Archive | At the Polls

Why I’m Voting for Measure 26-80

No, it’s not (direclty) a transportation measure. But it does have a big impact on our urban form, and therefore on transportation.

Measure 26-80 is the next phase of Metro’s Green Spaces acquisition program. The first phase, based on a 1995 ballot measure, has allowed Metro to purchase in excess of 8,000 acres of natural areas for preservation, parks and trails; and to help local jurisdictions create parks in urban areas.

Measure 26-80 would allow Metro to continue this program, including the acquisition of key natural resource lands outside the UGB. By doing so, even in a Measure 37 world, Metro can help ensure that future urban expansion does not sacrifice these irreplacable resources.

At the same time, 26-80 will provide funds to help build parks in our region’s urban areas. Parks and public spaces are critical components to keep our neighborhoods livable even as they accomodate more people.

I hope you’ll join me in voting YES for our future.

Public Opinion on Transit

On Friday, pollster Adam Davis spoke to City Club’s Friday Forum on the topic of the disconnect between leaders and the public (as he put it, between the edges of the bell curve and the bell). No, I didn’t ask him a transportation question – I asked about citizenship and the public “commons”.

But Ray Polani did ask the transportation question, and the answer was reasonably encouraging. You can hear it here (MP3, 2.9M, 3 min).

Adam’s main points:

  • People are becoming more inclined to support investment in transit versus highways.
  • Many have moved here from regions that have tried spending big bucks on highways, with little benefit.
  • Gas prices are making people rethink investment.
  • The public still wants a balanced system.

Oregon’s Next Governor?

Our project to get the candidates for Governor to respond to our questionnaire has gone nowhere. Apparently the campaigns get deluged with these things. Only the Westlund campaign was forthright enough to tell us straight up that they weren’t going to respond.

But here’s an opportunity for a little insight. At the Westside Economic Alliance debate on April 27th, the candidates (at least those in attendance) got asked about the Cost of Congestion report. Courtesy of KUIK which broadcast the debate and shared a recording with us, you can hear their answers (MP3, 2.4M, 6 minutes), which one attendee described to me as “like fish flopping around out of water…”

Here’s a brief summary with my commentary:

Ron Saxton: “We do need to add lanes.” His solution is to grow the state economy which will provide the revenue for additional investments. Does he think we’ll be investing general fund dollars from income tax into transportation? That would be innovative!

Jason Atkinson points the finger at Metro “which you didn’t elect.” I guess someone should tell Susan McLain that her last several elections were a figment of her imagination. Atkinson’s solution is to “increase bonding capacities” but he ran out of time before saying where the revenue to pay off the bonds would come from. He also supports public/private partnerships like the Newberg-Dundee bypass (aka tolling).

Ben Westlund was clear that we need “additional and creative funding mechanisms to put down more lanes, more asphalt.”

Kevin Mannix thinks the fix is an attitude change at ODOT, which should “put the roads where the communities need them.” So which roads has ODOT built recently in the wrong places?

Like Atkinson, Pete Sorenson apparently wants to shift general fund dollars into transportation, he thinks the answer is higher corporate taxes.

While of course as a 501(c)(3) Portland Transport does not endorse candidates, we might suggest that we all be very afraid…

Ask More Candidates

Over at News4Neighbors, they’re conducting an ‘online debate’ for the City Council and County Commission candidates, and are soliciting more questions.

How about suggesting some transportation questions? And please, let’s be more creative than asking about the Tram :-)

Portland Transport sends candidate questionnaire to Oregon Governor candidates

The following went out as an advisory to the press last night:

Portland Transport sends candidate questionnaire to Oregon Governor candidates

Portland Transport, a blog focusing on transportation policy in the Portland/Vancouver metro region, has issued a candidate questionnaire (attached) for the Oregon Governor’s race.

“State policy has a huge effect on local transportation and our readers and the community will benefit from knowing where the candidates stand on issues that affect the region and the State,” said Chris Smith, President of Portland Transport.

The questionnaire was developed collaboratively by the online community at Portland Transport and the responses will be published on the site. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Portland Transport will not endorse a candidate, but will publish the responses as a service to voters, and provide an opportunity for the community to discuss the responses.

The questionnaire (PDF, 20K) was sent to the Kulongoski, Hill, Sorenson, Mannix, Saxton, Atkinson and Westlund campaigns. The Westlund campaign has responded that they will take a pass for now (presumably since as an Independent, Westlund is not in the May primary) but will consider responding during the general election campaign.