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Portlander Paul LaCava wants to climb 1 million feet in 2018

Bike Portland - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:46

He knocked off 4,199 feet during a ride in the West Hills on Tuesday.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

How many feet of elevation do you climb each week? How many times do you ride per month?

These are the type of calculations that will weigh heavily on Paul LaCava’s mind for the next 11 months as he tries to accomplish his goal of 1,000,000 feet of vertical gain by December 31st.

I met up with LaCava on Tuesday to see how we was doing and to share a few thousand feet toward his goal.

LaCava has lived in Portland for 18 years and moved here for a job after doing most of his growing up in Corvallis. He credits his dad, a marathon runner, for piquing his interest in endurance sports. When he’s not pedaling or skiing or running, LaCava stays busy as a sales rep for Giant Bicycles. For the past 10 years he’s been driving between bike shops in Oregon, Washington and Alaska.

Now 39 and with a decade in his current job, LaCava seems to be reflecting on where he’s at. That self-assessment is partly to blame for staking out such an audacious goal; but LaCava says the real story is that he just haphazardly decided to do it. “There’s no real secret agenda. No noble cause,” he told me during a pre-ride conversation at Breadwinner Cycles Cafe on North Williams Avenue. “It’s really selfish; but it’s a fun thing that hopefully won’t drive me too crazy in the next 11 months.”

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To reach 1 million feet of what he refers to as “vertical accomplishment,” LaCava figures he’ll need to average just over 2,700 feet per day. While he’s likely to do some backcountry skiing, the vast majority of the miles will be done on bicycles. In a typical year, LaCava’s bike computer stats show that he climbs about 500,000 feet — so even for a guy known for his endurance biking exploits, doubling that will be tough.

LaCava says he’ll make sure to always have a bike ready-to-go in his work van as he travels. He might pull off the freeway and do a quick ride in the middle of nowhere. When he’s home in southeast Portland he’ll have plenty of hills right outside his door. Some of his favorites are Mt. Scott, the backroads near Oregon City, and of course the reliable West Hills above downtown Portland.

To keep on the pace, LaCava will find motivation from many sources. He said skier Aaron Rice’s human-powered record of 2.5 million feet of elevation gain in one year was a major source of inspiration.

He’ll need all the inspiration he can find in order to not get behind on the numbers. “Every day I’ll try to fit in something,” he said. “That’s the challenge — when you take a day off, all the sudden the next day you have to do 4,000 or 5,000 feet and that’s a big ride… You can get behind it so fast and you’re suddenly off the pace.”

To keep on the pace, LaCava will have to make the most of every waking hour. His mind will constantly be chasing the numbers. “The time is there, you just have to do it. I can look at my phone and 10 minutes go by. Well, do that five times a day and that’s almost an hour. I can do 2,000 feet of climbing in an hour.”

“This is a slow time of year, work-wise,” he added, “So I hope to front-load and get ahead of things.” This year he’s at about 54,000 feet. “I figure I’m right on track so far.”

Will he make it? Follow Paul’s quest for 1,000,000 feet via Instagram.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Hell of the North Plains, Rapha and Ruckus sales, Palm Tree ride, and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:16

Discover Vernonia’s backroads on an old-fashioned adventure at OMTM’s season opener on Saturday.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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BikePortland relies on advertising. We have a great events sponsorshop package that’s recently become available. If you’re interested, text or call Jonathan Maus at (503) 706-8804.

We’re at that point in winter when you probably have your unpredictable weather routine all figured out. There’s no telling if it’ll be cold, balmy, wet, dry, windy, or some combination of all that.

But regardless of what mother nature throws at us, we still must ride. And if you don’t feel like heading out, there happen to be two big sales going on this weekend.

Here’s our weekly selection of the best things to do…

Friday, January 19th

PDX Coffee Outside – 7:00 am to 8:30 am (Location TBA)
Grab your coffee-making kit, swing onto your bike and meet up with friends old and new. PDX Coffee Outside meets every Friday at a different location. More info here.

Rapha Sample Sale – 12:00 to 6:00 pm at Rapha HQ
A great chance to score deals on very fine cycling apparel. Sale continues Saturday and Sunday. More info here.

Saturday, January 20th

Hell of the North Plains – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at Rogue Brew Pub in North Plains
The long-awaited start of the unsanctioned ride series from the route artists at Our Mother the Mountain (OMTM). The “Unpaved” crew has scoped out what sounds like a fantastic adventure through the backroads of Vernonia. Expect a 56-mile, 5400 foot elevation route that’s 70 percent off-road. 38c tires are essential. More info here.

Ruckus Composites Warehouse Sale – 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at Ruckus Composites HQ
The first-ever Ruckus warehouse sale will offer excellent prices on carbon fiber bike frames. Ruckus is one of the leading frame repair shops in the country and they’ve got a slew of frames “priced to move quickly.” Some frames have already been fixed, others need a repair. You can buy one of the latter and jump into their repair queue at the event. More info here.

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The Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at Ovation Coffee & Tea
Stay fit during the off-season and jump into this group that’s full of fast riders. Fall of the pace? No problem. Groups of slower riders form their own pacelines and a good time is had by all. More info here.

Palm Tree Ride – 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Five Points Coffee Roasting
Lucky for all of us, Shawn Granton from the Urban Adventure League has brought back one of his best rides. He’ll take you on a tour of Portland’s most noteworthy palm trees (and probably even a monkey puzzle tree for good measure, because he likes those too). More info here.

Women’s Beginner Clinics at The Lumberyard – 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at The Lumberyard
This is a class for women of all fitness levels who want to learn how to ride at the Lumberyard and gain confidence on mountain bike trails. Taught by Elaine Bothe from Wenzel Coaching. Fee required. More info here.

ZooBomb – 8:30 pm at People’s Bike Library of Portland
With Mini Bike Winter and the Ben Hurt Chariot Wars coming in a few weeks, now is the time to brush up on your mini-biking skills. What better way to do that than Zoobomb?! More info here.

Did we miss anything? If so, feel free to give it a shout 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 jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Fatbiking Sundance

Bike Hugger - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 09:32

I’m covering camera tech at Sundance for Digital Photo Pro, shooting with a Leica CL and Sony RXOs (the featured image was taken with one). The best way to get around is with a Fatbike, of course, and that’s what we did yesterday for the first shoot. Photo-John and I rode up one of the thousands of trails around Park City to catch the golden hour but the light was terrible from a hazy, overcast sky.

So I set the Leica CL to Black and White Natural mode. 

Leica CL at Sundance with Photo-John.

I’m very happy with that result and will have much more to share, as Sundance proceeds—the tiny RXO did great too, considering the conditions and fast action.

RX0 at Sundance, taken by Photo-John.

Please follow the Sundance coverage on Instagram.

The post Fatbiking Sundance appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Newest section of East Lake Sammamish Trail reopens Wednesday

Biking Bis - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:01
Crews worked frantically on Tuesday to finish up odds and ends for King County's "grand reopening" of a 1.2-mile segment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Finishing touches to trail plaza at newly reopened section of East Lake Sammamish Trail[/caption] The section -- roughly between SE 33rd St. and SE 43rd Way in Sammamish -- is the penultimate section of the 11-mile trail between Redmond and Issaquah to be upgraded from crushed gravel to pavement. The extensive work during the year-long closure will be celebrated at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the new Trail Plaza at SE 33rd St. ....

Today at City Council: 20 is Plenty

Bike Portland - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:22

PBOT says the new signs — and new law — will be ready by April 1st. No foolin’.

Today the Portland will make official one of the key pillars in the war on speeding: A blanket 20 mph speed limit on 70 percent of our entire street network.

20 is Plenty

Read the ordinance Council will consider this morning (PDF).

The move comes as Portland grapples with its deadliest year for people walking and biking in over two decades and the highest overall death toll since 2003. That grave reality is reflected in the ordinance language that will go before Council this morning: “An emergency exists because people are dying in traffic crashes; therefore, this Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by the Council.”

This major step forward was made possible by a legislative lobbying push from the Portland Bureau of Transportation to pass House Bill 2682, which authorized the City of Portland to, “Designate speed that is five miles per hour lower than statutory speed when highway is located in residence district and highway is not arterial highway.” After going through a major revision that allowed it to apply only to Portland (it was initially statewide), the bill sailed through the Oregon House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in June.

PBOT has over 2,000 “20 MPH” signs ready to install and they expect all of them up by April 1st. Practically-speaking, the ordinance gives PBOT the authority to create 20 mph speed limits on any road that isn’t classified as an arterial and that isn’t in a business district. This means it applies not only to small, residential streets, but also to larger “collector” streets. PBOT already has the authority to reduce speeds in business districts and has about a 95 percent success rate when they request permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation to do so. PBOT’s website lists 30 streets where they successfully reduced speed limits in 2017.

Given that lower speeds are a key part of Portland’s Vision Zero Action Plan, which was passed unanimously by Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Council, we don’t expect much debate today. What we do expect is more of a celebration of a traffic safety milestone and the introduction of PBOT’s “20 is Plenty” marketing campaign.

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Oregon State Senator Ginny Burdick unveils a 20 mph speed limit sign in this slide from a PBOT presentation.

While “More enforcement!” is what many people are eager for, PBOT is betting heavily that the softer tact of marketing and education will hasten behavior change. And that’s not simply their decision. The agency’s own Vision Zero Task Force intentionally endorsed a plan that prohibits PBOT from upping enforcement due to concerns about how police might unfairly target people of color.

In notes from the Task Force’s December meeting, PBOT offered hints about what we can expect for the upcoming “education campaign.”

PBOT hired a public relations firm to help develop the campaign. After using focus groups to solicit feedback, the firm decided on a campaign that, “Involves having a Portland celebrity sharing the stories of lives lost on Portland streets due to speeding, and highlighting that everybody is somebody.” After hearing the outlines of the campaign, Vision Zero Task Force members offered feedback. Several of them wanted the campaign to not just focus on victims. They want it to highlight the consequences for the people who are deemed at-fault in a collision. “For example, a family member who is now in prison as a result of driving impaired and hurting someone,” said one task force member. “Get people to imagine killing someone, how that would feel,” and “If you speed, you could change someone’s life,” offered others.

To make sure City Council hears loud and clear that Portlanders want people drive more slowly, The Street Trust launched a petition campaign last week. So far well over 600 people have signed on.

The ordinance is set to be heard at 9:45 this morning (1/17). If you can’t make it to City Hall, you can watch the livestream here.

Learn more about PBOT’s residential speed limit reduction efforts on their website.

UPDATE, 11:30 am: As expected the ordinance has passed unanimously 5-0.

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

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Community rallies against ODOT’s plans to tear down Flint Ave bridge

Bike Portland - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 15:26

Veteran activist Ron Buel works the crowd on Flint Avenue this morning.
(Photo: Emily Guise)

They offered free coffee and donuts, and some bad news: The bridge they were giving it out on will be removed if the Oregon Department of Transportation ever breaks ground on their $450 million I-5 Rose Quarter project.

Volunteers from the No More Freeways coalition and Bike Loud PDX hosted the event with an aim to educate people about the project and add signatures to a petition they plan to deliver to Portland City Council this Thursday.

I was there for just a few minutes and was surprised to be greeted by Jim Howell and Ron Buel, two veterans of Portland’s past freeway fights. They were both eager to show me a strip of grassy hillside adjacent to the current I-5 freeway that separates thousands of polluting cars from students at Harriet Tubman Middle School. “That’s where ODOT wants to put the new lanes,” Buel said.

No More Freeways organizer Aaron Brown said nearly 100 people stopped to sign their petition (which is open until tomorrow at 2:00 pm) that reads: “The Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion is #NotAnImprovement to the local streets of North and Northeast Portland. This $450 million freeway is already demonstrably proven to not have any positive impact on congestion relief, will not adequately address the true safety concerns on Portland’s streets, will exacerbate existing unhealthy poor air quality near Harriet Tubman Middle School, and will hinder our ambitious carbon emission initiatives.” So far the petition has about 200 names.

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Emily Guise is the co-chair of Bike Loud PDX and worked a shift at the event this morning: “We were able to raise a lot of awareness about the proposed removal of bridge and the other proposed bike/ped changes, as this was the first time many people had heard about it,” she shared with us in a follow-up email.

One of our readers contacted via Twitter said, “Biking past them today was the first time I’d ever heard of it! I would hate it if that bridge was gone. There really is no better way to get onto Broadway.”

ODOT’s plans are to remove the Flint Avenue bridge and replace it with new crossing that will connect between Hancock and Dixon.

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

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SRAM DUB

Bike Hugger - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 14:07

Today SRAM introduced DUB a bottom bracket/crank product line that promises better durability and compatibility with virtually all major manufacturer’s MTB frames.

As SRAM tends to do, their tech is wrapped in lots of marketing, trademarks, and acronyms. So what you need to know is DUB is similar to Rotor, BB386, and other standards that use a wide stance oversize alloy BB spindle, but they shrunk the spindle from 30mm to 28.99mm (no, seriously).

The Goldilocks quirkiness of 28.99mm is where you should expect to see long comment threads from bike mechanics, and not without good reason.

SRAM shrunk DUB’s spindle diameter to increase the room for better bottom bracket seals (DUB is being marketed for MTB after all). Coincidentally, it’s also *just* small enough that you can’t shim the spindle into a BB30-sized bearing, so you will definitely be using SRAM bottom brackets with DUB cranks. Minor plus: existing installation tools that work with GXP cups will work with DUB cups.

SRAM claims stiffer and lighter—as you expect—than previous cranksets, but when they give actual weight comparisons a cynical observer would notice that SRAM quotes the DUB crank weights against the existing GXP versions (i.e. steel 24mm spindle) rather than the BB30 versions of the cranksets. One might imagine they do this because there’s only a marginal weight difference if anything. SRAM explains the fixing bolt and pre-load hardware have been refined slightly, but it’s certainly nothing revolutionary.

Ultimately DUB’s main marketing point is the BB seals’ durability because DUB otherwise doesn’t do anything that the BB386-type standards didn’t already do: lighter yet stiffer oversize alloy spindles and compatibility with most major BB shell standards. Ten years ago this might have been big news, but today it’s like “um….ok.” It takes a lot marketing to make 1.01mm of a difference sound revolutionary.

Still, this is MTB, so the demographic may very well be chuffed….I mean, MTB manufacturers can’t get enough rear spacing/chainline standards so why would new BB skus give them a moment of pause. MTB consumers constantly do complain about BB durability though, so if the more elaborate DUB seals do the job then the standard will do well, especially if they can grab a good portion of the OEM market at the front end.

There is one nagging question: if DUB uses a 28.99mm spindle to give more space for better seals while still having big enough bearings on pressfit BB shell standards like BB92 and BB386, there really isn’t a reason why external bearing standards like BSA30 couldn’t just use bigger bearings with better seals since the bearings aren’t spatially constrained since they sit outboard of the frame’s shell. Perhaps the pragmatic answer is that DUB represents the best compromise for the widest variety of frames on the market. Ultimately SRAM might reduce their crank sku#s by eliminating both GXP and 30mm spindle cranks in favor of a sole focus on DUB.

There’s no reason DUB couldn’t be adapted to road crank designs (and by extension gravel & CX), but I don’t see OEM or even the aftermarket getting that excited about an incremental change requiring a new standard. Yet DUB doesn’t require frame manufacturers to change anything, so if SRAM did a hot update to Red (their flagship road group) that included a DUB crank, DUB could gain a foothold in the road market that way. One might guess that DUB could debut with the expected 1×12 “Eagle” for road group. But I wager the weight reduction is virtually nothing over existing BB30/BB386.

SRAM Eagle DUB

The SRAM Eagle DUB crankset is listed at  $485 – $495 and is shipping now.

Specifications for X01 Eagle DUB Crankset
  • ARM MATERIAL: Carbon composite, foam core
  • CHAINRING MATERIAL: Aluminum CNC Eagle SL
  • WEIGHT: 471g (175mm, 32t)
  • AVAILABLE ARM LENGTHS: 170mm, 175mm
  • COMPATIBILITY: All levels of Eagle drivetrain systems, All major bottom bracket standards.
  • COLORS: Black, Red
  • BOLTS: Direct Mount
  • RECOMMENDED CHAIN: Eagle chain only
  • TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHT(S): X-SYNC, BOOST
  • CARBON TUNED, Eagle
  • OPTIONS: BOOST, FAT 4, FAT 5

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The Monday Roundup: B2V, dockless diversity, e-bike share, and more

Bike Portland - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:37


Yes I realize it’s Tuesday. It just didn’t feel right to post this on Martin Luther King Day (I posted something about activism instead, thinking that was more in line with the spirit of the holiday).

So without further ado, here are the best stories we came across last week…

The future is B2V: Bikehugger was at the big Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and got the scoop about a partnership between Ford, Tome, and Trek that will hasten development of “bicycle-to-vehicle” or B2V communication.

Dockless diversity: A Citylab reporter in Washington D.C. has a strong hunch that people of color use dockless bike share bikes more often than other types of bikes.

Dockless gets a boost in Seattle: Spin and LimeBike will soon roll out e-assist versions of their bikes in the Seattle market.

San Fran too: In related news, Ford has partnered with e-bike giant GenZe to electrify the GoBike fleet in San Francisco.

Advocacy tool for your mayor: TransitCenter has created a handy, 2-page PDF to help activists deal with mayors who are strong on climate change but weak on reducing car use and improving transit.

Great biking, great driving: The traffic-avoidance and route experts at Waze came out with a Driver Satisfaction Index and guess which country has the happiest drivers? The Netherlands.

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A mural for Boyd: Boyd Littell was a Portland-based musician and bicycle messenger who died mysteriously while cycling near Colonel Summers Park back in October. His hometown of Norman, Oklahoma has raised money to create a mural in his memory.

Bike tourism = $$$: A tiny town in Montana that has just 50 residents gets about 1,000 tourists a year who pass through on one of several cross-country bike routes. That’s the kind of economic impact small towns in rural Oregon might start to see as the award-winning Oregon Timber Trail becomes more well-known.

Streets for people: A road diet in the coastal town of La Jolla, California reduced crashes by 90 percent. Check the amazing before/after images in this case study published by the Congress for New Urbanism.

Ferries to the rescue: With the only highway in Santa Barbara blocked due to a mudslide, road users turned to an ad-hoc ocean ferry service to get where they needed to go.

106-year-old rider calls it quits: Frenchman Robert Marchand rode his bike until the age of 106 and now figures it’s time to hang up the helmet.

Thanks to everyone who submitted links!

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

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Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry is stepping down

Bike Portland - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 12:09

Mickelberry (with Steve Bozzone) at the Weston Awards in November.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Noel Mickelberry has announced she plans to end her tenure as executive director of Oregon Walks.

In a statement released today, Mickelberry wrote, “At the end of February, I will be stepping down from my role as Executive Director of Oregon Walks. I’ll be taking some much needed personal time with my family, friends, and puppy; while figuring out my next steps professionally. This work is near and dear to my heart, so I won’t be going far from the movement for safer and more just communities.”

Mickelberry, 29, became Oregon Walks’ leader in June 2014 after rising from an intern in 2010 to vice president of the board prior to taking the top job.

Oregon Walks was founded in 1991 as the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition and changed its name and organizational priorities in 2012.
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Mickelberry (lower right) on one of the many neighborhood walks she organized.

Among the highlights of her work in the past four years, Mickelberry said she’s most proud of the close partnerships Oregon Walks has formed with other organizations, “particularly those representing low income communities, communities of color, older adults, and youth, to understand and engage on the intersectional nature of walking and transportation justice.” Mickelberry also highlighted Oregon Walks impact on the City of Portland’s Vision Zero policy. “We were able to support the creation of the city’s first Vision Zero policy that includes not only a goal of zero road deaths,” she wrote, “but also, a goal of zero racial profiling – a first nationally.”

Mickelberry leaves Oregon Walks as Portland just went through its deadliest year on record for people walking since 2003. 20 people died while using their feet to get around Portland last year. In a charged statement released last month, Mickelberry said Portland has a, “livability crisis in our streets,” and called out Mayor Ted Wheeler and city council members for their lack of leadership. “We have not yet seen the urgency from our City leadership necessary to end this growing epidemic,” she wrote. “If the City of Portland wants to seriously address documented and decades-long public safety threats to people walking – we should be shutting down our High Crash Corridors to auto traffic tomorrow.”

Mickelberry will be at Oregon Walks through the end of next month and there’s a farewell party planned for February 21st.

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

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Tuesday morning rally on Flint Ave bridge will protest I-5 freeway expansion

Bike Portland - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 13:41

ODOT says the bridge must go.

The Flint Avenue bikeway and bridge — a popular route from north/northeast Portland that will be torn down if the I-5 Rose Quarter project moves forward — will be the site of a protest rally Tuesday morning. The event is being co-hosted by No More Freeways and BikeLoud PDX.

Organizers want to raise the profile of opposition to the $450 freeway expansion ahead of a City Council hearing on Thursday where Mayor Ted Wheeler and commissioners are set to adopt amendments to the Central City 2035 plan.

No More Freeways says the I-5 Rose Quarter project is an, “unnecessary, counterproductive $450 million freeway boondoggle.” The Flint Avenue bridge has become a focus of their campaign not only because it’s a cycling route but also because of the “vital connection” it offers to Harriet Tubman Middle School, a Portland Public School set to re-open to students this fall.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says the bridge must go in order to widen I-5. Once Flint is gone, ODOT says they’ll build a new bikeway that will cross over I-5 between Hancock and Dixon. For the thousands of riders who enter the central city from southbound Vancouver, this means you’ll no longer jog onto Flint before going right onto Broadway. The new Hancock-Dixon bridge would be higher at its midpoint than Flint and would require a bit of a climb — especially up from Dixon.

Last month we published a post from freeway critic and Portland-based economist Joe Cortright. He says ODOT’s plans will, “sever an important local street” and its removal runs counter to claims made by project backers and Mayor Wheeler that the wider freeway and related street projects will “reconnect the community.”

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ODOT graphic showing new Hancock-Dixon bridge. Flint Ave is show with “X” marks.

In addition to the loss of street connectivity, No More Freeways is highlighting air quality issues at Tubman school. A recent article from environmental journalism outlet Cascadia Times reported that despite the desire from Tubman School advocates to build a new sound and pollution wall between I-5 and their campus, ODOT says there won’t be enough room once they add the new lanes:

“In a recent meeting, two senior Oregon Department of Transportation engineers informed Portland Public Schools that any pollution-mitigation wall the school district might build below Harriet Tubman School to try to block some portion of the toxic emissions coming off Interstate-5 may not survive the highway’s proposed Rose Quarter expansion…

While the pollution-cutting impact of a tall wall – similar to the “noise walls” seen alongside highways – is uncertain, PPS sees it as the best potential bet to shield students outside the Tubman building from roadway emissions. Pending input from an environmental consultant, the district is also considering adding trees to the mix to boost the pollution-cutting effect. A wall would cost around $750,000; trees another approximately $250,000, Vincent said.

It’s unclear if the district would spend that money for measures that may last only five years…”

There are several clean air and environmental organizations among the 30 who support the No More Freeways campaign. They include: the Audubon Society of Portland, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Neighbors for Clean Air, Eastside Portland Air Coalition, Climate Justice Collaborative, and 350PDX.

Instead of more lanes that will make driving easier and more convenient, the coalition is pushing for congestion pricing on the existing lanes with the revenue going toward “robust investments” in public transit, biking and walking.

At Tuesday’s rally, No More Freeways promises coffee and donuts, and the opportunity to sign their petition they will deliver to City Hall at the January 18th hearing.

Learn more at NoMoreFreewaysPDX.com.

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

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Bicyclists flock to new bike trail on WA 520 Bridge

Biking Bis - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 10:48
A break in the dreary winter weather in Seattle made for a rare sunny day on Sunday. Local bicycle riders answered the call with a visit to the area’s newest bicycling attraction — the 520 Bike Trail across the WA 520 bridge. The floating bridge replaced an older structure, dating originally to 1963, that carried …

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Travel Oregon bike tourism update: Summit coming, fat biking the coast, big award for the Timber Trail, and more

Bike Portland - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 12:20

We love getting emails like this.

In Oregon, we’re fortunate that our official tourism commission intimately understands not just how valuable cycling is to our economy, but that it is simply an awesome, fun, and healthy way to experience our state.

We’ve covered Travel Oregon’s efforts to promote and enhance bike tourism for many years and I’m happy to see that their interest hasn’t waned. They recently put out a “Bicycle Tourism Update” email and it was so full of cool stuff I wanted to give it more attention.

Here are the things they’re supporting and working on:

New video to promote mountain biking

This video is a solid marketing effort (only quibble is that none of the featured riders is a woman). Travel Oregon says it’s part of a relaunch of the RideOregonRide.com website that showcases the best routes and bike-friendly services statewide.

Bicycle Tourism Summit coming March 16th

Travel Oregon will host the Bicycle Tourism Summit on March 16th on day two of the Active Transportation Summit.

Travel Oregon will host a gathering of trail and tourism advocates from across the state. Top items on the agenda will be updates from the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership, the formation of a statewide trails association, and best-practice insights on building world-class cycling experiences. Since there’s so much interest in bike tourism from every corner of Oregon, meetings like this are rare opportunities to network and learn from people who don’t often make the trip to Portland. The event will be on day two of the Oregon Active Transportation Summit, which is organized by The Street Trust (watch for a separate post on that next week).

Oregon Timber Trail named “Best New Route”

Screengrab from BikePacking.com.

It hasn’t taken long for the Oregon Timber Trail (OTT) to capture the imagination of the adventure riding world. It launched just this past year and has already been awarded Best New Bikepacking Route by Bikepacking.com. Here’s what they said about it: “Planned around educating the trail’s users about the history, sensitive or threatened areas, communities, and Oregon’s diverse landscapes from California to the Columbia River Gorge… the route’s agenda, presentation, and intent makes it deserving of a best route award.” Congrats OTT crew!

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Cover of the report.


One of the coolest things Travel Oregon does is host “rural tourism studios”. These intenstive workshops bring together planners, advocates, and politicians from specific areas to strategize ways to improve existing bike-related attractions and build new ones. The latest studio was held in East Lane County which is home to the drool-worthy riding areas in and around Eugene, Oakridge and Westfir. The result is a strategy document (here) and more assets for Travel Oregon to use in marketing the area. Check out this East Lane County itinerary published on the Travel Oregon website.

New brochure on fat biking the Southern Oregon Coast

Never ones to shy-away from the latest and greatest cycling trends, Travel Oregon is all about fat biking. After years of research and recon, they’ve helped produce four fat bike routes along the southern Oregon Coast. Each route has detailed information available online and they’ve dropped print brochures into hotels and tourism information centers. And that’s not all! In the coming months they’ll have the same resources available for routes on the central and northern sections of the coast.

Oregon is a fantastic state for cycling. How about a huge round of applause for all the advocates and agencies working to make it even better!

*Disclaimer: Travel Oregon is a financial sponsor of BikePortland.

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

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Jobs of the Week: WashCo BTC, Rev Nat’s Hard Cider, Bike Gallery, Castelli, Community Cycling Center

Bike Portland - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 10:01

Looking for a new place to spread you cycling wings? Five great jobs were posted recently.

And a special note about the listing from Portland-based Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider. Company owner Nat West said whoever refers the right person to him for this job will receive a lifetime supply of cider. I love Rev Nat’s cider. Please help me fill that position! Send it to your friends! Apply yourself! I promise I’ll share a few bottles of cider with you.

Learn more about each job via the links below…

–> Safe Routes To School Program Coordinator – Community Cycling Center

–> Entry-level Production Artist – Castelli USA

–> Service Manager – Bike Gallery Clackamas

–> Operations Director – Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider

–> Summer Bike Camp Instructor – Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition

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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 $50 by visiting our Job Listings page.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Tree-planting by bike, competitive bar games, indoor MTB clinic, and more

Bike Portland - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 09:44

Like riding by trees? Why not plant a few for future generations to enjoy. You can do that on Saturday’s Friends of Trees ride.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Before we get into this weekend’s event selections, I want to give a big shout-out to all the Portlanders in Reno, Nevada for the USA Cyclocross National Championships. We’ve got some stellar people representing us and I hope they achieve their goals.

With that, here are some ideas to help motivate you during these wet and dark times.

Sponsor this content!

Sponsorship revenue is a vital part of our business model. Our event sponsorship package is awesome and it’s currently available. Please contact Jonathan Maus at (503) 706-8804 or jonathan@bikeportland.org for more info.

Friday, January 12th

Midnight Mystery Ride – 11:45 pm at location TBA
A time-honored Portland tradition, MMR is guaranteed to please no matter the weather or the route. Link to meet-up location and more info here.

Saturday, January 13th

Friends of Trees and Breakfast Snacks Ride – 8:45 am at 6148 SE Holgate
Join fellow riders and put your wheeled tool (your bike!) to work with the help of local nonprofit Friends of Trees. More info here.

Beginner Friendly Road Ride – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at Western Bikeworks (NW 17th and Lovejoy
Rain or shine, this weekly ride is the ticket if you’re looking for a place to get stronger and more comfortable on the road. Expect a 1.5-2 hour ride with a relaxed, 12 mph pace and “lots of smiles,” say the organizers. Show up a few minutes early and sip some free Stumptown coffee. More info here.

Come.Bike Brain Storm – 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
There’s a new community effort to code a high-tech bike event calendar that will have some cool features. If you’re techy or just want to help make it happen, swing by and add your brains to the storm. More info here.

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The Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at Ovation Coffee & Tea
Portland’s fast and furious weekly training ride. If you have hopes of racing in 2018 and want to keep yourself sharp, this is the ride for you. If you’re not at the front, no worries! Various groups form to keep things interesting. Route and more info here.

Portland West to East 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Wilshire Park
Led by members of the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club for a civilized ramble from west to east, stopping for a bite at the Panera Bakery on Airport Way. Expect a moderate pace. More info here.

Corvidae Bicycle Club Ride #5 Winter Games – 2:00 pm at Peninsula Park
This fun-loving bike club will lead you to some great local bars to compete in fun games like darts, pool, and pinball. Bring $3 to add into the pot, make a team with friends, and the winning team gets 75% of the total, with the rest going to Corvidae so they keep putting on fun bike rides. More info here.

Women’s Beginner MTB Clinic – 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at The Lumberyard
This class, held indoors on the fun tracks of the Lumberyard Bike Park, will help you gain basic MTB skills under the expert guidance of Elaine Bothe from Wenzel Coaching. This is part of a series and there is a fee to join. Registratuib and more info here.

Did we miss anything? If so, give it a shout out in the comments. And have a great weekend!

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 jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Advocate’s memorial fund leads to $150,000 grant for the Crown Zellerbach Trail

Bike Portland - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 16:55

A portion of the grant funds will pay for safety improvements where the trail crosses Scappoose-Vernonia Highway.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Great news for those who like to take the road less traveled: The Crown Zellerbach Trail, a former logging road that gives riders an off-highway option between Scappoose and Vernonia, has just won a $150,000 matching grant from Oregon Parks and Recreation.

Wayne Naillon in his element.
(Photo: Dale Latham)

The funding will pay for access and safety improvements along the 23-mile trail that will include kiosks, maps, signage, safer highway crossings and other amenities.

What’s amazing about this grant is that it started from a humble desire to memorialize a man who loved to hike and bike on “the CZ”. Dedicated advocate (and personal friend and supporter of mine) Wayne Naillon chose to end his life on this trail in May of 2016. Friends and partners quickly joined together to remember him by raising money to improve the CZ. That initial, relatively meager sum of $6,000 is what led to this much more substantial grant.

Here’s more from a statement released today by Columbia County:

“”Wayne loved the CZ Trail and wanted more people to know about it, so we thought that promoting use of the trail would be a good way to memorize him,” said Dale Latham, Naillon’s friend and co-manager of the Wayne Naillon Memorial Trail Fund.

Latham and family member Marcus Iverson approached the county with the idea of using the $6,000 to improve access to the trail. That’s when Casey Garrett, the county’s General Services Manager, suggested the county apply for a grant from OPRD, which they did in May 2017. By December, the initial donation of $6,000 had turned into an approved $150,000 matching grant, with promises from the county, Oregon Equestrian Trails, and cartographer Jeff Smith partnering to provide labor and pro bono personal services. Smith was a good friend of Naillon’s and is an active advocate for biking trails in Oregon.”

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The County says many of the improvements will take place at the Chapman trailhead about 8.5 miles from Scappoose. They’ll include a covered picnic area, bicycle rack, bicycle repair station, signage, an ADA horse mount assist and an ADA-approved vault toilet.

Five other trailheads will get new kiosks with maps. There will be a new flashing crossing beacon installed at the intersection of Scappoose-Vernonia Highway and Cater Rd. Caution signs will also go up at several other intersections to help make crossings safer.

Columbia County commissioners hope these improvements will raise the profile of the CZ trail and create more urgency for progress on other trails like the Salmonberry Trail, which will eventually run from Banks (easily accessible via the Banks-Vernonia Trail) to the Oregon Coast. (One missing link that remains is the gap from where the CZ trail ends at Pittsburgh and where the Banks-Vernonia begins.)

“The CZ Trail is a jewel, and we’re thrilled to be able to make it safer and more accessible, and to spread the word about this beautiful place,” County Commissioner Margaret Magruder said in the statement. “I thank the friends of Wayne Naillon for starting us on this incredible journey.”

A better CZ Trail will also be a key piece of the already growing interest in cycling we’ve seen in Columbia County.

Work on the trail will begin this spring and is expected to last up to two years. If you haven’t ridden on it yet, I highly recommend it. Check out just a few of the adventures I’ve had on it over the years here and here.

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

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Here’s what you missed at the SW Naito project open house

Bike Portland - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 15:59

Screengrab from a video released by PBOT last night of the changes proposed on SW Naito.

In case it’s not obvious yet, we think the SW Naito project being cooked up by the Bureau of Transportation is going to be a huge deal. If it turns out well, it could be the southern leg of a dedicated, protected bikeway that runs from SW Lincoln to the Steel Bridge. That would make it one of the highest profile bikeways in Portland.

If you didn’t make it to the first open house last night, I want to make sure you saw all the materials that were presented.

Check the flyover video of the entire project that PBOT has released:

PBOT also unveiled three before-after images of key sections on the route and a detailed rendering of the “Hawthorne Bowl” area of Waterfront Park adjacent to SW Jefferson:

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I look forward to sharing more about this project in the months to come (notice I didn’t say years!).

If you were at the open house, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how the room felt and what you heard/overheard.

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

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Seasons Water Bottle

Bike Hugger - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 14:31

Our seasons water bottle is available now and shipping from Amazon by Monday for $14.99. The design is based on the Issue 21 cover and it’s a 23 ounce, insulated Purist with the MoFlo cap.

Our Seasons Purist insulated bottle cost $14.99 on Amazon and is available now.

Effortless to squeeze, easy to grip, and sip with no bottle taste, the insulation will keep your drink cold or hot. Last Fall, we visited Specialized’s Morgan Hill campus where the bottles are made.

A rainbow above the bottle building, like it was pulled from our design.

I can’t show you everything at the factory but was impressed by the operation and the geniuses in the bottle division figured out how to seal a beer cozy inside of a water bottle.

Yep and that’s no simple task when you consider squeezability and the demands of color printing INSIDE a bottle.

What I like best is on the rainiest days of the year, the dreariest ride, the lovely color reminds me the sun will come up tomorrow—or maybe 6 weeks from now, but still.

Order the bottle with Prime and get free shipping. In some markets that’s same day shipping.

Perhaps it’s raining where you live, if so, that color does pop, like a mood enhancer.

More Bottle Photos Our Seasons Purist insulated bottle cost $14.99 on Amazon and is available now.

 

 

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Peter Sagan is 100%

Bike Hugger - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:50

The roots of 100% date back to the early 1980’s, when the popular logo graced the jerseys of the biggest stars in motocross. And, now the brand is back with Peter Sagan representing the cycling line.

He’s wearing 100% eyewear in this edit, the Speedtraps and racing with them in the season opener, the Tour Down Under.

To be the World Champion three consecutive times, it requires countless hours in the saddle. These hours can be calm, they can be vigorous, but being able to continuously run the rainbow striped jersey makes it all worth it. With a very short off-season, Peter had limited time to get fully recovered and then right back in race shape. Peter enjoys making the trip out to the deserts of California each year in order to get the training he needs. In order to be ready, the Slovakian superstar puts his head down and makes the most of every minute under the sun.

During the off-season, Peter has been actively testing 100% products for 2018. He’s worked closely with the their research and development team to introduce an entirely new line of eyewear & revolutionary, performance enhancing technology to cycling.

There’s much competition in the eyewear market with established brands, but 100% is coming in with a big star and strong marketing. As soon as they send me a demo pair, I’ll tell you what I think.

My first impressions are they look snazzy, retro 80s, like the old Brikos.

Sort of like these ones and that’s a good thing.

Features

SpeedTraps feature a six base single lens shield that increases peripheral vision and protection. The lens follows the natural contours of your eye for enhanced vision and clarity with cooling vents and three-way adjustable temple arms for fit.

  • Ligthweight high impact Polycarbonate; 6 base vented spherical shield
  • New quick release lens system
  • 100% UV protection
  • Grimalid TR90 frame is custom molded to increase strength
  • Three way adjustable temple tips providing a secure comfortable fit
  • Thermoplastic elastomer nose and temple pads help provide all day comfort
  • Lens features scratch resistant coating and “HYDROILO” treatment to repel oil and water
  • Kit includes: Sport case, micro bag, spare replacement lens

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The bike parking at Portland City Hall is really bad

Bike Portland - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:52

This Portlandia themed rack is all that’s left of bike parking at City Hall’s main entrance.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

You’d think a city with a storied bike-friendly legacy and arguably the best bike parking facilities and policies in North America would make the main entrance to its City Hall a testament to those values. But that’s not the case. In fact, for some reason the bike parking at Portland City Hall’s SW 4th Street entrance has gotten much worse in the past several months.

They “put a bird on it,” but they also removed the racks that actually worked.

I started to notice the changes last fall and have seen a steady stream of gripes about it on Twitter. It’s also been a common topic of lock-up talk (which is sort of like a bicycle riders’ version of “water cooler talk”).

Here’s some historical context: Since at least 2007 there was a PBOT-issued corral of blue staple racks on the north side of the entrance with capacity for six bikes. In fall of that year, former Mayor and transportation commissioner Sam Adams added 13 more staples (capacity for 32 bikes) to handle an increase in bike use during the annual Bike Commute Challenge event. Adams tried to make those racks permanent, but they were eventually removed. Then in April of 2008, City Hall added another corral on the south side of the entrance, boosting overall capacity to 12 spaces.

Temporary corrals in 2007 that former Mayor Sam Adams hoped to make permanent.

Corral on the south side that has since been removed.

In 2016, the City added two Biketown stations to the same plaza, while keeping both corrals. This boosted the total to 12 standard spaces and 15 bike share spaces.

Then last fall, both of the corrals were removed to make way for an art rack. Jen Clodius with the Office of Management and Finance (they oversee City Hall facilities) told me on the phone yesterday that the new rack was a gift from the crew of “Portlandia” — the hit IFC comedy series.

PBOT says the capacity of this rack is 10-12 bikes.

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Unfortunately, as if often the case with art racks and other attempts to improve on the standard U-shaped “staple” rack, this Portlandia rack doesn’t work very well. The tubing is square and has a larger diameter than the standard PBOT-issued blue staple racks (which means my u-lock can’t reach around my wheel, frame, and the rack tubing). The tubing is also a bit too high and it bends around in a way that reduces capacity and functionality of the rack itself. Based on my observations, the Portlandia rack can only fit about 5-6 bikes reasonably well. That means capacity at the main entrance to City Hall is now just half of what is was — and it’s much lower quality.

It’s very common for people to lock up to the ramp railings at City Hall when other spaces are full.

Lest you think I’m just another “whining cyclist,” the rack outside City Hall doesn’t even pass the City of Portland’s code requirements for bicycle parking. As published in Administrative Rule TRN-10.09, City Code includes a requirement that the bicycle frame must be supported horizontally at two or more places. City Code also says bike parking spaces should be “intuitive to users,” “accessible without moving another bicycle,” “a minimum of 18 inches wide between the two points of contact,” and so on.

“We want people to know that Portland City Hall is incredibly bike friendy.”
— Brendan Finn, Chief of Staff for Commissioner Dan Saltzman

The Portlandia rack offers only two spaces that meet that criteria. And that’s being generous without measuring the diameter and height of the tubing (which I suspect is also out of code).

I asked PBOT Communications Director John Brady to help shed some light on the situation. He claimed that capacity on the Portlandia rack is 10-12 bikes, “Which is an adequate supply for the parking demand.”

When I questioned that capacity figure and asked how he defines “adequate supply,” Brady replied by saying that the Portlandia rack doesn’t have to meet PBOT’s guidelines. “As long as the racks are installed to the specifications of the building code, the owners/responsible public agency can install racks to their liking. We don’t regulate that.” Brady then referred me to Clodius with the Office of Management and Finance.

Clodius also feels the capacity of the Portlandia rack is 10 bikes, “Technically that’s two spaces less than the PBOT racks that were there,” she told me. “However,” she added, “There’s also a bike rack on the 5th Avenue side which has another 10-12 spaces, so instead of going down two we’re actually up 10 if you look at both sides of the street.”

Brendan Finn is chief of staff City Commissioner Dan Saltzman (who happens to oversee PBOT). Finn has biked to City Hall for 18 years. He, like many City Hall staffers, brings his bike inside. He hasn’t locked up outside since getting a bike stolen in 2001. In a phone interview this morning, Finn said, “I think it’s really important for us to have good bike parking because we want people to get here by all forms of transportation — especially active ones like cycling.” As for the Portlandia rack, Finn said he’s grateful for it as a gesture of goodwill from a partner. “We’re not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, we love that show,” he said.

The Portlandia rack is here to stay, Finn says, but he’s aware of concerns that it doesn’t function well. He’s already made some calls to facility managers and PBOT to, “Look at what other bike parking options are available and to see what else we can do.” “We want people to know that Portland City Hall is incredibly bike friendy,” he added. “That’s something that’s personally important to me and I want it to be safe and comfortable for everyone.”

UPDATE: Nathan Howard, a policy advisor for Mayor Ted Wheeler, tells me there’s indoor bike parking on the 4th floor of City Hall (see images below). They’re publicly accessible (although there’s no signage about it outside) and Howard says, “We plan to install more racks in City Hall for everyone but we also need to get more parking outside of City Hall.”

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

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Making sense of the fence: Why Parks closed a path into Willamette Park

Bike Portland - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 13:52

Fence at Nevada Street entrance to Willamette Park before and after it was cut down by a vandal.
(Photos from a BikePortland reader)

The Nevada Street entrance to Willamette Park was abruptly closed last week. This path is listed as a recommended bikeway and featured in popular maps produced by both the City of Portland and Metro. The decision by the Portland Parks & Recreation bureau to erect a black, chain-link fence was made without any public warning and it stems from a multi-year jurisidictional negotiation between the Oregon Department of Transportation and the City of Portland that spans more than three years.

“We had no realistic alternative other than to install it.”
— Mark Ross, Portland Parks and Recreation

When we first heard about the fence on Monday we were told by Parks that it was erected by ODOT. But ODOT denied it. Then it became clear that the Parks media relations office had a miscommunication with a staffer and Parks did indeed erect the fence; but only after ODOT threatened to fully close the entrance if it didn’t go up.

The new fence is just east of the Willamette Shore Railway railroad tracks (which you can see in the photos). It has poles buried into the ground and spans a few feet beyond the paved path. It’s wide enough to make you stop and take notice, yet narrow enough to walk (or bike) around it. In an official statement, Parks refers to it as a “temporary” fence.

Dismantled fence after the deed last night.


And as of last night, the fence has been removed. This time no agency is to blame. It appears a vandal loosened the bolts and tore it down.

In trying to figure out what the heck is going on, I’ve learned a few things that might shed light on why this happened and what to expect going forward.

First, ODOT is involved because their Rail and Public Transit Division regulates (either completely or partially) every one of the over 4,000 at-grade rail crossings in the state (this three-page PDF explains more about their role). This particular crossing has been on the radar of the City of Portland and ODOT for over three years. That’s about the time when the Portland Water Bureau began to eye a project to build a new pump station in Willamette Park just a few yards away from the Nevada Street entrance. The need for crossing improvements that led to this kerfuffle are tied to that pump station project.

Unfortunately for Parks, they’ve gotten the brunt of the negative PR fallout from all this because they manage the path and entrance that had been closed (the miscommunication between Parks’ media office and a project manager that led to their initial assertion that ODOT erected the fence hasn’t helped them either).

Mark Ross, public information officer for the Parks Bureau shared with us today that, “The way the fence came to be was an anomaly and very unfortunate. We prioritize safety, and will of course work to ensure that a similar situation does not occur in the future.”

In case it wasn’t obviously already, a big reason for this mess is because there are so many cooks in the kitchen. That is to say, it’s the perfect storm of jurisdictional red tape. We’ve got Parks in charge of the path and entrance, the Water Bureau in charge of the pump station, the Metro-run Willamette Shore Railway watching over the tracks, the Portland Bureau of Transportation in charge of the sidewalk and street west of the tracks (but the improvements are the Water Bureau’s responsibility because of the pump station project), and ODOT Rail who regulates the crossing.

Once the Water Bureau flagged this crossing for improvement, ODOT began to look at it more closely. According to a response from a Parks employee to a citizen complaint filed on PDXParkscan on September 8th of 2017, the path was ordered to be closed by ODOT, “citing safety concerns about the… crossing.” We’ve since learned that ODOT ordered the closure as far back as last summer.

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The City first complied with ODOT’s concerns by placing a-frame barricades at the entrance. But those were routinely ignored and moved aside by park users and as ODOT worried about safety and liability, they strongly urged Parks to erect a fence. If Parks didn’t, ODOT said they’d close the Nevada Street entrance permanently and order the path that feeds into it removed. “We had no realistic alternative other than to install it,” Parks’ Ross said.

Now, what will it take to re-open the path?

From ODOTs guide to at-grade rail crossings (PDF here>).

When a local entity (county, city, etc…) wants to modify an existing at-grade railroad crossing, they must apply for a Crossing Order through ODOT’s Rail and Public Transit division. ODOT defines Crossing Orders as, “laws that not only specify what is to be constructed at a crossing, but they may also close crossings, suspend operations of railroads or road authorities, levy fines, authorize investigations, and authorize changes to Oregon Administrative Rules.” 
That process from application to granting of an order usually takes about three months.

According to ODOT public affairs, the Portland Water Bureau just applied for a Crossing Order in the first week of January 2018. Asked why they hadn’t applied until now, Parks Bureau PIO Mark Ross said the agencies have been meeting and discussing the crossing upgrade requirements for over three years now.

Shelley Snow with ODOT Public Affairs told me in an interview yesterday that ODOT had a meeting last week to discuss the application. It was in that meeting that ODOT, Snow says, “strongly encouraged” Parks to install the fence. Snow also shared that the Water Bureau’s Crossing Order application “needs some work.” She described the scope of improvements the City must make in order to receive ODOT’s blessing as, “pretty large.” Sidewalks, curbs, and gutters must be rebuilt and upgraded, there must be new signage and a variety of safety railings, “to bring it up to standards to prevent someone from crossing and being killed.”

To get an idea of what’s typically required by the State for at-grade crossings, Snow referrred me to Oregon Administrative Rules 741-110-0060 (“Required Installation of Specified Protective Devices”) and 741-120-0025 (Sidewalk Construction and Maintenance”).

So we have a situation where the City proposes designs and then ODOT reviews them, makes changes and suggestions and sends them back, and the negotiations continue.

It’s still unclear what the full scope budget for the improvements might be.

In a statement released Monday, Parks said they anticipate that the permitting process could go into spring. That means any needed construction would happen in summer at the earliest and the issues could persist for many more months.

At this point the fence is down. And Parks doesn’t appear to be eager to replace it. “We are evaluating how to address this,” Ross says.

Stay tuned.

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

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