1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204
For almost thirty years, Portland's streets have been deteriorating due to inadequate transportation funding. Every year, the problem gets worse because the longer you wait to repair a street, the more expensive it is to fix. Meanwhile, there are parts of the city where, because of dangerous intersections or gaps in sidewalks along busy streets, it is unsafe for children to walk to school and for seniors to walk to bus stops.
Over the past month, however, momentum has been building for a new funding source for street repair and traffic safety: A local gas tax.
The City Club of Portland, in its recently released report, Portland’s Streets: Ending the funding gridlock, endorsed a local gas tax as a much needed, new funding source dedicated to transportation investments. The Portland Business Alliance indicated support for a local gas tax in a September 8, 2015 letter to Commissioner Novick. Mayor Hales has also stated support for a gas tax, as has his primary opponent, Treasurer Wheeler. The Portland Tribune and Oregonian editorial boards have both expressed support for a gas tax. Additionally, the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods recently surveyed its members and found that a gas tax was the most popular way to fund transportation.
Now, a new scientific survey of 400 Portland voters shows that voters support a ten cents per gallon, four year gas tax for street repair and traffic safety by a margin of 55% to 37%. The survey was conducted by Lake Research Partners September 24-28, 2015.
"For decades, City Hall has known we have a transportation funding problem, but has kept sweeping it under the rug," said Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick. "The voters recognize that if we keep kicking the can down the road, there won't be any road left. We need to act as soon as possible - and that means we should send a four-year ten cent gas tax for street repair and traffic safety to the ballot in May 2016."
“I don't think anyone can argue that our roads are in dire need of maintenance. Revenue from the proposed gas tax will help make significant improvements to our transportation infrastructure, which is long overdue,” said local businessman, Greg Goodman. “In my opinion, the user-based gas tax is an appropriate way to raise revenue and encourages people to use mass transit and alternative means of transportation, which in turn support our land use planning efforts.”
David Hampsten, longtime East Portland transportation activist, stated, “For too long, transportation has been underfunded in Portland. This is especially true in East Portland. I very much support Steve's efforts to find more funding for safety projects where they are most needed. Like in East Portland."
“Our fine city has great needs for transportation improvements and maintenance. Not only do we need well-maintained roads, but also we will need to continue to invest in low-cost improvements that add capacity for transit, walking and biking,” said Rob Sadowsky, Executive Director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
He added, “The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is excited to partner with Commissioner Novick, city leaders, and business and community partners to find new revenue to support transportation. Examining the potential to add resources through a city gas tax deserves consideration.”
A ten cent gas tax would raise $58 million over four years. Commissioner Novick asked the Portland Bureau of Transportation to prepare a sample list of paving and traffic safety projects showing what a $58 million investment would look like. The example project list is offered to prompt discussion in the community. It includes major street repair projects, funding for safe routes to school throughout the city, and traffic safety improvements in high crash corridors.
PORTLAND, OR (September 9, 2015) — Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Nick Fish announced an innovative bike share system for Portland. The proposed system will be operated by Motivate LLC, the nation’s leading bike share operator. Bicycles will be provided by Social Bicycles, a company on the cutting-edge of integrating new software and hardware technology into its products. The proposal will be considered by City Council on Wednesday, September 16th.
Together, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Motivate and Social Bicycles have designed one of smartest, large-scale bike share systems in the nation. This smart bike technology – which puts all communications and locking technology on the bike itself – will allow Portland’s system to operate with fewer docks and kiosks. This will save money and allow users to lock bicycles at many existing city bike corrals. The technology will also allow the City and Motivate to pilot an innovative approach to rebalancing bicycles that will reduce the reliance on rebalancing vehicles. This will help to make Portland’s bike share system one of the greenest in the nation. Overall, the system will make it substantially easier to find, reserve and park a bike.
The proposed initial system of 600 bikes is one of the most affordable bike sharing systems in the United States. The system also integrates principles of the High Road Standards that prioritizes accessibility to underserved communities and includes training and hiring opportunities for living-wage careers.
“This proposed contract is a great business decision for Portland,” said Commissioner Steve Novick. “We’re working with the leading bike share company in the country. As Motivate has proven in New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington DC, bike share systems provide a valuable transportation amenity for residents and tourists alike.”
“With this next generation bike share system, Portland has once again shown why we’re the country’s best city for bicycling,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “The proposed system will be one of the country’s most technologically sophisticated and environmentally sustainable. It’s a system that Portlanders can be proud of.”
“I have been a proud supporter of bike share since 2011,” said Commissioner Nick Fish. “It will provide another healthy and sustainable transportation choice. Congratulations to Steve and Leah on reaching this important milestone for Portland bike share.”
“Bringing bike share to Portland is one of my top priorities,” said Leah Treat, Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Bike share is a very effective way to raise the visibility of bicycling and to encourage new people, especially women, to try biking as a transportation option.”
“More choices to get around means less time in traffic and more access to opportunity,” said Metro Councilor Sam Chase. “I’m excited to see bike share become yet another great option for people in this region, particularly with this system’s commitment to affordability and equity.”
Motivate CEO Jay Walder said, “Portland is one of the best bike cities in the country, and we’re tremendously excited to be a part of expanding bicycling in a community with such a robust bike culture. We think that the City that has been on the cutting edge of bike innovation deserves one of the most innovative bike share system in the nation.”
Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen Inc., Connie Ashbrook, championed the proposal by saying, “We’re excited about the employment opportunities that Portland’s bike share system will offer our graduates. It will also provide our students and graduates an affordable, flexible transportation choice.” Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. is a non-profit that prepares low income women for high-wage, high-skilled construction careers.
The cost of the bicycles will be funded with $2 million in federal grants allocated through Metro’s regional flexible funds process. User revenues and anticipated sponsor support will pay for operating the system. No City money will be used for bike share operations.
City Council will consider the proposed bike share system in its morning session on Wednesday, September 16th.
About Bike Share: A bike share system makes public bicycles available to ride from one point to another for a small fee. Bike share systems operate in over 60 US cities, including New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Antonio, Indianapolis, Boise and Austin. 500 cities worldwide also have bike share systems. These systems have proved popular, safe and successful. They provide residents and visitors a convenient and fun transportation option for trips around the city. Bike share systems have proven effective in introducing bicycling to new groups of riders.
About Motivate: Motivate (www.motivateco.com ) is a global leader in bike share. A full-service bike share operator and technology innovator, Motivate works to re-envision how people experience and move around cities. Motivate currently manages all of the largest bike share systems in the United States and many of the largest systems in the world, including Bay Area Bike Share (CA), Citi Bike (NYC), Divvy (Chicago), CoGo Bike Share (Columbus, Ohio), Capital Bike Share (DC metro.), Hubway (Boston metro.), Pronto (Seattle), Bike Chattanooga (TN), Bike Share Toronto, and Melbourne Bike Share in Australia. Motivate’s newest system is Citi Bike Jersey City, NJ, that will be compatible with New York City’s Citi Bike program.
About Social Bicycles (SoBi): Social Bicycles (SoBi) is a transportation technology company based in Brooklyn, NY. The company produces a bicycle with an integrated GPS-enabled locking system that users can book via mobile app, website, or RFID access card. The company has deployed over 2,500 bikes across 18 projects in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Social Bicycles offers one global account, and users can access bikes in their expanding network of cities which includes Santa Monica, Orlando, Tampa, Phoenix, Boise, Topeka, Hamilton (Ontario), and Ottawa.
About PBOT: The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation
John Brad, Portland Bureau of Transportation
email@example.com | 503-823-7375
Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick today announced the next phase of a pilot project with Clean Energy Works, which could give some 100 Portland homeowners the opportunity to upgrade the seismic safety of their homes. Click here to learn more about the program.
If funded by a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant, the money could help pay for up to half the costs of seismic upgrades for qualifying homes. The City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM), Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Clean Energy Works are partnering to apply for the FEMA grant. As part of the application process, the City and Clean Energy Works are seeking homeowners to join a waiting list in order to demonstrate local demand to FEMA.
“A mark of a truly sustainable city is its ability to withstand and recover from a major disaster, including earthquakes,” said Commissioner Novick. “We should all take steps to improve our resiliency by not only assembling a disaster kit and having an emergency plan, but also seismically strengthening our homes. Our homes are often a family’s largest financial asset, and a home’s structural integrity will help to ensure the safety and well-being of our families and community.”
The potential for widespread damage to homes after a major earthquake in Portland is high. Western Oregon and Portland are located near the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a fault off the coast capable of producing earthquakes similar to the Tōhoku quake in Japan in 2011. The last major Cascadia earthquake was in the year 1700. There are also several faults running through the city that could cause damaging shaking. Portland has about 100,000 older unreinforced single-family homes that may be vulnerable.
In many cases costing just a few thousand dollars, a seismic retrofit can mean one’s home is left standing after a seismic event, rather than being a total loss that must be torn down post-quake. Reinforcing and upgrading a home includes bolting the house to its foundation, reinforcing the ‘cripple wall’ (the short wall between the first floor and the foundation), and shoring up the posts and beams that bear weight under a home. Clean Energy Works, the state’s largest home performance provider, now provides seismic retrofits through qualified contractors as part of its services.
“Seismic upgrades provide a proven way to ‘harden’ a home and give it stability during the violent shaking of an earthquake,” said Tim Miller, Clean Energy Works CEO. “This work means your home is safer for your family and therefore better prepared for other kinds of natural disasters, including windstorms.”
“This is an investment in safety that will pay back in a big way should we experience a major—or even a relatively minor—earthquake. If a home is knocked off its foundation, it’s not only unsafe, it’s generally considered a total loss,” said Commissioner Novick.
Clean Energy Works offers a unique “one-stop shop” for home performance upgrades, making it easier for homeowners to complete energy efficiency, seismic, radon mitigation and solar energy upgrades. The organization provides customers with everything needed to complete upgrades, including rebates, skilled contractors, no-money-down financing and a free 100-Point Home Performance Check that illuminates all the opportunities to improve a home’s performance.
”The first part of Portland’s pilot with CEW helped 23 residents strengthen their homes,” said PBEM Director Carmen Merlo. “We’re hopeful we can get additional FEMA funds to build on our previous success and expand the program.”
The application will be filed with FEMA in August. CEW and PBEM hope to know later in the year if additional funds will be received.
About Clean Energy Works
Clean Energy Works (CEW) is the Northwest region’s largest home performance provider. The nonprofit activates a powerful collaboration of local contractors, lenders, governments, and utilities to make it easy and affordable for homeowners to improve the comfort, efficiency and health of their homes. Clean Energy Works is nationally recognized as an innovative model that successfully multiplies energy savings, good jobs and other environmental benefits to transform local communities.
About Portland Bureau of Emergency Management
The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management works before, during, and after emergencies to minimize the impacts on the community and promote a culture of resilience. Resilience in this context describes the ability of Portland’s infrastructure, services, and residents to mitigate, absorb or adapt to the impacts of an emergency or disaster without undermining the long-term well being of individuals, the economy, or the environment.
In January 2015, I convened a 12-member community Task Force to provide guidance and recommendations about how the City of Portland’s Private For Hire Transportation (PFHT) regulatory program should evolve and respond to new developments in the industry, including the entry of transportation network companies (TNCs). It is critical that the City provide necessary safeguards and standards to protect consumers, ensure accessibility for all, and allow for a fair, competitive market for drivers and companies across all sectors of the PFHT industry.
Following a presentation of regulatory recommendations from the Task Force and a great deal of public input, Council approved the PFHT Innovation Pilot Program with revised regulations for taxi companies and new rules that allow for TNCs. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is managing and overseeing the Pilot Program, which began in April and will conclude in August.
The following is a status report on the Pilot, which includes trip pattern data from the first full month. Data collection is a critical component of the Pilot. The PFHT program is working with our partners to collect data in an effort to develop a more detailed understanding of the traffic implications, commute patterns and location of private for hire transportation trips, including wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) trips. The program also collects data to ensure compliance by taxi and TNC operators. Data points collected include trip date, time, origin and destination, wait time for vehicle, duration of the trip, WAV requests and unfulfilled or cancelled/no-show rides.
Additionally, this report includes an overview of transportation options in Portland for people with disabilities, which have historically been limited and challenging to access. These challenges are widely known and experienced in the disability community—in Portland and throughout the U.S.—and have also been highlighted as we evaluate PFHT service and regulations. Coupled with the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed by Congress in July 1990, I am hopeful additional attention to transportation accessibility will result in much needed improvements to transportation service options for people with disabilities.
Lastly, I want to thank members of the PFHT Innovation Task Force who have met since January and continue to give thoughtful and creative consideration to PFHT service and regulations in the City of Portland. The Portland Bureau of Transportation will provide regular status updates to the Task Force, which continues to review regulations and monitor Portland’s dynamic PFHT market.
Commissioner Steve Novick
City of Portland, Oregon
At its meeting this week, City Council confirmed a complete roster of members nominated for the Socially Responsible Investments Committee. The seven volunteer members have expertise in environmental and conservation issues, labor practices, corporate ethics and governance, corporate taxation, public health and safety, and business. The committee’s first meeting has not yet been scheduled. Information about all meetings, which will be open to the public, will be posted on the committee’s website at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/omf/67101.
Council created this committee in December 2014, charging it with recommending companies for the City’s Corporate Securities Do-Not-Buy List. The list, which is approved by Council annually, identifies those companies in which the City will not directly invest its own money. In accordance with State law and City policy, Portland does not purchase stocks, but it does invest in corporate bonds and commercial paper. The committee must make recommendations consistent with Council-approved principles articulated as social and values concerns, including environmental concerns, health concerns including weapons production, concerns about abusive labor practices, concerns about corrupt corporate ethics and governance, concerns about extreme tax avoidance, concerns about exercise of such a level of market dominance so as to disrupt normal competitive market forces, and concerns about impacts on human rights.
If you have any questions about the Socially Responsible Investments Committee, please contact Katie Shriver, policy director for Commissioner Novick, at 503-823-3005.