As people try to figure out what happens with the Rose Quarter “Improvement” Project now, I just wanted briefly to survey local reporting on the story’s latest turn; I’ve some familiar journalism peeves.

OPB headlined their story, “Big Name Proponents Back Out Of I-5 Rose Quarter Expansion”; here’s their lede.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and an influential community group pulled their support from the Interstate 5 Rose Quarter project Tuesday, delivering a huge political hit to the embattled freeway widening project.

The Oregonian headlined their story, “Community nonprofit, Portland-area elected officials say they no longer support I-5 Rose Quarter project”; here’s their lede.

A state project to expand Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter lost major support Tuesday after a community nonprofit leading an effort to revitalize the nearby Albina neighborhood and city, county and regional elected officials announced they no longer support the plan.

Portland Mercury headlined their story, “Commissioner Eudaly and Portland Racial Justice Group Pull Their Support for I-5 Freeway Expansion”; here’s their lede.

Portland leaders are starting to withdraw their support from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) plan to expand a portion of Interstate 5 in the Rose Quarter.

Willamette Week headlined their story, “Racial Justice Group Albina Vision Trust Withdraws Its Support for I-5 Rose Quarter Expansion”; here’s their lede.

Albina Vision Trust, a nonprofit that seeks to redevelop Portland’s largest historically Black neighborhood, won’t support the proposed expansion of Interstate 5 in the Rose Quarter, according to an email obtained by WW.

Credit goes to The Oregonian and Willamette Week for centering Albina Vision Trust in both hed and lede, although the former only has it as “community nonprofit” until the second paragraph. It was, after all, the nonprofit which walked away from the project first; political figures followed afterward.

The worst offender is OPB, who centered Ted Wheeler and Chloe Eudaly; this doesn’t even get the order between the two of them correct, let alone the leadership of Albina Vision which in OPB’s lede is just “influential community group”.

Somewhere in between is Portland Mercury, whose main offense is the headline centering the white woman instead of the Black nonprofit; while its lede goes with “Portland leaders”, the first such leader named, in the second paragraph, properly is Albina Vision.

This is a “quibble” I make a lot, but many people skim and scan just hed and lede. Especially in a moment like this, with Black individuals and organizations so prominently pushing for restorative racial justice, it matters if the way you initially frame a story like this centers the white politicians who followed Albina Vision out the door.

“So here’s some ugly truth about the city of Los Angeles,” writes Matthew Fleischer of the racist elephant in the urban room (via Linda Poon): “Our freeway system is one of the most noxious monuments to racism and segregation in the country.”

Los Angeles was never a paradise of racial acceptance, but in 1910 some 36% of L.A.’s African Americans were homeowners (compared with 2.4% in New York City) — tops in the nation. L.A.’s comprehensive Red Car transit system, which offered easy, unsegregated access to the region’s growing economic opportunities, was fundamental to this success. Integrated, racially diverse neighborhoods like Watts and Boyle Heights emerged and thrived along these transit corridors.

But as L.A.’s population surged from 320,000 in 1910 to more than 1.2 million in 1930 — including tens of thousands of African Americans from the Deep South — white Los Angeles decided it was time to ramp up its own brand of Jim Crow segregation.

It’s not, of course, just Los Angeles, and Fleischer’s specificity in detailing the lengths to which urban planners in L.A. made sure to wipe out Black neighborhoods while preserving white ones is… depressing.

In an ideal world, the response to the question of “Open to whom?” would be “everyone.” But in this climate, where there are so many variables that undermine that ideal, our responses and processes should read more like “Open, particularly for…” As we evolve our understanding of the different impacts the built environment has on different people, we should think about how our response to Covid-19 and civil unrest could atone for how hostile our urban spaces have been for so many. We must listen intently to those who’ve long studied and advocated for climate justice in communities where urban heat islands, toxic industry, blight, and air and water quality make being “outside” dangerous regardless of roadway configuration.

From ‘Safe Streets’ Are Not Safe for Black Lives by Destiny Thomas

Very weird moment for the Independent Police Review to drop a report on transit cops in the Portland area but honestly I just wanted to mention that I stared at the following paragraph for a really long time.

Despite TriMet’s efforts to put the uniforms of all involved law enforcement agencies on its website, the IPR says it can still be difficult for riders to distinguish certain law enforcement agencies by their uniforms.

It’s absolutely baffling to me how the Bureau of Transportation managed to tell restaurant-owners that their sidewalk permits had been revoked until October without providing sufficient reassurance and guidance regarding the new Healthy Businesses initiative to open up sidewalks, curbs, and traffic lanes. How in the world in this environment do you just up and scare people like that? I get that they’ve since owned up to the mistake in method and messaging, but I’d really like to know exactly how it went down this way.

Then I got into small Twitter feud with Timothy B. Lee, a writer at Ars Technica, about those stupid sidewalk delivery robots. He used one, waited 90 minutes for his order to be delivered, acknowledged “this generation of the technology is only going to be viable in fairly high-density areas,” but refused to accept they were yet another bullshit tech solution that could be more easily solved with e-bike couriers in the limited areas where robot delivery would make sense distance-wise. He kept arguing that scale would bring down cost, while refusing to recognize that the very same scale will mean crowded, inaccessible sidewalks, which people will not accept — the same way they hated dockless scooters intruding on sidewalks.

From Enough with the autonomous crap by Paris Marx

Still, on this particular evening, I grabbed my photo ID and my credit card, just in case. But my ID still had my permanent address in Richmond, Virginia, and I’m in Fredericksburg. That wouldn’t help me. I grabbed the water bill to prove that I live in this neighborhood. I headed back towards the door, only to catch a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror. I probably didn’t look like I lived in this neighborhood. Back upstairs I went. Almost by muscle memory, I threw on a University of Virginia hoodie and a U.Va. hat. Even racists love U.Va., or its home of Charlottesville at least. I contemplated throwing on my U.Va. Law hoodie but feared it may have been too much. Would someone feel intimidated and use that as provocation? My anger began rising.

From When a Walk Is No Longer Just a Walk by Archie L. Alston II (via Sarah Holder)

It’s reasonable to assume that the world, left to its own devices, will continue to entrench and enrich the powers that be, during and after this crisis. It’s clear that the treatment of street vendors and the homeless are two places to start when considering the equitable implementation of al fresco streets. Police enforcement of social distancing has also shown glaring discrepancies along racial lines in some cities, as have decisions about which parks and public spaces have stayed open, and which are closed. Public transit ridership could crater long enough to kill off transit service all over the country. If people start relying on cars for even more trips, cities could lose some of the most effective resources for social and economic mobility. If people start relying on cars for even more trips, entire cities, not just bus riders and pedestrians, will be overwhelmed with the traffic and pollution caused by cars.

From Cities Are Suddenly a Little Less Car-Centric by James Brasuell

Link Log Roundup for May 14, 2020

In this edition: autism and actual masking, dining with mannequins, genetic drift, ousting Burr, cats and coronavirus, a new giraffe, black churches, reopening Oregon, COVID-19 and the brain, Oregon restaurants, the post-pandemic commute, bicycles, disability claims, the sage grouse, lockdowns and history, “Obamagate”, walking a trail, test failures, the privilege of escape, Multnomah County, the last Blockbuster, public shaming, and an invasion of goats.

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Link Log Roundup for May 7, 2020

In this edition: getting outside, race and climate, herpes, lines and strains, conflicts of interest, autistic social distancing, screen time, coronavirus parties, universal basic income, tracking infection, reopening Oregon, worker petitions, public space, language, paying for transit, and Pedalpalooza.

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Portland announced its “slow streets” …

Portland announced its “slow streets” locations (also see the Willamette Week story) and looking at the map they are going with N. Central St. here in St. Johns, which basically runs between two green or greenish spaces — Roosevelt High School and St. Johns Park. What’s not clear to me is how the signage is going to work, as only two intersections get “barrel barrier” treatment, and depending upon how you count they are fifteen to twenty blocks apart. Surely there will be additional non-barrel signage along the route? Or, at least, surely they will let residents get away with guerilla signage?