(July 23, 2020) The City of Portland today demanded that federal authorities remove a metal fence and concrete barriers that were illegally installed on Wednesday around the federal courthouse in downtown Portland. The metal fence creates a safety hazard by blocking the bike lane on SW Main Street, one of the busiest bike routes in the United States.
The City Attorney's Office offered legal guidance that the installation blocking the bike lane and other parts of the public right of way are violations of City Code and Transportation Administrative Rules designed to protect the safety of the traveling public.
With the Cease and Desist demand transmitted today to Roy Atwood, Region 10 Administrator for the U.S. General Services Administration, legal action, fines, and other remedies may follow.
"This fence was constructed without permission or permits on public property, and it is both an abuse of public space and a threat to the traveling public," Portland Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said. "This illegal action will not be tolerated in our community. In Portland, we use our streets for access to jobs and housing, and as places for Portlanders to gather and celebrate our shared values. Sometimes, we use our streets to speak truth to powerful government officials. It is shameful that unnamed, unannounced federal agents would illegally erect a wall to hide from the people they are sworn to serve, and I have instructed PBOT to closely monitor the federal occupiers’ actions for additional violations.”
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), administers the City of Portland's Transportation Administrative Rules for the use of public right-of-way. PBOT Director Chris Warner has found the fencing and barrier on SW Main Street constitute a Class I violation. Fencing surrounding the courthouse on other streets appears to partially obstruct travel lanes, constituting Class III violations.
"Portlanders bike at the highest rate of any major American city because generations of Portlanders have built and maintained one of the largest networks of bike lanes in the nation," Warner said. " We maintain our bike lanes every day, and we will defend them as needed."