December 5th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at Atkinson Elementary School (5800 SE Division Street). Construction on this project is slated to begin in spring of next year.

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

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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler breaks ribs in bicycle crash

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 10:13

Wheeler biking across the Tilikum Bridge in 2012.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is recovering after he fell while riding his bike on Sunday morning.

After a reader noticed a reference to the crash in an article posted by The Oregonian this morning, we followed up with his office to find out more.

Wheeler’s Director of Communications Michael Cox said the mayor was biking by himself when the crash happened. “He was riding down a hill, braking on a wet road, and his bike slid out from under him,” Cox shared with us via email this morning. Wheeler went to the emergency room and suffered several broken ribs.

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Wheeler lives in a hilly area of southwest Portland and with all the rain this time of year the streets can be very tricky to navigate.

The mayor isn’t a stranger to cycling. He has competed in triathlons and he regularly rides his bike to work. We reported back in January that he rode to his first day on the job at City Hall in freezing temperatures.

Hopefully he makes a full recovery and continues to ride.

UPDATE: Mayor’s office confirms that leaves were not a factor in the crash. The Mayor says, “It’s really slick out there. Plan stops well in advance, especially going downhill.”

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Better buses, ‘cross championships, Cranksgiving, and more

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 09:05

Whether you race, cheer, or just enjoy the bonfire and a beverage; the Kruger’s Crossing event on Sunday is sure to be great.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Time to map your plan of attack for the weekend. Check out our selections below and keep an eye on the BP Calendar for updates and even more ideas.

The Weekend Event Guide is sponsored by Abus Bike Locks. Thanks Abus!

Friday, November 17th

Portland Bus Lane Project Planning Meeting – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm at Red Robe Tea House & Cafe (310 NW Davis St.)
Want better bus service in Portland? Get involved with the activism that is making it happen. More info here.

River City Bicycles Cyclocross Crusade Awards Party – 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm at Castaway (1900 NW 18th Ave)
Another great year of Crusade ‘cross is in the books. Come and celebrate all the great memories with friends and rivals alide. Bring cash for raffle tickets that benefit juniors racing at National Championships. More info here.

Saturday, November 18th

Alley Wombat – 10:00 am at Ladd’s Addition Portland
“Kinda like an Alleycat, but slightly different,” says David the organizer. Participants will choose a route based only on distance and elevation gain. Routes will be announced at the event. How well do you know Portland? More info here.

Wrench on Bikes for Safe Routes to Schools – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at Learning Gardens Lab (6745 SE 60th)
The Street Trust needs your help to tune-up bikes that will be used by 4th and 5th graders in their Safe Routes to School program. You could have a hand (literally!) in making biking better for kids in Portland. More info here.

Willamette Blvd Bikeway Celebration – 11:00 am – 1:00 pm at Willamette & Woolsey
Join the Friends of Willamette Blvd community group and 500+ others who signed the petition for a better bikeway on one of our favorite streets. More info here. * — Event cancelled because rain has prevented city from doing the striping.

Cranksgiving – 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm at Velo Cult Bike Shop (1969 NE 42nd)
It’s a bike-powered treasure hunt and food drive unlike any other. This fifth annual event consists of teams of 2-5 riders who “compete” to buy food for people in need. Lots of prizes and fun (not to mention money and food raised!). More info here.

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OBRA ‘Cross Championships at Kruger’s Crossing – 8:30 am – 4:30 pm at Kruger’s Farm (17100 NW Sauvie Island Rd)
You’re in great shape from the season, so why not come out and race for the coveted State Champion jersey?! You can’t win if you don’t race. Should be perfect conditions for a day at the farm. Bring family and friends to cheer you to victory or console you in defeat. More info here.

The Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at Ovation Coffee & Tea (941 NW Overton)
Portland’s premiere weekend training ride. Whether you’re tuning up for races or just looking to get fit and fast, this is the place to be on Sunday morning. More info here.

Winter Rose Garden Ride – 10:00 am at Woodstock Park (SE 47th and Steele)
This ride, led by the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club, will explore the Washington Park Rose Garden via a loop from southeast. More info here.

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims – 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at The Rosewood Initiative (16126 SE Stark St)
This is a global memorial event for all the people who have died on our roads this year. More info here.

Did we miss anything? If so, give it a shout out in the comments.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar and sign up here to get this Weekend Guide delivered to your inbox.

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

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Hoping to improve safety, PBOT will move Vancouver bikeway to left side

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:21

Detail of PBOT’s plans for transitioning bicycle users from right to left on Vancouver at Killingsworth.

After presenting a slew of options for improving safety and traffic flow on North Vancouver at Cook back in June, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has settled on an option they like.

Green shows where bikeway would be moved to the left side of North Vancouver Ave.
(Graphic: PBOT)

The plan, as presented to the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) last night, calls for moving the bikeway to the left side of the street from North Killingsworth to North Stanton (a distance of 1.3 miles). The project would also widen the Vancouver bikeway with a buffer zone.

PBOT Bicycle Program Manager Roger Geller presented the idea. He said the left-side bikeway option scored the highest in an internal decision-making process (below) because it improves cycling comfort by eliminating right-turn conflicts with bus and car operators, while at the same time it won’t delay transit. (Fun fact: As you can see in the ranking matrix, delay to auto users was given less weight than other factors. Yeah!)

The other option PBOT analyzed further since June was a dedicated signal phase for bicycle riders at Cook. This would have (similar to the bike signal at westbound Broadway and Williams) separated the movements of southbound bicycle riders and right-turning auto users. While this had a high safety ranking because it would eliminate conflicts, the option wasn’t moved forward because it would add considerable time delays to all users (something that happens when a new phase is added to an existing signal) and it would cause congestion that would likely spill over to Fremont one block over.

It’s worth noting that Vancouver is an “enhanced transit corridor” and TriMet has been looking over PBOT’s shoulders to make sure nothing is done that would slow down their buses here.

PBOT’s internal ranking process that compares three options: Existing conditions, a new bike signal at Cook, and the left-side bikeway.

To make the left-side bikeway work, PBOT needs to get riders from the right (where the bike lane is north of Killingsworth) to the left, and back again in time for people to make the turn onto Russell for the Flint Avenue/Broadway Bridge connection. “To do a facility like this,” Geller said, “It’s really all about the transitions.”

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As you can see in the preliminary drawings below, PBOT will begin the switch to the left side at Killingsworth. The plan is for a new bike box that will allow southbound bicycle riders to get in front of auto users during a red light at Killingsworth (not sure if PBOT realizes that many people don’t feel comfortable staging in front of cars in these boxes during red lights). With a head-start into the intersection, bicycle users would merge to the left to enter the new bikeway. On a green signal phase, bicycle riders would stay on the right across Killingsworth and then take advantage of a newly painted green lane and crossbike to merge over to the bikeway.

The transition at Killingsworth and Vancouver.

Transition at Stanton near Dawson Park.

At North Stanton (adjacent to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Dawson Park) PBOT would add a new bicycle signal to facilitate crossing back over to the right side. Geller said signal timing would be adjusted between Cook and Stanton to prioritize bicycling, giving riders a “green wave” effect. The signals would be timed for 14 mph.

A BAC member suggested painting green stripes across the Stanton intersection to improve safety.

One issue with a left-side bikeway on Vancouver is the driveway into the New Seasons Market parking lot between Fremont and Cook. A PBOT engineer at the meeting last night said their counts found only 70 people turn left out onto Vancouver from the parking lot during the AM peak period. “Not a huge number,” she said.

PBOT estimates the cost of this project at $200,000. Asked by a BAC member last night whether any physical protection would be added to the buffer zones, a PBOT engineer said, “We could look into that. Right now we have funding for just the painted buffer.”

The BAC endorsed this design last night. PBOT will likely make a few final tweaks before doing some public outreach and scheduling the construction. I don’t know the exact timeline yet but will update this post when I find out.

Do you ride on Vancouver? What do you think of these new plans?

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

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Kenji Sugahara will step down as leader of Oregon Bicycle Racing Association

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 12:25

Kenji Sugahara.
(Photo courtesy Kenji Sugahara)

After a decade at the helm, Kenji Sugahara has announced plans to move on from his role as executive director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA).

OBRA is the statewide sanctioning body of competitive cycling and currently has around 3,700 members who compete in a variety of disciplines including cyclocross, track, road, and mountain bike racing.

Sugahara, 44, was chosen to lead OBRA in 2008. He plans to stay on for another six to nine months to help with a transition to a new executive director. Sugahara tells us his sights are set on the¶ leadership job at the new Office of Outdoor Recreation that was created by the legislature last session. It would be a natural fit for Sugahara, who currently sits on the Oregon Tourism Commission after being appointed by Governor Kate Brown in 2014.

In a letter emailed to OBRA members last night, Sugahara wrote: “I have had some amazing opportunities arise that I cannot pass up so I have decided that this is an opportune time to pass on the torch. Though we have faced headwinds that have been mirrored on the national level, we have a solid foundation with a great plan to move forward.”

Sugahara also said “substantial changes” are coming to OBRA within the next year.

During Sugahara’s tenure membership has grown overall, but it’s currently on the decline. In emails to BikePortland, he shared that the downward growth mirrors national trends. He points to demographic and econonomic shifts, and an “evolution of people’s interests” as causes. OBRA’s recently completed 5-year strategic plan will look to address those issues.

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Sugahara at a community forum in on Skyline Blvd in 2011 and in Washington D.C. at the National Bike Summit in 2012.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The decline in road racing is the biggest challenge for OBRA. Persistent doping scandals and a lack of major U.S. stars in the professional road peloton haven’t helped grow the sport. But a stronger force that has pulled people away from the road is that they’re simply doing other fun things on bikes. Unpaved/adventure/gravel riding and gran fondos have surged while cyclocross — which reached a peak in 2012 — remains a perennial favorite.

When it comes to road racing, Sugahara says there are some specific hurdles. Finding venues, volunteers, and obtaining necessary permits are just some of the challenges. “And many racers do not have the time to train 3-4 hours a day to be competitive in many road races.” Unlike cyclocross or mountain biking, Sugahara says, “Once you are off-the-back [well behind the leaders] in a race, you are usually just riding by yourself.”

There are some bright spots on the road. OBRA data shows that Category 5 and beginner fields ticked slightly up in 2017 and juniors are on the upswing as well. The Baker City Cycling Classic notched double-digit percentage growth last year.

When I asked Sugahara to share his best memories, he said there was one that stands out. “My recent favorite has to be watching my 6 year old daughter race the kiddie race at Sister’s Stampede. To this day she loves showing off her medal – and it has definitely stuck in her head.”

Sugahara will now help OBRA pick a new leader. What’s his advice for whoever takes his place? “Always be open to criticism. Never take it personally… You will screw up. I guarantee it. Talk to people outside the racing community… My most important message to the new executive director is to have fun and never ever take yourself too seriously.”

Good luck Kenji! Hope to see you — and your daughter — at the races.

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

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With offer of access through new Rothko Pavillion, museum asks for bike committee’s support

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 11:28

This drawing of the proposed Rothko Pavillion as seen from Park Blocks is not new. The “Connections” branding is.

Nearly eight months after their initial request to change a public easement to make room for the new Rothko Pavillion was strongly rebuffed, the Portland Art Museum is trying again.

Portland Art Museum Executive Director Brian Ferriso at the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting last night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

At the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting last night in City Hall, PAM’s Executive Director Brian Ferriso struck a conciliatory tone. The BAC (along with the Pedestrian Advisory Committee) formally opposed the initial plans because the new pavillion would enclose the existing Madison Plaza.

Referring to the pushback from the BAC in March, Ferriso opened his comments last night by saying, “I gained a new appreciation for the important work that happens in this room.”

Here’s the background:

SW Madison used to continue through the block that currently houses several museum buildings. When the street was vacated (a.k.a. closed to motor vehicle use) to create a plaza, the public maintained the right to pass between these building due to an easement that’s been on the books since 1968. That initial easement allowed public passage 24 hours a day and required a minimum path width of eight feet (actual width is more like 10-12 feet wide). In 1984 the museum requested — and was granted — permission to close the plaza at night due to security and vandalism concerns.

The enclosure (green) would take up about one-third of the existing plaza. Note that the existing gated area in the southwest corner of the plaza would be opened up.
(Graphic: BikePortland)

“I think ultimately for us, it’s about a big investment in the cultural and educational life of our city core.”
— Brian Ferriso, Portland Art Museum

In order to build their new Rothko Pavillion — which they’ve already raised about $50 million for — PAM wants to enclose a portion of the plaza with a structure to connect the two buildings and create a new main entrance. They need city council to approve a change to the existing easement. The sticking point for people concerned about connectivity (many of whom use the plaza to walk and bike between SW 10th and the Park Blocks), was that — while it would be free to enter the new enclosure — the museum’s initial request would have limited access to the plaza to museum hours of 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday through Wednesday and 10:00 to 8:00 pm Thursday and Friday. Another controversial part of the initial request was that bicycle access (and dogs) would be prohibited.

Beause of considerable opposition from the community back in April, city council shelved the proposal.

Last night Ferriso shared a new proposition: Bicycles and pets will be welcome through the new pavillion from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm every day of the week. This is a significant expansion of hours and access.

However, much to the committee’s chagrin last night, Ferriso shared no new visuals of the design and offered no details about how people would get through the new enclosure. A big concern is that having an enclosed structure across what’s now an open plaza will discourage public access, further erode the street grid, and reduce connectivity of the biking and walking network.

Ferriso told the commmittee the tradeoff is well worth it. “I think ultimately for us, it’s about a big investment in the cultural and educational life of our city core.” The new pavillion would also vastly improve accessibility for museum-goers with its new ground-floor plan. “It’s currently a very difficult campus to navigate,” Ferriso added, “Our overall vision is to make it much more accessible and make sure barriers are taken down for the community.”

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Concept drawing of enclosed pavillion as seen from SW 10th Ave.

Committee members were supportive of the museum’s vision and appreciative of the increase access; but they remain concerned about the lack of detail and specifics about how exactly people on foot and bike would pass through.

“If this is a door, that’s not going to work.”
— Chris Achterman, BAC member

“You’re going to have a very diverse population trying to access it; people on bikes, people in wheelchairs,” BAC member Chris Achterman said. “So if this is a door, that’s not going to work.” Achterman referred to the design of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum which has a bikeway that bisects the building (I called it one of the wonders of the bicycle world after a 2013 visit). “I hope that as you approach this project you see it as Portland’s version of the Rijksmuseum.”

“That’s a point well-taken,” Ferriso replied.

“I think further clarification is needed before I can provide an opinion.”
— Roger Averbeck, BAC member

BAC member Roger Averbeck also wondered about how the access would work. “If someone comes through on a bike, can they ride their bike through? Or do they have to get off and walk?” he asked. “What about if they’re on a skateboard?” “That’s a good question,” Ferriso replied. “If you said it’d be important to ride through, we’d take that as feedback.”

“If somebody has to stop, open a door, then open another door,” Averbeck continued, “It doesn’t seem like a place that somebody’s going to be simply traveling through to get from point-a to point-b using a variety of devices including shoes and bikes and wheels and who knows what else. I think further clarification is needed before I can provide an opinion.”

Ferriso acknowledged the lack of fine-grain design details. The current conceptual drawings they have now were done to entice donors and were not meant to be detailed engineering documents.

“All our questions revolve around a design, and you’re not showing a design.”
— Eliot Akwai-Scott, BAC vice-chair

And that’s the rub: The BAC and others are concerned about how exactly the doors or passageway would work, but PAM is saying they can’t answer that question yet. City council isn’t signing off on a detailed design at this point, the only thing technically up for debate is a change to the easement that would allow PAM to move forward and build an enclosed structure. The design of that structure is something that would go through a public process with the Landmarks Commission.

BAC member Keith Liden expressed discomfort with this situation. “We’re being asked to sign off on hours of operation, but we haven’t seen the design yet. We still don’t know what we’re getting. That’s my concern.”

“All our questions revolve around a design, and you’re not showing a design,” added BAC vice-chair Elliot Akwai-Scott. “Given that, you already presented this to council earlier and it sounds like the proposal is more or less unchanged other than an agreement to open the doors [to bicycle users and for longer hours]. What’s the urgency for brining it back to council now, instead of waiting for designs to change and incorporate feedback?”

Ferriso replied that in order to continue fundraising, he needs the basic concept approved before they can move forward to the next phase of design.

In one of the last comments of the night, BAC member Jocelyn Gaudi encouraged the museum to, “Be creative and be humble that this was a former right of way… I love interacting with art when I ride. This is a unique opportunity for that.”

The BAC didn’t take a vote on the issue last night. The museum’s ordinance is on the council agenda for December 7th at 2:00 pm. See a FAQ and learn more about the Rothko Pavillion at

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

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Industry news: Urban Arrow in Portland, Framebuilder Supply’s grant, Velotech expands, Left Coast makes house calls

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 14:39

Who’s ready for some local industry news?

Here are the latest tidbits we’ve come across from Portland’s ever-changing bike business landscape.

Framebuilder Supply names first-ever “Women Build Bikes” grant winner

Framebuilder Supply owners Tony Tapay and Mike Cobb want to see more women among the building ranks.

(Photo courtesy Jackie Mautner)

“When Mike and I attended the recent Handmade Bike Show here in Portland,” Tapay said in a company statement, “at one point we were all asked to fine into a room for a group picture. Other than a food vendor and a PGE rep, there were no women.”

To fix that, Tony and Mike have announced Jackie Mautner as the recipient of their first ever Women Build Bikes grant. Mautner was nominated by other women in the Portland bike industry. They chose her in part because of her answers to a list of questions.

When they asked Mautner, “What do you believe you bring to the framebuilding world that is unique?”, here’s how she replied: “I hope to build the community of women, transgender, and non-binary folks within the framebuilding industry. Creating spaces where we can support one another on our own individual and/or collaborative journeys, as well as breaking down barriers to achieving our goals such as under-representation.”

Mautner, whom you might recall from an interview here on BikePortland a month ago, will receive a $1,200 credit toward materials at Framebuilder Supply.

Velotech acquires

Portland-based Velotech, owners and operators of Western Bikeworks,,, and, has expanded its retail footprint once again.

New website.

They now own This comes about one year after Western Bikeworks took over the local tri shop, Athletes Lounge.

Velotech says they’ll operate as a separate division and it will replace Athlete’s Lounge as their main triathlon brand. Here’s more from Velotech:

“This is an exciting time for triathletes in the Pacific Northwest,” said Gary Wallesen, Athletes Lounge General Manager. “We’ll continue the TriSports rewards program, and have already moved customer accounts and loyalty points over to our system. We’ve relaunched the website with the goal of offering a wide range of great products at the best prices, a wealth of resources for training and competing, and exceptional customer service.” The Athletes Lounge retail store is located in Tigard, a suburb of Portland, and will rebrand as TriSports’s brick-and-mortar headquarters.

Dutch e-cargo bike brand has Portland connection

When I was recently in Amsterdam, I couldn’t believe how many Urban Arrows I saw. These electric, bakfiets-style bikes were everywhere. Now you’re likely to see more of them in Portland because the Dutch company has named Portland resident Ed Rae as its U.S. agent. Many of you might already know Rae. He’s a familiar face at local bike events and he was the North American sales rep for Brompton for the past eight years.

An Urban Arrow in the wild in Amsterdam.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s more on Ed’s new gig at Urban Arrow via

“We see the U.S. rapidly accepting and accommodating use of the bicycle in a much broader context than sport, race and recreation,” said Henning Thomas, the company’s international sales manager. Urban Arrow bikes are designed from inception as e-bikes, as opposed to electric conversions, the company said.

Rae said, “While there may still be controversy about e-bikes for some applications and locales I think we all agree for cargo and transit, such as a parent moving children and a batch of groceries, or a business delivering product, or tradesman appearing at worksite and more, the additional power and range is welcome or even essential.”

“The growth we all want and need isn’t going to come from yet another wheel size or shock design for off road, nor from another added cog or further 50 gram reduction in road bikes,” he said. He said for bike retailing to survive the industry must “bring into stores some of the 90 percent of people who never darken the door of bike shops.”

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--> --> --> Left Coast Bicycles now makes house calls

Portland-based mobile bike shop Left Coast Bicycles has found as niche by showing up at workplaces to perform service and maintenance for employees for many companies in the region. Now company owner Aaron Michalson will come to right to your front door.

(Photo: Left Coast Bicycles)

The service aims to rid people of the hassle of taking their bike into a shop. All you do is book a time and one of their mechanics will pick-up your bike and give it a full tune-up.

Left Coast Bicycles was founded in 2012. Michalson is a retail bike shop veteran who realized that he could service bikes at people’s workplaces while encouraging employers to promote more biking to work. “Our business clients realize bringing a mechanic to their business is a great way to express support for biking as a way of life and is a effective means to help put biking-as-transport on equal footing as other transportation modes.”

Left Coast is a full-service mobile shop that is 100 percent bike-powered using a fleet of cargo-trailers operated by 2 full-time mechanics and several on-call staff when things get busy.

Have a local industry tip? Send it in and we’ll consider it for the next round-up.

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

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Meet the BikeCrafters: TiGr Lock, Orquidia Violeta, and piggyflowers

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 12:54

In case you haven’t heard, Portland’s bike-centric holiday gift fair is back! BikeCraft 2017 is December 15-17 at the Bike Farm (1810 NE 1st Ave.) and it’s powered by Microcosm Publishing.

Last week we shared our first in a series of vendor intros written up by Microcosm Co-owner and Marketing Director Elly Blue. Here are three more…

Orquidia Violeta – Orchid Velasquez (website)

I first met years ago at a Portland Society meeting, where she introduced herself as a maker of “veggie onesies.” She still makes adorable outfits for tiny babies and has expanded into other kids’ clothes like ponchos and headbands with the power to make a small child look like a delicious piece of fruit. Each item is a unique work of art.

What’s your bike craft?
I sew hand-dyed kids clothes from recycled fabric, with vegetable and push-bike appliqué pockets.

How did you get started?
I design and sew hand-made wearable artwork. I started fifteen years ago. I ride a bike for transportation. I have sewn other bikey items in the past, but I’m currently focused on kids.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
I love to work with color, and see little people wearing my craft.

What’s your biggest challenge with it?
Everything I make is one-of-a-kind, so it’s hard to operate like other businesses.

What does bicycling mean to you?
Bicycling is freedom. I can go anywhere, anytime, and it’s fun. I pick up fabric, commute to a shared sewing space, deliver to stores, and sometimes sell at farmers markets – all by bike!

piggyflowers – Shannon (website)

Shannon, aka piggyflowers, is returning to BikeCraft this year to fill the demand for sturdy, attractive, reflective flowers to decorate your bicycle basket, hair, clothes, cat, etc. People who are into stuff like this—well, we know exactly who we are.

What’s your bike craft?
I make Petal Brites: reflective flower accessories for bikes and more.

How did you get started?
I made my first Petal Brite when the fuzzy centers fell off the flowers on my bike basket garland. I covered the bare spots with reflective stickers and my garland wasn’t just pretty, now it had a safety feature! I thought other people would like reflective items that were not only practical, but pretty. I opened an Etsy shop and started selling Petal Brites in 2011.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
I love making Petal Brites! Whether it’s working with flowers that catch my eye or bringing a customer’s special request into bloom, I know it’s complete when the combination makes me smile. I also love it when my customers let me know they are happy with their Petal Brites and share photos of them in use.

What’s your biggest challenge with it?
Because I have a day job, finding time to devote to my Petal Brites is challenging, especially coordinating photo shoots and photo processing with my husband. But his photos are always worth the wait.

What does bicycling mean to you?
I started commuting by bike when my daughter was 11 months old because I missed getting regular exercise. I was working full-time and didn’t want to spend more time away from my daughter going to an exercise class. I had a short commute and riding my bike took 10 minutes longer than driving so it was the perfect way to fit exercise into my day. Eighteen years later, my bike is still my preferred way to travel. Bicycling keeps me physically and mentally healthy. I love my bike.

TiGr Lock – Jim Loughlin (website)

One of the coolest things about BikeCraft is getting to meet folks who are producing something totally new and different with a ground-up business model. Jim Loughlin and his brother are a Kickstarter success story and they make bike locks that don’t look like any I’ve seen before. I’m really looking forward to checking these out.

What’s your bike craft?
My brother and I make bike locks. Not a very crafty kind of item, but it feels like a craft business to us. We put a lot of thought into design, production process, sourcing raw materials, how things function. We form and assemble each lock by hand. Our finger prints are literally on every item we ship.

How did you get started?
Our dad got started in the lock business on a more industrial scale in the 1970s. We joined him later in life. The idea for the TiGr came out of work we were doing for a different security challenge. Being lifelong cyclists we’ve been thinking about bike locks for quite a while. We introduced the original TiGr Lock idea via Kickstarter in 2011.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
Working with my brother.

What’s your biggest challenge with it?
My brother can be a pain in the @#$.

What does bicycling mean to you?
Freedom. As a kid, I loved to use my bike to get myself where I wanted/needed to go without having to ask an adult for ride in a car. As an adult I love being able to get places without having to buy gas, or worry about traffic.

If you’re ask excited about BikeCraft as we are, don’t forget to snatch up a few tickets for the special Friday night preview party (and benefit for the Bike Farm!).

Thank you Elly for these great Q&As. For more details and a full list of vendors, check the official BikeCraft website and stay tuned for more vendor profiles.

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

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Truck operator in Water Avenue fatality cited for dangerous turn, failure to signal

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:26

The man driving the garbage truck that was involved in the collision that killed Tamar Monhait on August 21st has been issued two traffic citations.

The Portland Police Bureau has cited Paul Thompson for a Dangerous Left Turn and Failure to Signal a Turn. The former is a Class C traffic violation that comes with a presumptive fine of $260 and the latter is a Class D violation that has a presumptive fine of $110. If Thompson challenges the citations in court the fines could be dropped to $130 and $60 respectively.

After a fatal collision, it’s standard procedure for the PPB to defer any citation decisions until after the District Attorney completes their investigation. On October 26th the Multnomah County DA declined to pursue criminal charges against Thompson. The DA found no evidence that Thompson engaged in the behaviors required to reach the legal threshold to prove a criminal recklessness or negligence.

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Monhait was operating her bicycle at a safe speed within the bike lane prior to the collision. However, investigators determined she was under the influence of intoxicants, was not wearing reflective or high contrast clothing, and did not have a legally required front light on her bicycle. Those factors and others were noted in a memo issued by the DA that explains why police chose to not pursue elevated charges against Thompson.

Even though Thompson was operating a large truck in the central city and made a dangerous turn across a bike lane without using his signal, the PPB felt his actions did not even warrant a (non-criminal) Careless driving charge. As defined in ORS 811.135, someone is guilty of careless driving if they drive, “in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.”

I asked the lead DA on this case, Nicole Jergovic, why the police didn’t cite for careless driving (and the additional consequence of causing death to a vulnerable roadway user). Jergovic said the rationale for a finding of careless is similar to what was laid out in the DA’s memo. “We’re looking at the same fact base that applies to the criminal case,” she said. After all is said and done, in the eyes of the DA and the police, the only things Thompson did wrong were to not use his turn signal and not yield the right of way.

Monhait’s family is seeking $24 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company who Thompson was driving for. Lawyers for the trucking company, Republic Services Alliance Group/McInnis Waste Systems, Inc., blame Monhait for own death.

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

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One fatality, one serious injury collision on outer southeast roadways over the weekend

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 15:16

View of police flares from crash investigation at SE 148th and Division.
(Photo: Sarah Iannarone)

One person was killed and another person sustained life-threatening injuries in two separate crashes this weekend. Both of them happened about one mile apart in southeast Portland.

On Saturday evening around 5:40, Portland police responded to a collision near the intersection of SE 148th and Division. They discovered that a bicycle rider had been hit by a driver and was lying on the ground. “Based on preliminary information,” read their statement, “officers believe the motorist and bicyclist were both traveling south on Southeast 148th Avenue when the bicyclist was struck by the vehicle.”

The man was believed to have “serious life threatening injuries.”

About 24 hours later, officers responded to another crash about one mile north at the corner of SE Stark and 146th. This one also involved a vulnerable person — a walker — who had been struck by an automobile user. A 40-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. “Based on the information learned during the preliminary investigation,” reads the statement, “officers believe the pedestrian was on Southeast Stark Street when he was struck by a vehicle traveling on Southeast Stark Street.”

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PBOT engineering plans (15% design) for 148th and Division.

In March another person was killed while walking across Stark just two blocks away at 148th.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation ranks Stark and 148th as the 10th most dangerous intersection in the city. 148th and Division is ranked 12th.

PBOT is currently working to implement a Safety Action Plan for Outer Division. Among the updates planned for 148th are a closure of an existing southbound slip lane and new school zone beacons.

We’ve reached out to the PPB for updates on both of these collisions but have yet to hear back.

Sunday’s fatality brings the yearly tally of Portland traffic deaths to 39*. By this date last year we had 36 deaths and 44 total.

NOTE: This post originally stated the death total as 43; but we have gotten clarification from PBOT that — while 43 people have died — the officially recorded total so far is 39. This is because several of this year’s deaths fall outside PBOT’s criteria. Fatalities are excluded from the official count when: a person dies more than 30 days after the crash, the death is ruled a suicide, a motor vehicle is not involved, or if it occurs in a parking lot.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Equiticity, beating bike theft, Montreal’s new mayor, and more

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:49

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Urban Tribe cargo bikes, which are now 15 percent off for BikePortland readers.

Here are the best stories that came across our desks last week…

Middle finger hero: Here’s the story behind Juli Briskman, that woman who flipped off Donald Trump’s motorcade last month.

“Equiticity” for mobility justice: The founder of Chicago’s “Slow Roll” movement has started a new group whose first project will be dockless bike-share libraries in communities of color.

Side guards in Seattle: Our northern neighbors are not just talking about side guards on trucks like we are, they have actually began to install them (and from a local manufacturer to boot!). (H/T Seattle Bike Blog)

Beautiful streets: Seattle has a new street design manual that looks really fantastic.

Montreal’s new mayor: People are buzzing about Valérie Plante and her potential to make biking better in what has traditionally been North America’s most bike-friendly city.

End of the automobile era: When a former VP of General Motors says cars as we know them will be obsolete in five years to make way for autonomous modules, it’s probably worth hearing him out.

E-bikes are a revolution: At least that’s the feeling of one reporter from The Economist who used one around London for a week.

Encouraging distraction: Why the hell is the Arizona DOT sending traffic alerts via text message to people’s phones?

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Get out of our bike lanes! People who drive for companies like Uber and Lyft think they can park anywhere. A San Francisco lawmakers wants to establish clearly marked pick-up zones to help fix the problem.

Treat them right and hold them accountable: An employment court in London has ruled that Uber drivers are employees — not the independent contractors the company has always insisted they are.

Beating bike theft: Vancouver BC has embraced Project 529 and put in the necessary work to make a significant dent in bike theft.

Great streets don’t have cars: Inspired by the City of London’s plans to make Oxford Street carfree, Citylab has this how-to guide for how we could do the same thing here in Portland. Burnside? NW 13th? Sandy? Pick one!

GOP tax plan: We already know the petty move from the GOP to axe the paltry Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit; but did you see how they also carved out a loophole for auto dealers?

Victim blaming bill: A lawmaker in Chicago wants new fines for people who use cell phones while walking across the street. Thankfully he’s not being taken serious. Yet.

Wool giants merge: Smartwool’s parent company has bought Icebreaker.

Video of the Week: Even in bike utopias like Nijmegen there are still tactical urbanists at work (and they use duct tape!):

Thanks for all the submissions folks.

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

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Tamika Butler, racism, and the segregation of public space

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 10:01

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

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

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

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

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

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

“For me, as a black person, what does segregation feel like? It’s this feeling. This heaviness. It’s this constant thing on you.”
— Tamika Butler

Through a tapestry of personal stories, this former civil rights lawyer and director of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition created a raw and extremely relevant picture of what it’s like to be a young, black, gay woman in America. And she did it in front of a room full of people who desparately needed to hear it.

On the surface, most of Butler’s talk had nothing to do with transportation. But underneath, it had everything to do with transportation. The title was: “Urban Segregation and the Intersections of Race and Place.”

Butler grew up in Okinawa, Japan, then lived in Omaha, Nebraska before moving to Los Angeles where she currently leads the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a nonprofit that builds parks in underserved areas.

In front of a mostly white crowd that included an impressive amount of advocates, planners, and agency staffers from the city, region and state (even saw a few Oregon Department of Transportation staff), Butler spoke in a way that mirrored her message. She fearlessly shared how her life is worse because she’s black, and urged white people to be just as fearless in helping make it better.

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“Segregation is about public space. It’s about the way we use our land. It’s about realizing this white woman doesn’t understand that the reason she never saw black folks swimming is because there were people in power who made policies that intentionally kept us away from them.”
— Tamika Butler

Butler went beyond the typical topics everyone in the room assumed a talk about segregation from a black woman would cover. Asked what the audience thought of when she mentioned segregation, Butler heard a familiar response: “Schools, red-lining, gerrymandering, white flight, interstate highways,” and so on. Those are the things white people think about. But for Butler, the issue is visceral.

“For me, as a black person, what does segregation feel like?” Butler shared. “It’s when you’re out in a rainstorm and you’re getting drenched and even when you come inside you just can’t get warm. You can’t get the chill off you. That’s what it’s like being a person of color everyday. It’s this feeling. This heaviness. It’s this constant thing on you.”

To illustrate her feelings, Butler shared a story about a co-worker who realized she’d gone swimming and said, “I didn’t know black people could swim.” After shaking off the shock, Butler explained to the woman that the reason that fallacy exists is because, “We we were in a different pool because your parents didn’t want you to swim with my mom.”

Returning to the audience, Butler said, “Segregation is about public space. It’s about the way we use our land. It’s about realizing this white woman doesn’t understand that the reason she never saw black folks swimming is because there were people in power who made policies that intentionally kept us away from them.”

Butler would intersperse stories like this with direct calls to the professionals in the room. “I think that in order to do our best work as folks in this space, we have to be willing to understand the stories of the people who often aren’t at the table,” she said. “We have to be willing to confront the racist history that our country and the systems that we have created in our country were built upon.”

Butler referred to this book by Richard Rothstein in her presentation. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (2017, Liveright)

Racism is at the root of land-use policy in America. Butler’s worry is that the system will never be dismantled if people are too afraid to even say that word. “How do you change systems if you aren’t able to talk about what’s really at the root of those systems?” she lamented, after telling us about a 90-minute meeting on equity she attended earlier in the day where the only people who brought up racism were the people of color.

“I don’t want to talk about equity,” she said. “I want to talk about racism. I want to talk about why it shuts down the conversation.”

And if your feelings are hurt after reading this far, Butler doesn’t care.

While acknowledging gun laws and black-on-black crime, she spoke about how black people have been forced to live in unhealthy — and ultimately deadly — neighborhoods, “Because white people don’t want us somewhere else. When they don’t have to see us, and when they don’t have to hear about our pain, they don’t have to do anything about it. And that is really tough.”

“You zoned to allow oil drilling, to allow toxic plants,” she continued. “You zoned to make it such that there are people who look like me in Michigan who still don’t have clean water? And you want me to worry about how you might feel?”

That’s what Butler calls “centering whiteness” and she’s not having it. “I mean, I kind of think white people should feel bad. Because the policies were intentional.”

Butler said she understands that talking about white privilege and racism makes people feel uncomfortable. “But the reality as a person of color,” she shared, “especially in planning spaces, especially in transportation spaces — it is always uncomfortable. But we can’t make you uncomfortable for a second because you’d rather conceptualize racism in transportation as being something that happened a long time ago? You would rather conceptualize it as being about making buses that were no longer segregated and now we’ve fixed the problem?… I don’t even put racism on my first slide even though that’s all I’m talking about because segregation makes white people feel better.”

There’s no debate in Butler’s mind: Transportation is a racial justice issue. And it’s about life or death for people of color — especially in today’s America where white supremacy is alive and well. The reality of our times added a sense of urgency to Butler’s admonitions.

“We can’t even get a flat tire on the part of the highway where we’re not supposed to be, or else, somebody’s gonna’ say we look like a dangerous dude. And they’re going to kill us!” Butler continued. “We have to realize that’s all about transportation, and it’s all about racism.”

To truly tackle equity, Butler said the people who have historically had the least, must be given the most. “You’ve got to give us more because for so long you planned your cities, you planned your institutions, you planned your curriculums, you planned everything to keep us down.” Butler said she wants a seat at the table to make a decision, not just to be a decoration.

As I soaked up Butler’s words, my mind flashed back to my experiences covering the North Williams Traffic Safety Project — especially when she said: “We have to recognize that when white people come into our spaces with their craft beer and their record players and their bikes, all of the sudden the way we’re treated in our own communities is different, because the reality is we were perfectly segregated to the other side of town; but now that you can’t afford your side of the town and you want to be on our side of town, now we’re an inconvenience.”

I’ve learned a lot about my own privilege and racism since the Williams project (and when I mistakenly identified an activist as a police officer). Hearing Butler’s words reminded me I still have much to learn. Her delivery wasn’t bombastic like a preacher, it was personal. Butler spoke from her heart. Even as she skillfully wove in comic relief (in the form of pop culture references that included Rihanna, Drake, and Justin Bieber) her fear and anger were palpable.

So, what exactly can white people do to make things better? Butler said the first step is to admit that you’re privileged, and as a byproduct, racist (“And it’s hard when your instinct is to say, ‘But I’m not a racist,” she said. “You are. We all are.”) Then apologize. Then get to work to dismantle the system. And that doesn’t mean just hashtags or changing your profile picture on social media. She doesn’t want more allies, she wants accomplices.

For white advocates, planners and policymakers it’s not just about just listening to people of color, or about feeling bad for a few hours, then returning to our good fortune of forgetfulness. We have to stand up, be ready to help, cede power, and do more to lift that “heaviness”.

“Everybody has to walk out of this room feeling they have something to do,” Butler said.

What will you do?

More on Tamika Butler: Recording of this talk is now available on YouTube. She was also a guest (with Keyonda McQuarters) on the Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About This? Podcast last week. This talk was recorded by the hosts at PSU. I’ll post the link when it’s up. Also see

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

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