We’ll be voting YES on the 17 May bond and levy measures in support of Portland Public Schools. Learn more about this important vote to repair and update our historic but pathetically dilapidated, inefficient, increasingly unsafe school buildings. $5M of the proposed bond will be allocated for transportation infrastructure improvements around our schools, including promotion of the Safe Routes to Schools program supporting walk and bike access.
Yes, it’s a big property tax increase, but we think car-free and car-lite families, unburdened by the rising costs of motoring that send wealth out of state, should step up to protect and improve the crumbling treasures we have in our neighborhoods.
This is a single vote, but you know what? Portland schools are chronically underfunded. That’s why we’re going beyond this one issue to support our schools in a more direct, comprehensive way.
Starting today, through the day of the vote 17 May, Clever Cycles will donate 10% of purchases to the Portland Schools Foundation. All you need to do is mention this program at the time of payment, and we’ll set aside 10% of the total for our schools. Yes, you have to mention it so we know you care, and we can assure ourselves that this isn’t actually hurting our business. If the response is good, we’ll repeat this program over and over until our schools can’t get any better and Portland can’t fit any more of the kinds of bikes we offer.
Portland public schools have some of the highest bicycling and walking rates in the country. Key to this success is the fact that most of Portland’s schools, like its homes, were built before the “American Dream” became synonymous with motor vehicle dependence and sub-urban home ownership. Portland largely resisted the freeway projects and related trends that emptied or impoverished the urban residential cores of so many other cities, destroying the tax base that supported the schools. Largely, but not entirely.
Portland Public Schools are dramatically underfunded. Contrary to the myth that city life is more crowded than in the past, average household size in Portland is lower than historical norms. The density of children in particular has fallen. Schools are closing, with student bodies being consolidated into fewer and fewer, larger, cheaper-to-run schools further away, creating safety hazards and coarsening the close grain of city life that Portland has struggled over so many decades to maintain.
We support well-funded neighborhood schools because they are essential to what we love about Portland, its scale and pace, and the sufficiency and dignity of human power in getting around it, whether you’re 8 or 80.