In the event you didn’t make it out to Bike Pleased Hour on Wednesday night time, you missed one thing particular. A couple of dozen Portlanders sat and stood within the crisp, chilly night time in a plaza on a public avenue (thanks PBOT!) to participate in an interview with a candidate for native elected workplace.
I deliberate to interview Portland Metropolis Council Candidate Steph Routh inside Ankeny Faucet & Desk, nevertheless it was such a pleasant night time that everybody was already camped out within the plaza. So we determined to simply go along with it and I introduced the speaker and mic outdoors, set it on a wood picnic desk, and went for it. We talked for about 35 minutes after which took questions from the viewers. It was pleasant and I feel you’ll actually respect studying extra about Steph and her considerate strategy to essential points.
Steph, who was born in Parkrose and now lives in Lents, has been part of our biking and transportation advocacy neighborhood for a few years. In 2006 I photographed her bike marriage ceremony (sure she married her bike, she wore a veil and kissed the bike and the whole lot) and have adopted her ever since. Since then she’s been a frontrunner in our neighborhood. Steph was the first-ever govt director of Oregon Walks (the place she led the org on an workplace transfer by foot!), she labored in communications for Neighborhood Biking Heart, Sightline, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation. In 2013 she authored a e book on the way to transfer by bike (and has taken half in over 80 bike strikes). Steph can be an adjunct professor on the PSU College of City Planning and was a part of the technique crew that helped win Portland’s native fuel tax improve marketing campaign in 2016. In 2017 she interviewed ladies for a collection on BikePortland. And since 2019 she’s served as a member of the Portland Planning Fee (service she known as a “love be aware to my metropolis”).
Requested by somebody Wednesday night time why she’d by no means run for workplace earlier than, Steph mentioned she all the time assumed being a planning commissioner (a place she “begged to be on”) can be her highest calling. However then she noticed that main insurance policies she labored to go hit highway blocks at metropolis corridor. “After which after I noticed the council district strains drawn and I noticed that, on Day One of many new administration, east Portland would have extra illustration than within the cumulative historical past of Portland Metropolis Council — that was simply so significant. And I couldn’t say no.”
Listed below are just a few different notable exchanges from our interview:
What are you able to deliver to council in order that we ensure that nice applications and insurance policies [like bike infrastructure plans, Portland Street Response, etc…] aren’t diluted or dismantled?
“I feel it’s essential to recollect I’m operating for metropolis council as a result of I care and I wish to be a part of an answer. Nobody candidate, nobody politician goes to resolve our issues. And authorities can’t be the hero of our story. Communities are the heroes of our story. And it needs to be. The city is the hero. And the aim and the position of presidency and I consider politicians, is to create the circumstances the place communities can thrive and community-based options can discover buy and endure.”
I’ve seen activists acquire energy and workplace, then develop into silent and part of the machine. Are you assured that you may be an elected official ready of energy and nonetheless form of like, preserve it actual?
“You simply described all of my nightmares!… I’ve additionally began to attempt to construct a ‘Group of Rivals,’ if you’ll. People who find themselves naysayers, folks that I’ve disagreed with; as a result of I feel it’s essential to have individuals who can name me to account… I feel it’s essential to hunt the honorable opposition.”
On her opposition to federal funding for bike share in 2011 as a result of it might solely serve the central metropolis, and the argument bike share advocates made that downtown has among the lowest revenue census tracts within the metropolis:
“I feel that we had been proper on this, and I’m very glad that we obtained bike share, I adore it. However being close to poor individuals, isn’t the identical as being for poor individuals, there’s a distinction… We don’t get to say that one thing that excludes people who find themselves unbanked, at the moment, is a social justice undertaking. We simply don’t get to say that.”
In response to an viewers query about the way to attain our biking mode share objectives:
“Making the case for biking is loads simpler when you’ve gotten locations to cycle to. And I feel as the previous govt director of Oregon walks, I feel walkability and roll-ability is the elegant answer to so lots of our points and makes the plentiful case for biking clear. And I feel there’s that triptych of transit and walkability and biking, and we have to do all three. I feel we have to actually have a look at how transit is funded and the way, how we’re engaged on operations, as a result of transit is the spine to a land-use that makes each biking and strolling inevitable.”
I hope you hearken to the complete interview. Steph is somebody who offers me hope for the way forward for Portland and I all the time study one thing after I speak together with her. I feel you’ll too.
Hear within the participant above or wherever you get your podcasts. You may learn a full transcript under or obtain it right here.