ANYONE FOLLOWING the travails of Portland's long-anticipated bike share system had long-since read it in the tea leaves, but the city made an official announcement on March 4: Bike share's still a year off.
Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) officials initially prognosticated a (very optimistic) spring 2013 launch for the public bike rental service, which they pushed back a year for lack of funds. Now? Plan on spring 2015.
The reasons are part commerce, part caution, part condensation. While millions in still-secret sponsorship cash are apparently now at the city's disposal, the company that was slated to provide a bike share system declared bankruptcy in January.
That spurred Alta Bicycle Share, the Portland-based outfit managing the program, to hurriedly ink a deal with another Canadian company, 8D Technologies. But while 8D has a long history of developing software that makes bike share run, it's never developed the kiosks and docking stations necessary for a system.
So even though Alta says it can have bikes on Portland streets by summer, PBOT now says don't rush it.
"Our first and foremost (priority) is having a very high level of comfort with the product that's being provided," said Steve Hoyt-McBeth, a project manager at PBOT.
There's also a weather component. PBOT has been keen to launch bike share in the spring or early summer, when it would benefit from months of sun and Portland's annual influx of tourists. That's not going to be possible this year. DIRK VANDERHART
IBRAHIM MUBARAK, a co-founder of Right 2 Dream Too and Dignity Village, pleaded not guilty on Friday, February 28, after he was arrested while confronting cops rousting homeless campers beneath the Burnside Bridge and charged with interfering with a police officer and criminal trespass.
Mubarak had joined several advocates from Right 2 Survive on a mission to observe how police and security guards had been treating the groups of homeless people who'd been setting up near the Skidmore Fountain MAX station in recent weeks. He was the only one arrested, after refusing to give his name and demanding a police officer ask him "nicely" to get on the sidewalk.
While his case is pending, Mubarak has been ordered by Judge John Wittmayer to keep out of the private parking lot behind the MAX tracks, stuck on and near land owned by the city, the University of Oregon, and Mercy Corps.
Mubarak, a Muslim, also says he's considering a complaint after officers, after he was arrested, insisted on using his birth name, Keith Jackson, instead of, as he says they put it, "what Ali Baba" named him. DENIS C. THERIAULT
URBAN RENEWAL in Portland could be in for a substantial face-lift, according to a draft proposal released late last month by the Portland Development Commission (PDC). High on the list is a plan to deal an early death to the city's so-called Education Urban Renewal Area—a zone around Portland State approved in 2012 at the urging of then-Mayor Sam Adams. The Mercury was first to report on that strong possibility ["Streetcar Collision," News, Nov 6, 2013].
The draft plan, first reported by the Portland Tribune, also ponders a significant expansion of urban renewal zones in the Central Eastside (to capture light-rail development) and around North Macadam (to beef up the waterfront and make up for the loss of the PSU zone). And it would cleave off a portion of the bustling River District URA, the main engine behind the modern Pearl. The idea is to put some of that valuable property back on the main tax rolls—giving the city, Multnomah County, and Portland Public Schools millions more in tax revenue to play with—while leaving enough in the urban renewal till for projects in Old Town/Chinatown.
The final plan must be adopted by the Portland City Council. DCT