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Lawyer Scott Kocher on the Bike Bill Lawsuit
Episode 4021st November 2022 • BikePortland Podcast • Pedaltown Media Inc
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Go deeper into the lawsuit filed Friday (11/18) by BikeLoud PDX against the City of Portland in this informative conversation between host Jonathan Maus and Oregon lawyer Scott Kocher of Forum Law Group.

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Transcripts

Jonathan Maus 0:01

bicycle bill, a law signed in:

Scott Kocher 2:04

nd we know from going back to:

Jonathan Maus 4:19

rstanding is of the bike Bill:

Scott Kocher 4:33

great question. The pedestrian and bicycle bill says that when ever streets in Oregon are constructed, reconstructed or relocated that you have to have pedestrian and bicycle facilities. There are some exceptions if it would be, you know, impossible to to provide a facility or unsafe to provide a facility. There's some exceptions for that. And that's Basic requirements.

Jonathan Maus 5:01

ion. So I wonder why today in:

Scott Kocher 6:21

It makes a lot of sense that if you're going to be building a street from scratch, which actually still happens in Portland sometimes, or if you're gonna be reconstructing that street, that that's a good time to put in, what might have been missing, and to have to build a complete street. So there's a certain logic to it. So yes, it's it's it's simple. It's not very nuanced. But there's a logic to it. And the challenge 50 years later, is that we have a bike plan. Now, in Portland, we have an idea of building a connected network, you don't get that if all you're doing is focusing on the locations that are being constructed or reconstructed. Those locations aren't necessarily the network's highest priorities for building out pedestrian and bicycle facilities. So it's, it's a, it's a simple law, it's a little bit of a blunt instrument. And, but there is an underlying logic for it.

Jonathan Maus 7:29

And it's there, right? I mean, it's in this Oregon statutes, which it's really the only thing we have, right, if you're going to try to force a municipality or government agency to comply. You basically need it because we can pass all the plans we want, which we have done. Those aren't enforceable under the law, it's really hard to find things that are enforceable by law, right in statute that actually say, hey, build, build bike lanes, build sidewalks, right?

Scott Kocher 7:55

And I would add to that, yeah, the closest analogy is probably the ADEA. Yeah, I

Jonathan Maus 7:59

was gonna ask about actually. So how is it similar or different than the ADEA lawsuit, which I'm sure a lot of folks listening to this already know about, which essentially, was this massive civil rights suit from the 70s.

Scott Kocher 8:11

So Ada goes back decades. And it's a federal law, not state of Oregon, right. But it requires the public infrastructure to accommodate people using mobility devices. And that's fundamental. It's taken decades to get that implemented. In fact, both ODOT and the Portland Bureau of Transportation have been the defendant in lawsuits that were the impetus for the construction of

curb ramps and push buttons throughout the network. And they're still working on getting those built like they are you see them around Portland, I mean, still an ongoing challenge for them to meet that it is, but they take it very seriously.

know, I think we should build:

Jonathan Maus 9:21

So I think part of the reason why these government bodies have not been, you know, meeting the law, you could argue is because the law itself is so vague, right? It's got it's written in a way that has several pretty significant lines in it the talk about exceptions, basically that say, yes, the top line thing is anytime you reconstruct, realign Whatever road you've got to you've got to do bicycle and pedestrian facilities, you got to spend that minimum 1%. But then there's also those lines below that that are all about reasons why You don't have to sort of wiggle room weasel words or whatever you want to call them. I wonder what you think about people that would say, or arguments from cities or counties or the state or whatever that say, you know, look, there's a lot of leeway in the law, we're just, we're just choosing to, you know, take advantage of those exceptions.

Scott Kocher:

So if a city or the state is relying on an exception, they have a duty to say that they're doing that and explain why the exception applies. They can't just come along later and say, Oh, well, we're sure that there was some reason that we didn't do that. Here, in the context of Portland, the most obvious exception that you would probably look at if you're reading the statute is other available ways? Well, gosh, you don't have to build bicycle facilities, if there are other available. Wait,

Jonathan Maus:

okay, why don't want to pin you on that, like other available ways? That's the quote from the bill, the law. So it's basically saying, Look, you don't have to do this stuff, if there are, quote other available ways, which are basically saying if there's an alternate route, right, just to help folks,

Scott Kocher:

but that's qualified, you can only rely on that exception, if the other available ways means that there's an absence of any need any need for the bike facility, on the roadway in question. So southeast division is an example that comes to mind. They completely the City of Portland completely redid in our southeast division, not too many years ago. And now, if you block south, you've got Clinton, which by now is a pretty decent bike facility, it serves most people fairly well. Is that a substitute for being able to access businesses directly on division? If you're going to rely on another available way, how good does it have to be? How well does it have to provide access? So these are questions that have not been addressed because the law has only ever been used once. And that was back in 1995. And it was very limited.

Jonathan Maus:

That's really fascinating to me. It's so really, I was going to ask like, as far as legal challenges or whatever the word would be in your world, like the the precedent or the case history. Is the 1995. Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Sue, is that the only one that's really tried to get at this? Yes. Wow. So there. So I would feel like there are just a ton of unanswered questions, because the other available ways thing I think is going to be pretty massive in terms of an exception is there. I mean, I personally don't think a neighborhood Greenway is should be considered a substitute. I there was a there was a commenter on bikeportland on one of our recent stories about this, who let's just say I know, is a good source, and knows what they're talking about. And they said that that other available waste things already been basically litigated that it's okay to say a neighborhood Greenway is a good alternate, let's say on something like division, or Hawthorne, and versus salmon, or, or whatever, you know, Lincoln Harrison, is that true? Do you think the city of Portland is operating from a position of saying, we have our neighborhood Greenway wet network, so we're fine.

Scott Kocher:

I don't think that flies. And the reason I don't think that flies is that that was exactly the issue that was litigated in the BTA versus City of Portland sued around the rose quarter or the Blazers stadium in the 90s. Because, again, that's what they said back then, as well, you know, you people on bikes belong on the small streets, we shouldn't have to provide facilities on arterioles or other big streets. The Court of Appeals said, No, actually, you, you can bring a claim for that. So I don't agree that that's a done deal. And I don't believe that that's good policy, either. I think that if you're a delivery rider and you're picking up food orders at a restaurant on division, and you're trying to get it across town, or you're picking up orders on Hawthorne at a restaurant and trying to get it across town. It's not a substitute to say okay, well, I'm going to zigzag back and forth, two blocks over to access businesses. So you see people riding bikes on division, or Hawthorne, or these other big streets in Portland, they don't have bike facilities all the time. There's certainly a need, from a legal standpoint, to say that there's an absence of any need is a very difficult argument.

Jonathan Maus:

And so let's go through some of the other exceptions. There's one in there that says, Well, we talked about need, but I guess that's part of the argument that's going to happen whether or not it's needed or not, but that's like, that's like that classic maxim that you'll hear urbanists talk about that says, like, we don't decide if we're going to build a bridge by judging how many people are swimming across the river, right. So that one I think, is pretty easy to argue against. Isn't there one that in there about funding if it's just cost too much, or did I agree that wrong? What's the funding one that they could say, Hey, this is just not possible. So what's the funding exception,

Scott Kocher:

it's going to be interesting to see how that plays out, you could imagine a roadway that passes along a cliff and to provide a bike facility, you would have to literally dynamite the cliff, and it would cost billions of dollars. Okay, I think that's probably what the legislature had in mind there. If it's cost prohibitive to build the facility, for some reason, you don't have to do it. It's hard to imagine in the context of Portland, where this lawsuit is located, that you could rely on that there is very little geography, that would make it cost prohibitive to provide a bike facility, you may have to reallocate from other uses, we have a lot of our city that's dedicated to turn lanes or duplicative lanes for cars, we're still recovering from the postwar transformation of our street grid into something that was designed to try to move as many cars as possible as fast as possible. And we're paying the price of that in the neighborhoods right now. So that transition is going to have some growing pains. But you can't say that it's cost prohibitive. It's just, you know, inertia.

Jonathan Maus:

So so you're you're pretty confident that the exceptions, even even the way the text of the law is written, you're pretty confident that the City of Portland in this case, again, this bill and statute applies statewide, which we can talk about in a sec, but for this, for the purposes of this case, this suit is talking just about the City of Portland, so you're confident that they're not going to be able to argue about those exceptions.

Scott Kocher:

I'll be interested to see what they argue, when the City of Portland was sued for the ADEA litigation, their approach was basically look, yeah, we know we have this legal obligation, we know we haven't been meeting yet. We would like to reach a resolution that puts us on a timeline that holds us accountable to get this job done. It is a choice to say, hey, guess what we're going to really try to squeeze as much as we can out of these exceptions, or we're going to try to get a ruling from the court that that tries to make those exceptions swallow the rule, or we're going to really do backflips to try to avoid providing these facilities even though they're needed for safety. And for access. That's a choice they would make. And I frankly, don't know how they're going to handle this. It depends a lot on leadership and envision. So that's a chapter yet to be written.

Jonathan Maus:

Yeah. And boy, I think if they were to make that choice to try to say, to argue against it, it's, it's not gonna look, it's not gonna look very good for them for a city that's ostensibly bicycle friendly, and has all these great plans. So but that kind of reminds me of something else when you were talking about how they might respond. So in terms of the things you're hoping to get out of the lawsuit, leave it open to the possibility that there could there could be a back and forth where the city says, Hey, we know we didn't put protected bike lanes on sandy Boulevard, back whenever ladies, when we put that in. We're not quite ready to do that today. But here's something else we can do instead, is this. Does this sound good to you? So can you tell me how that might work in terms of like, could there be this back and forth? Or negotiation? Or what are you know, how? How could the outcome piece of this play out if it got to that point,

Scott Kocher:

this is a learning process for everyone, because we're on new ground. One thing we know is that the locations and we have our initial identified list in the lawsuit that we filed today, if you read that list of locations, they're not necessarily anybody's number one priority for where you would build the next piece of sidewalk or or bicycle facility. The priority tends to be on connectivity. The law allows, in some cases, and certainly through a settlement agreement in a case, there's a fair amount of leeway to say, well, you know what? Some of these facilities that were constructed in the past would be particularly difficult to change, maybe, you know, bordering on impossible to change. I don't have an example. But suppose that were the case, you would say, Well, gee, how can you make up for the past non compliance? What's the best way to make up for that past non compliance and the 2030 Bike plan reflects years of thought to address essentially exactly that question. So we won't have to start from scratch. If we're in the territory of saying, Okay, we realized that we haven't done everything that we we needed to do. How do we move forward? We have a really good blueprint for that in the form of the 2030 Bike plan for the city of Portland, which is a great document and a great blueprint.

Jonathan Maus:

Yeah. And I noticed it's actually specified in the in the lawsuit, that that's a direction that the city could could go. So you're sort of encouraging. You're offering that up?

Scott Kocher:

Yeah. And you see this in other cases, you know, if there's a corporation that cheats a bunch of people, and and you can't find them, well, maybe the corporation would donate money to a nonprofit that seeks to help those sorts of people that have been defrauded, but you can't help them specifically. So there's a notion of doing the next best thing that actually is in law and is available if people can reach that sort of agreement. So there's, there's certainly opportunity for positive outcomes here.

Jonathan Maus:

And sorry, I'm gonna jump around a little bit, but there's something else I wanted to get to about, you know, if if the city decided to not build the the right bicycle or pedestrian facilities that you would think that the bike bill should would require? You mentioned something about how they should at least have to explain themselves, essentially, right, it's on Oh, dots flowchart. So the ODOT, Oregon Department transportation has discussed this, I think a lot more than the City of Portland, which is interesting. Probably, because they've been the focus of more legal issues around it, or for whatever reason, maybe they have a bigger staff, they've actually devoted to defending the way they approached the bike bill. And so if you go on Google and check it out, you can find this really interesting flowchart that they have about the bike bill and how to approach it, it's essentially made. It's a flowchart, essentially, for their staff, I think, to try to determine, you know, if if a project needs to have it as per the bike bill or not, blah, blah. But one of the things that they say on that, on that piece of paper, is, quote, exceptions must be well documented. Right? So I think that's pretty powerful. And I follow the City of Portland pretty closely in terms of transportation for the last 17 years. I've never come across a piece of paper, or any kind of explanatory anything about why a bike bill wasn't why the bike bill wasn't followed. I've heard it. I've heard people talk about it in passing, but never anything that's like documented. And when, how hagadol and who's who wrote this amazing capstone project, master's thesis, right? At Portland State University. She's one of the leaders of the Transportation Research and Education Center, really amazing source on sort of expert on the bike bill. Through the process of learning about her work, and trying to get ODOT on record about some stuff, I got a bunch of really interesting documentation from ODOT. They have quite a bit of staff time and labor involved in tracking whether or not they're meeting it. I've seen the spreadsheets, it's got dozens of tabs. And there's a lot of work that's gone into that. I haven't seen that at the City of Portland, are you aware of anything that they have that actually shows that they're documenting their excuses for not following the bike bill, specifically,

Scott Kocher:

we asked for those documents and others in public records requests in January and March of 2020. And we, they actually directed us to city archives, a colleague and I went down to city archives, and we tried, we said, hey, here's here's our requests, we were sent down here, we got nothing.

Jonathan Maus:

So that's what that request was for. Okay, that's good to know, I was gonna ask about that that request was just to say, show us your receipts, essentially,

Scott Kocher:

exactly. And it was fairly comprehensive. There were other parts to it, but we got nothing. And that's disappointing when you make a public records request on behalf of an organization like that by cloud, other organizations that are nonprofits working in the public interest. And you walk away from those requests, either with an outright refusal, or an indication that before they'll even start the research, you'll have to send them several $1,000. Because they've denied your public interest fee waiver request, it leaves a bad impression, and it can sometimes lead to litigation. The city has been frankly hammered for that kind of conduct in some recent public records decisions in the courts. So we don't have documents to to be able to tell you or anybody in Portland or the public about this, I do think that you've been doing this advocacy long enough. I've been involved for enough years. If the city had documents that related to their decision making around bicycle Bill compliance or pedestrian and bicycle Bill compliance, you would know about that, and I would know about that. And if we get those in our first rounds of documents in this case, you know, this is a public type of case. You'll be the first to get them.

Jonathan Maus:

Yeah, that brings up an important point for folks to realize that if the case is allowed to move forward, right, the first thing cities probably going to do is motion to dismiss, but if it moves Forward, there will be a discovery phase initially, which would essentially mean they would be compelled to provide some of this documentation. So that's something to watch out for. But but also on the on that on the same note, I just want to underline for folks that like this is a statewide law. And if the City of Portland is not documenting any of this, or tracking it, there are dozens and dozens of other municipalities across Oregon, that I'm just going to say right now, are not doing any documentation about this. They're just telling their constituents, the people, sorry, we couldn't do this bike lane. Sorry, we're not going to have this kind of facility here. Because it's just all this big, however, for whatever excuse, right, but I guarantee they're not documenting, documenting it either. Which kind of brings up the other thing about how this could have ripple effects statewide, and could could help. I'm hoping other advocates or other people, even bureaucrats, city staff, people in other places go hey, you know, so we should be complying with this thing. So that that would be I think, a great, a great outcome.

Scott Kocher:

Yeah. And to be clear documentation for its own sake, isn't necessarily helpful. But when you have to document something, and you have to look at a checklist that says, Hey, have we considered this and this and this, and by the way, we have these obligations, it's harder to ignore obligations when you have those policies and procedures in place.

Jonathan Maus:

And it's also it would be educational, I think a big part of this is my hunch is a big part of the reason that we're sitting here talking about this, and this lawsuit is filed because of sort of frustration by advocates that there's just a lot of gray area, there's a lot of opacity in this, people don't know, and if we had some kind of documentation or record or something that we could learn from and say, oh, okay, so that's how you're interpreting the bike bill. That's interesting. Maybe we're gonna go to the legislature as advocates and maybe amend the language a little bit so that it applies more or less, or can work better for the community, because I loved I loved what by cloud chair, Carl Johnson said today at the event to file the suit where he said basically, what what's what good is alive? You know, no one even notice it's there, or, you know, it's pretty meaningless if, if no one knows how it works, or, and I think that's the bike feels kind of been like that. In on one hand, it's powerful. And we'd love to know that it's there. But on the other hand, it's kind of just been gathering dust for in some ways.

Scott Kocher:

Yeah. So and it may need updates. I'm not I believe it's a good law. I think it's important, you know, the street trust, tried in 2021, the 50th anniversary to make some changes to it, kind of bring it up to date, hopefully expand its scope, more funding all of these good things. It didn't happen, unfortunately. But it may be that with some close examination, and people actually trying to use the law that will learn how to make the law better. And that's how public policy ought to work. Yeah. And

Jonathan Maus:

is there any, do you have any concerns that just by opening this up, it could become weaker. And I know, that's been that has been a concern, that, you know, if you go to fight for something, and you don't get it, it could end up weakening in overall or that in this case, if you have a judge who's not nice, or a judge wants to interpret it and actually be have more sympathy for cities in this case, and saying, it's just too onerous, like we gotta we gotta clean that love. So we don't get in this pickle again, and have these pesky people asking for a bunch of bike stuff. So is that a concern at all? Can you speak to that?

Scott Kocher:

In this context? I think that a resolution that is so far out of line with reality is is so improbable that it's not something that would give people pause and shouldn't give people pause on either side. You know, people always used to talk about the McDonald's coffee case as an example of okay, the court systems, broken litigation out of control, whatever it is. The reality is that 99.9% of cases reach reasonable resolutions, and the justice system in our country is still the best in the world. Certainly, we have problems. You know, we could talk about that, but I don't have a lot of concern that that a fabulously successful outcome of this lawsuit would somehow lead to an unintended negative result. I do think that if that, uh, you know, if the motion to dismiss were granted, depending on the grounds, that could be a bummer. And you'd say, well, gee, depending on what those grounds were, that could be precedent setting setting, it could make future suits more difficult. Nobody's done one since 1995. So yeah, it's not clear that we're necessarily closing a door that a lot of other people were looking at.

Jonathan Maus:

Right? Okay. Yeah, here if if say Portland comes up, if their lawyers come up with something that's just so brilliant and just gets it dismissed right away, then yeah, the takeaway could be you better not talk up about the bike Bill anymore because it's gonna be dismissal.

Scott Kocher:

It's not an avenue that's available to advocates doors closed. If that were the result, then it would be interesting because that's not what the Court of Appeal said in 1995. And this case is modelled quite closely on that. And it follows guidance from the court of appeals for what is a valid claim. So the for a judge to dismiss this the motion to dismiss stage? You know, obviously, I won't comment on what a judge might do, but there certainly is a strong legal basis for this case.

Jonathan Maus:

Okay, can we zero in on? I guess, just one, maybe to the one thing in the list of locations I thought was interesting is how you talk about the pearl district. I just want people I think some people are hearing about this suit and think, oh, there was this one project, they didn't put a bike lane in it. Okay, you can kind of conceptualize, oh, it was a street project we didn't get we didn't get bike lanes, okay, they want the bike lanes to go in. I get that. But tell me what you're thinking is about. The Pearl district former formerly very heavily industrial decades ago, totally gentrified and redeveloped with condos. And now there's like this really nice grid of streets. But tell me why that is one of the locations that you've listed.

Scott Kocher:

Because we don't have public records from the city. To give us guidance, we had to rely on things like historic aerial photos. So you can see in historic aerial photos, where parts of the city over the last 50 years have transformed from not a gridded neighborhood to brand new streets. So that will be construction of streets. And that is a situation where the bike bill applies the pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure has to be provided. So it jumps out, because the whole eight yards area of the pearl district is about 25 square blocks of the pearl district north of Lovejoy. That used to be a train yard. And now it's, you know, like you said, condos and businesses, full complete street grid. There are no bicycle facilities, anywhere in that area. And the pedestrian and bicycle bill says there should be ridership in northwest Portland, despite having terrific density is really low. And, you know, I know when I'm riding with children, for example, through northwest Portland, you're in the street with cars. And some of those streets are nice, quiet streets, many of them are not. And it just takes one or two drivers going super fast, close by you to make you feel unsafe. So one of the very interesting questions is, how did the city decide to build that large area of essentially brand new city from scratch without any bike facilities? Number one? And number two, if you're trying to fix that, what does that look like? And those are questions that have implications every day, in terms of the quality of life in those parts of town, the priorities that, you know, have been kind of taken for granted there.

Jonathan Maus:

And can I assume that a shared lane marking on a road in your mind does not qualify as a bike facility? Or what do you think about that? I know this is just kind of like a quick personal question. I would love to know the answer to Yeah. And I'll give you a slight shero for folks that you know, I say share lane marking, also known as sheroes. You know, they they've put down hundreds of those in the pearl district, are those, do those qualify as resolving, you know, compliance

Scott Kocher:

by themselves? Absolutely not. The Portland, the City of Portland has standards for traffic volume and traffic speed. And if you have too many cars, or they're going too fast, it doesn't meet standards for a greenway. When I served on the northwestern motion Policy Advisory Committee a few years ago, as of that time, not a single Greenway in the entirety of northwest Portland met those standards. So essentially, they're, you know, look at the map and say, Oh, that's great. Northwest Portland has greenways everywhere, not a single one met standards, because there are too many cars and they're going too fast. There have been a few new diverted diverters put in place in in that quadrant of the city. And that has gotten volumes down on some streets. But the point is no, absolutely not. A shero is not by itself, a bicycle facility. And I don't think anybody could argue that it is there is an interesting question about in 2022, what is an appropriate bicycle facility on an arterial or a collector or a smaller neighborhood street? And those appropriate facilities may differ based on how big the street is. But just slapping on a share out isn't enough. And I think I think we would have the upper hand if the city tried to say we put some zeros down we're done.

Jonathan Maus:

I want to talk a little bit about the Hawthorne project. Just because I think it's one of those classic situation Since that the bike bill, there's some debate on whether or not the bike bill should have been triggered. So let's say let's say the suit is a success. And there's a stronger adherence or understanding about when it's triggered. And that we redid the Hawthorne thing, just clean slate, I would assume you would say that there's a good chance the city might have acted differently.

Scott Kocher:

So for your listeners who may not know the background on Hawthorne was that Hawthorne was substantially redone just a couple of years ago, it was on the the city bicycle plan and the city wide transportation system plan as a key bikeway corridor was supposed to have world class bicycle facilities, and there were plans they were put forward that included those. And then kind of at the last minute, city leadership very abruptly changed course. And there was some indication that bicycle that transit throughput times were the overriding consideration. And that if they had added bicycle lanes that it might have slowed buses down a little bit. I forget if you may remember was a couple of minutes across the length of the quarter. And because those decision makers at that particular point in time, really wanted to prioritize transit speed. And there was actually I think, some indication that they were even unaware, certain decision makers were unaware that there was a bicycle plan, and that that was a key connector for the bicycle plan. The project was done without bicycle lanes. So that's the background on that. And it's an open question as to what how the bicycle bill applies there. There has not been clear guidance from a court of jurisdiction to say yes or no, on a project like that. There's there are a lot of reasons why that project gets into reconstruction territory rather than just a repave. And that's something that we're prepared to talk about in the case.

Jonathan Maus:

There's another aspect to this that I think is going to be a big part of the discussions in this case, which is what is the definition of reconstruct? Right? Can you talk a little bit about that? Are there some misconceptions people have about when it's triggered in terms of reconstruction? Whether or not you can just repave how deep the repayment has to go to trigger the bill? What can you say about that?

Scott Kocher:

If there are misconceptions, it's not, it's not their fault. The best guidance we have on that is the ODOT interpretation. And that's the only guidance that we have really. And it's on the Pbot website, you can Google Pbot bicycle bill, and you can search through that long page for reconstruct. And the gist of it is that if you're just repaving the asphalt, or restriping, the existing lane lines, that doesn't count as reconstruction. But if you're doing more than that, then you may be getting into reconstruction territory. And we know that if you're doing a dig all the way down to the dirt than certainly you're in reconstruction territory. I think the Hawthorne Yeah, that's what I was thinking debacle, if you will, I think that's probably a really good example of the of the issue, because people are called that pave and paint. But they moved off a lot of Curb there. They put in a lot of islands, they reconfigured the lanes, there's a lot of things that happened in that project, that we're not just paving or replacing stripes that had faded. And we take the position in this case that that actually triggers the bicycle bill, and that pedestrian and bicycle facilities were required as part of that project. The guidance that we have is certainly consistent with our position. But we don't have anything binding from a court with authority to flesh out that that question, it comes down to probably a factual question that has to be decided by a court. And that's never happened before.

Jonathan Maus:

So what happens now? What should the community expect in terms of just the the machine of the system in terms of dealing with this suit from here on out what what should folks expect are the next steps for this?

Scott Kocher:

Well, there's always some legal wrangling at the outset. And I won't go into those details. One thing that I want to ask people listening to this podcast to do especially if you're in Portland, if you know Portland streets really well. There's a saying that you may not have a PhD in in traffic engineer During but you have a PhD in your neighborhood. I want folks who are listening to think about their neighborhood think about streets that have been constructed since 1971. Or reconstructed really, you don't change not just repaved, but actually changed since 1971, which is going pretty far back. So some of your older listeners may be extra helpful to us here. And I don't know if there's a comment section, or if you can, if they can put them on bikeportland, or send them to me, Scott at forum law, group.com is my email. But we'd like to expand our list, the research that we did, we know it was limited. And we have our initial list of locations, but we need to expand that list. So one thing that the community can do to help us is to send us your locations of streets that were constructed or reconstructed since 1971. It's not the construction of an apartment building on a block, you know, on the private property next to the public right away, that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about changes to the right of way itself, of construction of a street paving of a street. Maybe if sidewalks weren't put in, even though they paved the street, this kind of thing. So those are the kinds of examples, that process of identifying where the non compliance has been, and the legal wrangling over clarifying where the boundaries are, is going to take a long time. So there's gonna be a lot of hurry up and wait on this. A lot of behind the scenes work and at certain points, they'll there'll be milestones. And when those milestones happen, because this is a public interest case, you'll hear about them bikeportland listeners and readers will hear about them. And hopefully, there'll be some, some decisions to make as those happen.

Jonathan Maus:

Okay, is there anything about about the lawsuit that you want folks to know about at this point that we haven't talked about?

Scott Kocher:

I think it's going to be an opportunity for, for the City of Portland to better understand its obligations, I think it's an opportunity to improve a number of roadways in our city that need it. And to get clarity going forward about what the city's obligations are. I think that there are a lot of people who are doing really good work within the Portland Bureau of Transportation in the advocacy advocacy community in the neighborhoods. In East Portland, all around the city, there are lots of people who want to see safe streets, they want to see people able to ride to school with their kids and have their kids walking and have elders walking safely. And we need to turn around the numbers. We have far, far too many crashes and fatalities on our streets and those numbers going up instead of down. Show us that we're not doing it right. So I hope that what we are doing what iCloud is doing in this lawsuit will focus more attention on those issues, and we will come out of this a better city.

Jonathan Maus:

Scott, thanks for coming in and sharing your insights about this. Really appreciate it.

Scott Kocher:

Thank you, Jonathan. Thanks for having me.

Jonathan Maus:

That was Oregon lawyer Scott Kocher of forum law group who's representing bike loud PDX in a lawsuit against the city of Portland. Be sure to check our show notes for links and resources mentioned in this episode. The bike Portland Podcast is a production of pedal town Media Incorporated, and is made possible by listeners just like you. If you're not a subscriber yet, please become one today at bikeportland.org/support. You can listen to more episodes and find out how to subscribe at bikeportland.org/podcast. Our music for this episode was provided by the podcast hosts.com and elite to the podcast maker. Find your own free music podcast over at the podcast host.com/free music. I'm your host Jonathan Maus. Until next time, thanks for listening and I'll see you in the streets.

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