Day 7: Tuesday. Uncle Sam, Project work, and Splashing

Day seven rapidly went by as the five-hour span encompassed fun activities ranging from ice cream to Sam Chase at Metro.

In the morning we discussed our previous day and what we were to accomplish today. We talked about true colors, the Albina Neighborhood, and our meeting at City Hall on the third floor; however, the greatest piece of news was that our project would officially start. We would split into four groups, each focussing on a single block.

Meeting with Sam Chase was intriguing as we all learned about Metro’s function and what it does for the city. He told us about his experience in the Netherlands concerning bicycles and their relationship to cars as well as the uniqueness of Metro itself.

After our brains were still processing all the information given to us, it was a pleasant surprise that we got to spend the last 2-3 hours outside. Our first task: eat. Choices in the ecotrust building included the Laughing Planet Cafe and Hot Lips Pizza.

Our respective groups walked to the blocks. The four blocks we are concerned about are from 9th to 13th on Johnson. We were tasked with interviewing people on the streets, recording sensory details the block provided, a sketch of the block’s use, and any other information we could gather.

Being 90+ degrees outside, going to Jamison Park after was only logical after a day of good, hard work. George provided ice cream, and we absorbed our vitamin D, splashing and playing in the water. Some, due to “high-five bribery,” got wet. Very wet.

— Conner

At Metro, we spoke with Sam Chase, who is one of six unique councilors there. He went through his presentation, speaking about what Metro does and his job. One of the most talked about, controversial aspects of Metro’s power is the Urban Growth Boundary and land use planning. This has been a hot topic in the past and present.

Metro’s uniqueness stems from the fact that it is the only elected regional government in the country. There is one council president in charge of the agenda and six Metro councilors. Sam is in charge of district five, which is all of North and Northwest and sections of Northeast, Southeast and Southwest.

Sam spoke a lot about his recent trip to the Netherlands. He went so that he could look at their bike system, since they have one of the most progressive ones in the world. Some of the devices used to encourage biking were having a small physical barrier between bikers and motorized traffic, making sure citizens know that on bike friendly streets, bikers are the priority, not cars and changing the color of the road.

In the Netherlands, bike lanes are all red, which is convenient. In some spots, they also have the car lanes, cobblestoned, as a subliminal message that it is time to slow down. One suggestion about our greenway he gave was to make sure not to make it into a regional attraction, since the Pearl already has Jamison Square and they most likely don’t want more visitors. Although then again, if you live downtown, you might want the hustle and bustle.

— Sophie

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