An Open Letter to all Portlanders who Ride a Bicycle, for any Reason
I want to tell you why I support Charlie Hales for Mayor. I’ve known Charlie since 1998, when he was City Commissioner and I was Bicycle Coordinator. Some of you haven’t been here long enough to remember that we used to have virtually no decent bike parking anywhere in the City. Many business and school leaders opposed the new requirements, and it was a protracted fight. Even many within the City government were reluctant. As Commissioner, Charlie pushed forward a compromise that was adopted without dissent. The thousands of bicycle parking spaces you see at your workplace, store, park, school, and restaurant all stem from his work. We could not have succeeded without him.
To me, this story reflects his leadership style – not shying away from tough issues, making difficult choices, and using his connections and inter-personal skills to bring the naysayers around. He did this with the Parks Bond measure, two community centers, Portland’s streetcars, and numerous other issues.
Beyond being a leader, he is a good person. With our commissioner style of government, the Mayor has to understand how to get support from their colleagues and the public. Charlie’s experience, relationships and respectful style will serve him well as he wades into tricky issues.
Charlie and I agree that bicycle transportation, along with transit, walking, smart growth, and improved operational efficiency are all part of the same set of solutions for our city. The more we use our roads for all types of transportation, the more choices we give people for their daily trips, the better off we all are, no matter how we get around.
In conversations with Charlie, I’ve learned that he is committed to full funding of Sunday Parkways through additional private sponsorship. He’s also committed to expanding Safe Routes to School, advancing the bikeway network through creative fundraising and partnerships, and improving mountain bike opportunities.
As a small business owner, I have experienced many challenges. Likewise, I have heard so many comments from others: challenges of getting permits, doing business with the City, and lack of clear support for start-up businesses. Charlie is 100% committed to improving this growing sector of our economy, as well, as he believes that small business growth fuels our economy.
That’s why I support Charlie Hales, and I hope you will too!