This spring brings an unusually excellent crop of candidates who care about making Oregon better for people who walk and bike.
Why should we care?
First, transportation makes up 38% of Oregon’s climate emissions, and is the fastest growing sector. Second, we have record rates of childhood obesity and diabetes, in part meaning this generation may be the first to have a shorter lifespan than our parents. Third, our roads are clogged with drivers taking trips because they don’t have viable choices, harming our economy. And finally, one quarter of Oregonians – roughly a million people – are too young, too infirm, or too poor to drive. People deserve transportation choices.
And as much as the City of Portland leads the country on bike issues, the bike network outlined in Portland’s Bike Master Plan is barely half finished, and is behind schedule. Only four of our eleven Willamette River bridges are bike-friendly. And too many pedestrians and cyclists continue to be injured and killed due to unsafe streets.
Tuesday’s Oregonian noted that the leading mayoral candidates were pushing hard to be seen as pro-bike at Monday’s debate. That’s good news, but how does one choose between them?
Bike. Walk. Vote., looks at candidates’ records, reviews extensive questionnaires, and conducts interviews as needed. As the political arm of the biking and walking movement, we’ve endorsed nine candidates.
Three are current elected officials who are looking to move up and do even more for biking and walking:
Commissioner Sam Adams has used his bully pulpit and influence as head of PDOT to push for biking and walking issues and wants to do even more as Mayor.
Representative Jackie Dingfelder is a long-time leader on biking issues in the Legislature who is looking to move to the state Senate.
Clackamas County Commissioner Lynn Peterson, who has been a strong voice for trails and bridges in regional discussions, is moving up into the Clackamas County Chair position uncontested.
We've also got some hot new prospects:
Jules Kopel-Bailey is a brilliant environmental economist who will be a leader on climate change issues. He often gets to canvass locations by bike and is running for Representative in SE Portland District 42.
Jim Middaugh is a 15-year daily bike commuter and environmental advocate running for Portland City Commissioner Position 2 (Sten's old seat).
Jeff Bissonnette and Chris Smith are two advocates who bring extensive knowledge on energy and transportation issues, as well as experience biking from St. Johns and connecting biking and transit, to City Commission Position 1 (Adams' seat, dual endorsement).
Finally, we’re proud to endorse Michael Dembrow for House District 45, and Randy Leonard, legendary for walking around City Hall in spandex, for City Commission Position 4.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s time to help get these folks elected. Contact the campaigns directly, visit bikewalkvote.com, or email us at bikewalkvote (at) gmail.com to help us get the word out about these great leaders.