It’s time for Portland businesses to step up and demand safe, walkable and bikable streets

PICOC is a coalition of business and community leaders who believe Portland can do better. We want the city to hear loud and clear that our business community shares Portland’s values of affordability, sustainability, and equity. We call on our city to eliminate traffic deaths and achieve Vision Zero.
Serious Injuries & Traffic fatalities in Portland.

There’s a disturbing trend in Portland. Over the past 25 years the city has steadily been lowering traffic deaths, but the past two years this progress has reversed. In 2015, 37 people died, the highest count for the past 12 years. This year has been even more grim: as of September 18th, 35 people have died, including 10 pedestrians and four cyclists. If the current trend holds traffic deaths will be back at 1990’s levels.

These traffic deaths represent an equity crisis. They disproportionately occur in neighborhoods with larger minority and low-income populations. Residents of low-income neighborhoods in Multnomah County are 2.3 times more likely to be killed walking. Oregonians aged 65 or older are four times more likely to be killed while walking. We are failing to protect our most vulnerable citizens, and in doing so we are failing to uphold our values as Portlanders.

Portland has long had a reputation for being a walkable, bikeable city with great public transportation. However, this reputation is only deserved by our close-in neighborhoods. These inner neighborhoods have seen marked increases in rents and home prices. Portland’s remaining affordable neighborhoods lack basic amenities like sidewalks, bike lanes and frequent bus service. Without safe alternatives, residents of these outer neighborhoods are being pushed into auto dependence.

Portland has a vision to fix this. Last year, our City Council formally adopted an audacious goal to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries. This policy, called Vision Zero, states that all traffic deaths are preventable, and that no traffic deaths are acceptable. The idea started in Sweden and has spread around the world. Vision Zero has been endorsed by Portland’s current and incoming mayors, our transportation commission and the head of the Bureau of Transportation.


Despite official support achieving Vision Zero will be difficult. We need the courage to pursue policies and projects that decrease our auto dependence and reach our goal of a sustainable, low-carbon city. We must make biking and walking safe throughout Portland. We must continue to aggressively invest in our transit infrastructure. We must move towards a downtown where few ever feel the need to drive.

Portland has a reputation for being a city that is affordable, sustainable, and equitable. If we fail to eliminate traffic deaths, we fail to uphold these values. Failing would mean more high-traffic roads, fewer walkable neighborhoods, and no affordable neighborhoods where biking is safe and family-friendly. It would mean a Portland that is increasingly divided.

PICOC encourages all Portland businesses to join us in supporting the Vision Zero movement. Let’s remember why we started our businesses here, why we can attract top talent to live here, and how our businesses benefit from the halo of Portland’s reputation as a great American city. Let’s remind elected leaders of their commitment to decreasing auto dependence, and support them when progress inevitably leads to controversy.

Our City Council votes on October 12th on whether to adopt an action plan to pursue Vision Zero. We are calling on members of the business community to sign this testimony urging City Council to adopt the Vision Zero action plan.

Click here to add your signature to this testimony

Signed,
Adam Wood
Owner, Azunga Marketing

Alex Payne
Investor

Aliza Tuttle
General Manager, Know Thy Food Cooperative

Andrea Pastor
Owner, Cellar Door Coffee Roasters

Astrid Scholz
CEO, Sphaera

B Grace Henricks
Owner, Artemis Foods

Benjamin A Cerezo
Principal Creative, Clearform

Bill Stites
Owner, Truck Trike

Blanca Garcia-Rinder
Program Manager, Walker Tracker

Chloe Eudaly
Owner, Reading Frenzy

Colin Ross
General Manager, Western Bikeworks

David James Robinson
Attorney

Emee Pumarega
Owner, EJP Events

Eric Holscher
President, Read the Docs

Garlynn Woodson
Owner, Woodsong Property Renovation Partners

Garrett Moon
Owner, Excited Pixel

Gino Zahnd
CEO, Cozy

Gordon Feighner
Owner, Jam on Hawthorne

Glenn Fee
Vice President, Gateway to College

Jason Glassy
Owner, Factory Publishing Co

Jason Grlicky
Founder, Paracosm

Jewel Mlnarik
COO, Workfrom

John A. Bennett
Owner, Rivelo

Josh Carter
CEO, BrightWork Inc.

Joshua Cohen
Principal, Fat Pencil Studio

Justin Yuen
President, FMYI

Kate Kilberg
Principle, Catalyst Law

Katherine Mangle
Vice President, Alta Planning + Design

Kevin Steigerwald
Co-founder, Notion

Kiel Johnson
Owner, Go By Bike Valet and Repair

Leah Benson
Owner, Gladys Bikes

Lennon Day-Reynolds
Investor, Tavern Owner

Marcus Estes
CEO, Chroma

Mara Zepeda 
CEO, Switchboard

Mark Wheeler
Co-owner, Roots Realty

May Barruel
Owner, Nationale

Melissa Berry, N.D.
Owner, Missionary Chocolates

Mike Westling
Account Manager, Brink Communications

Nat West
Owner, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider

Patrick Maloney
Owner, Occam Advisors

Phillip Ross
Owner, Metrofiets

Rick Turoczy
General Manager, PIE

Rob Alan
Founder, Monumental

Rob Bodner
Chiropractic Physician, Ridgeline Clinic

Robert Thomas Achor
President, Revolution Accounting and Advisory

Robin Scholetzky
Principal, UrbanLens Planning

Stephanie Leikas-Homolya
Marketing Director, Showers Pass

Steve & Lynn Hanrahan
Owners, Mirador Kitchen & Home

Sydney Mead
President, Habitate Property Management

Tom McTighe
Owner, Webwork for Good

William Henderson
CEO, Knock Software

Zane Taylor
Partner, Totally