Whiteboards are the new megaphones: bike activist Ben Foote
  • Whiteboards are the new megaphones: bike activist Ben Foote
Under the watchful eyes of three reporters and a filmmaker working on a documentary about "Portland's post-Critical Mass bike activism", a dozen alternative transportation enthusiasts worked around a table in a downtown art gallery last night to discussing what kind of pro-Bike Master Plan message could resonate with city hall.

"Since we're pushing for full implementation and funding, how about 'Fund the Plan!'" organizer Ben Foote pitched.
"You think they'll do that? Fully funding the entire plan?" shot back skeptical BikePortland.org editor Jonathan Maus.
"What, do you think they'll laugh at us? 'Oh, we made a plan, but fund it? Ahahaha!'" replied Foote.
"From the polling we've heard about and the people I've talked to, I'll tell you that this is a bad time to talk about money," chimed in Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) advocate Michelle Poyourow.
Foote threw out another idea, "Well what about... 'Save Lives. Save Dollars.'"

Luckily, bike plan advocates have until February 4th to hone their message: that's when City Council is slated to vote on the plan to build 600 miles of bike lanes over the next 20 years. Last night's discussion was the fourth meeting of the city's newest transportation activism group, a pro-bike, pro-walk, pro-transit association called TransConPDX that Foote and others formed to organize direct-action protests and edgier carfree activist work than the BTA and other local bikey groups have not pursued in recent years.

On last night's agenda, in addition to working out a catchy bike plan slogan: introducing Car Free Fridays to Portland and coordinating a pre-City Council rally on February 4th.

Portland Bicycle Tours founder Evan Ross is spearheading the Feb. 4th rally ("I want to create some noise and pack the room," he says.) and is excited about having a new channel for bike activism in town. "I haven't seen the improvements in my community that I want to. I think the BTA is tied to political funding and have to worry about what happens if they do this or that. This group will be more independent from that," says Ross. TransCon has no tax status or website yet, but you can keep track of their plans via Google group.