It’s Public Comment Time!

Photo shows one of our "No More Freeways" stickers on a bike rack outside of Portland City Hall

It’s finally here! Last Friday, the Oregon Department of Transportation officially released their Environmental Assessment for the $500 million, 1.8 mile freeway widening project through North Portland’s Rose Quarter. This document is filled with ODOT’s quantitative assertions that building this half a billion dollar freeway expansion will somehow result in reduced carbon emissions, improved air quality in the neighborhood, and a reduction in traffic congestion. This seems…highly improbable, given the decades of research that exist linking freeways to poor air quality, carbon emissions and induced demand for more driving. 

We’ll be spending the next month going through the Environmental Assessment to factcheck these dubious claims (to the extent that we can: the EA released last Friday is lacking numerous appendices and data sets we’ll need to do our own math). We wish we had more than 45 days to review this document, but ODOT denied our request for a two month extension we issued last November. Our letter was co-signed by 35 nonprofit organizations, small business owners, elected officials, environmentalists and neighborhood advocates, who agreed that ODOT needed to give us more time to review this complex, technocratic document.

We’re setting up a page on our website to make it easy for community members to log their concerns about this project. We hope you’ll spend some time in the next month joining us in submitting testimony against this project, and that you’ll help spread the word to your peers, colleagues and friends. We’re going to need every ounce of your help.

Click HERE to check out our public comment page.

*SAVE THE DATES*

ODONT

In addition to submitting comment on the record, we need people to turn out for ODOT’s public hearing and the open house. We’re also hosting a volunteer meet up *tomorrow* at the AORTA office in Union Station, if you’d like to get more involved in the next month. Save these dates – we’ll have more information on the open house / public comment soon. Hope to see you there!

VOLUNTEER MEET UP
Wednesday, February 20
6:00pm – 7:30pm
AORTA Office, Room 253 in Union Station
800 NW 6th Ave, Portland
(facebook event with more information here)

ODOT OPEN HOUSE
Thursday, March 7
Leftbank Annex – Clubroom
101 N Weidler St, Portland

PUBLIC COMMENT 
March 12, 2019
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland
(more information about the No More Freeways presence at this Public Comment hearing on our Facebook page)

BikePortland Publishes Op-Ed by 350PDX, OPAL, Neighbors for Clean Air

Image Shows I-5 below Harriet Tubman Middle School

Last month’s reporting by The Oregoniansuggests that even with passage of pending carbon legislation, Oregon simply won’t hit carbon reduction targets without fundamentally reducing emissions from private automobiles. It is frustrating to watch self-proclaimed environmentalists in City Hall and Salem champion freeway expansion when 40% of Oregon’s carbon emissions come from transportation. The hurricanes, fires and floods are only growing stronger. Expansion of this freeway represents a complicit willingness to ignore Oregon’s responsibility to future generations and the planet.”

Thanks to BikePortland for publishing our most recent op-ed, and thanks to OPAL – Environmental Justice Oregon, 350PDX and Neighbors for Clean Air for adding their names to our cause.

HOW YOU CAN HELP.

Image Shows one of our new buttons, with the text "We've got eleven years to solve climate change; freeway expansion is climate denialism"
TELL TEN FRIENDS: Who are the ten friends of yours who care deeply about climate change that may not know about this project? The colleague who is always talking your ear off about air quality, your neighbor who is always muttering that they wish transit was free?  Please, forward them our email, encourage them to sign up for our updates. This sort of grassroots outreach is how we’ve raised over $12,000 to wage this legal fight, got more than 3500 followers across our platforms, and submitted thousands of comments to the public record as this project winds through municipal government.  Please: talk about the need to stop freeway expansion with your PTAs, your neighbors, your colleagues. Send them our way!DONATE: We’ve got some big public hijinx planned, and the size and scale of them is just a matter of how much we can get donated. Every dollar counts! Donate more than $10 and we’ll eventually send you some of our new stickers and a few political buttons. Donations are tax-deductible.

SHOW UP: Come to our volunteer meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, 2/20) and save the date for the public hearing on March 12.

11 reasons this was a spectacular year for Portland’s 21st century Freeway Revolt

This January marks sixteen months of the No More Freeways Coalition. Our grassroots, nonpaid, rabblerousing community- led fight to stop expanding freeways had a banner year. At the end of this email, we’re going to ask you for some money to help us launch the fight we need next year. Before that, though, here’s eleven highlights from the year:

 

 

1:  We made a helluva video.

Image Caption: Video showing expansion of freeway into the backyard of Harriet Tubman Middle School

 

Thanks to our pals at Cupola Media for their assistance. Our video has received over 15,000 views on all platforms since we debuted it in August.

2: We held a rally to save the Flint Avenue Bridge

Photo Caption: People in the neighborhood stopping to eat donuts on the Flint Avenue Bridge

This January, we collected over one hundred signatures by holding a “Breakfast on the Bridge” style event on the Flint Avenue Bridge next to Harriet Tubman Middle School. We spoke to many folks who had no idea that ODOT was planning on removing the Flint Avenue Bridge as part of the freeway expansion. Our rally got press coverage on KATUKGWKPTVKOIN the Mark Mason Show on KEXXRAY.fmKXL, and BikePortland.org.

We’re hoping to do another iteration of this event in February (hopefully with the same sunny skies). Stay tuned!

3: Decongestion Pricing moves forward

We closely followed ODOT’s “Value Pricing Committee” and submitted testimony that hundreds of you co-signed. Decongestion pricing is the only public policy ever proven to eliminate traffic congestion, and it’s a crucial tool for policymakers working to build a prosperous Portland metro region in which the majority of families don’t need an automobile for every single trip to work, to school, to shop. Our letters to the Oregon Transportation Commission and the City of Portland stated that revenue from pricing must be used to fund transit improvements over freeway expansion, as well as a list of other ways to ensure that road pricing is implemented equitably. In July, Willamette Week published our letter explaining how decongestion pricing can work in concert with equity goals.

4: Newspaper headlines continue to suggest we’re on to something

 

Photo Caption: Graph by the Oregonian detailing Oregon's current and future carbon emissions through 2050.

“Oregon greenhouse emissions are rising again. The state is not on track to meet its emissions-reduction goals and won’t get there under current policies…The main culprit is transportation emissions, primarily from trucks and passenger vehicles. This sector is the largest source of emissions in Oregon, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the total. For policymakers, it is the toughest to regulate as it involves emissions from millions of drivers.”  – With emissions on the rise, Oregon falls well short of greenhouse gas reduction goalsThe Oregonian

Willamette Week also covered the impacts that the freeway expansion are expected to have on the air quality at Harriet Tubman Middle School, and The Portland Mercury wrote a story about how ODOT’s own consultants admit that this project will have a negligible impact on traffic congestion.

5: Clean sweep on election night

Caption: photo of a ballot at a local libraryWe sent a candidate questionnaire this past April, and found out that five of the seven candidates running for Portland’s two City Council seats opposed the Rose Quarter Freeway. Jo Ann Hardesty is officially the first City Councilor elected on record opposing this project. There were numerous other victories by candidates supporting smarter, multimodal transportation investments across the Portland Metro region and the state. Meanwhile, the legislature’s biggest champion of the Westside Bypass project and loudest opponent of decongestion pricing each lost this November.

6: The catchiest public testimony you’ve ever heard

Image shows Paul Rippey testifying with his guitar at Portland City Council

If, somehow, you managed to avoid getting Paul Rippey’s jingle about induced demand stuck in your head last May, well, we dare you to watch again. Great to see Rippey’s song get coverage in BikePortland and The Oregonianand to watch Commissioner Eudaly take a photo of his testimony from the dias.

7: We testified at Metro, JPACT, OTC, Portland City Hall, ODOT Commissions and pretty much anywhere else that has to listen to us.
Photo Caption: Aaron Brown and Sarah Iannarone testifying at a Metro Council meeting this August.
Thanks to our legion of volunteers and engaged community members who took time out of their day (and often missed work!) to show up and speak into a microphone about why ODOT’s proposed freeway expansions across the region are bad for congestion, bad for climate, and bad for public health. We testified at virtually every public hearing remotely related to freeway expansion and decongestion pricing over the past year, and will continue to do so in 2019. A special thanks to PPS Board Member Paul Anthony, who testified to Portland City Council about the impact this project would have on Harriet Tubman Middle School (photo below by BikePortland).
Photo Caption: Image of PPS Board Member Paul Anthony speaking at Portland City Council hearing, with the quote "So the district and its board is risking the education of thousands of Portland's children, the hopes and dreams of my own personal community and spending $12 million of public money, all on a resource this project is putting in grave risk."
8: We hosted a Pedalpalooza ride!
Thanks to all who attended our Portland Freeway Revolt ride, and thanks to Portland State University professors Aaron Golub and Sy Adler for the history lecture! We had over sixty riders join us as we visited Piccolo Park, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and Harriet Tubman Middle School to talk about Portland’s history of fighting freeways.
9: Our “Candid” look at why TriMet needs transportation governance reform

Image shows a light rail moving through the N Albina train station“Any transportation investment that doesn’t start with the explicit intention to chip away at automobile use as the primary method to access jobs, education, and shopping has significant consequences for a planet with literal melting ice caps, a region with worsening congestion, and a city ostensibly committed to equity. Perpetuating the continued necessity of automobile ownership is especially unhelpful to the growing number of people in our region who are unable to own or operate a car due to age, (dis)ability, citizenship, or cost. With our changing (and aging) demographics, the number of Oregonians in these categories will only increase (to say nothing about waning consumer preference or the rise of autonomous vehicles).”

BikePortland.org was generous enough to publish our twopart series examining why TriMet’s executives and top brass supported freeway expansions which are directly antithetical to their mission of providing excellent transit service throughout the region.

10: We’ve geared up to submit public comment on ODOT’s Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion 

Photo Caption: A bunch of bus riders on the 44.This spring, we partnered with Audubon Society of Portland and OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon to send a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. We asked ODOT to explain why they chose to pursue a truncated “Environmental Assessment” (EA) for the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion instead of a more thorough “Environmental Impact Statement.”

This November, we asked for an extension of the public comment period to make sure community groups have enough time to review all of ODOT’s information about the freeway expansion proposal and provide meaningful community response. We still haven’t heard anything, which is pretty discouraging. But even if ODOT refuses to give the community more than roughly eighteen business days to review hundreds of pages of materials and provide testimony, we’ll be ready.

11: Y’all showed up. 

This whole campaign is supported through an enormous web of volunteers and donors. We’ve got over 1000 signatures in support of our positions for decongestion pricing and eliminating freeway expansion over the past year, and had great turnout at numerous events we hosted throughout the year. We’re eternally grateful for your support – get ready to turn up for the public comment period this spring. ❤

Where we’re going in 2019

1) Public Comment – In the next few weeks, ODOT will officially open the public comment period for their Environmental Assessment on the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion project. We’ll be politely reminding you to please submit testimony and get on the record with your concerns about the air quality, congestion, and carbon-related impacts of this project, and also asking you to bug your friends to get them on the record as well. You can help your friends sign up for our mailing list HERE.2) 2020 Transportation Bond – Over the next twelve months, Metro Councilors will be debating the finer policy details of what is expected to be a large, transformative transportation bond for the entire Portland region on the ballot in 2020. We’ll be working closely with newly elected Metro Councilors (and new Metro President Lynn Peterson) to encourage Metro to invest as much as possible into transit and avoiding wasting money on ODOT’s proposed freeway expansions.

We Need Money.

We’ve raised over $8,500 from community members to help us prepare for our freeway revolt shenanigans in 2019. We need another $2,000 to ensure we’ve got enough to pay for all of the anti-freeway buttons and stickers, social media ads, and legal fees necessary to mount a serious challenge in the Environmental Assessment. If you have the means to support us and would like a button mailed to you, please donate?

Requesting an Extension of the Freeway Expansion Public Comment Period

 

Request for Extension for Public Comment Period

Today, the No More Freeway Expansions Coalition sent a letter to the Oregon Department of Transportation asking for an extension of the public comment period for the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion. Our letter was cosigned by two elected officials, fifteen community advocacy organizations, ten small business owners and two neighborhood associations. Our coalition requests that ODOT extend the public comment period by sixty days (from ODOT’s proposed thirty days to our request for ninety), ensuring our community partners have enough time to reveal the details of this proposal and provide meaningful input. As we write in our letter:

With a price-tag of nearly half a billion dollars, significant concerns about existing levels of ambient air pollution in the immediate vicinity of a recently reopened middle school, and independent concerns about project efficacy, it is essential that every organization is given ample opportunity to review ODOT’s proposal. We are requesting a 60-day extension, and an opportunity for community members to deliver oral testimony in a public hearing. Anything less would represent a failure of civic commitment to democratic principles to allow the community to appropriately understand ODOT’s project in their neighborhood.

The Public Comment period is slated to begin in late January 2019. Stay tuned – this will be a critical opportunity for community members to express their concerns about traffic congestion, climate change, and air quality in regards to the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion.

A Good Election for Portland’s Transportation Advocates

  • Jo Ann Hardesty won a landslide election to become Portland’s first black woman elected to Portland City Council. Hardesty joined our campaign to oppose the freeway expansion over a year ago, and she’s the first Portland City Councilor to be elected who has explicitly stated her opposition to the freeway widening project.
  • In Washington County, Kathryn Harrington won her campaign for County Chair. She’s been an excellent advocate for multimodal transportation investments throughout her tenure as Metro Councilor for the past eight years, and she defeated a candidate who questioned climate change and wanted to exclusively build more roads across Washington County.
  • Rep Julie Parrish, known most famously in our circles for her attempts to stymie ODOT’s decongestion pricing initiative through a statewide ballot measure campaign, *lost* her reelection bid.
  • Rep Richard Vial also lost his reelection campaign. In transportation policy circles, Rep. Vial is most famous for his dogged pursuit of the “Westside Bypass,” a multi-billion dollar freeway project mirroring I-205 with a similar project from Wilsonville to Clark County via Hillsboro.
  • Portland’s Clean Energy Fund passed – the measure won overwhelmingly, and was supported by numerous organizations that are also members of the No More Freeway Expansions coalition. Regional voters also approved Metro’s housing bond, which passed in all three counties.

Obligatory “We Still Need You To Chip In a Few Bucks” Reminder

We’ve got big plans for 2019, but our grassroots coalition needs your help. We’re committed to raising $10,000 by the end of the year to prepare for next year’s antics for the No More Freeway Expansions campaign. Thanks to donors like you (with donations as small as $5 and as big as $1500) we’ve been able to pass the halfway mark in our fundraising schemes.

Thanks to our pals at Portland Transport, donations to our campaign to help us stop this freeway expansion are now tax deductible. Make a donation and we’ll mail you a button, as well as one of our new stickers that are just on their way to print.

Click HERE to help us gear up for our freeway fight this winter.

No More Freeways reminds you to please vote by Tuesday

GET READY TO TAKE ACTION THIS FALL.

Greetings from the No More Freeway Expansions campaign! We hope this finds you well. We apologize for our radio silence over the past few months – we assure you that we’ve been busy behind the scenes having conversations with elected officials, reaching out to new and existing community partners to solicit further endorsements for our cause, and building grassroots power throughout the Portland Metro region to ask our elected officials to rethink the necessity of spending billions of dollars on freeway expansions that are counterproductive to our goals to reduce traffic congestion, carbon emissions, and air pollution.

Planners at ODOT working on the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion project have told us that the Public Comment period will open sometime in November. This will be a crucial moment for us to demonstrate the breadth and overwhelming support for our campaign to stand up and fight for a future in which we spend money on transit, biking and walking options instead of a freeway expansion next to a middle school.

Stay tuned for more information about how you can weigh in and make sure your voice is heard in opposition to this expensive, careless project. We’re gonna need your help. 

PLEASE VOTE.

Did you know that there’s an election next week? No More Freeway Expansions is not an explicitly political entity (we’re not a legally organized entity of any sort, honestly), and we’re not here to make any endorsements of any candidates. We encourage you to read up on your elected officials and support those that intend to govern as though climate change might destroy human civilization within ten years without immediate action, and those that believe in supporting community-led initiatives for an equitable, sustainable, healthier future.

image caption: no more freeways logo with text "vote."LOCAL BALLOT INITIATIVES
Many of the environmental, public health and social justice organizations who have worked with us closely to support the freeway fight have been working tirelessly to pass the Portland Clean Energy Initiative fund. Learn more about Measure 26-201 at the campaign website.

LOCAL CANDIDATE ELECTIONS
Last May, we sent all of the candidates for Portland’s City Council a Questionnaire about their positions on the freeway expansion and on transportation investments.

Jo Ann Hardesty was the first candidate for the city council position to speak her opposition to the freeway expansion, and Hardesty gave thoughtful answers about transportation justice in Portland in our questionnaire. Her opposition to the freeway expansion project was cited by Willamette Week’s endorsement as proof of Hardesty’s values “align[ing] more closely with those of the people of Portland.”

Hardesty’s opponent, Loretta Smith was the only candidate who didn’t fill out our questionnaire despite numerous attempts on our behalf to reach out to her campaign. On her website, she lists herself as a supporter of the project, and dodged the question during the transportation candidate forum held before the May primary. Out of the six candidates who filed for the open council seat, Smith was the only candidate who supported the project.

HOW TO VOTE
It’s too late to mail in your ballot. You can drop off your ballot at any Multnomah County Library, or at one of the other numerous local ballot drop sites across the state.

BALLOTS ARE DUE BY 8PM ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6th. GO VOTE.

Image shows No More Freeways logo, text saying "It's 2018. Let's fight freeway expansion. Donate Today."

DONATIONS ARE NOW TAX DEDUCTIBLE

Image shows No More Freeway buttonsThanks to our pals at Portland Transport, donations to our campaign to help us stop this freeway expansion are now tax deductible. Make a donation and we’ll mail you a button, as well as one of our new stickers that are just on their way to print.

Click HERE to help us gear up for our freeway fight this winter. We have a goal of raising $10,000 in the next month to gear up for our big fight, and we’re hoping for $3,000 to come from grassroots supporters. Can you throw a couple bucks our way?

We made a video. You should watch it.

What will ODOT’s Freeway Expansion do to Harriet Tubman Middle School?

For the last eleven months (!), we’ve been shouting to anyone who will listen about ODOT’s plans to expand Interstate 5 into the backyard of Harriet Tubman Middle School. Even without ODOT’s freeway expansion, public health experts are already recommending that students at the soon-to-reopen PPS school forgo outdoor recess due to air pollution.

ODOT’s freeway widening project is literally expanding the interstate into Harriet Tubman Middle School’s backyard. To drive the point home, we used ODOT’s own schematics to illustrate how much closer ODOT intends to move the freeway to the school.

The video is available on facebooktwitter, and on VimeoPlease, please, please share this video with your colleagues, fellow parents of Harriet Tubman students, and community organizations. If you’d like for your small business, neighborhood group, PTA, or other entity to hear a presentation about our cause and/or to endorse our campaign, please get in touch.

We wish to give a hearty thanks to our pals at Cupola Media for their production of this video and support for our cause. We can’t recommend Cupola enough for any and all video/animation needs!

Weigh in on Metro’s Regional Transportation Plan
by Wednesday

In a little over two years, residents of the Portland Metro region will likely be asked to vote for a transportation package. Metro, Portland’s regional government that convenes representatives from Gresham to Forest Grove, Portland to Oregon City, is the agency responsible for shepherding this package to voters in time for the November 2020 ballot.

This transportation package represents a *massive* opportunity to move forward with transportation investments that tackle congestion, provide cleaner air, reduce our carbon emissions, address regional inequality and affordability issues.

Every dollar in that 2020 Transportation Package that goes towards freeway widening around the region is a dollar not spent on those outcomes. This week, we have a chance to tell Metro to spend our money wisely.

A few weeks ago, representatives from the No More Freeway Expansions coalition testified to the Metro Council regarding the Regional Transportation Plan (Metro News covered it!) asking the Metro Council to consider the benefits of investing our scarce taxpayer dollars in infrastructure that addresses public health, climate change, and congestion (aka, biking, walking and public transportation).

Metro’s RTP document is the blueprint that coordinates the region’s transportation investments. Metro is actively seeking feedback on this document, and every comment in support of massive investments in transit instead of freeways will help the Metro Council make the right decision over the next few years.

Can you spend 5 minutes telling Metro that freeways have no place in the 2020 Transportation Bond? Take Metro’s RTP survey HERE. The survey closes Wednesday, August 15th, so hurry up!

Other Freeway Fightin’ News

  • Thanks for all your help on our decongestion pricing letter. We received over 285 signatures from community members across the region. The future of decongestion pricing is all over the map (on one hand, regional leaders are pushing to make pricing even more comprehensive; on the other hand, Republicans are threatening a ballot initiative that’d allow the full state to vote on Portland’s local transportation decisions).
  • “The project ODOT is proposing in this neighborhood is directly antithetical to the transformative and restorative opportunity which the Albina Vision is promoting.”

    We got up early a few weeks ago to pay a visit to the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT). BikePortland covered the meeting. Most notably: ODOT has raised the upper limits of the cost of this project, and now predict the Rose Quarter Freeway Widening Project will cost as much as $500,000,000. What’s an extra $50 million amongst friends and freeway builders?

  • Willamette Week reports that 10 public schools in Portland are within a tenth of a mile of a freeway, “a distance at which children could be substantially affected by the cars and trucks that speed or crawl past.” Yikes!
  • “It’s an open question as to whether Portland’s elected officials will find the backbone to stand up for our children’s lungs (and planet they’ll inherit) in the face of this freeway pork project. It’s not an open question whether road pricing can aid in a just transition to establishing an alternative.”

    Speaking of Willamette Week, last month the newspaper published a letter to the editor we wrote regarding the potential benefits decongestion pricing can provide to low-income communities, if revenue raised is directed towards transit and not freeway expansion.

  • In numerous places, Oregon is once again on fire this summer. Thanks to our inability to shift away from a carbon-based economy over the past century, the American West will likely be on fire every summer for the rest of our lives. Numerous articles this month covered recent research about “Hothouse Earth,” suggesting that anything short of immediate and widespread paradigm shift away from a carbon-based economy could “trigger a series of accelerating climate-system feedback loops that would push the climate into a permanent hothouse state.”

    40% of Portland’s carbon emissions are coming from transportation. It’s probably time to stop expanding fossil-fuel infrastructure like freeways.

  • We were on XRAY.fm’s “XRAY in the Morning” (twice!) in the last month.
  • Many of our community partners have been working for the past couple months to bring the Portland Clean Energy Fund to the ballot. We’re proud to work closely with groups like the Audubon Society of Portland, OPAL – Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon PSR and Neighbors for Clean Air who have brought this measure to Portland’s ballot. We’re not the endorsing sort, but we encourage Portlanders interested in environmental justice to check out this ballot measure this fall.
  • Welcome to our latest endorsing organization in opposition to the freeway: The Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club! The Sierra Club joins numerous public health, social justice, environmental, and neighborhood advocates in opposition to this $500 million freeway expansion. If you represent a nonprofit organization, own a small business, or have any other sort of entity that you’d like to have officially on the record in opposition to freeway boondoggles, get in touch.

Got a couple bucks?

That fantastic video at the top of this email needs to be seen by as many people as possible, and cost us a couple bucks to produce. Can you spare $20 to help us cover the social media promotion to get this video in front of as many Portlanders as possible?

Yeah, we need you to sign on for Decongestion Pricing again. (But this time it’s special.)

TLDR version: There’s a big hearing coming up with the Oregon Transportation Commission, and here’s three things you can do to help us kill that dang freeway:

1) Show up and testify at the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC’s) Decongestion Pricing Hearing on July 12 (details HERE)
2) SIGN OUR LETTER. (the letter in full is available HERE; add your name and additional comments to our letter HERE) by July 19
3) Want to send your own letter to the OTC? You can do that too, HERE, by July 20.

The Oregon Transportation Commission is Coming to Town

The No More Freeway Expansions campaign has extolled the virtues of decongestion pricing as a viable alternative to freeway expansion to the Oregon Department of Transportation (and their Value Pricing Committee) and to Portland City Council.

However, tomorrow (Thursday, July 12), you have an opportunity to speak to a group of influential and powerful lawmakers more powerful than them all: the Oregon Transportation Commission.

Without getting into the weeds, the OTC is the big, opaque oversight entity that monitors ODOT and the rest of the state’s transportation investments. It’s a Commission that rarely actively solicits public input, and is typically not directly under the public eye. The OTC is the entity ultimately responsible for crafting the official proposal for decongestion pricing that Oregon will submit to the Federal Government at the end of the year.

The OTC has heard from freight lobbyists, suburban sprawl advocates, and the freeway industrial complex – we need them to hear from you. 

Jonathan at BikePortland has an excellent summary of what’s on the line at this hearing: numerous suburban jurisdictions are eagerly looking at decongestion pricing as a way to raise revenue for freeway expansions. Using decongestion pricing to expand freeways is like using revenue from a carbon tax to build coal plants. The very point of the taxing mechanism of road pricing – using market forces to gently guide individual behavior towards an optimal levels that maximizes public benefit (in this case, eliminating gridlock and encouraging usage of transportation alternatives during peak commute times) – is substantially undermined by the proposals to direct revenue towards expansion of freeways. Freeway expansion is horrifically expensive, deleterious towards our carbon emission reduction goals on a melting planet, counterproductive towards air quality and other public health initiatives, and (most pertinent to the Oregon Transportation Commission) proven to be wholly ineffectual in cost-effectively moving Oregonians reliably and efficiently.

The meeting will be held on July 12, 4:00 (sign-ups begin at 3:00; let us know if you’d like us to sign you up!)

University Place Hotel and Conference Center
310 SW Lincoln St., Columbia Falls Ballroom
Portland, OR 97201
(accessible via Orange Line MAX; Bus lines 35, 36, 43; SW 3rd and Harrison Portland Streetcar Stop)

You can SIGN OUR LETTER in which we support a thoughtful, robust, forward-thinking decongestion pricing policy that raises $300 million a year for transit investments instead of freeway expansion.

 Image asks reader to sign our petition in support of decongestion pricing.

Thanks to all who came on our Pedalpalooza Ride!

We had a blast! Thanks to the nearly 50 people who showed up for a rainy June ride through Portland’s history of freeway revolts. A special thanks in particular to BikeLoudPDX for helping plan the event, to Dr. Aaron Golub and Dr Sy Adler for speaking about Portland’s history of freeway revolts, and to the Audubon Society for their ongoing support.

 

Image asks reader to sign our petition in support of decongestion pricing.

ICYMI: Willamette Week covers the air quality issue at Harriet Tubman
Image is a screenshot of the Willamette Week article

“Construction crews are racing to complete the rehabilitation of Harriet Tubman Middle School for its reopening this fall, despite long-standing concerns about the air quality at the site. Now a new environmental study offers damning conclusions about the health risks to students from diesel fumes, even as state officials champion a nearby highway project.” Read MORE. (OPB covered it, too)

Image encourages reader to sign our decongestion pricing letter.

Have you chimed in for Decongestion Pricing?

Monday, June 25 marks the final meeting of ODOT’s Value Pricing Committee. We sent a letter (with over 200 signatures!) to the committee last month asking for bold leadership from the advisory committee to support decongestion pricing.

Last month, ODOT revealed their research which stated implementing decongestion pricing on I-205 and I-5 would result in an 11% reduction in traffic congestion REGIONWIDE and would raise nearly $300 million in revenue annually. That’s a lot of money that could go towards transit investments!

If you haven’t already wrote to the Value Pricing Committee, we encourage you to drop them a note. Here’s some of our talking points

  • Decongestion Pricing is Great! We want to see decongestion pricing implemented as broadly and ambitiously as possible.
  • Decongestion pricing needs to be implemented for public health, climate mitigation, and congestion relief purposes. It must be installed equitably and thoughtfully.
  • Every dollar raised from decongestion pricing should be redirected into transit, biking and walking projects, not more freeway expansion. Spending money from decongestion pricing on freeway expansion is like using revenue from a carbon tax to build a coal plant or pipeline. We encourage TriMet, CTRAN, Metro and ODOT to work closely with frontline communities to determine how to allocate these resources towards investments in reliable, efficient, and effective transit, biking and walking.
  • We encourage the exploration of mitigation of congestion pricing on vulnerable communities through the exploration of rebates, funding safety improvements on nearby high crash corridors, and strict initiatives for data privacy.
Wanna testify in support of decongestion pricing and in opposition to freeway widening in person? Join us!

June 25, 2018
9 a.m. to noon
ODOT Region 1 Offices
123 NW Flanders St.
Portland, OR 97206

There will be an opportunity to engage with ODOT and the Oregon Transportation Commission on Decongestion Pricing on July 12 at Portland State University as well. Stay tuned for more information!

PEDALPALOOZA: COME LEARN ABOUT FREEWAY REVOLTS!

No More Freeways PDX and BikeLoudPDX are partnering for a Pedalpalooza Ride in which we discuss Portland’s illustrious history with fighting freeway expansion. Did you know about the effort to protect NW Thurman from Interstate 505? How Portland’s community advocates fought the Mt Hood Freeway to get funding for the first MAX line?  Did you know that Robert Moses’ team drew the maps for where many of Portland’s freeways would be built?

Ride with us to learn about Portland’s illustrious history of community opposition to freeway expansion!

We’ll start in Southeast Portland’s Piccolo Park (originally bulldozed to make way for the Mt Hood Freeway!) and swing through town to see the scars left in the inner city from freeway expansion.

We’ll conclude near the Rose Quarter, where ODOT keeps trying to spend half a billion dollars on freeway expansion despite the fact that it’s, you know, 2018, and that any sensible investment in our region’s transportation system considerate of public health, equity, carbon emissions or congestion relief involves more transit, biking and walking instead of lanes of freeway.

We’ll be joined by PSU Professors Sy Adler and Aaron Golub, and community advocates who have fought for livable streets for decades here in Portland. Our route will be slow, family-friendly, and relatively short, but it’s not a loop, so plan ahead.

JOIN US!
5:30, Wednesday, 6/27
Piccolo City Park, 2535 SE 28th Ave
Facebook Event

In Case You Missed It: The catchiest Public Testimony You’ve Ever Seen
Photo shows a screenshot of Paul Rippey playing his guitar and singing his song about induced demand to Portland City Council during public testimony.

North Portland resident Paul Rippey wrote a wonderful song about induced demand, freeway expansion, and the need to invest in transportation. He was kind enough to perform the song in front of Portland City Council last month, and he’s deservedly gone viral. Check out Andrew Theen’s coverage in The Oregonian about Rippey’s song to get this infectious little diddy stuck in your head. 

ENJOY YOUR SUMMER.

We’ve got a *lot* cookin’ in the fall, and we’re going to need your help. Freeway fights are long, arduous, obnoxious, but we promise you: we’re in it for the long haul. If you haven’t already, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, and invite your friends to do the same. If you’re feeling particularly generous, we could use a little financial support as we gear up for the fall.